Martial Arts for Life

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Unlocking The Weight Loss Puzzle: Part 2

Unlocking The Weight Loss Puzzle: Part Two

“Get Rid of Junk Food”

Welcome back to “Unlocking The Weight Loss Puzzle” a short series dedicated to providing tips for sensible adults who are looking to reach and maintain a healthy weight.

Part One of this series dealt with the concept of “eating for nourishment versus eating for pleasure.” In Part Two we will be focusing on avoiding the temptation of junk food by keeping it out of reach.

Listen, when you’re in the process of cleaning up your diet and losing weight, there are certain things that are going to be outside of your control. For example, a co-worker brings in doughnuts, a friend bakes you a cake for your birthday, etc. What you can control, however, is what you place in your shopping cart and your cupboards.

Trust me, if it’s in your home you will find a reason and a way to eat it. Think about the Halloween candy you purchase. If you’re like me, passing by the bowl of mini candy bars is temptation enough to eat one (or two!) and I don’t particularly like candy bars. The point is, if there’s a bag of Oreo cookies in your house or a gallon of ice cream in your freezer 99% of people WILL justify eating it at some point. You know the reasons:  you’ve had a rough day, you’ve been sticking to eating healthy and deserve a reward, having just one cookie won’t hurt, or maybe you’re hungry and there’s no better options. Whatever the reason is, you (and everybody else) will eat that junk food.

But it’s for the kids!

I know, I know, the cookies, ice cream and candy are for the kids! Here’s some food for thought (pardon the pun): A study published in the Health Education & Behavior journal looked at six middle schools over a two year period. In three of these schools the snacks offered did not change, but did so in the other three schools in Connecticut. Snacks that did not meet the nutrition standards set were removed and replaced with water, 100 percent fruit juice, baked chips, pretzels, granola bars and canned fruits.

The train of thought was that when these junk food items disappeared from the schools, the kids would naturally miss them and then go home and eat more. However, the result was actually the reverse — the study showed that when pop and fatty snacks were taken out of schools, the kids did not make up for them at home. Instead, they ate no worse at home and even better at school.

When healthier options are presented, everyone wins. Just as junk food is not good for kids, it is not good for adults. Removing junk food from your home benefits your whole family. Our bodies were not designed to live off unhealthy food. You do not need ANY junk food. Junk food makes you fat, destroys your health, and simply makes you feel bad. Trust me… you don’t need it.

What is “Junk Food”?

Just to clarify, for the purposes of this article I’m  talking about the cookies, sugary drinks, cakes, ice cream, frozen pizzas, and other highly processed foods that most people have in their homes. I’m not talking about a white flour free, dairy free, vegan, organic, “sticks & dirt” type diet. At this time, we’re speaking strictly about getting the empty calories that have virtually  no nutritional benefit out of your home.

Healthier Alternatives: Substitution is the plan

Guess what? It’s a bad idea to cut out unhealthy snacks and replace them by starving yourself. Our goal is to substitute healthier alternatives for chips, candy, cookies, etc. FYI, the less junk food in your diet, the less you will crave it!

Protein Bars: When you’re craving something sweet, a protein bar is good alternative. Most major grocery stores and even places like Target and Wal-Mart sell boxes of all-natural bars (Cliff bars, Zone Perfect, Pure Protein, etc.) These bars are always a better choice than cookies to satiate your appetite.

Fruits & Vegetables: You really can’t beat fruits and vegetables for a healthy snack. Nearly all major grocery chains sell containers of fresh cut fruit that’s perfect for a snack. In the past there has been some debate about the sugar content of some fruits, but trust me that no one has ever gotten fat from eating too much fruit. :0)

Flavored Seltzer or Water with Lemon: As a much healthier  (and zero calorie) alternative to sugary soft drinks, try flavored seltzer or water with lemon (or lime).

Yogurt with fruits & nuts on top: Ice cream can be replaced by non-frozen yogurt. It is highly likely your body is just craving something cold and sweet–so make it extra-refreshing with some generous chunks of real fruit.

These are just a few suggestions to get you started. For additional ideas you could Google a phrase like, “Junk Food Alternatives” or “Healthy Snacks.” As a a reminder, any kind of “Low Fat” or “Reduced Fat” cracker or cookie is still probably high in sugar and highly processed – skip these.

As always, Fit or fat? The choice is yours.

This article was written by Rich Brugger. He holds a Strength Conditioning and Weight Training Certification from ISMA and is Black Belt Master Instructor. He co-owns and operates Martial Arts for Life in New Providence, NJ with his wife Michelle (a certified personal fitness trainer, a certified nutritional consultant and Black Belt Instructor).

Martial Arts for Life

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January 1, 2012 Posted by | Martial Arts & Fitness | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment