THE BLOG
08/17/2013 08:05 am ET Updated Oct 17, 2013

Keeping the Junk Out of Your Life

While you may hate to admit it, diet and nutrition play major roles in staying slim. When beginning an exercise regimen or weight-maintenance program, you might have the motivation to make it to the gym once or twice a day in an effort to keep the extra pounds away, but will fall short when it comes to having the discipline to control the food that you put on your plate. Which will result in... you guessed it, weight gain. On average, you can burn about 400 calories an hour doing an aerobic workout. However, you can also eat 400 calories in five minutes. Moral of the story, you cannot out-train a bad diet.

Unless you have nothing better to do than be in the gym the majority of the day, then you will not be able to get the body of your dreams while eating junk.

Every little thing you ingest has an immediate effect on your body. Think about it! When you are sick, you take a small little pill that has a huge effect on your body and healing it to make you feel better. So how can eating half a pizza and a pint of ice cream not have some effect on your body? While the effects externally may not be present immediately, the internal effects of what we consume are immediate.

You get a spike in your blood sugar, an increase in carbohydrates and an excess fat rush into your system. Your body has no choice but to try and process the flood of calories, and when given too much of "the bad stuff," or even healthy foods in one sitting, you will mess with your metabolism and some of those excess calories will be stored as fat until they are needed for energy. No, one bad meal won't ruin your figure, but when this overeating becomes habit, you will have something to be worried about.

Healthier Low-Calorie Choices

A quick solution to this problem is to keep the junk away! Most people tend to snack on items when getting home from a long day after having been on track with healthy and well-balanced meals. In most cases, it is not because they are hungry, but because they are mindlessly or emotionally eating. For others who work in offices, the mindless eating can become routine when snacking on chips or mixed nuts all day. Those calories begin to add up.

When you think of typical junk food, they all have one thing in common, they are calorie dense! Meaning a small serving size will pack a huge caloric punch. To combat the calories, keep healthy snacks options with you on the go, to work or at home. Keeping healthy snacks on hand will give you a better option to choose from rather than running to the vending machine or the office junk drawer when the hunger strikes.

I personally only like to have "treats" or indulgences out of the house. By keeping the snacks out of your home, it will not be laying around tempting you to eat it. It is as simple as that! Keeping healthier options at hand will give you no other option than to choose wisely. The true test to know if you are hungry is if eating ANYTHING will satisfy your hunger, such as plain celery or boiled chicken. If munching on celery sounds horrible to you, then you were probably just going to eat out of boredom.

So next time you "think" you are hungry, grab a bag of carrots rather than the bag of chips. You may soon begin to realize that you were probably just "munching to munch" not to fuel your body. Once you begin to eliminate the over processed junk in your house, it will slowly become less of a habit and routine in your diet. A clean diet will make you look better and feel better on the road to a happier and healthier life. Just remember, everything in moderation.

Healthy Snack Alternatives

  • 1 cup fresh fruit
  • 2 cups fresh vegetables
  • fruit cup in 100-percent fruit juice
  • low-carb wrap
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs
  • 1 scoop of protein powder
  • small handful of unsalted mixed nuts
  • 1/3 cup salsa or guacamole with one serving of chips or pita
  • 1 serving plain whole-wheat crackers
  • low-fat cottage cheese
  • 1 cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt

For more by Angeles Burke, click here.

For more on diet and nutrition, click here.