4 Things You Need to Know to Tackle Holiday Feasts

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Weight loss can be especially challenging during the holidays. Dieters don’t distress! You can hold onto your weight loss and your mental health through the holiday season. All you need are these four tips to long-term weight loss success.

The weight loss myth

Most people still believe the old weight loss myth of calories in vs. calories out. We have been told for years that if we simply cut back on the amount of calories we eat, that our bodies will naturally burn off fat in response to the deficit. So if we just eat fewer calories we will burn fat, right? Wrong.

A calorie is simply a unit of energy. How many calories we consume and how many calories we burn as energy does matter when it comes to weight loss, but it isn’t the only piece of the puzzle.

The reality of how weight loss works couldn’t be further from a simple calorie in/calorie out equation. Successful weight loss is a complex process that involves much more than just calories to work properly. Did you know hormones are one of the biggest players in the weight loss game?

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1. Insulin

Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas in response to eating sugary foods and beverages. It is used to transport sugar within the bloodstream and deliver it to cells to be burned for energy, or stored as fat. Over time, people who are overweight may develop what is known as insulin resistance, where the body produces chronically high levels of insulin – a precursor to unwanted weight gain, diabetes and other health problems.

How to combat it: Foods high in sugar and carbohydrates trigger the release of insulin into the bloodstream. In order to keep blood sugar levels steady and avoid insulin overproduction, eat more protein-rich foods during the holidays. Protein is a nutrient found in meat and dairy products, whole grains as well as some vegetablesIt slows the metabolism of sugar in the body, reducing insulin production and thus fat storage.

2. Cortisol

This hormone is produced in response to stress. It is also directly linked to increased appetite, and fat storage in the midsection. High cortisol levels are associated with prolonged periods of stress, which may explain why so many people today struggle to lose stubborn belly fat.

How to combat it: The holidays can be a stressful time. There are meals to prepare, family members to entertain and presents to purchase – but that doesn’t mean that stress has to show up around your midsection. Aim to get enough sleep, especially around the holidays to allow your body enough time to relax, rest and recover. Studies show that during sleep the body produces other hormones that combat the effects of too much cortisol.



This is a hormone naturally produced in the body by the adrenal glands. If the body is low in DHEA hormone, it can adversely influence our ability to lose fat, and gain muscle mass. DHEA also helps to counteract the effects of cortisol.

How to combat it: Foods that contain natural precursors to the hormone DHEA include yams, soybeans, flax seeds, salmon and olive oil.Add heaps of these foods to your plate this holiday season, and don’t worry about the calories.

4. Human growth hormone (HGH)

This hormone is naturally made by cells in the body. It plays a major role in weight loss. As a regenerative hormone, HGH is produced in larger amounts during sleep and after exercise. Essential to muscle growth, weight loss and soft tissue repair, greater HGH hormones have been linked to healthy body composition while low levels of this vital hormone are associated with inflammation.

How to combat it: Keep the bedroom dark. Melatonin is a hormone released in the body in response to complete darkness. When this hormone is produced, HGH levels also elevate. Make sure to power off electronic devices at bedtime, turn off the TV and dim any clocks so you can rest in the dark.

Enjoying the holidays: Putting your mental health first

There is no need to fear the scale this season. The calories in vs. calories out myth has been debunked. So go ahead and enjoy the time with your loved ones without worrying about what shows up on the scale.

The most important thing to do in order to stay on track with a successful weight loss is to treat yourself with great self-care. Slashing stress levels, getting enough restful sleep and eating nutrient-dense can make a big difference in reaching your goals, and maintaining weight loss over the long haul.

Calories are just a number. How many pounds you weigh is just a number. But great holiday memories can last a lifetime! So, stop thinking about weight loss and start thinking about your good health. It’s a faster, more effective way to successful weight loss every time.

Tackling holiday challenges and staying on track

Have you ever wondered why it is so hard to diet during the holidays? Studies have confirmed that on average people consume more calories when they eat with other people. This people-pleasing behavior may help others to feel more comfortable at holiday parties, but eating socially could also add up to thousands of unwanted calories.

You don’t have to turn down delectable holiday goodies made with love this year. Enjoy them. Simply remember this one rule: not all calories are created equal.

While your body needs energy for fuel, one calorie of a chocolate brownie is not the same as one calorie of a grass-fed steak. Focus on only eating good-for-you foods, and the rest will fall into place after all of the commotion subsides. Happy Holidays!


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One of the primary reasons that mental disorders and substance abuse so often go hand-in-hand is that drugs and alcohol can provide an escape from the pressures of mental health problems. Self-medicating is surprisingly common: you’re not alone.

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