At presentations, I ask the group to raise their hands for “How many people think they eat well?, and “How many people are very active during the course of their day?” I generally get a lot of hands for the eating and a few for activity. I tell them that we tend to overestimate on both counts. Recently one woman said, “You mean we’re legends in our own minds?” An amusing way of saying it, but it’s true. We want to believe we are doing the most for ourselves, so we are convinced it is so.
There was a study that was published fairly recently in a psychology journal. When a fast food chain placed healthier choices on the menu, people that considered themselves health-conscious still ordered the burgers and fries. Having the healthy food items on the menu, created a perception that the restaurant was now healthier, and the perception of health seemed to be enough.
In my own experience with clients, I find the same thing. A client will tell me they eat a salad for lunch everyday. A salad is a great choice when it’s an assortment of veggies, but then add cheese, processed meats, bacon bits, croutons, and pour dressing over the top, and there could be 500 calories or more of food that doesn’t have much nutritional value. Even with tuna salad or egg salad, the mayonnaise used to prepare it can add a staggering amount of calories at 100 calories per tablespoon.
Start by writing down what you eat. My clients give me 3 days worth, and that’s enough to get an idea. Working with someone that can really guide you is the best, but if that’s not possible, review your daily food list and look for a variety of food groups at each meal, more whole foods in their natural state than processed foods (a good ratio is 80% natural state foods to 20% processed), and take note of skipped meals. There are also online programs or phone apps that can help guide better food choices by calculating nutritional values of foods as you log them in, so you can see if you are getting a good balance every day. There are many programs, but they are not all accurate. I’ve found myfitnesspal.com to be very accurate, and it counts full nutritional value as well as calories.
Log activity level as well; how often you stand vs. sit, and amount of walking done (a pedometer will help calculate steps). Next week we’ll talk about how to get more activity into your day easily.
If you have any questions, connect with me, and I’ll be happy to help!
Health and happiness,