Why do ADHD Brains Crave Sugar?

Why do ADHD Brains Crave Sugar?

Why do ADHD Brains Crave Sugar?

We have all gone after scrumptious confectionaries and delicious chocolates in childhood! Some, or probably, many of us, have carried the urge to gorge on ‘sugary foodstuffs’ into adulthood too! Apart from warning us about the risk of health issues, doctors do not condemn us for possessing ‘a sweet tooth’! In other words, it is a perfectly natural occurrence. Then, why should anyone be surprised that ADHD brains have a  craving for sweets? It is because the craving is excessive in nature.

The ADHD brain asks for sugar all the time!

Does a normally functioning brain require sugar/glucose?

The answer is ‘yes’!

Glucose is the fuel for all your cells to remain active and function well. It is responsible for the activities of two crucial neurotransmitters in your brain. They are dopamine and norepinephrine. Neurotransmitters are chemicals secreted by the brain. They behave as messengers, carrying messages from one nerve to another in diverse regions of the body.

Dopamine and norepinephrine control your cognitive behaviors, moods, emotions, responses to pain, movements and actions, etc.

Dopamine, specifically, is the happy neurotransmitter. It rewards you when you do something well with feeling emotional well. For example, you store the lessons learned from good experiences in your brain, creating a motivation to do it again. It can motivate you to take up greater challenges where you feel the same emotional well-being. Over time, you it can help you learn to make good decisions and even acquire leadership qualities.

 

As dopamine secretion increases, you experience excitement, joy, exhilaration, etc. This enables sustained motivating behavior. At the same time, nothing goes overboard, because your normally functioning brain keeps everything under control.

How is the ADHD brain different?

Unlike the ADHD individual, neuro-typicals experience a sense of gratification even while completing mundane chores well.  Their brains are not over-aroused. They do not become bored easily. In contrast, the ADHD brain remains unsatisfied and bored with tasks that offer no challenges. The symptoms display themselves easily. Attention wanders. There may be irritation, temper-tantrums, frustration, etc.

These are the signals to indicate that the ADHD brain is in distress. It is demanding glucose to activate dopamine secretion. This is possible when the ADHD patient consumes foods containing carbohydrates, such as bread, pasta, cookies, sweets, etc. Carbohydrates convert into glucose rapidly.

The individual experiences suppression of restlessness. If you have noticed, ADHDers can eat continuously, they are not keen to adhere to set mealtimes.

Their brains are eternally seeking stimulation.

Another odd aspect is that ADHD brains become more active towards the evening. This is the time when the individual prefers to engage with social media, play video games or watch television. It does not help that the blue light emanating from these screens make the brain even more alert.

Naturally, the patient finds it difficult to sleep. Waking up early is also a problem. Such irregular patterns in the sleep-wake cycle have adverse effects on the family’s waking and resting hours.

The ADHD brain is continuously striving to self-regulate. Its stimulation needs vary by the neurotransmitter levels within it. Whatever is the case, it struggles to get its response right.

ADHD brains always wants something riskier, faster, funnier, bigger, louder, etc. There is no satisfaction at all!

However, the brain and body can only take so much. Over time, when everything gets to be too much, the sufferer becomes physically and emotionally overwhelmed. This is often seen as the crash.

Research shows that small amounts of sugar can help the ADHD brain function optimally.  The overall goal is to find a balance to help self-regulate this dopamine seeking brain while fueling the energy needed to function optimally.

My suggestion is to keep a journal of what you eat and how you feel cognitively for that given day.  When you have a few days logged, analyze it and see if there is a pattern.

Can you use it to help satiate your sugar craved brain and feel balanced?

Good luck!

If you have questions go to my website www.razcoaching.com and use the ASK Raz! Q&A.  Or follow my www.Instagram.com/razcoaching. I do daily mini blogs with tips of inspiration. I post almost every day.  There’s something in there for you that can help you with your focus for the day.

 

 

 

 

How One ADHD College Student Deals With Challenges

Listen to Ross, a college student with ADHD, talk with Academic and Career Coach Michelle Raz of Raz Coaching about his Challenges with ADHD as a college student.

In this episode Ross and Michelle dig deep into his journey through figuring out what works for him to be a successful college student managing ADHD on his own.   You will learn the words of advice Ross got to get through the boring and mundane work and how he had to look within himself to find solutions to his problems. The support source he has received enables him to face his failures and feeling of shame.  Hear what it took to get him on a positive academic path.

A key takeaway for him and pivotal question he began to ask himself when procrastination and low motivation set in was:

“Where has this procrastination led me in the past and did I like that?”

Learn where this journey has taken him

Hear where he is now academically

This is a great episode for parents of ADHD college students and motivational for ANY current or future college student.

Please forward and share with someone you feel needs to hear Ross’ story.

If you want more podcasts, blogs, videos on life with ADHD visit Michelle’s website at www.razcoaching.com  or www. coachingacademics.com. or email her at [email protected]  Also, you can  follow her at  www.Instagram.com/razcoaching. She has many mini blogs with tips of inspiration.   There’s something in one of her outlets there for you that can help you with your ADHD struggles and challenges.  She even has an App on her website to ask questions.   “Ask Raz!”.

 

5 Motivation Tips For Your Teen At Home

5 Motivation Tips For Your Teen At Home

5 Motivation Tips For Your Teen At Home

Motivating your teenager at home is hard even on a good day.  But As we are in the middle of our stay at home orders, it is getting even harder.   In this episode, Michelle shares 5 motivational tips that can get your teen moving in the right direction with good spirits.

Michelle is a mother of 3 and has a lot of experience motivating her own kids and hundreds of other teenagers through her work with academic and career coaching over the years.

She will share here wisdom and insight with these helpful 5 motivations tips for your teen at home during this crisis.

In the previous episode she focused on helping you navigate the online classes and assignments with her specialized 6 Step Online Planner.  You can view it HERE

Coach Raz has been an academic coach for over 10 years and you can find more details at razcoaching.com  or coachingacademics.com

How to Create My Online Planner in 6 Steps

How to Create My Online Planner in 6 Steps

How to Create My Online Planner in 6 Steps

I’d like to share with you a tool that I use with many of my clients. It’s an online planner. It’s a great tool if you need help with visual auditory and kinesthetic learning. It helps with motivation time management and just a great visual to get you started.

Each month the first step in using this planner is to create a Google spreadsheet. If you don’t have an account with Google, go ahead and make one. Once you have that account, then you will need to have all of your subjects or goals ahead of time so that you can put them across the top of the Google Sheet.

Once you complete this, color code them and then move on to the days the week on the left side of the spreadsheet. You’re going to put in the month and then below the month if you spell out the day of the week. Use the numeric number for the month date and year. If you highlight that box and drag it down, it will automatically populate all the days of the month. Once you do that, go ahead and save the document for the purpose of this. You can just say your name and you can say academic planner or you can say your name with planning goals. So that’s step 1.

Step 2:

Have all of your assignments due dates, tests, projects ready. You can find these in your syllabus or instructor’s website. Once you have those due dates. Go ahead and backfill them in. Start with the end in mind. Put in the due dates on the particular date that it’s due and then go ahead and put in homework assignments and anything else.

Step 3:

Now you have all of the assignments in and the big tests. What I’d like you to do now is to go through those important test dates, presentations, project deadlines and use the paint bucket tool at the top of the Google spreadsheet. You can click on it and choose the color palette. I like to use red just as a reminder since it stands out that it is an important due date. Go ahead and use that tool and highlight the cell that that particular date is due and color code it red.

Step 4:

What I’d like to do here is start with the end in mind and backtrack to chunk down the steps. It’s going to help you to be ready for that test presentation or project and make sure you’re giving yourself ample time. I like to tell students if you think that you’re over planning and giving yourself too much time, it’s not really true. Because what you’re doing is building in a what-if plan. You know life happens and you might not be feeling well or you might not be motivated on a particular day. If you have enough planning blocks set for that specific test or important project, then you have a little buffer built-in. So, it’s a good idea to just over plan and break down these steps into kind of micro, small chunks of blocks

 Step 5:

You should have everything entered.  What I like to do now is to go through and just bold out the subjects across the top.  Make sure the dates are bold and then I put in anything red in bold too.  It is really visually standing out for an important thing for you know you need to do. This is where the students really visually like this calendar.  As you are completing an assignment, your accountability is to yourself by color, coding it using the paint bucket. Highlight the cell light blue as you complete things.   The goal is to have as much blue on that page as you can possibly get.

Sometimes students like to even put their test scores on there too so they can go back and look at it in a different month and see that progress. Another thing you can do is to use the strikethrough key for missed work. Maybe you missed an assignment you were going to do but want to track it, so you’re going to use the strikethrough tool at the top. It’ll serve the purpose of letting you know that it was something that didn’t happen. It may be something you forgot to do and other times, it might be professors moving things around or occasionally they just abandoned things.

So, now you have the color-coding blue for completion or the strike-through if it’s a special circumstance and just didn’t happen and red for important things. Sometimes things are not always done, but they’re in progress. So on that we’re going to use the yellow bucket tool and highlight those so that you know you paid attention to it you’re on track. Still, you’re not quite done with it yet and you need to go through using this color-coding system will really help you know at a glance where you are what you need to get done and what your next step is supposed to be.

Step 6:

Now you’ve completed one month’s worth of work. Add a new month at the bottom of the spreadsheet by hitting the plus button rename it for the particular month you want to  copy and paste your subjects at the top.   Use the date populated that I discussed on the first step and start all over again!

Best of luck out there.

If you have anything to share please feel free to reach out to me at www.razcoaching.com  or www. coachingacademics.com. [email protected] Or follow my www.Instagram.com/razcoaching. I do daily mini blogs with tips of inspiration. I post almost every day.  There’s something in there for you that can help you with your focus for the day.

 

5 Online School Survival Tips

5 Online School Survival Tips

5 Online School Survival Tip

We are in some really challenging times. The way we go about our life is changing minute by minute.

Are you finding yourself in new roles?

You might have just become a teacher or an academic coach and a home health care provider. Things that you didn’t typically think that would be in your repertoire but now are forced upon you by these new changes. Rightfully so, we need to be responsible citizens.

You might be feeling overwhelmed, confused and frustrated.

I want to ease some of that frustration and fear of what you are now being strapped with. If you are having to help a college student or a public school student at home, I will be able to offer you some advice.

This is what I do for a living every day.  For over 10 years, I have helped hundreds of students to be successful in their academic life and career planning. Specifically, I work with clients in organizing, time management, task initiation, planning, prioritizing and keeping them accountable. These are what we call the areas of executive functions.

How is this online format going to work?

Maybe they’ve had a class online before and it wasn’t successful for them. These can be triggers and barriers to their academic success in the coming weeks. So, I want to give you five online school survival tips to help get you started.

You got this!

I often tell my clients or parents of students that I work with what I do is very systematic and it can be done by anybody. The difference is that I’m a third party. So sometimes, when there are internal conflicts or triggers within families, it’s nice to have that third party. I know from firsthand because I certainly paid it forward within my own family and I would still do that today if needed.

So let’s get down to these strategies.

Advocate

I want to make this quick for you. When you start online schooling, it’s essential to be your own best advocate.  It’s important that you self-advocate if you’re not understanding something and need clarity. You need to reach out to your instructors.   You’re in charge of letting people know what you need best.

Now for a younger student, this is where the parent has to be intuitive. But it’s important to advocate and it’s going to take a while to get used to.

Start off with writing out what you need or what your student needs to be a successful online student. Share it with somebody that is helping you transition into this new learning environment.

Resources

Second of all, there are many resources in this day and age.  We are so lucky that we have resources such as online tutoring programs. A lot of the schools probably are going to be offering those. There’s online counseling you can seek as well. Just like myself, It’s really something that can be done through Skype Zoom or Facetime. It’s very common these days.

Make sure that you know what your resources are.

If you’re going to be struggling in one particular subject area and you know that you are going to need help, ask questions about available resources. And that goes back to being your own best advocate.

Goals

Goals are super important to set when you have a lot of unstructured time. When I’m working with clients that have online classes, the biggest pitfall for them is not setting weekly and daily goals. That’s a crucial part of what I do. They need to see what’s in front of them and what they want to get done each day and week.

When the instructors give you what they want you to do, take the initiative to set goals and structure your day accordingly. An example of setting goals might be: if your instructors are giving you weekly to-dos on a Sunday evening or Monday, start the week off with a goal-setting session. What is it that you need to accomplish by that Friday and budget your time accordingly for each class. Structure it so that you have built-in time for breaks lunches and tutoring time if you need that.

If you take the time to set the goals that will give you purpose each day and a focus which is an added bonus. Right now, I’m seeing a lot of students pretty bored even though they’re kind of excited to not be in classes. They may have a list of some things they can do around the house, but they’re not supposed to be outside interacting with other people in very large groups. There is only so much downtime they can have. And we really need a purpose and something to do for our mental health. Lay this out with them on a planner with each class and budget that time accordingly.   Map it out so that they have a purpose each day.  Match it with the weekly plan from the instructor.   Your student is going to have a daily purpose now.

Read The Instructions

It’s essential to look at the instructions and read the syllabus.  Now as easy and common sense as that sounds, I can’t tell you how many students that I work with that don’t read the instructions. They don’t look at the rubrics. They’re not following the syllabus.

The instructors are going to be communicating a lot via email and possibly sending documents for you to read and follow. If you have a student challenged with some of the executive functions, take the time during goal-setting to go over the syllabus for the week. Check the rubric if they’re doing a project so that they understand what is expected of them. This is an independence skill that even college students struggle with at times. They don’t take that time to just follow through to make sure that what they think the professor or teacher wants is actually what they think they need to do. There are often times when they’re mismatched. I cannot stress enough to take the time to read the materials.

Time To Organize with a planner

I do know there are a lot of instructors out there that are using individual Web sites that can be pretty confusing. So if you feel frustrated with too many instructional sites to coordinate, come up with a plan to take charge of your time and get organized with a planner.

I have a systematic way that I do it. Have all of your subjects across the top of your planner with the due dates set and then backfill it with how you are going to get it done.   Start with the end in mind. For example, if there is a project or a test, put that on planner and color code it red, so it stands out. I do it by the month and by the week with students so they can be very clear on what it is that’s important and then backfill it. The next step is to plan how you are going to meet that goal of the test,  paper, or project and backfill each step to make the work manageable.

Accountability

It is super important to hold them accountable each day. Not only are we taking charge of the time by getting organized, but they will also know what’s expected of them. The accountability I recommend is for whoever’s in charge of overseeing student work, whether it be an elementary, high school or college student, look at the progress at the end of the day. I have my clients color code a completed task as blue to show it completed.

I cannot stress accountability as a critical factor in your student’s success enough. In our distracted lives, we tend to forget to follow through on things. We set these goals. We are organized but we don’t follow through to make sure that it got done. In our current situation, most parents are juggling working out of their home, taking care of their family, trying to get groceries and maybe taking care of an elderly person. There’s a lot of stress and there’s a lot going on.

What I recommend and I do myself is to put reminders in my phone. I ask my clients to set reminders in their phones as well. The accountability check-ins at the end of the day improve academic success. Have some kind of reward in place when it does get done.   Make it something they can do like gaming or binge-watching a movie series are ideas.

The accountability is what’s going to make them feel accomplished every day. If the student does not get done or meets a daily goal, you’ve got the flexibility to be at home and plenty of time to complete it.

I hope that these tips helped you.

  1. Advocate for yourself
  2. Resources: make sure you’ve got them in place
  3. Goals: Set them each week
  4. Read the syllabus: make sure you understand what the instructors want (rubric)
  5. Take charge of your time and get organized with accountability.

 

If you do these five things, you will set yourself up during these challenging times for success.   You might just help your student become an independent learner by doing the work on his or her own.

Once you follow this for a few weeks, they will get into a routine and it will begin to flow.

It’s going to be a different home environment but you can get into this flow and be successful. This is a time when we really need to embrace our duties. Things are changing day by day but you can put into place a routine at home that your students can adjust to quickly.

 

Best of luck out there.

If you have anything to share please feel free to reach out to me at www.razcoaching.com  or www. coachingacademics.com. [email protected] Or follow my www.Instagram.com/razcoaching. I do daily mini blogs with tips of inspiration. I post almost every day.  There’s something in there for you that can help you with your focus for the day.