A Holiday Reminder

more candy canes

Really? For the holidays, are we going to talk about a bummer like addiction? Yes, indeed, because at this time of year, addictions that might have lain dormant for a while have a tendency to bloom.

It’s a rough season for many people and for a lot of reasons. There is usually financial stress, and depending on what a person does for a living, it can be insanely busy at work. Even in a business that isn’t directly affected by customers doing holiday shopping, co-workers are taking time off and everyone else works extra hard to fill in.

The personal stress level can go through the roof, too. Spending the holidays alone might be traumatic, but spending them with other people can be pretty disturbing, too. Some relatives, it might be okay if you only saw them even less than once a year. You go to a party, and there’s the ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend you successfully managed to avoid up until now.

Parents experience an insane amount of stress because of their children’s expectations. If there is one special thing a child wanted, and it was too expensive or couldn’t be gotten for some other reason, the result is a sad and inadequate-feeling parent.

The holidays arrive accompanied by 99 potential sources of conflict and emotional upset. In other words, it’s the perfect time to “comfort eat,” especially with all kinds of sugary goodies coming at us from all every direction. It’s a season of goodwill, and one of the most direct and natural expressions of friendly human feeling is to give food. Even at the bank or the post office (depending, of course, on where you live), plates of cookies might be set out as a seasonal offering to customers.

Sean Croxton of Underground Wellness became a certified personal trainer and then found that the recommended regimens were not doing his clients any good. He got into something called Functional Diagnostic Nutrition and became an instructor. For The Bulletproof Executive, Croxton was interviewed by Armi Legge, who asked about sugar addiction. Here is an excerpt:

For some people, it’s a mental emotional thing, for other people it’s a candida issue… [I]t’s not just focusing on the candida, it is focusing on the overall environment within the gut, candida love sugar, they love it. It’s what they feed on and they are going to make you crave it all day long.

He has made a video, “The Dark Side Of Fat Loss,” that explains the role of leptin and how it negates the traditional wisdom behind weight-loss dieting, which is actually the creation of an artificial famine:

Cave people had, as we do too, certain systems to get us through periods of famine and that’s called leptin, and when you don’t take in enough calories, you start to live off your fat stores, your leptin starts to drop and so, that’s going to make your metabolism drop. If you’re in a famine, your body has no freaking reason at all to burn as many calories as it can… It is also going to increase your appetite to drive you and motivate you to go and eat some more food, in that way you can get your fat stores back, and so that way when the next famine comes, you’ll be able live through that.

Croxton’s main message is:

You don’t lose weight to get healthy, you get healthy to lose weight.

That means concentrating on all the the root causes of health challenges — diet, hormones, digestion, detoxification, and immunity.

Unfortunately for us, sugar fills every definition of “addictive.” It’s also the addiction people are most readily able to admit to, and whether that’s good or bad is a real question. A person might hesitate to say they’re addicted to cocaine or alcohol, but somehow when a person admits to being addicted to candy canes, it’s seen as being cute rather than ominous. The fact that we are able to lightly throw such observations into the conversation shows that we don’t take it seriously enough.

Here is an experiment to try over the holidays. Just monitor yourself for two things. First, if you find yourself about to say to someone else, “Have another drink” or “Have another candy cane,” don’t.

And any time you catch yourself rationalizing, “Oh why not have another drink or another candy cane? After all, it’s the holidays,” give yourself the gift of deciding not to.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Sean Croxton interview,” The Bulletproof Executive, 08/30/11
Image by hello-julie (Julie).

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OVERWEIGHT: What Kids Say explores the obesity problem from the often-overlooked perspective of children struggling with being overweight.

About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

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