Cognitive Dissonance-psychological conflict resulting from incongruous beliefs and attitudes held simultaneously.
In other words, cognitive dissonance is basically holding two cognitions (ideas, theories, beliefs, values) that oppose each other. An example is believing that your friend is a good-hearted individual while honestly acknowledging that he is disrespectful to every person he comes into contact with. The opposition of such points leads to internal conflict. Then you must decide: should I ignore/create a reasonable excuse for my friend's actions, or should I change my stance on what the true quality of his character is?
We are faced with cognitive dissonance in many areas of our lives. Diet is no different. We want to believe that we are healthy people who eat healthy diets...but are we?
The good news is that you can get straight-forward numbers on your diet by keeping a food journal. No matter what your goals are, I recommend tracking your diet on www.fitday.com (in my experience, Fit Day is the best online food journal. If you don't like it, try www.nutritiondata.com or www.dailyburn.com...don't follow Daily Burn's suggested diets). Try four days on the food journal. Be completely honest with listing what you eat. You should weigh your food when possible in the beginning to get an idea of quantity.
Are you eating well enough to lose fat, maintain your ideal physique, or optimally manage your cardiovascular risk factors? You may be surprised by what you find in keeping a food journal (too many carbs?), but that surprise will lead to positive changes. Let me know how it goes.