Diets are an ever-popular topic, yet as so many know, it’s easier to think about losing weight than it is to actually do it. There’s a reason for that. A healthy appetite is crucial to life. For most people, it’s hard to imagine what life would be like without that incessant drive to forage for tasty morsels. Yet, without hormones to spark that drive, we might forget to eat. (Believe it or not!)

Consider these eight suggestions on how to shed those pounds before the holidays. They are courtesy of The Finer Touch, an aesthetic treatment center in the Dallas area.

1. What to do if you pack on the pounds before the gala event? Good nutrition is always important, particularly for women in their childbearing years. Yet, sometimes one wants to have a cake and eat it, too.  While hormones sometimes trigger hard-to-control urges, they can also assist in weight loss. Human chorionic gonadotropin is a female hormone produced by the body during pregnancy, and it changes the way the body both stores and uses fat. That’s critically important for a developing fetus. Yet, when ingested by a woman who is not pregnant, the hormone sends chemical signals that instruct the body to burn stored fat first, while leaving muscle tissue intact. This method is not recommended over the long term, but it can provide an immediate boost to morale, which can help a dieter stay motivated.

2. Have a specific goal in mind. Setting goals have spurred people on to incredible accomplishments, but that usually happens when people write down their goals and review them multiple times. Set specific goals and track the progress.

3. Buy an accurate set of scales. Portion control is crucial. No one wants to carry a food scale around, yet by consistently using a scale at home or work, most dieters will get a better feel for portion size over time.

4. Self control IS possible. Recent research shows the key to self-discipline is motivation and that motivation is not a limited resource as earlier believed by some researchers. In fact, a new study has debunked that notion. People have more self-control that was once thought. The important lesson: Practice it.

5. Use a mobile app to chart your weekly progress. Mobile apps for phones and tablets offer a great way to keep track of calories and progress made towards a goal. Get into the habit of entering caloric data and serving sizes for every meal and snack.  Mobile devices make it easy to track progress over time.

6. Lose pounds together. Making a pact with a partner to lose a set number of pounds provides a powerful motivating factor to a weight-loss plan. A buddy system can be a crucial means to achieving a successful weight loss.

7. Watch the calories from alcohol. A beer has almost 150 calories, and a glass of white wine has 120 calories. As with food, and nonalcoholic beverages, watch the serving size. If in doubt, ask the server for the information.

8. Increase daily exercise.  The average American spends an exorbitant amount of time sitting.  Exercise is more effective than merely cutting back on calories, because one session of exercise raises the metabolism for several hours.