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Thoughts on "coming out"

by (1612)
Updated October 16, 2014 at 3:31 AM
Created March 07, 2012 at 3:57 PM

So, I have been eating pretty good paleo for about 2 months. I find doing it at work/home very easy. Part of it is that I'm a simple eater, if something is in front of me, I eat it. It makes setting up a menu pretty easy. My problem is that I try really hard not to draw excess attention to myself so I haven't really discussed my dietary changes with anyone. I am surrounded by run of the mill suburbanites dying in their own lives, so my choices seem odd. I just sort of avoid direct discussion. I've also lost a bit of weight (By normal standards, I'm in pretty good shape and already reasonably thin.) So, people have noticed that I'm "too thin" and ask if I'm eating enough. Truth be told, I'm eating plenty, I just don't think they're used to seeing humans as they are meant to be. I seem to be avoiding "coming out" in a paleo sense. Thoughts?

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565 · March 08, 2012 at 3:36 AM

It's perfect, because you could more or less all grain-based products "processed"

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393 · March 07, 2012 at 11:58 PM

I don't have an "elevator pitch," but if someone comments about my food choices, I assert that I don't eat grains and chemicals, but mostly meat and veggies, with small amounts of nuts and fruit. "ya know, REAL food"

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840 · March 07, 2012 at 8:43 PM

Oh god, not another thing I have to come out about.

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840 · March 07, 2012 at 8:43 PM

Oh god, another thing I have to come out with. LOL

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55 · March 07, 2012 at 7:18 PM

Yes, this. For the past year people knew that I ate a bit different because I was lactose intolerant. Now I'm just adding the "sensitive to grains" restriction when they ask me why I'm not eating whatever. I never mention paleo/primal. Most people know now that I'm just a bit different ;)

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1804 · March 07, 2012 at 6:50 PM

Ha! Yep, I agree with that. Happened to me last week at my new place of employment. "Hey, wanna go out for pizza?" Just said no thanks. And they left it at that!

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1614 · March 07, 2012 at 5:33 PM

Alot of good things in that elevator pitch. I usually get comments when I order things without the bun, tortilla, bread, etc., and I've resorted to saying I am sensitive to gluten, which usually gets people to back down.

Medium avatar
2291 · March 07, 2012 at 4:44 PM

I generally avoid the "I don't eat processed food" comment because that leaves too much room for stuff like "Well then you will love this homemade banana bread!"

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1612 · March 07, 2012 at 4:41 PM

Thanks. Your in Brooklyn? Do you find a difference in reception between city and non-city people? I'm in your general area (jersey) so there are no regional differences in culture, but there may be a city/suburbia divergence. What originally got me started was taubes and nosiness as it pertains to people's shopping cards. In a whole foods shopping 'burb and I noticed alot of less than healthy looking people had their carts chock full of "faux" healthy stuff... for instance the cart ahead of me last week with 6 gallons of low fat organic, glass package, milk. My path is probably pretty common.

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1612 · March 07, 2012 at 4:24 PM

That's a good observation. I don't want to be identified as on a diet because I'm already thin which causes questions and I have no interest in losing weight. (In our society, people think you're anorexic if you eat healthy while already being thin). I like the feeling of not being tired mid-afternoon, I like "happier" digestion, and the more I read the more certain issues I have had seem reasonably explanable via a pro-inflamatory (sp?) diet. Finally, I just want a diet where I can hike 25 miles without hitting the wall at 20. I definitely feel better but I'm not a fan of attention. Thanks.

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20519 · March 07, 2012 at 4:34 PM

I'm Ninja style all the way. I don't offer it up but will happily respond when approached. If/when that happens I simply reply that I eat whole foods, organic and local as much as possible, and avoid those things that are processed. Simple. To the point. Everyone understands.

Not sure about the comments on your weight but how about just a grin and "thank you!" That should be a tidy way to shut 'em down :)

If it helps, here is the Whole9 elevator pitch - it's great:

I eat ???real??? food ??? fresh, natural food like meat, vegetables and fruit. I choose foods that are nutrient dense, with lots of naturally-occurring vitamins and minerals, over foods that have more calories but less nutrition. And food quality is important ??? I???m careful about where my meat comes from, and buy produce locally and organically as often as possible.

It???s not a low calorie ???diet??? ??? I eat as much as I need to maintain strength, energy and a healthy weight. In fact, my diet is probably much higher in fat than you???d imagine. Fat isn???t the enemy ??? it???s a great energy source when it comes from high quality foods like avocado, coconut and nuts. And I???m not trying to do a ???low carb??? thing, but since I???m eating vegetables and fruits instead of bread, cereal and pasta, it just happens to work out that way.

Eating like this is good for maintaining a healthy metabolism, and reducing inflammation within the body. It???s been doing great things for my energy levels, body composition and performance in the gym. It also helps to minimize my risk for a whole host of lifestyle diseases and conditions, like diabetes, heart attack and stroke.

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393 · March 07, 2012 at 11:58 PM

I don't have an "elevator pitch," but if someone comments about my food choices, I assert that I don't eat grains and chemicals, but mostly meat and veggies, with small amounts of nuts and fruit. "ya know, REAL food"

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1614 · March 07, 2012 at 5:33 PM

Alot of good things in that elevator pitch. I usually get comments when I order things without the bun, tortilla, bread, etc., and I've resorted to saying I am sensitive to gluten, which usually gets people to back down.

Medium avatar
2291 · March 07, 2012 at 4:44 PM

I generally avoid the "I don't eat processed food" comment because that leaves too much room for stuff like "Well then you will love this homemade banana bread!"

474ae29b80569199c6589e879e6cd7d1
1612 · March 07, 2012 at 4:41 PM

Thanks. Your in Brooklyn? Do you find a difference in reception between city and non-city people? I'm in your general area (jersey) so there are no regional differences in culture, but there may be a city/suburbia divergence. What originally got me started was taubes and nosiness as it pertains to people's shopping cards. In a whole foods shopping 'burb and I noticed alot of less than healthy looking people had their carts chock full of "faux" healthy stuff... for instance the cart ahead of me last week with 6 gallons of low fat organic, glass package, milk. My path is probably pretty common.

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730 · March 07, 2012 at 4:08 PM

Honestly it can be a bit of a pain in the butt to talk about eating paleo with most people. (I'm also introverted by nature, so it takes a lot out of me.) But most people don't listen to a freaking thing anyone has to say on anything, especially nutrition. As soon as you start saying anything, or finish any sentence, the response is normally something like, "Well, I read this..." or "I heard this..."

Some people are open to hearing other people's thoughts, and will have a good honest discussion. Those are the ones I like to talk to. I've had great conversations with vegetarians, for instance. You just have to find those kind of people.

Now and days I don't speak up unnecessarily. It doesn't disrupt my world, and most people like to preserve their worldly bubbles. However, I think its best to speak up if you hear someone talking about needing to lose weight, or maybe they have cholesterol they are worried about. Then I like to say, "Hey, I may know something that could help you." And gently nudge them along to marksdailyapple.com or something.

Great example, I was a waiting a table the other night, and a girl at the table was making a complicated order. She was eschewing the bread on a sandwich, and trying to get basically a custom meal. This I understood, being paleo, so I asked her if that was what she was following. She said she was doing a low carb diet, something called the 17 day cycle diet. Eventually she was looking at marksdailyapple.com on her iphone, and I learned about a new diet that I could potentially learn from. All in all, a great exchange, with no one being ruthlessly challenged. (People don't change often under challenge anyway. I think we usually like to "stick to our guns." Even if we are horribly horribly wrong. I did it as a vegetarian, than a vegan, than a low-carb paleo, now a paleo 2.0. Who knows what else I am blind to?)

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21405 · March 07, 2012 at 6:42 PM

Mom? Dad? I have something to tell you...

I'm...

I'm...

Not going to eat a cinnabon.

I let people figure it out. People want to go out with me, they might notice I won't eat pizza. "So what, are you on a diet?" and my response, "Not really, but I don't eat grain."

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55 · March 07, 2012 at 7:18 PM

Yes, this. For the past year people knew that I ate a bit different because I was lactose intolerant. Now I'm just adding the "sensitive to grains" restriction when they ask me why I'm not eating whatever. I never mention paleo/primal. Most people know now that I'm just a bit different ;)

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1804 · March 07, 2012 at 6:50 PM

Ha! Yep, I agree with that. Happened to me last week at my new place of employment. "Hey, wanna go out for pizza?" Just said no thanks. And they left it at that!

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1881 · March 08, 2012 at 1:40 AM

I don't tell people I'm on a diet. If someone comes to me to ask why I'm losing weight, or tells me I'm looking better or something I normally say thanks. If they ask what I'm "doing." I keep it really simple - "I stopped eating processed food." Most everyone goes, oh well that makes sense. If they keep going, or if they generally show some real interest, especially if I think they are open minded or are looking to make a change themselves then I will start delving deeper. But that's my general progression. And the "processed foods" bit will get you out of like 90% of the awkward situations.

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565 · March 08, 2012 at 3:36 AM

It's perfect, because you could more or less all grain-based products "processed"

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1612 · March 07, 2012 at 7:54 PM

Thanks all! Clearly my problem is my aversion to bringing attention to myself. (In combination with a reputation dating back to my teens for eating massive quantities of crap while being overtly healthy). I feel great on this style of eating, I just feel a twinge of awkwardness in social situations. I have no intent on being a crusader, I've realized that I get myself into alot of trouble if I helpfully point out flaws in other people's logic. (That one took a bit too long to learn). So, for me it is a healthy lifestyle in plain site. I've enjoyed reading other posts on here, thanks.

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7592 · March 07, 2012 at 6:47 PM

I personally recommend staying in the closet. People waste my time a lot asking questions, giving me a hard time and trying to argue with me. I have found I cannot persuade them and focus my time on somebody like my Mom who is open to it. I wish I had mainly kept my mouth shut although people ask me all the time what I did to be smaller and fitter.

If I could go back I would be more vague and less of a crusader. People don't buy it--even when the proof is in front of them.

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7660 · March 07, 2012 at 6:31 PM

You're only 2 months in. I promise you that by the time you reach a year, you'll be far more comfortable with it.

I also had a hard time suddenly being "that special person" at the restaurant or the dinner party. But after a while, it gets pretty hard to hide.

If you have a handful of folks with whom you socialize, it might actually help to let them know what you're up to. It's been such a blessing to have some friends who know how I eat so when I go to their place, I know I won't have to worry about it. You can also alleviate some of that pressure by always bringing something you can eat without reservation and share it with others. I'm often on dessert duty for that very reason.

If you're looking to explain as little as possible, present it in a health-oriented manner. Just say you noticed you weren't feeling great so you changed a few things about your diet and now you feel better (sleep better, workout stronger, whatever). You don't have to get into a debate about the finer points or how the SAD is killing everyone. That happens to me all the time and it's a buzzkill for sure. :)

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4703 · March 07, 2012 at 5:16 PM

I think that when you don't seek their approval people get uppity. I live my life making it abundantly clear that you don't care what anyone thinks, which admittedly hasn't done me a lot of favors in terms of maintaining relationships, especially with people like co-workers. If your goal is to maintain these relationships, my advice would be to at least pretend to care and be polite when they say you're too thin, stay positive, and keep doing what makes you happy. In the end it's not going to change your behavior, but I think it's important to keep from lashing out, so I don't know that your current approach is a bad one.

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3651 · March 07, 2012 at 4:18 PM

I take it you don't want the attention that goes with "Oh, Ed's plate is different, he's on a DIET."

If anyone starts that with me, I say "Everyone is on a diet. We just chose between good ones and bad ones." but, that still attracts attention.

I think you need to stop letting the pressure keep you from being open about good choices. It's not your fault food is screwed up and it's hurting people, and that you know this. Do the right thing. :$

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1612 · March 07, 2012 at 4:24 PM

That's a good observation. I don't want to be identified as on a diet because I'm already thin which causes questions and I have no interest in losing weight. (In our society, people think you're anorexic if you eat healthy while already being thin). I like the feeling of not being tired mid-afternoon, I like "happier" digestion, and the more I read the more certain issues I have had seem reasonably explanable via a pro-inflamatory (sp?) diet. Finally, I just want a diet where I can hike 25 miles without hitting the wall at 20. I definitely feel better but I'm not a fan of attention. Thanks.

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20353 · March 07, 2012 at 4:14 PM

I get a lot of comments like: That is all you are going to eat ... I eat plenty. There is no need to tell folks you are Paleo. There is not a lot of understanding out there...

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