How to Build a Better Meal Using Math
I'm one of those weirdos who loves math, numbers, and excel. If you don't believe me, ask to see my ridiculous personal finances spreadsheet, it's pretty next level nerd (I swear I'm fun at parties...).
But you know why I love numbers? They don't lie. There is always a right and wrong answer, and it's not arbitrary or subject to any creative license. This is actually why I pursued finance in college, I liked the black and white nature of the numbers.
When I first dove into the health and fitness world, I was excited about new numbers and technical jargon. I loved learning about the digestion system, how to get stronger using percentages of 1 rep max, and what an optimal macro breakdown might look like.
But what surprised me was how much the emotional factor played a role in healthy eating. For instance, I know I should eat more vegetables with lunch, but I'm stressed and don't feel like it. Or it makes sense logically that ice-cream isn't a healthy dinner, but I'm craving it and it's ready to eat now.
Simply knowing information isn't enough in the health and fitness arena. Unlike in math or finance, we often know the "right" answer, but routinely ignore it. (can you imagine if we could treat taxes the same way?! Eh, I see that I owe money, but I'm just not in the mood to pay it, so I'm just not going to...)
In the health and fitness space, the only factor that matters is what you are able to implement on a regular basis. And relying on motivation alone isn't enough (ask anyone who has tried dieting), so use math instead to help you build better meals more consistently (and don't worry, it's more like 1st grade math vs. calculus).
"Numbers are great because they are not vulnerable to emotional whims or strong cravings."
The formula is very simple and consists of the same four factors:
Protein + Carbs + Veggie + Fat = Meal.
The amounts you add for each factor will differ slightly depending on what meal it is, what works best for your body, and what your individual goals are.
But if you use this formula when going into the cafeteria at work for instance, it will be much easier to skip the pizza line for the 3rd day in a row, and opt for something that better meets this meal formula criteria. Numbers don't lie, let them help you eat better!
Here is an example of how this looks on a plate, as well as easy portion control guides for each factor.
Following this formula can be especially helpful when you are having a tough day at work, are super tired and don't feel like making good choices, or are craving a lot of unhealthy foods.
Remember, healthy eating isn't about perfection, it's about consistency, and math won't let you down!