Over the holidays, I re-learned a harsh truth about nutrition that can even bring down a fitness expert: “If it’s in your house, you’re going to eat it.”

Fortunately, this one gets me only around the holidays. The rest of the time, we keep chocolate and other “bad stuff” out of the house. But for many folks, this is a problem all year long.

For one reason (kids) or another (spouse), they have junk food in the house, tempting them every day. And, in fact, snacking on that junk food – often between the end of work and dinnertime – is what prevents many people from losing weight. It can even cause them to gain more weight.

So here is one solution: Get rid of the junk. Do you really, really need to have it there in the first place? Don’t be afraid to trash it. The trash is where junk food belongs.

If tossing the junk isn’t practical (i.e., if it isn’t yours to throw away), what else can you do? Create rituals for yourself that will help you avoid mindless snacking.

First, prepare raw, crunchy fruits and vegetables to snack on instead of junk food. You don’t have to quit cold turkey. But try to be a little bit better every day than you were the day before. Eventually, snacking on raw fruits and vegetables will become a habit. (This one tip should help you lose more than three pounds in a month.)

Second, brush your teeth. There’s nothing like freshly brushed teeth to keep you away from sugary snacks.

Third, keep the treats out of sight to keep them out of mind. Stash them at the back of the top cupboard where you can’t just grab and go.

These three suggestions will help you leave the holiday eating behind and get yourself back on track.

[Ed. Note: Get a head start on your 2009 weight-loss goals with fitness expert Craig Ballantyne’s Turbulence Training program. Learn how you can get fit with three 45-minute workouts a week right here.]

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