Consumer Reports recently released results from a national survey about diet practices and beliefs among a representative national sample of adults. The survey reveals that most adults are either out of touch, fooling themselves, or giving themselves more credit than they deserve.

As a dietitian, I hear from women every day who complain that they can't lose weight—despite hardly eating anything and exercising a lot. But whenever I probe further, they then reveal that they eat what they want on the weekends or have been busy traveling so they haven't been working out either.

I believe that most people are trying to do the right things regarding diet and exercise but don't always accomplish what they want. What they report about their eating and exercise is often what they wish to do, not what they're actually doing.

This is part of the reason so many people are overweight or obese. The survey found that 6 in 10 adults are either overweight or obese, but just half of those surveyed said they weighed too much.

In addition, few respondents are taking the right steps to help control their body weight. Just over 20% weigh themselves regularly, and only 15% pay attention to the number of calories they eat.


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Rate Your Plate
Nine in 10 adults in the survey believe they have at least a somewhat healthy diet. Only 23% said they can "eat what they want." National surveys, however, tell us otherwise.

For example, several published national nutrition surveys show that just 1% to 3% of adults meet their fruit and veggie servings on any given day, and the average number of whole grains eaten daily is just over one-half of a serving—well under the three servings we should be eating each day.

At the same time, we eat way too many refined grains, double the recommended added sugar and sodium, and too much heart-stopping saturated fat.

Making Your Perception Reality
If you can relate to the individuals in the Consumer Reports survey, you're not alone. Think progress, not perfection when it comes to your diet and exercise. Making a few small, manageable changes can add up to a real difference in your health and can help turn a healthy perception into reality.