April: Ask the Expert!
“Why do I binge sugar and how can I manage my diet better?”
This a great question!
Sugar consumption is soaring and this was one of the reasons why sugar tax on soft drinks was introduced back in 2018, but why is so difficult to resist?
Sugar activates the reward system in our brain; when we take it in, our body releases a surge of dopamine, a feel-good hormone that can be addictive. As the sugar reaches your bloodstream, insulin is released, which, unfortunately, suppresses the hormone leptin (responsible for the feeling of fullness), signalling to your brain to have more sugar! Sugar rapidly digests, so that feel-good feeling will wear off soon after taking in sugar, and you might notice a crash in your energy levels and mood. Therefore, your brain will want more sugar to get another boost in energy, and of course, a vicious cycle begins.
Below are some tips that can help you to break out of this cycle:
- Eat regularly – If you go too long without eating, your blood sugar will drop, and you can start craving sweets and carbs.
- Eat more protein and fibre – these foods digest much slower, so they will help stabilise your blood-sugar and keep you full for longer.
- Eat mindfully – The next time you have a treat, practice savouring and enjoying it, put aside the guilt, and go easy on yourself. Slowing down and eating mindfully gives the stomach time to acknowledge the food and signal to you when it is full.
Note: If you are concerned about your blood-sugar levels, please get in touch with your GP.
“What tools is best used for executive dysfunction with ADHD in adults?”
Many of our patients will have the same question, so I am glad to address it here.
For those who are unsure, “executive function” refers to skills that allow us to plan and meet goals, display self-control, follow multiple-step directions even when interrupted, and stay focused despite distractions, among others. People with ADHD tend to experience difficulties in these areas, which can significantly impact day-to-day life.
Below are some tips on managing attention, memory and planning better:
Focus post-its: Stick post-it notes reminders saying ‘focus!’ on things that usually distract you, e.g., your phone.
Move your desk: Try and face your desk in, to face the room; this way, you won’t be too overstimulated by a view out of the window and under-stimulated by a view of the wall.
Immediate diary: When you receive a new task or appointment, stop and note it down immediately. Set yourself several reminders.
Acronyms: Create acronyms to help you remember a list of things to do.
Time management and scheduling
Be creative: Be creative and adapt your schedule so that it looks attractive to you and feels motivating.
Perfection doesn’t exist – Don’t be disheartened if scheduling doesn’t work for you immediately but reflect on why it’s not working and tweak your schedule until you find a formula that works well for you.
If you would like some support with managing your ADHD, we offer a 6-session Guided Self-Help for ADHD skills program for adults.
To learn more, click here.
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