I keep thinking there will come a day where someone close to me is going to have failing health and they’re going to say, “why didn’t you tell me”
I know many here have had varying success with trying to help those around you and most have probably had a hard time convincing someone that paleo is a more optimal way to live. I have an Aunt who was diagnosed with crohn’s a few years back. I suggested she at least give up grains. She of course did not and now is scheduled for a gall stone operation and probably some type of surgery to remove part of her colon or something later. She’s never going to listen to me and it’s too late now anyway.
I have told other family members the way I live, they usually nod and agree and then ignore my suggestion and probably think I’m nuts. I now take the stance that I will only help those that want it.
Does anyone else think they will have to deal with a family member or friend who eventually sees the light, but it’s too late? Sadly not a time to say I told you so, but they may be offended that you weren’t more aggressive in trying to convince them. Others still won’t be convinced a preemptive change in their diet would have made a difference anyway.
I don’t see this happening to me for some time, but I do see it happening one day. The other scenario is that paleo becomes more mainstream and people who you’ve previously told now become enlightened and wonder why you didn’t ‘spread the word’ more.
Has either scenario happened to anyone yet?
I came to paleo through low-carbing, and do a LC version of it. LC helped me tremendously--as did cutting grains (esp. wheat) completely--and paleo has been the next big step up, both in overall food quality as well as beneficial lifestyle changes. I feel great, so many chronic ailments I had are no longer a problem, I'm shedding the extra weight I packed on, and I could sing the praises of this all day long.
But I also know that I had to be ready to make these changes before I could do so. Going paleo, primal, or even just "paleo-ish" requires commitment, and that has to be internally generated. Nobody could have preached at me or bragged about their progress enough for me to make the change until I decided I needed to do it and became willing to.
And just as nobody could have convinced me until I was ready to convince myself, I can't convince anyone else. Not my mom (who eats low-fat/low-carb and has hypertension); not my T2 diabetic dad, who does a shit job of controlling his sugars (and who was recently dx'ed with advanced metastatic prostate cancer that will probably kill him within the next year or so); not my great-aunt with Graves disease; not my grandmother (who is doing Ornish and hates every second of it, but thinks doctors are gods and know everything); not my semi-vegetarian sister (who works out like mad yet remains 70+ lbs. overweight, meanwhile eating tons of soy, grains, and seed oils).
They all knew when I was doing Atkins. They all know I'm doing paleo. They've seen me lose weight, and they know my health is improving, but so far they've shown no interest in it. But I can't make them be interested--and it's not my fault that I can't.
They are adults, capable of making their own decisions. Are they making crap decisions that might end up disabling and/or killing them? Yes, probably.
Is it possible they might blame me for not trying harder to save them? Yes, because grief, fear, and anger make people lash out, looking for someone to blame. But I'm still not at fault.
So I just do what I do, and let them do what they do. And they can see that I look a lot better, and I'm losing weight, and I have noticeable muscle definition despite my gym-avoidance. They know that I no longer have allergies or joint pain ever since I cut out wheat, and that my blood sugar has been staying steady as a rock, and that I have a good chance of avoiding full-blown T2, and that my blood pressure is now normal.
They see all of this happening to me. But if they can't see it happening to themselves, too? I can't make them see.
My husband has a great way to put this: "they were not desperate-enough". When I found Paleo all by myself online in early September 2011, and read all these testimonials in many places, I was not only convinced, not only I started the diet immediately (not waiting for "Monday" to start), but I was so positive about it, that leaving grains/sugar behind was a piece of cake for me. I was bumped up that after 10 years of IBS would go away. And it did.
This may sound harsh, but oh well.
Some people (not enough, in my opinion) still believe in personal responsibility. All I can do is inform, maybe make a suggestion or two, and leave it alone. Forcefulness will be viewed now as nagging and "interfering with my freedom", while lack of forcefulness will later mean "this is your fault because you didn't force me".
I believe personal responsibility is a very big part of paleo, as we are generally taking full responsibility for what whe eat and how we live, often to degrees contrary to "conventional wisdom". With that in mind, some other person's lack of action just isn't my problem.
I wouldn't assume they'd attribute their bad health to their diet anyway. Cancer is bad luck. Alzheimers is bad luck and bad genes. Diabetes is laziness, lack of willpower and bad genes. Some people I know think I'm on the way to a heart attack with all this meat, and if I happen to live a long healthy life while they don't, they'll attribute it to luck. (Just as if I keel over tomorrow, I'll probably die thinking Paleo was the right thing.)
Even if people do wish they'd eaten your diet, they'll still blame themselves: I should have eaten like you, but I didn't have the discipline.
You might have guilt that you didn't push harder. Fair enough! Are you pushing hard enough? Too hard? It's a balancing act, you won't always make the right decision or even come close. I personally err on the side of leading by example. That's my personality, and it might cost somebody dear to me, or it might prevent me alienating somebody close to me so they can come around later. Who can say?
Yes but when someone you truly loves dies will you feel a little guilty that you didn't try harder? I know u can't make anyone do something they don't want to, but u can continue to encourage them, my dad does paleo now, i spent the best part of 2 years trying to convince him and eventually did, he no longer has diabetes and is thrilled he no longer has to take all the pills etc.
With the exception of my autistic nephew, all the vegans and vegetarians in my family are overweight to obese, and they harbor as much judgement about my diet as I do about theirs. But, health and diet are simply not things we discuss, and I'm perfectly content with that.
I've been subject to family intervention by physician relatives who insisted that our way of eating would kill us, and they actually said that their intervention was based in large part on them not wanting to feel guilty over never having said anything to us and us (in this theoretical scenario) saying to them, "Why didn't you tell us?"
So, NO, knowing how judged and bullied that whole experience made me feel personally, I do not feel compelled to push the paleo lifestyle even more on resistant loved ones. People must accept personal responsibility for their own choices, and if they desire health they will eventually be driven to research and come to their own conclusions.
Live and let live. If a person is lucky enough to have found their paleo sweet spot of desired body comp, fitness levels, and overall digestive and physical wellness, then that alone stands in huge contrast to the vast majority of adults today. Focus your energy on being your own unspoken testimony.
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