Alison Sweeney Answers Your Burning Health Questions

05/29/2013 at 12:10 PM EDT

Alison Sweeney Answers Questions About Diet and Exercise
Alison Sweeney
Mitchell Haaseth/NBC
I would love to eat healthier on a budget, but with myself, my husband, and four boys, it's beyond tough. Do you have any suggestions on how to eat healthier for weight loss – without breaking the bank? –Kenisha
Here's the thing: I totally understand what you're saying, but inexpensive food also means you have to eat a lot more of it to fill up. So even though a loaf of whole wheat bread is more expensive, one piece is much more satisfying and nutritious than its all-white counterpart. Does that make sense? Potatoes even get a good rap in this instance – they're a way better, inexpensive option than, say, potato chips or French fries. Also, save money on drinks; sodas aren't a great way to spend money, and are nothing but sugar. Plus, drinking your calories is never a good idea.

It seems like running is the choice exercise to slim down, but so many people, including myself, abhor it! Is there any other cardio that is as effective as running to help shed the pounds? –Kelly
If you hate running then it's not going to help you lose weight because you're not going to do it. The trick for me was to find cardio that I enjoy – a spin class where they play loud music to distract you, or hiking outside, or a class like kick boxing or something that might challenge you physically. There are a ton of options out there! Find one that works and keeps you coming back.

I literally eat more candy than anyone I know, and going on a diet that doesn't allow for at least a little candy every day is simply not realistic. Any words of advice for sugar addicts like myself? –Guest
When I was pregnant my doctor recommended that when my sweet tooth cravings acted up, that I should eat fruit. I know it's not what your brain thinks you're craving, but give it a shot. Eating a whole cantaloupe or blueberries is a way better alternative than candy. And, even if it satisfies you a little, and you have one piece of candy instead of seven, well, that's something, isn't it?

I'm a 33-year-old mom of three that at one point lost 80 pounds. Unfortunately, I have put on 10 due to poor food choices and lack of exercise. I've gotten the healthy eating back but as for the exercising, it's due to the little time I have. I work a full-time job and go to school. I'm lucky to fit in six or seven hours of sleep – and I've read that sleep is one of the most important factors in weight loss and weight maintenance. I really want to get back to exercising but I don't know where to fit it in. –Jeg3494
I'm the same way. If I get 6 hours of sleep, I'm grateful. It's a tough call, because sleep is important. I think you're right – maybe once Monday to Thursday try to get a workout in, and then Friday, Saturday and Sunday, really take advantage of your time off to work out. Also since you do work so much, really keeping focused on your nutrition will help a lot. Spend time cooking your meals at home and packing them so that you can make sure to have healthy choices available to you all day.

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