View Full Version : Diets and token systems-OMG how can I do it?


Dizfriz
11-09-12, 10:21 AM
I am going to use Spacemaster's delightful post to springboard into another subject and a separate thread.



Someone with severe ADHD may not even be able to effectively navigate a supermarket, whilst not on medication.

It's all well and good to have a healthy diet, I won't argue that. I will say, that I sometimes can't even manage to go to the store for some easy-cook crapola. It's going to take someone who is unmedicated a whole lot of effort to monitor a diet, and cook healthy foods, and actually stick to the plan!

I won't say it's impossible, but it takes a lot of organization. I, for one, can't keep a journal for more than two days. The very thought of following an elimination diet sends my head into orbit. Not because I think it's bad, but I just can't keep up with something like that. I don't know what I ate yesterday. I've been on diets where I've tried calorie counting. It lasts 3 days, tops.

Medication will not cure ADHD. Of course not. But, it may give you the necessary tools to get up, get to the supermarket, and go pick out that healthy food. It may give you the mental juice to stand over a stove, and not light the whole kitchen on fire during your attempt to change your diet. Meds may help you to stick to your new diet plan. Meds may help with that impulse control, when you really want to reach for that food that you know is supposed to be eliminated!

Again, tools working together. I'm not even trying to argue anything here.

One of the more successful tools available for working with ADHD children is a token system. We know this. When correctly and consistently applied can work wonders. I am going to use this as my main example and then relate it to dietary interventions.


We know token systems work and work well, the problem is getting an ADHD parent to do this successfully.

One one of the better descriptions of ADHD is a deficit in self regulation, self control. Using the words of others to produce words inside yourself to direct actions. The problem with ADHD is that it is a basic core issue with ADHD that these internal instructions do not have much traction. You know what to do but somehow cannot do what you know. Self instruction, no matter how much you might want it to does not always work all that well and in fact many find self directed actions to be mostly exercises in futility.

The reason I bring this up is we tend to think we should be able to do what others tell us we should be able to do so to speak.

It just doesn't work that well much of the time with ADHD'ers.

In truth, I have found few ADHD parents able to successfully implement a token system method of discipline. I found it to be unproductive and mostly unsuccessfully as a useable tool for ADHD parents. At best they use it for a short while then finally after much frustration, quit.

This also applies to dietary issues with ADHD. How many ADHD parents can successfully implement a careful and consistent diet plan? Not a lot.

So what happens after the failure of the plan-Guilt in all its glory. The parent "should" have been able to make it work. After all, the experts tell us it does.

But consider, if one has a deficit in the ability to self regulate that usually occurs to various degrees with ADHD, there is no realistic reason to expect that you can implement a careful and consistent dietary or token system and no reason to feel guilt any more that a visually impaired kid should feel guilt because of the inability to read the blackboard. It is just the nature of the disorders.

Does this mean that no ADHDer can implement a token system or use an elimination diet or dietary plan?-of course not. ADHD presents in many different ways and some will be better at this than others but for many if not most, this will apply. Take another look as Spacemaster's post and see the struggles some have with this type of thing.

What can be done is to adapt the principles involved with these plans in a way that the ADHDer can use most of the time with some reasonable degree of success.

Now in respect to diet, if you are one of the ADHDers for whom a grocery list is mostly a piece of paper that, if made at all, stays in your purse or pocket, try to be aware of what in the foods you buy. For most ADHDers that is "good enough" and be proud of the days you can successfully to this. Try to read the labels and try to reasonably restrict artificial colors and flavorings knowing full well you will not be successful all of the time. You do the best you can and use the "good enough is good enough" principle. Try for that and feel satisfied when you accomplish it. You won't all the time but again good enough is, while not perfect, mostly good enough.

Just my dollar two ninety eight's worth.

Dizfriz

SquarePeg
11-09-12, 11:58 AM
Try to read the labels and try to reasonably restrict artificial colors and flavorings knowing full well you will not be successful all of the time. You do the best you can and use the "good enough is good enough" principle. Try for that and feel satisfied when you accomplish it. You won't all the time but again good enough is, while not perfect, mostly good enough.

Just my dollar two ninety eight's worth.

Dizfriz
I tend to look at the pretty pictures on the products and not read labels at all, even though I tell my kids that this is very misleading. Strangely if something says, low fat, salt, No GM ingredients, artificial colourings, 100 per cent etc I tend to be suspicions and am most likely to read that label.

stef
11-09-12, 02:05 PM
if you can even just NOT buy the stuff you KNOW is bad, that's a good start. I really do not need to read the label on chips and big packs of cookies, I know I'll feel awful if I eat too much of these things. A totally processed meal you can just make in the oven occasionally (frozen lasagna or whatever) is probably healthier than the stress generated by trying to cook a healthy, balanced meal EVERY night.