top of page

E19. Intuitive Eating and ADHD (Interview with Yese Godoy)

Today I speak with Yese Godoy, a nutritionist and intutive eating specialist who helps women improve their relationship with food, their bodies, and themselves. We cover a lot of ground in this chat and she offers some valuable insights on how we can make intuitive eating work for the brains we have!

Time Stamp Shortcuts

2:18 What’s tricky about ADHD and Intuitive Eating?

3:18 Eating disorder risk and ADHD

3:59 ADHD and eating complications: dopamine seeking, emotional regulation, stimulation

5:11 Practical hunger

6:05 When to schedule times to eat/ hyperfocus

6:44 Different signals of hunger

7:34 The importance of protein

8:59 ADHD friendly protein sources

10:14 Combinations of food for energy/ staying power

11:14 Building self trust through self care

12:25 Food as comfort/regulation

13:46 Taking care of our non-food needs

14:40 Eating as stimulation and alternatives

15:56 Movement and IE

16:55 Intuitive Eating myths

17:09 IE is not a weight loss diet

22:46 Habituation

24:03 Anyone can learn to eat intuitively

Podcast Transcript

Donae 0:00

Welcome to ADHD Crash Course! Today we have Yese Godoy, and she is an intuitive eating specialist. She's a nutritionist who focuses on intuitive eating in her practice. I'm really excited to have her here because she is going to get us up to speed on intuitive eating and especially intuitive eating for ADHDers. Welcome!

Yese 0:44

Thank you.

Donae 0:45

So,before we get started, would you mind telling us a little bit about your ADHD story?

Yese 0:51

So, I was not diagnosed as a child, I actually only started suspecting I had ADHD because a couple of friends started sharing their symptoms and I could relate to every single one of them. I thought, and it planted the seed in my mind, like, "Oh, maybe I have ADHD". And then I was like, like, maybe not...

Then I quit my nine to five to focus on my business and I was struggling to focus, concentrate, I was procrastinating. I had always procrastinated like crazy. And things, everything was distracting, and I wasn't getting things done. And that's when I started to seriously consider that maybe ADHD was impacting me, maybe...

Donae 1:38

I think a lot of people have that story because a lot of us are drawn to entrepreneurship and then that's a place where it's pretty hard for a lot of us to keep up.

Yese 1:48

Yeah, no, definitely. And, also social media, after I talked to those friends, they started showing me a lot of ADHD, like, these are symptoms, these are struggles, and I can relate to almost all of them. And I thought, "Oh, maybe,maybe I have ADHD". And the more I learn about ADHD, the more of my entire life makes sense.

Donae 2:08

Yeah. There's a lot of "aha" when you get diagnosed as an adult. When you look back, you're like, "Oh, yeah, a lot of things make sense through the lens of ADHD".

Yese 2:16

Yeah, no, definitely.

Donae 2:18

In terms of intuitive eating and ADHD... I know for me, I'm a big fan of intuitive eating, but it's tricky with ADHD. What can you tell us about that? What's hard and what we can do about it?

Yese 2:29

I know many of us, when we first approached intuitive eating, we think of the "hunger and fullness diet".

Donae 2:30

Oh, yeah.

Yese 2:30

I know I certainly did. And I wanted to do it right, like all the other diets. They have these parameters, these rules, and you want to do it right. And so you're like, I'm only going to eat when I'm hungry. And I'm going to stop when I'm full.

Donae 2:47


Yese 2:48

But, as we know, whenever we have ADHD, we have a hard time, not only recognizing body cues, but acting on them.

Donae 2:57


Yese 2:58

So, we have a hard time tuning in to hunger and fullness.

Donae 3:01

Yeah. And then medication for a lot of people complicate that, additionally...

Yese 3:05

Yeah, so it suppresses appetite and if we're already struggling then we take the medication and then we don't have an appetite. So, we can't really follow intuitive eating in terms of hunger/ fullness. Then, also with ADHD, we are more likely to binge.

So, I've definitely experienced binge eating before. People who are diagnosed with clinical binge eating, not just binge eating as the behavior, 30% of those people have ADHD.

Donae 3:31

Wow, that is a really big number. So, 30% of people diagnosed with binge eating disorder have ADHD? And I know, I can't remember the statistics, but there's definitely an increased chance of having bulimia, as well, with ADHD.

Unknown Speaker 3:39

Yeah, yeah. Because they're so interrelated, I would think that it would probably be quite high, as well.

Donae 3:51

Right? And so, can you speak to why that's a trickier thing for us and what we can do about it as we pursue intuitive eating?

Yese 3:59

So one thing is that we have basically a deficit of dopamine. So, our body is looking for other chemicals that can artificially increase dopamine. One of those chemicals is food, and food that's high in fat, salt and sugar. So, delicious food, right?

We naturally may turn to food because we're low in dopamine. So, that may be one reason. And then because we can experience emotional dysregulation, we may be turning to food to comfort or calm ourselves, or basically to regulate our emotions.

Then the other thing that's really common is that we use food as stimulation. And it's not bad. It's not bad to use food as stimulation, but it can be a problem and can become a problem if it's our only source of stimulation.

Donae 4:49

I really think that's an interesting point. And for me, a relatively new point, being somebody who is already interested intuitive eating and trying to incorporate that. Recognizing that we're human and that unlike a diet mentality, there are times you're going to eat for comfort. There's times you're going to eat for stimulation, and how do you be compassionate with yourself about eating for reasons other than hunger?

Yese 5:11

And one other thing is practical hunger. I don't know if it's a new concept, or if it just not as talked about since when you think about Intuitive Eating you think hunger, you think fullness, but it essentially means that you're eating, but you're not physically hungry.

Donae 5:27


Yese 5:28

You're essentially eating to prevent from getting overly hungry and maybe end up binging. And so, it's important to recognize that there's practical hunger. It's okay to eat because with practical hunger, because you have a busy schedule, and you're going to be six or seven hours before you get a chance to eat.

Donae 5:43

I wish I had known that earlier, because for me, that was a really hard thing to wrap my mind around. I was always, "Well, I shouldn't be eating, I'm not hungry". So, even if I was going to have a really busy day, and not have a lot of pause, so that undermined my taking care of myself.

Yese 6:01

Yeah. Which is so important, because eating is part of taking care of yourself.

Donae 6:04


Yese 6:05

And one other thing that seems counterintuitive to Intuitive Eating is scheduling times to eat. If you tend to get hyper focused or you have time blindness, like I do, you may need to set reminders or are to have someone to keep you accountable to help you.

Donae 6:23

So, when you schedule, when you schedule that time to eat, and it's that time and you're not hungry, you go ahead and eat what you were planning to eat anyhow? Or how do you approach that?

Yese 6:33

Yes, yes, you would, because your hunger signals sometimes can be suppressed by medication, also by ADHD, and also your hunger signals may present differently than like rumbling in your tummy.

Yese 6:44

Sometimes, by the time you realize that you're hungry, you're lightheaded, you're fatigued, your energy's low, you're grouchy, you're irritable.

Yese 6:54

So you don't want to wait till you get to that point if you wait to eat until you're hungry. It may be after the meds wear off at the end of the day, you may be overly hungry, or you may tend to overeat or even binge

Donae 7:07

Definitely. Yeah, so this is great, because I do think this is a struggle for a lot of ADHDers who approach Intuitive Eating is that there are some ways we kind of have to adapt it for our brains. So, what are some ways that we can work with our brains while we're pursuing intuitive eating?

Yese 7:25

So, like we said, practical hunger of course. The other thing is making sure that you're eating before your meds or with your meds.

Yese 7:34

Protein is super, super important for us because they are protein provides the building blocks or neurotransmitters including dopamine. And so we want to make sure we're eating enough protein.

Donae 7:44

Are we trying to get it certain times in the day? Do you have any recommendations on how to get enough protein for our brains?

Yese 7:51

So, essentially, you would want to focus each meal around protein, each major meal like breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

And that's usually enough, very, very helpful. There are other sources of protein that are very easy to get that you can add: like a protein shake to your meal, and that will help you get enough enough protein throughout the day. So, just, essentially, prioritizing protein (not obsessing over counting protein grams or eating protein).

Donae 8:22

You're giving me flashbacks! No, I get it...

Yese 8:24

Oh, no. Yeah, but you're prioritizing protein and you're looking at your plate and saying, "Oh, okay, well for breakfast, I tend to have, I don't know, a waffle. Well, what if you have a waffle with a side a cottage cheese or a protein shake? Or some milk or some nut butter or... because we have ADHD meal prepping is something that's really hard because it takes organization.

Yese 8:48

We also need to know how to prioritize and it can take a long time to meal prep in the traditional sense. So, you could skip the traditional meal prep and buy foods that already come prepped or partially prepped.

Yese 8:59

Some of the go tos would be chicken that's already grilled. Sometimes it's in the frozen food section. You can find things like pulled pork tuna packets, rotisserie chicken.

Yese 9:09

So, there's frozen at edamame, fresh and edamame, they have it dried with seasoning. There's yogurt, for people who are vegetarians, there's protein bars, ready to drink protein shakes, they even sell eggs that are already hard boiled,

Donae 9:23

I've noticed that, I could do that. And that's one thing, too, I think when you have ADHD, and if you're wanting to work on nutrition, eating more regularly, you're going to pay your ADHD tax in throwing away food you didn't prepare or you're going to spend it on maybe some easier ways to get food in you.

Donae 9:39

There's nothing wrong with spending money on food that's already prepared, that makes your life easier, if you're going to be able to use it and nourish yourself versus "I should be preparing all this food" and then you still end up throwing it away. I think sometimes we just accept that this is going to make life easier and possible for me in terms of food.

Yese 9:57

Yes, absolutely. I mean now I have like pre cut veggies and fruits. One of my go tos is frozen veggies and fruits, to0, salad kits, rice that you can steam in the microwave, they come sometimes frozen and sometimes in little like cups. Granola bats are also a great one.

Donae 10:14

Yeah. So, basically try to find easy ways to get in, it sounds like both carbs and protein, if you can get those paired together is that kind of the the winning combo?

Yese 10:24

Carb and protein or carb and fat, because that will have staying power. So like, a slice of bread with some peanut butter or some almond butter. That will have staying power.

Yese 10:36

Another thing that we haven't talked about is full out prep meals. So there are meal prep companies across the nation and there are even local ones popping up where you can get like a chicken parmesan in a container that's already prepped, that you can freeze. They've become a lot more economical than when they first started. And so that's another option.

Donae 10:55

Yeah, that's a great idea. For a lot of the people I work with, food's, just the bugaboo, it's just so much thinking, planning, tough and anything that can make that easier is is a big help.

Yese 11:06


Donae 11:07

Those are great ideas for ways to tackle food and tackle the planning and all of that with food.

Yese 11:13

It's a practice. It's a practice, it's essentially, self care through eating.

Donae 11:19

I like that. Because I that's such a different mentality, then then the mentality that we all grew up with, which is like, "you have to tame this your hunger, your body, all of it". And something that comes from a much more nurturing place is awesome.

Yese 11:33

Yeah, I know, I agree with you. And we're taught that we can't trust ourselves and we're taught that we also can trust our hunger fullness, or even making food choices.

Donae 11:43

Exactly. I agree. 100%. And then, I do think ADHDers, too have another layer of not really trusting ourselves. And then in our culture, like you're saying, as well, there's this huge, "don't trust your hunger, look to somebody else, look to some rules to rein you in".

Yese 11:59

Exactly. And then we further lose trust in ourselves, whenever we get really hungry and we overeat or we binge eat. And then that's really disheartening because when you have ADHD, there's already things you're failing at and this is just one more thing,

Donae 12:14

Right. And there can be a lot of shame in that. And a lot of people don't make any connection between ADHD and eating and there's actually a ton of connection on why ADHD makes it tougher, makes eating,in general, tougher.

Donae 12:26

I don't think we talked about the emotional regulation piece and kind of food as comfort and food as a regulator. What are your thoughts about that?

Yese 12:35

We both know that emotional dysregulation happens in people with ADHD and so we may turn to food to comfort ourselves or calm ourselves, essentially to regulate our emotions.

Yese 12:48

It's okay to turn to food to regulate emotions so long as it's not the only way you regulate your emotions.

Donae 12:48

That is a hard thing for people to wrap their minds around.

Yese 12:54

Yeah, it's okay to eat for emotional reasons. So long as it's not the only way that you're regulating your emotions.

Donae 13:09

Right, right. And just recognizing there are times when you're going to eat, you're going to stress eat, right? You're going to emotionally eat.

Donae 13:16

I have a whole episode about sensory strategies, and sometimes we eat to calm ourselves from a sensory standpoint. That's a human experience and not uniquely us.

Yese 13:25

Yes. Emotional Eating is very common, very normal and it's okay. I mean, we may eat because we're celebrating, something because we're happy, because it brings us memories, you know, apple pies that our mother made us or,,, it's okay. It's not anything... It's very taboo in diet culture.

Donae 13:45

It's so taboo.

Yese 13:46

Yeah, it's definitely complicated. And when I say so long as emotional eating or eating isn't the only way you regulate your emotions, You want to make sure that you're taking care of your basic needs things like sleep, and rest and having enough activities outside your life that bring you joy.

Yese 14:07

That's very helpful, having the emotional support system whether that's a therapist, friends, family, your husband, outlets for your emotions that aren't food are also really important.

Yese 14:19

Right. So that is, I think that's hard for so many of us, putting ourselves on that priority list. But it does, it does make a big impact on our emotional health or emotional wellness.

Yese 14:30

Yeah. And it makes a huge difference in terms of when we do turn to food for emotion, for emotional comfort, or, like you said to calm you.

Yese 14:41

One other way we use food as a stimulation. So it's also not bad to eat for stimulation, but it becomes a problem when it's our only source of stimulation.

Yese 14:53

But there are other things that we can use for stimulation like fidgeting toys, I chew a lot of gum for stimulation. Drinking carbonated drinks or flavored tea. That's really helpful. And I know there's I haven't tried it, but chewable jewelry? And I think that's more common for kids.

Donae 15:10

Yeah. But you can... they actually have some that it's passable passable for adults. I mean, you know, may not be the highest fashion, but it's not going to be like a big neon gummy necklace. So yeah, that's a great point to make that stimulation, absolutely.

Donae 15:29

A lot of us turn to food when we're bored, or just need something to kind of kick our brain into gear because we do sometimes dip down and getting stimulation helps us come back up, be able to focus, be able to attend to what we're doing.

Yese 15:44

Yes. And it's very helpful to get that energy out. Another good source of stimulation is music. definitely nice to listen to music and, you know, help stimulate us...

Donae 15:56

Right. And what about movement in terms of intuitive eating? Is there an intuitive eating philosophy on movement? Is it kind of its own deal?

Yese 16:07

So, Intuitive Eating essentially says do movement that you find enjoyable because then you're more likely to do it. And with ADHD, not just people with ADHD, but movement helps our brain just work better.

Donae 16:20


Yese 16:21

It's so good for to get movement. Most of us don't get enough movement. And it can be a walk, it can be a formal workout, it can be just dancing in your living room to your favorite song, like all of it is movement.

Yese 16:33

It's really, really helpful and another source of stimulation. Also good for your health and your overall wellness. Right?

Donae 16:42

I totally agree. It's a great sensory input that regulates you, as well. But definitely, do the things that you love to do. Don't run if you don't like running. I don't like running... do the things that bring you joy.

Yese 16:52

Right. I got an injury from running.

Donae 16:55

Oh, I know. I know. I'm not built for that, I don't think. So, in terms of intuitive eating, what's the myths, the misinformation floating out there that you might want to alert us to and correct?

Yese 17:09

There are two common myths that I can think of right off. One is that you can use intuitive eating to lose weight.

Donae 17:16

Ooh, that' know what? I think it's been marketed that way.

Yese 17:20

Yeah. So it's not really intuitive eating, if your goal is to lose weight, right? And when you tangle the two, when you're focused on losing weight, you can't be fully immersed or committed to intuitive eating. It actually interferes. And so it's definitely not a "weight loss" diet. That's, one of the common myths.

Donae 17:41

And that can be scary for people, to let go of. Of saying like, "I'm going to try this out. And I might gain weight", just losing of control that I think can be really tough.

Yese 17:52

Yeah, no, it is,. And like we talked about earlier, we're taught that we can't trust ourselves. And so if we're gaining weight with intuitive eating, then we're doing it wrong. At least, that's how I felt when I first started.

Donae 18:05

Yeah, so what's your advice for people that maybe they're trying it and they are gaining weight, and they're discouraged, or they're struggling with it, any thoughts for them?

Yese 18:15

I would suggest exploring why it is that someone wants to lose weight, because being a certain weight doesn't really make one healthier. Even if people are at a higher weight, they can be very healthy. And so we live in a culture that there's a lot of stigma around weight, and we're fat phobic.

Yese 18:32

We're afraid of being fat. And so, just being aware of how we are influenced to think about our weight and other people's weight to because it's sometimes we're not just criticizing ourselves, we're criticizing other people.

Yese 18:46

I think it's also important to know that your body wants to be a set weight. So when you eat intuitively, you may gain weight, or you might not. It depends, if you were very restricted, a very restricted eater, eating very little or restricting/ cutting out foods, you may gain weight because you're fighting your body's natural inclination to eat.

Yese 19:09

If you are binge eating or overeating, because you can't stand to be on the diet, you may lose weight, because once you regulate that, then then you may lose weight or your your weight may be the same, but we have a natural setpoint weight.

Yese 19:25

When we mess with it, we may end up heavier than that natural setpoint weight or we may end up doing having to do really extreme things to maintain a lower weight.

Unknown Speaker 19:35

Right. And so do you find that people might bounce around for a while and then just kind of plateau at their setpoint or their...I don't know if set point is the right way to say it?

Yese 19:45

Yeah, it is.

Donae 19:45

Do people tend to go up and down and then settle out?

Yese 19:50

Yeah, it can happen. So it can happen many different ways. And it just depends on the person and also how committed they are to intuitive eating because sometimes... it happened to me too.

Yese 20:00

Like I'm gonna eat intuitively because I don't want to count calories or macros anymore and I'm going to do it. I started eating intuitively and I started gaining weight because I was one of those restricted eaters, right?

Yese 20:10

Managed every morsel of food and counted every calorie that went into my body. And I gained weight and I freaked out and I went right back to dieting.

Donae 20:19

That would be my experience, too. I had a lot of starts and stops with intuitive eating, it was not smooth sailing... at all.

Yese 20:25

Yeah, and so so I think it's to be expected. And with intuitive eating, it's hard not to think about like "falling off the wagon" or doing it wrong, but you really can't do it wrong because it's you're relying on your own body cues, your own knowledge about yourself, your own rational thoughts about yourself and not something external, which never worked, for the long term.

Donae 20:49

And for people, I can say, to everyone from me: for those who have had some bumps or those who think "I could never do this and be okay doing this", if I can do it, and have peace with food and peace with my body, anyone can. I had a very, very bumpy history with all of it and intuitive eating was the only thing just really felt right, but it didn't feel right right away.

Yese 21:16

Yeah, no, I agree. I dieted for 10 years. And Intuitive Eating has been... it just liberated my mind and my time. And then the less preoccupied you are with food, the less preoccupied you are with your weight and your body.

Yese 21:30

That helps because it's all related. Usually, you're trying to control your food because you're trying to control your body and control your weight. And so when you let go of a little bit of that control, you end up having more control, because when you're controlling things too much your brain responds by lashing back out, by cravings ...

Donae 21:53

So true. When I think of the most restricted, I was, like, I could think about a certain kind of food and just be consumed with wanting to eat it. And now that kind of food doesn't even sound appealing,sometimes, or a lot of the times. But the power of anything when it's moralized, when it's like, oh, "this is a great food or a bad..." it just becomes really out of scale with reality.

Yese 22:22

It does. Do you find that some of the foods that you ate you don't even like you just thought you wanted to eat them?

Donae 22:28

Absolutely. I was, I think I talked to you before we started, there was a time when I was super restricted. And those foods I mean, nothing could, I mean, I could just salivate just thinking about them.

Donae 22:39

Now they almost kind of turn my stomach, not all of them. But some of the things that were like, "Oh, that would be amazing". I don't even really like it that much.

Yese 22:46

Yeah, yeah. I mean, we're, we're amazing. Usually when there's some something called habituation, where the more you are exposed to something, the less desire, it's kind of like when you're a kid and your parents say don't do that, or don't look like don't look even here now as adults don't look, what do we do? We look!

Donae 23:06

So I've seen it with my my four kids, because, you know, you make lots of parenting mistakes, no matter what. But with four kids, you make a lot of them. The way I started out with my older kids was much more like, "Oh, you've got to eat healthy, healthy, eat healthy". By the time my son, my youngest came along, I was just tired and in a different place, a different place with how I approached food.

Donae 23:27

So he is probably the most intuitive, the biggest intuitive eater out of everyone just because of the way things happened in our family. And he'll say, "Oh, that's too sweet", or "Oh, I've had enough" and just watching him with food is really enlightening.

Donae 23:39

Because with my older ones, you know, they're kind of "Oh, should I shouldn't I eat this thing". Now, I never talked about body size, but I was obsessed about healthy/ not healthy. and that was not ultimately good for them. You know, if I had a redo on that, I would want to approach that differently. But we're all working through it together. I think you go back to that kid, if you ever had it, some of us as kids don't ever have that ease with food.

Yese 24:03

Yeah, so that's another myth is that you can't learn to eat intuitively, but we're all born with the ability to eat intuitively. Society, our upbringing, things were told ... we lose that trust in ourselves.

Donae 24:19

Definitely. And that's really encouraging to hear. Because I think that sometimes people think "Oh, man, how could I ever get back to that?" And it's possible, right?

Yese 24:27


Donae 24:28

This is so helpful. I think there's tons of information for people to use and soak in. I'm sure people will want to find you. Where can they find you?

Yese 24:37

So I am most active on Instagram @Yese.godoy

Donae 24:40

So they can check out your Instagram for just intuitive eating tips and things you have going on?

Yese 24:42

Yes, absolutely. I do have a coaching program that I am launching. And it's essentially teaching people how to eat intuitively with coaching support. So with my guidance just to help people get up Have that diet mentality because it's a whole lot easier to eat intuitively when you have support versus when you're trying to figure it out yourself.

Yese 25:07

You're less likely to be pulled off course and back into diets when you have, when you immerse yourself in other people who are not engaged in dieting and it's so hard because in our society, everything is about how we look and what we eat.

Donae 25:23

Yeah, I wish I had found something like that. It would have saved me some years, some years in figuring this out. And it is, getting that counter diet culture message, is hard. It's hard to find like minded people with it.

Yese 25:37

Sometimes you're the only one in your like, real life circle.

Donae 25:42

Right. Well, thank you so much for for joining us for educating us. I really enjoyed hearing what you had to say about intuitive eating and ADHD!

Yese 26:01

Thank you. Thank you so much for having me. This was great. I really enjoyed our chat.


You can find Yese on Instagram: @yesegodoy where she offers practical support for those looking for a fresh, ADHD friendly perspective on nutrition and intuitive eating!

Want more information aboutEmbrace Your Brain, my group coaching program? Week 8 of my group coaching program, is all about ADHD and Eating! Learn strategies for emotional regulation, sensory stimulation, cogntive behavioral therapy and more in thsi unique course/coaching combo. Learn more here:


bottom of page