Cut these 5 to cut your waist

How to get in... or stay in those slim fit pants.

Why is this here?  Well, looking your best is part finding clothes that fit, but one of the great advantages, is being truly fit.  Living a healthy lifestyle plus dressing well is the ultimate combination. More about the author at the end of the post.

In our modern age, convenience has almost become a necessity for many of us.  Between school, work, families, pets, maintaining a decent standard of living, and play, convenient sustenance has become the mainstay of many a diet.  But, lots of these foods are processed, and just not good for our bodies. Below are five foods that should be cut from the healthy guy’s daily food lineup.

1. Soda

Yes, even diet soda. Not only does soda have no nutritional value, it makes you crave those other foods that have no nutritional value (ie. Candy, pretzels, etc). That’s a lot of crap that your body has no idea how to process. This, in turn leads to an increased chance of obesity and diabetes. And according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, drinking a can of soda a day can increase a man’s risk of getting prostate cancer by 40%! Studies have shown that by cutting out soda alone, unwanted pounds will come off even without changing your diet or exercise regimen.

Soda - Cutting down on your timeSoda – Cutting down on your time unless you cut it out.

Make The Switch to healthier beverages. If you like the carbonation, try drinking sparkling mineral water. If you like the caffeine, switch to black coffee. If you like the sweetness, try adding a dash of 100% juice to your water. If you like the habit, try replacing it with something else. Instead of grabbing that XL Diet Coke from McDonald’s on your way to work, grab a cup of black coffee or unsweetened iced tea. Or fill your Nalgene bottle with cut fruit and herbs to cart around with you all day. If you’re worried about what other dudes will think about your rosemary and cucumber water, just use an aluminum bottle.

2. Cereal Bars

The highly advertised quick breakfast and snack bars could be doing damage to your waistline. They are super high in sugar and most contain a lot of calories. And since they’re usually small you eat more than one, and soon your body is filled with artificial sugar and little to no protein. Most likely you’ll be hungry again an hour later.

Make The Switch to protein bars. Although processed as well, many companies are making low sugar, low carbohydrate, high fiber, high protein bars which will keep you full for hours. Keeping protein bars on hand will prevent you from reaching that state of starvation where you shovel anything and everything into your mouth. A few of my personal favorites are Quest, Think Thin, Pure Protein, and Clif.

3. Mayonnaise

You know, that white, gloopy, creamy stuff that makes food taste delicious. For the mayonnaise lovers, this thick creamy condiment pairs with a lot of food. But keep in mind that mayonnaise is high in calories for the serving size and contains a high amount of fat and oils. As with a lot of things in life, less is more fellas.

Make The Switch to Greek yogurt. Especially when cooking. Use Greek yogurt in your salad dressings, potato fixings, and in any other recipe that calls for mayonnaise. You’ll cut down the calories by making this easy switch. And bonus; It’s an easy way to help meet your protein requirements. If you can’t muster up the strength to clear your fridge, make sure that you are buying mayonnaise that is made with canola or olive oil. All natural is always best, so a little bit of the full fat version is better than a bunch of the fat free (laden with fillers, preservatives and fake sugars).

Voodoo doughnutsOut you delicious, delicious impostor!  photo credit: ChefMattRock

 4. White Foods That Are Grain Impostors

White, bleached impostors to be more specific. They are stripped down versions of their whole grain counterparts. Examples of these include white pasta, white bread (yes, even sourdough ..sigh), pizza crusts, white rice, cakes, cookies, the list goes on.

Make The Switch to brown rice, whole wheat flour, quinoa, barley, and oats. Buy food that is made with these ingredients. WebMD states that making the switch from refined grains to whole grains will reduce your risk of total mortality by 15%. I do what I can to not die, how about you? Whole grains have a lower glycemic index (think less sugar) and it’s easier for most of us to process them. They also have more fiber, which many of us lack in our diets. Still not convinced? Switching to whole grains can help reduce the risk of diabetes, keep your blood sugar steady, reduce the risk of heart disease, lower your blood pressure, reduce the risk of cancer and can help control your weight.

5. Processed Foods

Can that be broader? Processed = Packaged (in most cases). Reality is that processed foods are hurting our waistlines. Packaged foods usually have too much sodium and  bad fat, and we don’t absorb as many vitamins and minerals from them. They have synthetic additives to keep them from spoiling. Have you ever looked at the ingredients on a package and had trouble pronouncing it? What is added flavoring? And why does it need added flavor? Preserved foods have had their advantages though. How did we ever survive the winter before packaged foods? And we can all admit that the convenience of having prepared food stored away for months is invaluable. BUT…

Zingers ingredientsIt has “B” vitamins, it must be healthy.  photo credit: Daniel Oines

Make The Switch to fresh foods. We are fortunate to live in a country where we can go to the grocery store whenever and find fresh produce and other goods. Even gas stations have bananas and apples. The aim here is to think about eating fresh whenever possible. Girl Scout Cookies or your mom’s homemade chocolate chip cookies? Frozen meals or grilled chicken, rice and broccoli? Your body knows how to process the latter of both questions better.

Bottom line: Unless you are on a super strict diet, chances are that you are going to eat processed foods from time to time. Clean up your diet by reading the ingredients on the back of the package and pick the all-natural, organic foods with ingredients that you can pronounce. Try to make food from scratch whenever possible, and eat fresh produce daily!

Contributor Kelly Sturdy is a Certified Personal Trainer and Specialist in Fitness Nutrition. While not training her clients or competing in Bikini Class body building competitions, Kelly can be found in her organic garden, possibly talking to a chicken or two.