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Fitness Friday: Two keys to weight loss

fitness-friday-eat-this-not-that.gifBy Ron Kaspriske

The sobering reality of weight loss is that you can exercise twice a day, seven days a week and you'll still only have marginal success shedding pounds unless you change your eating habits. Even more sobering is that not all foods and drinks are created equal, so simply eating less of the junk/processed foods you love won't yield the same results as will changing your diet to healthier foods.

That's why, if you're ready to lose weight, you might want consider "subbing." This is not some fad or weight-loss shake. This is the simple craft of substituting foods and drinks you regularly consume with things that are healthier, contain fewer calories and, in some cases, keep the body satiated longer. Obviously, eating less calories will result in weight loss. But how do you overcome your desire for soda, pretzels, bagels, pasta, etc.? You do it by subbing.

Here's a simple example just about anyone can live with: You love hamburgers, right? Who doesn't? Well, instead of the bun, why not eat it wrapped in lettuce? Most hamburger buns are nothing but empty calories you don't need. Shameless plug: At In-N-Out Burger, they call this order "protein style." Try it.

That example is just the start of subs you can make in your normal diet that, once you get used to them, you'll wonder why you didn't make these moves sooner.

Below are a list of common foods and drinks--on the golf course and off--that I've found are great subs for crappy foods and drinks we all get hooked on. Some might seem obvious, and others too tough of a switch, but any subbing is better than none at all. Give it a try and see if, combined with a workout routine, you don't lose weight.

Food --->Sub
Bagels ---> Whole-grain bread (less than 100 calories per slice)
Pasta ---> Beans (cannellini are best)
Soda ---> Sparkling water (flavored or plain)
Ice cream  ---> Frozen fruit in low sugar, Greek yogurt
French fries ---> Baked sweet potato fries
Coffee w/ milk and sugar  ---> Black coffee or tea
Pretzels  ---> Salted edamame
Milk chocolate  ---> Dark chocolate (the darker the better)
Ground beef tacos ---> Fish tacos
Sour cream ---> Plain yogurt (Greek is best)
Potato chips ---> Any raw, crunchy vegetables with natural salt
Cereal ---> Oatmeal with fresh fruit
Iceberg lettuce ---> Spinach or mixed greens
Croutons ---> Sunflower or pumpkin seeds
Fried chicken ---> Panko-crusted baked chicken
Ribeye steak ---> Any steak labeled "round"
Vegetable oil ---> Sunflower, canola or olive oil
Salad dressings ---> Olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice
Any sweets  ---> Apple with natural peanut butter

Egg sandwich ---> Egg omelet (veggies)
Pretzels ---> Peanuts (any nuts)
Granola bars  ---> Low sugar, nutty nutrition bar
Sports drinks ---> Banana
Hot dog --->  Any non-processed meat sandwich (chicken/fish are best)
Beer  ---> Light beer
Diet soda  ---> Iced tea (limit sugar as much as possible)

Ron Kaspriske is the fitness editor for Golf Digest

(Photos by Getty Images)