I would really like my parents to try paleo. They eat quite well but eat a lot of carbs and think CW is correct. My mum cannot understand why she is not losing weight despite being at the gym for six classes a week! I am doing the whole30 at the mo and was trying hard to explain to them the benefits but I think CW is very deep set. My dad suffers from backpain and arthritis and neither my mum or dad sleep well. And I would love for them to have a good night's sleep.
All suggestions welcome! Thanks
Hi Runningwild. We are all reluctant to let go of things we 'know'. You parents will have been conditioned by years of 'conventional wisdom' about what it meant by a 'nutritionally balanced diet' and what they should do to exercise/get fit. They will not only cling to conventional wisdom, but also they will cling to the same sources of advice. If a doctor tells you to 'cut saturated fat' it is tough to challenge his advice becuase...well he IS a doctor!
At the risk of repeating myself from another thread, you could first try smashing the 'eat less, do more paradigm' with which they will have great faith. This idea will be deep rooted in your mother's psyche:
Ask your mum what she thinks we should do TO LOSE FAT. I am pretty sure that EVERY answer she gives will be along the lines of the 'conventional wisdom':
Now suggest to her the following scenario; "If we were to go out for a celebratory meal at an expensive restaurant and I told you to 'bring your appetite', what would you do to COMPEL yourself to EAT MORE than usual?"
Your mum's suggestions will likely fall in to one of two categories:
So you should see the paradox there (and so will you mum); that the VERY thing she is suggesting to do to LOSE WEIGHT ('eat less, do more'), is the VERY thing she'd do to COMPEL herself to eat more ('eat less, do more')!
Obesity is a consequence of hormonal regulation and metabolic factors, not one of calorie management.
The next thing to do is to tackle their fear of fats - especially saturated fats and general suspicion of eating (too much) meat. I like to ask people what kind of fat the human body stores its fat as? Answer: saturated fat. Ask your parents do they really think that 2 million years of evolution would lead to our bodies storing fat in a form that is toxic to itself?
Another point to bring up around fat is that EVERYONE on a fat/weight loss diet is actually on a high fat diet! The reason being that if you are obese and go on a diet. As soon as you start to lose fat/weight, it is because your body is 'eating' its energy stores.
Finally - the issue of what to eat. The paleo concept is VERY simple. Get your parents to think about what they'd eat if they were stuck on a desert island. This will give them a rough guide to understand what constitutes 'paleo'.
Their answer should essentially be along the lines of foraging for some seasonal fruits and vegetation. In winter you'd forage for tubers and roots. Grains would NOT be part of the mix - or negligible at most. But they should see that to survive in such a situation, they'd have to hunt. By far the most of their food would be animal - and not just the 'choice cuts' we seek today, but also organ meat and tongue. The same approach has led us to populate extreme climates and survive several ice ages.
They should see from these scenarios, plants do have a supplenmental role in diet, but it is a secondary role. There are grey areas (around dairy in particular), and there is also the issue of IF to cover.
Hope this makes sense and that you find it useful. Best of luck converting them. It is NEVER too late to eat better!
I'm gonna quote Tom Naughton (FatHead) on this one:
"How can I convince my wife/husband/sister/parents/friends to go low-carb?
You can’t. Enjoy your low-carb diet and the results. If they notice the positive changes and ask what you’re doing, tell them. If they reply that you look good but will probably die of a heart attack from all that fat, tell them there are plenty of books that explain the science if they’re actually interested. Then let it go."
Just sub paleo for low carb...
I understand your feelings, I've been there too. Now, after 3 years of eating paleo, my parents are finally making some changes (since few weeks).
My advice: lead by example. Inform when they ask about it. Don't preach too much (a little is ok though :)
Show them how easy it is. Make delicious paleo meals for them (that helps!!).
it's hard to convince anyone. i just let people know what i'm excited about. your progress and your testimony will be your sharpest weapon. but maybe find a way that paleo relates exactly to their needs.
as another poster here mentions, be careful not to preach. most don't take well to that. if they see that you are serious, that could help a bit too.
remember, people respond to passion more than anything, even parents.
I went to visit my parents last weekend. I made sure they saw me without a shirt on. Shallow, I know, but dammit I am not ashamed of myself anymore.
All my life my Mom said "We weren't sick before the white man came" (we're Eskimo). Then she'd hand me breakfast of Cheerios or frosted Mini-Wheats thinking that was healthy.
The simple answer was eating like an Eskimo, who would have thought?
Small steps first, encourage them to try giving up any staple that is in their diet that you can pinpoint as non-paleo - like bread for example.
Nightshades are usually blamed for arthritis, so you could push that too.
Give them a book (Primal Blueprint / Paleo Diet / Paleo solution - whichever you think fits them best) on the subject as an innocent present - I did this with my parents.
beg them to try it for 30 days, because you asked. then ask them to evaluate how they feel. i think personal experience should be most influential for people who already have problems (like sleeping poorly, overweight, aches and arthritis, etc).
I am the older recipient of a son's attempts to alter my diet, successfully thus far I might add. My health as a pescatarian, for the past 10-15 yrs. has been failing - after facing a near death episode this past summer with surgery to correct some of my abdominal hernias (more surgery needed), getting a wee bit of cancer, and diagnosed 5 yrs ago with RA, diverticulitis (the doc said I had to "up my fiber", to which I replied - any more and I'd become a bran muffin!) -my son sent me first a book by Taubes "Good Calories, Bad Calories", and about a month later "The Paleo Solution" - I'm an open minded individual, and very conscious of my diet - so realizing as did Wolf, that my nearly perfect fish and veggie, tofu and tempeh diet was doing me wrong, I figured I'd give the "challenge" a try - I'm on wk. 3 and I'm feeling improved effects on arthritis - both RA and osteo - medication free, more energy and of course getting down to my high school weight (not that I was so fat - but it feels good)! I suggest a similar approach if your parents enjoy a "good read" now and then - seems to me our diet is always worth researching.
I did it this way:
With my mom it was an easier sell than with my dad. My mom was more open to trying it out after seeing it work on me, and she was sold one it once her friends started commenting on how great she looked, AND her doctor was impressed by her test results.