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Conversation: You eat what?!

by (5324) Updated May 03, 2012 at 8:14 PM Created May 03, 2012 at 7:06 AM

I, like most of you, have grown up with food being a big part of my life; it’s largely to blame for the fact that I had grown at all. I was raised on the staple foods…Dairy of all sorts such as Mac n Cheese, Carnation soaked Count Chocula and of course everyone’s favorite…Kraft singles…lots of pastries, for the longest time I thought the Pillsbury dough boy was a real boy but he just needed some sun and a cure for albinism maybe? I was spoiled on top shelf meats…bologna, KAM, mock chicken…I’ll never forget the savory and aristocratic taste of Prem which was quickly washed down with some grape drink…thank you Dave Chapelle for reminding me of those wholesome ingredients; water, sugar and of course…purple.

This is a very quick glimpse into how I grew up, and what has shaped me to learn the best way I can take care of myself…now when I talk to my friends or family, and food always comes up at some point, how do I, how do YOU reason with people whom after eating like I have and are obese will look you dead in the eye and say… “You eat what?!”

I’m having a hard time talking about anything food related even if it has nothing to do with me, friends who count calories and have a nervous breakdown that they’ve had to many calories or make the claim that losing 1-2 pounds a week is best for optimal health and gives the greatest chance of keeping the weight off…the only way I could gain the weight BACK would be to eat SAD! shaking head How do you talk to friends and family about Paleo…or do you even bother...do you change the subject if your Spidey sense goes off and you feel as though a conversation might change direction and you’d have to spend 30 minutes explaining your “new age” way of eating…

HELP! I need to be retrained in the social graces Foodology. Truth

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11 Replies

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320 · May 03, 2012 at 10:20 AM

I understand. My typical conversation looks like this:

Them: Wow, you look great, what are you doing? Me: No sugar, grains, or processed food. Them: Whoa. What do you eat? Me: Everything but sugar, grains, and processed food. Them: Oh, I could never do that. Me: Then don't.

People can be irrational about food and their defense of ways of eating that are making them sick. It's all about choices. The choices I made are freely available to them, but I'm not going to defend what I'm doing or beg them to come along.

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1658 · May 03, 2012 at 8:54 AM

At the risk of getting overly political, I generally start with: "Hey, it works for me, and my doctor is baffled that my blood tests look so good, why the challenge?"

If that doesn't stop it, I move to "destroy your faith" mode. The FDA is a branch of the federal government, who has done such lovely things as:

  • Tested LSD on foreign citizens covertly.
  • Launched the Bay of Pigs.
  • Smuggled weapons into Mexico in an effort to under mine citizen's rights (Google Fast and Furious).
  • Formed the TSA.
  • Passed laws that make citizens criminally liable for foreign nations laws (Google Gibson Lacey Act)
  • (I'm sure you can find a few dozen others)

And ask why, given that track record, I should take the FDA at face-value.

When that doesn't work, simply stating: "Hey, it's working for me. Try, or not, as you will. But why are you so intolerant of a program that's obviously helping me get healthy?" if they're truly curious, buy them a copy of Gary Taubes' excellent "Good Calories, Bad Calories" and help them on the way.

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1957 · May 03, 2012 at 11:40 AM

Coworker: If I had a diet that tasted good, and I could eat as much as I feel like I'd be set.

Me: That is how I eat.

Coworker: Yeah, but I love bread.

Me: (walking away) (bang head against wall)

This coworker asks me what I had for dinner every day, and usually thinks it sounds great. (liver + onions is the big exception)

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21258 · May 03, 2012 at 8:55 AM

I don't bother. At cookouts they see me eating the meat without bread and salad, and they assume it's adkins...

Then I just simply say "not quite" and don't press it.

Considering the last decade of my life was spent as a strongman, I've always focused more on getting in protein - typically at family gatherings I would eat my first plate of food comprised completely of meat and deviled eggs (a staple with my family). If I had room for anything else, it was then half-meat and some veggies and potatoes.

I live in a family that has a history or either obesity, or food neurotics, so someone skipping a roll or passing on dessert at thanksgiving isn't going to flip the freakout switch. Bringing a covered dish that includes offal, however, is a whole 'nother story...

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1245 · May 03, 2012 at 6:28 PM

I've had two "favorite" weird reactions:

"I've heard that works, but it's not sustainable" from my sister, who just threw a family dinner composed of a pasta dish and cake - we brought meatballs, in order to have something to eat.

"Oh, that's what I'm doing, too!" followed by a list of commercial low-carb frankenfood snacks the other person was using on her "diet".

All you can do is smile and nod at that point. These days, I just don't talk about it much.

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401 · May 03, 2012 at 10:37 AM

I hate to sound big-headed, but I usually just offer myself up as a catalyst. I generally look pretty damn healthy. To people who have known me long enough, that's enough. They've known me at different points in my life & can visually understand that whatever it is I'm doing - it's working.

For newcomers, you've got to be a little pushier. They'll always bandy with you regarding 'your genes' etc. To them I offer up whoever my latest convert in training is :P

I know that's a little ridiculous, but hey, if all the reasoning in the world doesn't do it, and the person just puts obstacles in the way, nothing enlightens a person faster than a 5' 11", 300lbs+ big man, who is in the process of changing his life for the better via paleo & exercise and has the vitals and positive demeanour to sell it. Good luck finding a big man/woman.

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3608 · May 03, 2012 at 8:06 PM

Give the 100-ish word run-down of what you pretty much do.

If they tease you, and keep showing signs of disbelief, next time, just do a cool head-nod and flex. Kissing your bicep is optional.

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135 · May 03, 2012 at 10:37 AM

i simply say if I can do it anyone can..and when they still freak out if its someone close to me I ask if they remember all the crap I used to eat, and repeat if I can do it anyone can. depending on the reaction I will tell more.

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14507 · May 03, 2012 at 8:14 PM

Personally i don't usually bring it up myself, and those close to me often end up asking what my diet is like. Most are curious and want to learn more, and it seems to inspire them to try to eat at least somewhat better. I've converted a couple ex girlfriends :)

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4247 · May 03, 2012 at 1:25 PM

The key for me is to keep it personal and nonjudgmental. I emphasize that it works for ME, that it makes ME feel awesome, that I notice [xyz health improvement]. That way, they don't get defensive because it doesn't feel like I'm trying to proselytize or push anything on them; I'm just telling them about something I do. I don't attack the other person's diet, I don't start off all "see that Oreo you're holding? Lemme tell you how that's toxic..." because attacking someone else's diet is a fast track to a no-win argument where you both leave pissed.

On the other hand, if they're being obnoxious and pushy, just change the subject: "No, gluten just messes up my whole system. Hey, I've been meaning to see [movie]; have you seen it yet?" It's tempting to get righteously defensive, but if they're attacking you like that, they aren't going to listen and you'll just get worked up for nothing.

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