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Trying to Get the Parents On Paleo or Hack my Family Meeting

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 12, 2012 at 5:24 PM

This past weekend my brother and I attended the wedding of a mutual friend and it suddenly occurred to us that the way our parents are going they will never attend our weddings or hold their grandchildren or even exist at some point in the near future.
My father is the biggest problem. He's almost 200 pounds overweight, has type 2 diabetes and diverticulitis. Our mother is pretty big too and has suffered from bad joints and high blood pressure. Both of our parents are consistently getting something burned out of their skin. Their diet is awful, my mother brings my Dad ice cream because "he works hard and he deserves it" but she's killing him with kindness and serves up a LOT of conventional southern foods. My dad has the drive he's been on a lot of different diets but always gains the weight back. My mom gave up on her weight a long time ago and says she'd rather "have fun" than stress about her weight.
I love my parents and I don't want them to die. They've made a lot of fuss about Will and I changing our eating habits after I met my personal trainer boyfriend 3 years ago and he turned us on to Paleo. It's mostly been negative preaching about how they can't take us anywhere to eat and my Celiacs was hard enough without all this "extra restrictive stuff". I wonder if there's anything I could do to get them to at least give it the college try before they croak of their horrendous dietary habits.
Has anybody had to talk to their folks about this? What did you say? Did it work?

Dbd1e8fad5d4b47409d84bd6610020d5

(368)

on May 12, 2012
at 05:41 PM

I have no idea how to help, as my parents have been oddly accepting of all my weird food choices throughout the years. I look forward to seeing the answers, though! All I can suggest is to be careful not to come on too strong - no one likes hearing that they're unhealthy!

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3 Answers

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A97b68379a576dfa764a4828304d2efb

(4181)

on May 13, 2012
at 02:20 PM

I feel your pain. From what people have told me here and what I have experienced in my life, it is best to just quietly live through example. When other relatives comment on how good you look, just smile and thank them. If they press it and ask what you do, say just enough to pique their interest, but not run them off. I know that I am more receptive to knowledge when I feel like I am drawing it out of someone and they are not dumping it on me.

In the end, there is no magical phrase you can use to convince them. It is so hard to watch people you love needlessly suffer but they are going to do that with or without your interference. Might as well at least have a good relationship with them. I have asked the community this same question and have finally just accepted that some people will never see a correlation between diet and the myriad little health problems that plague the general population.

If they think it is kind of a pain to be around you with your restrictions, offer to buy and cook all the food when you come home. The idea of not having to cook and getting a meal made for them might tempt your parents into trying a few dishes and seeing that it can be tasty.

0
Ff1dbd6cecad1e69a8234fb2c2c5c5ed

(1409)

on May 12, 2012
at 05:56 PM

My parents' problems seem benign in comparison. I still worry about them and would love to make them "see the light".

But they are adults. And they are not dumb. They know that I have read and researched about nutrition a lot. They also know that they can ask questions any time.

And when I hear the complaint that I'm difficult to feed, I tell them to look at me. And then tell me that my way of eating is wrong.

0
80890193d74240cab6dda920665bfb6c

(1528)

on May 12, 2012
at 05:56 PM

"I love my parents and I don't want them to die."

No diet change will stop your parents from dying. Death is inevitable unless the transhumanist singularity occurs. :)

Preaching to people is rarely effective. You can't change peoples' beliefs until they're ready. A better method is just to keep on what you're doing and let them ask you about your success. They will change when they are ready - if you want any change to stick, let them come to you with questions.

In the meantime, you might find more peace of mind if you stop fixating on the future catastrophic scenario of parent death. Just a suggestion! :)

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