Changing the "Dieting" Mindset

 For those that don't know about House of Cards, you're truly missing out.

For those that don't know about House of Cards, you're truly missing out.

To start things off, I have to take a second and talk about one of my favorite shows: House of Cards.  

For those that watch, you're probably aware that the second season came out on Friday (a Valentine's Day miracle!), and Lindsay and I have been trying to practice some self-restraint by only watching the first 3 episodes over this past weekend.

I won't give any spoilers, but ZOMG, I can't believe what happened in that first episode!  It's like the writers decided, "we're just going to show that we're one of the most bad ass shows that's ever been created and do something insane."  Well, it worked.

Anyway, since we're closing the book on February, it's about that time when most people have abandoned their New Years resolutions - it's sad, but true.  Since many resolutions tend to involve body fat, weight, food, etc., I figured it was time to post a few nutritional thoughts that have been dancing around my head for some time.

For the most part (sweeping generalization ahead), I've found that we really all secretly know what we should be eating.  More fruits and vegetables, lean proteins....and more fruits and vegetables.  Processed garbage that's been made at a factory, baked goods, and really fatty foods are universally known to be the staples of an unhealthy diet.  The problem then isn't one of knowledge....it's the follow through.

What many of us do, and myself included, is overemphasize the healthier foods we eat, while easily forgetting the more unhealthy foods in our diets.  Thinking about what it really means to stick to any type of food plan, we should really be hitting the goal with our meals about 90% of the time.  So, after doing a bit of math, it's easy to see where many can fall short.

If someone eats 3 meals and 2 snacks a day, that's 5 times we're eating each day.  If you multiply that by 7 days, that's 35 times we're eating each week.  Now, if we wanted to stick to our 90% rule, that means 31 of the 35 need to be full of whole, unprocessed foods as well as reasonable portion sizes.  Suddenly it makes sense how one meal a day (ahem, dinner) can really wreak havoc on your efforts. 

So, how does one stay sane when you're only allowed 4 "cheat" meals each week?  By changing your thoughts about nutrition.

When it comes time to eat, or plan meals and snacks for the week, the question shouldn't be "what can I get away with eating?"  It's "what food is going to help me live longer, as well as achieve my goals?"

When framed this way, many nutritional choices can be cleared up as you start to look at foods as more than they appear.  Take, for instance, my typical lunch:

 Pictured: spinach, arugula, broccoli, tomatoes, parsley, and carrots in a huge mixing bowl Not pictured: my post-lunch salad coma

Pictured: spinach, arugula, broccoli, tomatoes, parsley, and carrots in a huge mixing bowl
Not pictured: my post-lunch salad coma

While you may see "look what you're not eating," I'm thinking, "Look at all the wonderful foods that can help keep me healthy."  The vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and who knows what else, are not only helping me in my pursuit to deadlift a quarter ton of weight....but hopefully they're helping me live a healthy life.