5

votes

How could you tactfully push someone to Paleo?

Answered on September 30, 2014
Created February 08, 2012 at 6:32 PM

A lot of my friends are morbidly obese (this tends to happen when you're in the IT/technology world), and while I feel Paleo may not be the solution for all of people's health problems, I know a couple of friends who could really benefit from a Paleo lifestyle. I see them struggle with the low fat revolution and nothing happens. Most of them try Weight Watchers and while Weight Watchers' motto is sort of a twisted version of "you can eat whatever you want, and either starve yourself the rest of the day or just have a bite" it seems to push them toward overeating the SAD foods anyway.

Part of me wants to barge into their house, throw out all of the junk, take them shopping and show them how to cook a good meal. Part of me wants to scream at them about how they are ruining their life by not actually living it to the fullest - to me, it makes no sense. Why would you want to even exist if you can't enjoy yourself by running around with your kids, biking, moving freely? Is food really that important that you feel like your quality of life is going to be jeopardized if you give up something as dumb as bread?

And the last part of me tells myself that it's not really my business and this is what they are choosing for themselves, so I should just keep my mouth shut, and that's the best way to be a friend.

Has anyone else struggled with this? Parents? Friends? Children? Are there any actual success stories or ways to gently inform people about the Paleo lifestyle without being obnoxious about it?

Thanks for listening.

193b7fb0fec8913d5ebb3b99a04d21c6

(2918)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

Haha. Okay, "encourage".

8508fec4bae4a580d1e1b807058fee8e

(6244)

on February 10, 2012
at 11:30 PM

You could recommend David Asprey's blog of Bulletproof Executive and maybe Timothy Ferriss - who was Paleoish but supported cutting out beans and included some of Robb Wolf's material in his blogposts. Asprey in from the IT world, so they might relate to him.

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on February 09, 2012
at 08:57 PM

Congrats on taking control of your health, Silentbob. I have a few friends who would consider themselves "huge" who I would love to introduce to Paleo eventually. One of them is my old roommate from college who is actually interested enough that he's coming to spend his spring break week (he's a prof now) with me in order to learn more. Unfortunately a lot of our generation never learned basic stuff like how to actually cook real food. I know in college $$ was tight so our staples were cereal, ramen noodles, mac&cheese, sandwiches, pizza and soda. No wonder we got fat. Anyhow keep it up!

D5d982a898721d3392c85f951d0bf0aa

(2417)

on February 09, 2012
at 05:11 AM

Another thought - keep any comments HEALTH focused. NOT weight. Like the lifestyle v. diet distinction. It matters.

C4f1a0c70c4e0dea507c2e346c036bbd

on February 09, 2012
at 03:24 AM

It makes it even funnier. How else due you fend off all of that targeted advertising.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on February 09, 2012
at 02:18 AM

Is anyone else freaked out that word "amazon" turns into a link all by itself, even when it isn't appropriate?

306aa57660d911781231f8090c2a5619

(3808)

on February 08, 2012
at 11:42 PM

That was what I was going to suggest. I link to articles of widespread interest (I posted http://huntgatherlove.com/content/why-women-need-fat yesterday, for example), on the theory that, if it resonates, people are likely to poke around the site and read more.

Medium avatar

(12379)

on February 08, 2012
at 11:07 PM

I agree with PaleoDel - you are going to come off as a pushy know-it-all. Let people come to their own conclusions or let them ask you questions

Medium avatar

(19469)

on February 08, 2012
at 09:51 PM

I agree and would like to add that "tactfully" and "push" combine to form "manipulate"! Even with the best intentions, this is not going to feel good for the other person and takes your focus away from the only thing that you can sorta control, you!

Ab19df3ededa28f7bf7daeba8435b205

(1471)

on February 08, 2012
at 08:25 PM

ok I was trying to use bold but it keeps showing up as strong text ..

67f3387f0308b570c61944addedd183e

(112)

on February 08, 2012
at 08:21 PM

Well said. Lead by example....

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on February 08, 2012
at 07:29 PM

Do you have a break room with a coffee table? You could leave one of the easier to read paleo books lying around. The 21 Day Transformation one by Senior Sisson looks a bit like a magazine, big and splashy photo on the cover will probably get attention.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on February 08, 2012
at 06:55 PM

You can't make people do what they don't want to do. The trick is: How can you get them to want to do it? Read "How to Win Friends and Influence People". Seriously.

  • 193b7fb0fec8913d5ebb3b99a04d21c6

    asked by

    (2918)
  • Views
    1.5K
  • Last Activity
    1238D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

19 Answers

best answer

4
0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on February 09, 2012
at 01:56 AM

The instinct to want to protect our family or "tribe" is natural and important. Finding effective ways to communicate this can be challenging, however.

Remember when our parents would tell us not to do something they knew would harm us, yet we did it anyway and found out the hard way? I've been thinking a lot about similar things lately and this is what it reminds me of. More often than not, what bugged me the most as a kid was asking why and constantly hearing "because I told you so" or "because I'm the parent". Okay then. Don't bother taking the time to explain WHY I shouldn't touch the burner on the stove, just tell me not to and assert your authority. Then see what I do.

(No offense Mom and Dad!)

In my experience, people don't respond well when others attempt to "assert authority" over them. They may be parents and children, marital partners, or even supervisors and employees, but it is how you communicate something that is key. When it comes to sharing Paleo with people, I don't think we can expect to get many warm receptions with a "just because" type of approach. I doubt hardly any of us came to Paleo this way, either.

I like how you asked "Is food really that important that you feel like your quality of life is going to be jeopardized if you give up something as dumb as bread?"

This seemed like a no-brainer to me when I gave up bread. It was also just the newfound curiosity to find out what that might be like since I had ALWAYS eaten bread my whole life.

I agree with many others who have responded, though. It is usually best if we come to these critical decisions on our own. However, that's not to say we can't share positive experiences and helpful information with the people we care about. For me, it would almost be irresponsible or even negligent not to do so.

Be patient. In the beginning it's tempting to grab a megaphone and shout from the rooftops, but don't underestimate the value of preparation. I say avoid pushing, live the example, and casually share information (and perhaps good Paleo food!) when the opportunity presents itself.

Here's my personal plan:

I tend to stay off the digital radar more than most folks in my circles of family and friends (no Facebook or any other "social media" for me), so I've been working up to possibly sending out an email to everyone after six months Paleo as my own kind of "status update" in which I'm simply going to share my experience. I'll mention that I'd be happy to talk to anyone who might be interested in learning more details about what I've been doing, and from that point I may drop a link to an article or three every once in awhile to that same little "email list" of folks who I really care about. I've been documenting my progress and bookmarking links like a mad man, so by then I hope to be well-prepared.

I'm not expecting anyone to change their views or lifestyle overnight. I know I didn't. A little bone here, eggs and bacon there, a thick juicy grass-fed steak and some Pubmed articles wrapped in love, though, and that may just be all it takes for a few folks on my list. Others may require more data and/or butter, while some might just be resolved to the SAD indefinitely.

I'm not out to "convince" anybody, but I'll gladly share my experience.

7
6498694060d879a7960b35913539b75f

(1307)

on February 08, 2012
at 06:50 PM

I don't think "tactfully" and "push" belong in the same sentence. If they are interested, they will ask. Otherwise, let them make their own food choices. We each have our own journey.

193b7fb0fec8913d5ebb3b99a04d21c6

(2918)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

Haha. Okay, "encourage".

Medium avatar

(12379)

on February 08, 2012
at 11:07 PM

I agree with PaleoDel - you are going to come off as a pushy know-it-all. Let people come to their own conclusions or let them ask you questions

Medium avatar

(19469)

on February 08, 2012
at 09:51 PM

I agree and would like to add that "tactfully" and "push" combine to form "manipulate"! Even with the best intentions, this is not going to feel good for the other person and takes your focus away from the only thing that you can sorta control, you!

6
5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on February 08, 2012
at 07:11 PM

You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink. And if you try, you'll get a couple horseshoes in the face.

5
15b482fb13aab3e8eea76d66732439cb

(120)

on February 09, 2012
at 03:53 AM

As others have said... Live the example. When I was 500 lbs, I just wasn't ready, but I became ready, found low carb, then paleo... Now that I'm 156 lbs down, people notice, they ask, I tell them, its their choice, and you will be there when they are ready.

When the student is ready,the master appears. Be the example, and others will appear.

When someone is huge, there may be issues with eating disorders. I would suggest looking into overeaters anonymous. Them, with paleo, had kept me on track.

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on February 09, 2012
at 08:57 PM

Congrats on taking control of your health, Silentbob. I have a few friends who would consider themselves "huge" who I would love to introduce to Paleo eventually. One of them is my old roommate from college who is actually interested enough that he's coming to spend his spring break week (he's a prof now) with me in order to learn more. Unfortunately a lot of our generation never learned basic stuff like how to actually cook real food. I know in college $$ was tight so our staples were cereal, ramen noodles, mac&cheese, sandwiches, pizza and soda. No wonder we got fat. Anyhow keep it up!

4
Fb67dc30cead043d1d13ea503a3044dc

(3280)

on February 08, 2012
at 08:31 PM

My early enthusiastic proselytizing totally pissed off a bunch of my friends. The urge to convert by force wore off quickly (thanks in part to the repeated frosty receptions). I found it was better to show by example and wait til they got curious...and eventually plenty of them did. Like Harlow, I now have a circle of success stories -- and they're the ones that came to me. The ones I got aggressive with still won't talk about food with me, period.

It will take more time than you want; months and months. But a few more months after a lifetime of SAD isn't going to kill them (hopefully). I know it feels desperately urgent, but it honestly will be better if they don't feel badgered and attacked, and rather can feel like it was their idea and thus their own native wisdom that led them to ask.

3
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on February 08, 2012
at 08:16 PM

Do you respond well to tactful pushing? I don't.

When people I know, even loved ones, try to use tactful pushing on me they are surprised to find I do in fact have a feisty side. I will not be managed.

If I ask, you are free to share your experience and your hypotheses--how often do we really KNOW anything?

If I compliment you, you can at least say "Thanks, __ is really agreeing with me."

Did you give paleo a try because someone else thought you should? I didn't.

Maybe I'm just stubborn. Could be.

67f3387f0308b570c61944addedd183e

(112)

on February 08, 2012
at 08:21 PM

Well said. Lead by example....

3
22fcea5ec4415ff2238c663324aca40f

(556)

on February 08, 2012
at 06:54 PM

I led by example. I didn't nag about going paleo, but I made if very well known to people why my body was changing for the good and why my perception of life had changed. I eventually got my sister on bored and just tried to be supportive. I feel your frustrations though. I think it's really silly to let eating control your life. I had a slight advantage because I had been a vegetarian for about 2 months and went vegan for a month and felt like death, and my friends and family watch me go through it. Just be suggestive, but not intrusive.

3
5e5ff249c9161b8cd96d7eff6043bc3a

(4713)

on February 08, 2012
at 06:48 PM

I feel this exact way about my parents. All they want to do is eat bagels, take statins, and complain about how they can't lose any weight. It drives me insane. I've come to the conclusion that my efforts to help only end up driving a wedge between us. I need to just keep living my life the best I can and let them live their life. If they ever come to me and want to know more, I'll do what I can. Until then though, I feel I need to let go of the feeling that I have the answers and need to fix others who don't want my help. I know this isn't to say your friends don't want your help, just my thoughts on the subject.

2
361bc16cfdad25411a6f93e10c45aadc

on February 09, 2012
at 03:25 AM

Read the book Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

I've read it and it's floating around my family now. It's simple, captivating, and full of strategies and examples for change in any life situation.

The basic premise is that change is like a person riding an elephant down a path (bear with me here).

The rider is the "knowing" part - Your friend, the rider, wants to lose weight. What should they do? The elephant represents motivation - The elephant really likes cupcakes. So even though the rider wants to lose weight, a person can't force an elephant do stop eating cupcakes if it wants to. What is motivating enough to not want cupcakes? The path represents the environment for change - If there are cupcakes around the elephant is going to eat them. How can we remove the cupcakes?

This is a very basic example of the framework outlined in the book, but as you can see it gives you three angles to work one change situation. They provide tons of variations and tactics to address fixing each part of the framework...

The next one I'm going to read is Motivational Interviewing. Which I think is how to "interview" people in a way that motivates them ;)

Good luck.

2
F92e4ca55291c3f3096a3d4d3d854986

(11698)

on February 08, 2012
at 09:46 PM

One not-too-pushy way I'm trying to convert others is to "like" Paleo stuff on my FB, or link to certain articles, etc. Those who are interested will read, and if they want to know more, they'll ask me.

306aa57660d911781231f8090c2a5619

(3808)

on February 08, 2012
at 11:42 PM

That was what I was going to suggest. I link to articles of widespread interest (I posted http://huntgatherlove.com/content/why-women-need-fat yesterday, for example), on the theory that, if it resonates, people are likely to poke around the site and read more.

2
88a3d907cfbe4cb0a23fd5da36161f9b

(614)

on February 08, 2012
at 06:52 PM

I agree with the previous post. I don't think you can tactfully push someone. Sorry this doesn't answer your question, but it's true. You can tell people how great you feel and about the results (weight loss, strength, cured ailments, etc) and then answer questions when they ask. But doing more than this isn't productive.

1
D5d982a898721d3392c85f951d0bf0aa

(2417)

on February 09, 2012
at 05:09 AM

As someone who has struggled with my weight for my entire life, and who has a lot of shame tied up into that struggle - I would expect some of your potential tactful comments to HORRIFY your colleagues. They know they are fat. They KNOW they could be doing better. Inertia, addiction, habit, shame, fear - all these things and more could be immobilizing them.

I think the more compassion you show for them (sometimes by keeping your mouth shut, and sometimes through positive reinforcement and kindness) the more you'll open the door to change for them. But I suspect you may just be setting yourself up to cause these people shame or grief or sadness. Share your snacks, offer a recipe, read your books in the break room. But remember we live in a society that tells overweight people (and especially women) that they are of weaker character than their lithe and athletic peers. So they may very well take your caring inquiry as criticism of their character and their body.

D5d982a898721d3392c85f951d0bf0aa

(2417)

on February 09, 2012
at 05:11 AM

Another thought - keep any comments HEALTH focused. NOT weight. Like the lifestyle v. diet distinction. It matters.

1
C4f1a0c70c4e0dea507c2e346c036bbd

on February 08, 2012
at 10:30 PM

Drop them off in the middle of the amazon with a spear!

C4f1a0c70c4e0dea507c2e346c036bbd

on February 09, 2012
at 03:24 AM

It makes it even funnier. How else due you fend off all of that targeted advertising.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on February 09, 2012
at 02:18 AM

Is anyone else freaked out that word "amazon" turns into a link all by itself, even when it isn't appropriate?

1
Ab19df3ededa28f7bf7daeba8435b205

on February 08, 2012
at 08:24 PM

strong text**Having to sit back and change your body while you wait for them to take notice will be a great challenge for you but it will strengthen something in you first. **strong text Do your best to arm yourself with higher medical knowledge regarding the medical tests, supplements, basic % of protien, fat, etc that an obese person may need so that when they come around you can speak as though Rob Wolf were whispering the answers in your ear. BAsically when they start getting inquisitive you will have to have your best answers ready. Be prepared...it will probably be when you least expect it...Also, let them see some of your paleo snacks. Out of ease of lunch on my days I have to go into the office (10:30-2:30) I would either fast or take an avacado. Since they only saw me once a week this was their reference to what I ate. (i work nights from home except when i am filling in during the day) so they started asking when lunch came around if I was eating another avacado?!.... Now I either IF or I show them a really drool worthy lunch...... I am a fatty at heart no matter how much i lose..and there isnt anything more enticing than a visually appealing food to make me want to eat a certain way!~

Ab19df3ededa28f7bf7daeba8435b205

(1471)

on February 08, 2012
at 08:25 PM

ok I was trying to use bold but it keeps showing up as strong text ..

1
023b769d82ebb31b8bf968a7a86663a6

(320)

on February 08, 2012
at 08:05 PM

Lead by quiet and unwavering example. Let them come to you; Trust me they will be curious after they see how much you've changed for the better.

Once, they come to you give them your elevator pitch of paleo, and if they have questions answer them. They may think that you are nuts at first but sooner or later if nothing else curiosity will get the best of them. (The key is to not push them, hound them, lecture them or ridicule their current food/lifestyle choices.)

It may continue with them coming back to you to ask what you think of a certain food, or exercise. Be honest, and thorough if it is tofu explain why you avoid it, same if it is whole wheat bread, pasta, legumes, etc... (Explaining that fat is not the devil is always the one that really blows minds)

I have converted many friends, family and co-workers by doing this, and even later had them come thank me and ask how they can convert their friends/family.

1
095ef76482234d3db444b77d7ed01c29

(2755)

on February 08, 2012
at 07:01 PM

If they see the benefits to you and you explain it to them. Beyond that, nothing really that you can do.

I've explained it to my many overweight, diabetic coworkers...and they just aren't interested. They think I just eat weird. My high level of fitness does not even come into consideration...it's just a weird way of eating. Even though it's basically very similar as theirs without the bread and pasta...and less potatoes...and none of those cut into little strips and deep fried in vegetable oil or soy oil.

1
6714718e2245e5190017d643a7614157

on February 08, 2012
at 06:51 PM

People have to come to their own conclusions. Forcing them usually doesn't work. Leading by silent example is usually the best strategy. When someone notices and comments on your improved health, take that as your cue to explain what you did to improve your health.

0
283fd5f2c43595ef53ab832c9f20aa30

(0)

on September 30, 2014
at 11:24 PM

Plan out a class and display the outline, offering it for a price. Price is important to get them to buy into the lessons for real. Even a per lesson price, maybe.

-1
8292546789ca48c32ead34c6e884d059

on February 09, 2012
at 05:22 AM

I saw a couple of people at work I wanted to anonymously send a book too. I didn't. I figured it would be unwelcome. One I think might die in the next year or so.

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!