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How to Encourage Obese Loved-Ones to go Paleo

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created December 16, 2012 at 9:54 PM

Something that has been weighing heavily on me for quite some time is the physical and mental health of people I care about who are struggling with obesity.

Having grown up in a family with a few obese members, I have seen how touchy heavy people can be about receiving unsolicited, albeit well intentioned, advice about their diet.

I know I'm not the only one out there in this boat.

Anybody care to share how they approached this issue? Any success stories?

6f4425e3c7dc0efe60da531c5d991487

(373)

on January 06, 2013
at 05:50 PM

Thanks for the link. I've understood the distinction between "fat" and "unhealthy" for quite some time. Not to say you are implying this, but my intentions aren't to get my family members to look a certain way or to conform to any standard. It's all about their respective states of health, which include diabetes, hip replacements, and depression. On top of that, their own stated desire is to become thinner.

A31b063c5866c08aa9968a8f2f1e9949

(1721)

on January 06, 2013
at 04:03 PM

I would ask you to read this article as some background about "well-intentioned" advice for fat people. Health is not inherently about size. http://www.fatnutritionist.com/index.php/the-death-threat-its-not-about-health/

8838443ac82e9f98e4ae9daf80d50eb5

(896)

on December 17, 2012
at 07:53 PM

I agree. I do not say its paleo when I make food. I just make good for they can't resist.... like an evil paleo temptress.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on December 17, 2012
at 04:13 PM

This might not work for family but I had cards printed up that I hand out to people who approach with about what I'm eating and why or about my weight loss. It has a few of the basic websites on from and names of the big intro books on the back. And my email address.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on December 17, 2012
at 04:13 PM

I think it's wonderful to want to share your good news with others. I really do. If you've been on board for that long then you are in a good position to shine a bright light. But yes I think questions asked are a good sign! If they question you consider that at least an opening of the door. Start a conversation then. Maybe ask them if they've ever heard of "paleo" or "primal" or "the caveman" diet? See what they know and gauge their openness to learn about it? You have a wonderful gift to give but they have to want it before they can accept it.

6f4425e3c7dc0efe60da531c5d991487

(373)

on December 17, 2012
at 02:23 PM

Good point, Shari. Maybe their asking me about it is wrapped in a subtler package than I am expecting. I'll try to be more sensitive to the cues. I've been eating Paleo on and off for about three years. My body recompositioning has been less obvious than yours, given my large frame, so I haven't gotten many comments on it.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on December 17, 2012
at 03:03 AM

One thing that can be of influence is to share your own journey with people.Talk about what you are experiencing if someone asks.Maybe someone sees you pass on the bread and asks you about it or maybe even makes a smart-ass remark.Say "I've been eating this paleo diet and I feel so great! I can't beleive how much better I feel!" Share your own experience along with your enthusiasm and excitement. If you've lose weight you can mention that.Tell them you've been so impressed seeing all the before and afters posted by people eating this way.Tell them how much you enjoy it.People respond to that

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on December 17, 2012
at 02:58 AM

Why can't you imagine that? How long have you been eating Paleo (if I may ask?) Is it known to your family and friends? I found that once everyone knew (just from observing and passing comments) people did come to me. Of course losing 150+lbs helped too, lol.

6f4425e3c7dc0efe60da531c5d991487

(373)

on December 17, 2012
at 02:55 AM

Thank you all for your answers. Shari, I tend to agree with you about leading by example. Of course they know they are fat, and they know that's how they are perceived. I would never bring "the weight problem" up. That would just be rubbing their faces in their condition and only serve to be counter-productive. Having said that, I don't think everyone is able to simply pull themselves up by the bootstraps. As humiliating as it would be for me to bring it up to them, I can't imagine their approaching ME to ask what my secret was. That hasn't happened in 43 years. What gives?

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7 Answers

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9
98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

on December 17, 2012
at 01:29 AM

Be a light. A beacon. Clean up your own house and clean it well. Others will notice. When they are ready let them come to you. Lead by example and be ready to support and educate when asked. Otherwise, leave them alone. They know they are fat. They know if they are unhealthy. They don't need anyone to point it out to them.

There is a saying I learned in OA that has stuck with me for all these years and I believe in it with all my heart. "Find someone who has what you want and do what they did to get it." Be that. Have something someone wants. That works. When one is ready. It worked for me and I've seen it work for many others.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on December 17, 2012
at 04:13 PM

This might not work for family but I had cards printed up that I hand out to people who approach with about what I'm eating and why or about my weight loss. It has a few of the basic websites on from and names of the big intro books on the back. And my email address.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on December 17, 2012
at 04:13 PM

I think it's wonderful to want to share your good news with others. I really do. If you've been on board for that long then you are in a good position to shine a bright light. But yes I think questions asked are a good sign! If they question you consider that at least an opening of the door. Start a conversation then. Maybe ask them if they've ever heard of "paleo" or "primal" or "the caveman" diet? See what they know and gauge their openness to learn about it? You have a wonderful gift to give but they have to want it before they can accept it.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on December 17, 2012
at 02:58 AM

Why can't you imagine that? How long have you been eating Paleo (if I may ask?) Is it known to your family and friends? I found that once everyone knew (just from observing and passing comments) people did come to me. Of course losing 150+lbs helped too, lol.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on December 17, 2012
at 03:03 AM

One thing that can be of influence is to share your own journey with people.Talk about what you are experiencing if someone asks.Maybe someone sees you pass on the bread and asks you about it or maybe even makes a smart-ass remark.Say "I've been eating this paleo diet and I feel so great! I can't beleive how much better I feel!" Share your own experience along with your enthusiasm and excitement. If you've lose weight you can mention that.Tell them you've been so impressed seeing all the before and afters posted by people eating this way.Tell them how much you enjoy it.People respond to that

6f4425e3c7dc0efe60da531c5d991487

(373)

on December 17, 2012
at 02:55 AM

Thank you all for your answers. Shari, I tend to agree with you about leading by example. Of course they know they are fat, and they know that's how they are perceived. I would never bring "the weight problem" up. That would just be rubbing their faces in their condition and only serve to be counter-productive. Having said that, I don't think everyone is able to simply pull themselves up by the bootstraps. As humiliating as it would be for me to bring it up to them, I can't imagine their approaching ME to ask what my secret was. That hasn't happened in 43 years. What gives?

6f4425e3c7dc0efe60da531c5d991487

(373)

on December 17, 2012
at 02:23 PM

Good point, Shari. Maybe their asking me about it is wrapped in a subtler package than I am expecting. I'll try to be more sensitive to the cues. I've been eating Paleo on and off for about three years. My body recompositioning has been less obvious than yours, given my large frame, so I haven't gotten many comments on it.

3
F99bc078e1f7163585f47a762b80abc4

on December 16, 2012
at 11:20 PM

As a super obese person who has recently turned to paleo and CrossFit, please approach from a position of concern because you love them and not in front of other people. Start with something along the lines, "You know how much I love you, right? And that I want you in my life for as long as possible? How have your efforts to improve (lose weight, lower BP, lower cholesterol, sleep apnea, depression - whatever) been going? Is there anything I can do to help? I've seen a lot of people have great results adopting an 80% paleo lifestyle...have you ever looked into that?" If receptive, keep talking!

If you run into a brick wall, repeat you are bringing up this sensitive topic because you love them, and you want to be a support for them, then drop it. They'll come to you when they're ready. And you just have to accept they may never be ready.

3
930d02c6cf3fb783f15d22e3b49e0490

on December 16, 2012
at 10:13 PM

Simple. Don't make it all about the weight loss. It's not about weight loss: it's about having a health-giving diet. Weight loss is just a bonus.

Most people on SAD have a health issue or two which bothers them. Allergies, digestive issues, autoimmune disorders, etc. Or maybe it's nothing concrete - just a feeling of being unwell, or lacking energy. If you bring the topic up with improving overall health as a focus, you'll get a better response. Bonus points if you can have them notice just how nutritionally-dense Paleo is, compared to the SAD.

If the people you're trying to convince are the inquisitive sort, they'll start looking for information on their own. And they'll discover the weight loss benefits by themselves, and will certainly give it a shot.

People respond much better to things when they've 'discovered' it by themselves.

2
Cc3ce03985eac5ebcbb95fc2329f13b0

on December 17, 2012
at 02:24 AM

Don't approach them about it at all. Do it yourself, talk about what it does for you, make food and share it, but do not give unsolicited advice, no matter how well intentioned. They have gotten it for as long as they have been heavy, and you eventually get fed up with it. That's what I did, and slowly my family has come around.

2
Ed7403e397077dd1acdbf25c7f6e56ce

on December 16, 2012
at 11:35 PM

I also like sharing food with people.

8838443ac82e9f98e4ae9daf80d50eb5

(896)

on December 17, 2012
at 07:53 PM

I agree. I do not say its paleo when I make food. I just make good for they can't resist.... like an evil paleo temptress.

0
A5127d60bca783084f191f38ffa357a6

on December 17, 2012
at 01:23 AM

Ask them to try it out for a couple weeks, making a transition and not all of a sudden full blown paleo, and see if it makes them feel better or loose some extra pounds.

0
Ed7403e397077dd1acdbf25c7f6e56ce

on December 16, 2012
at 10:49 PM

Provide literature, DVDs, etc. just leave it with them.

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