This is a question spun off from 2 posted today, one by myself, about people's reactions and within that the question came up about whether you try to help people in your family or your friends. What experiences have people had with this? I'll be honest, ours has been a mostly negative one, I think myself and my other half are now seen as "preachers" and "know it alls" because we have tried to help people close to us with various ailments. Some have listened at first, then given up before they have even started and some literally think we are mental. It is frustrating as we don't make the rules, we just want the people close to us to get better, can you imagine if we did nothing, said nothing and then someone died? You wouldn't forgive yourself for not trying. We have definitely had way more success with friends then family.
That's how my family is, too, and I've tried to talk to them about it, but they won't listen. That said, I really have to say, though, that if they want to dig their graves with their cutlery, that's entirely up to them. I've informed them of the facts, and if they want to stick to their delusions, then there is nothing I can do about it. To me, its kind of like not discussing politics and religion...a no-going-there subject...since they are too old and it challenges their world-view too much. To me, its more important to love them for who they are and enjoy them while they are here, and be prepared to mourn them when they are gone.
I think that it really is in the DELIVERY of the message. Nobody wants to hear "you are killing yourself with the way you eat". And people will shut down and stop listening. I know that I never listen to people who 'preach' to me.
I've found a great way to get people (who have displayed an interest) on board is to invite them over for a nice meal. Show them how easy it is to cook this way and integrate it into their lifestyle. I supply links, and have even printed out a couple cookbooks for friends and family (the free ones available on-line).
That being said - I never give advice if it is unsolicited - on any topic. I HATE getting advice from people if I haven't asked. You'd be suprised how many people want to pipe in on how you should parent - what you should or shouldn't eat while pregnant, how your workout at the gym is to this that or the next etc. etc. etc. I don't even listen to any unsolicited advice, in fact I'm likely to do the exact opposite.
I think that leading by example is so crucial and being there in a supportive way to answer any questions as they come - because they will. People sometimes just need their own time to think, see how well you are doing and they will inevitably come around. So don't get frustrated with them, just be patient.
I don't preach verbally. My body and physical prowess at 42 years old, speaks volumes. If someone wants to know, I tell them. I am a martial arts instructor. The only ones I advocate the Paleo lifestyle openly to are my students. The only ones I am adamant eat like me, are my 5 sons.
I totally hear you! My parents NEED this. They have seen the journey that my husband and I have gone through. They've witnessed it first hand, right in front of thier own eyes - yet they call us crazy. My Mom event told me I had "joined a cult". I told her to "join me as we don't drink kool-aid because diabetes lasts forever." ;)
Anyhow, what we do is cook for them when we have meals together. If they ask or make comments we tell them again and again and again. I even bought books for them for Christmas (among other gifts) and send them articles (paybacks for my mom doing the same to me!) When they complain about not having grains or it not being practical we use our life as an example besides they make more money and have more free time than we do. We also tell them that they KNOW us and they know we wouldn't stick with it if it wasn't delicious.
Basically we never give up BUT it's also not for us to decide. They are adults. Give them as much information as you can and let them decide. Making a life change can't come externally.
Most people seem to be OK with the low carb advice... but mention that fat is not bad... or that dietary cholesterol won't kill you, and then that's it. You are a certified lunatic.
A while back, I begged a friend of mine to not go on statins when his total cholesterol was 230 and trigs <50 , HDL 60+ ... but who is he going to believe? His cardiologist who tells him that he is risking his life if he doesn't take the drugs or the crazy chick with these weird dietary ideas?
The good news is, not everyone thinks I'm mad. I convinced another friend to get with the program and not take the statins. At the time, his lipids were a mess (hi trigs, low HDL) and his weight climbing... but 1 year later, he is in excellent shape, has excellent blood metrics and is drug free (pasta free too).
So I guess if you can handle the ridicule, it's worth being the village crazy. You can still save a few souls!
You really have to pick you moments and not simply declare (much as you might want to) that someone's food choices is slowly killing them. Wait until someone asks about your lifestyle and use that as a segue into telling them about the benefits of your Paleo habits.
If you "deliver" ANY sort of message, gentle or not, you are preaching. You are implying, if not outright saying, "I know better than you what is good for you." Although you may be thoroughly convinced (and even with evidence to back it) that your way is better and life-saving (I wouldn't disagree, but it's not me that needs convincing), denial isn't just a river in Africa, and food issues are very much like religion (which is why they call it "preaching").
You cannot, CANNOT "save" someone who doesn't believe that 1) they need to be "saved, 2) they can comfortably do whatever the requirement is and/or 3) it is the thing that should be done. This goes double/triple/quadruple when it comes to food issues.
It is sad, and you have my sympathy, but you simply cannot make someone do what they will not do.
My family made the whole "fad diet" accusations at first, and of course they all thought I was going to have a heart attack from all that "artery clogging fat" while they ate white flour Quesadillas cooked in "heart healthy" Wesson oil.
A year later and almost all of them are eating Paleo! They couldn't deny the differences they saw in me (weight loss, muscle tone, energy and one I didn't know would happen - better skin) so after a couple Ancel Keys/cholesterol myth articles they're all on board.
I never once suggested they try it, nor was I preachy. If they asked, I'd answer, but I never said anything about the foods they were eating... well, at least not to their faces.
"What?! No bread? No pasta?!"
There's a little more to it than that, but that's a large part of it, yeah.
"I'd rather go without meat! Besides, how do you get your whole grains and fiber and carbs?"
I eat fruits occasionally and vegetables.
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