6

votes

What is my obligation to help others with this information I now have?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 24, 2012 at 12:36 PM

I lost a friend last night when I (gently) argued that her approach to her neolithic diseases (many, mostly inflammation/obesity related) may not be working. In short, I think she thinks that I am arrogant, suggesting that I know more than her doctors and Weight Watchers (with which she is "managing" her diseases). I lost a friend clearly, she is done with me. My thinking is: I could maybe have helped her eek out another 20 years, with improved health, by guiding her to resources like MDA, PH, Chris Kresser, etc. My way is certainly not right, but clearly better than her chosen path, and I wanted to help her. I can understand that to her I sounded like a nosy know-it-all. To complicate matters, I kind of knew that she would not take it well (she may enjoy that her husband has to take care of her, she may thrive on her disease and the excuses they give her), and yet I pressed on... I felt as though I couldn't NOT try to help her, no matter the outcome; almost as though I couldn't look myself in the mirror if I did not at least try.

On the other hand, my MIL has lost 90 pounds, almost cured her serious T2Diabetes, greatly ameliorated her heart disease, and improved so many very conditions, that I don't mind pressing on, and losing friends occasionally, as long as I occasionally can actually help someone live a better life. (Actually, my "help" numbers at least 4 people, who went on to some incredible health improvements, and some of them are helping others now).

So, please, do you have any thoughts on where our "obligations" begin and end? I think my boundaries may be a bit muddied...

Medium avatar

(572)

on July 25, 2012
at 12:02 PM

Oh yes! And I do not want to be that girl. I don't want to see Coyote Ugly on anyone's face!

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10490)

on July 24, 2012
at 10:44 PM

I second what Crowlover said. PaleoBarbie realizes that her approach wasn't ideal and is asking for help. Being mean to her isn't going to help anyone.

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on July 24, 2012
at 08:12 PM

It's like being approached by that guy, 'Have you heard the good news...'. The look on everyone's face is the wide eyed 'where is the escape hatch' expression.

Ac04066a888a3f0b66f9a2935a6117c3

(315)

on July 24, 2012
at 06:11 PM

The people who encourage me most lead by example. I am motivated to work harder for the boss who is a hard-worker. I run faster for the coach who is running right next to me. I became Paleo after seeing a friend make the change. He politely answered my questions about why he was making these strange changes then waited the year it took me to come around. When I became more curious, he lent me Robb Wolf's book but still let me come to my own conclusions. I never felt pressured which allowed me to be more commited when I made the change...I did it for me and no one else.

C0c839648b31512515daaffe8e4e9ad1

(468)

on July 24, 2012
at 05:52 PM

Alternatively, I actually love when people tell me the right thing vs the wrong. I thrive on it. How would any of us have learned anything if it wasn't for people helping us?? Real friends would really want to help. I'm glad when I find any of those.

8d0159cec3d62b31d9acce9243915ab9

(20)

on July 24, 2012
at 04:16 PM

@mM: and then there are people who actually want to help the people they care about. PaleoBarbie wasn't walking down the street with a bullhorn and sandwich board shouting her opinions about food and nutrition to the general public. She was talking to a friend with real health problems that could be greatly alleviated with this lifestyle. I only found Paleo because a friend had recently started and was so excited about it she could barely talk about anything else for a week. Annoying, yes, but also convincing. And I'm very grateful to her.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on July 24, 2012
at 04:13 PM

http://whole9life.com/2010/05/the-paleo-pitch/ Only if asked. No longer than the pitch shown. Don't offer more unless asked for more. If you feel the NEED to help people, you're not the right person to save them one by one in person. Start a blog.

59fa7cd87fb9d669adf21e5cf3e7ada5

on July 24, 2012
at 04:10 PM

Imo the giving of unsolicited advice to an adult is rude and offensive. With children it's okay because they are presumed to be incapable of managing their own lives.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on July 24, 2012
at 04:09 PM

@PB I was not the one who used the term mean-spirited. If you mean that I am mean-spirited, your entitled to you opinion. I feel relatively strongly about this topic, because I used to be one of those proselytizing people. (for a different cause) Eventually I discovered what a harmful thing that can be, both for others and yourself. If your friend gave you an opening, it's fine to talk to her about paleo, but it's clear that you went to far. IF you are asked for info, here's how. http://whole9life.com/2010/05/the-paleo-pitch/ Don't go further than the elevator speech unless asked for more.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on July 24, 2012
at 04:06 PM

It might work to say something like "hey I'd love to tell you about my mother in law and how she lost x pounds and is no longer insulin dependent" or something like that.

8d0159cec3d62b31d9acce9243915ab9

(20)

on July 24, 2012
at 04:05 PM

Wow, why is everyone assuming the worst? It didn't sound like you were being unnecessarily self-righteous or pushy, PaleoBarbie. It seems like you were genuinely just trying to help a friend. Friends help each other. They take away your keys when you've had too much to drink, they tell you when you have food in your teeth, they keep you from doing stupid things that could harm you, because they care. A good friendship is not all sunshine and rainbows because a good friend is there for you through EVERY aspect of life, not just the good times. I say keep trying, PaleoBarbie.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on July 24, 2012
at 04:03 PM

PaleoBarbie - I think you have to gauge it with each person. The friend you describe may have her own issues with co-dependency or whatever. She may not want to get well. You may or may not want to remain friends with someone like that. Friendship is a two way street so its possible she is not healthy enough to be a good friend. Anyway her aside, in general, I think you need to put a feeler out so you can judge if the person is open to hearing about a new way of eating or lifestyle. If they are not interested, why bother proceeding. It will be a turn off for them & frustrating for you.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on July 24, 2012
at 03:59 PM

Let's give PaleoBarbie the benefit of the doubt here please people. She knows she was not effective and is asking for help. Let's not go to worst case scenario.

724ac8ed9ddc603e87adf6cfb901a8d8

(325)

on July 24, 2012
at 03:56 PM

+1 because this is a great way to be in life in general :)

06c0ce9ada45c9680344e22e28b3960f

on July 24, 2012
at 03:52 PM

Karen, why mean-spirited, and assuming the worst about me? Unhelpful. I am learning a great deal from this post. I don't like some of the answers, true, but am trying to assimilate all. Also, there is not as much difference in my RL situation with my friend - she gave me an opening that I deemed as *asking* for my help.

06c0ce9ada45c9680344e22e28b3960f

on July 24, 2012
at 03:49 PM

Karen, agreed... I am discovering that I pushed too hard. But to say I was doing "blame and criticism" and I was "lecturing" is a far-fetched, distorting, mean-spirited, and utterly unhelpful.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on July 24, 2012
at 03:43 PM

Of course it doesn't mean that people will get the answers they want or like the answers they're given. Take what you can use and leave the rest.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on July 24, 2012
at 03:41 PM

The difference from RL encounters like the one with your friend and PH discussions is that people here ASK for help/information. For instance, you asked "So, please, do you have any thoughts on where our "obligations" begin and end?"

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on July 24, 2012
at 03:37 PM

If you lost a friend, that's a pretty clear sign that you pushed way too hard.

06c0ce9ada45c9680344e22e28b3960f

on July 24, 2012
at 03:18 PM

Would love constructive criticism on how to improve my delivery.

06c0ce9ada45c9680344e22e28b3960f

on July 24, 2012
at 03:17 PM

SatFat - I was doing "blame and criticism" and I was "lecturing", how do you get that from my post? You assume some critical facts that may simply not be true.

06c0ce9ada45c9680344e22e28b3960f

on July 24, 2012
at 02:57 PM

nM - thanks. You are right a wee bit. I am *not* one of those EVIL types you mention, but I will admit that my ego *did* get in the way, just a wee bit. I can tell, because, a few of your (more gentle!) words *did* resonate with me. Thanks.

4ecfe8ee47ea62a11be516cd59701a4b

(30)

on July 24, 2012
at 02:52 PM

Think Madonna - "poppa don't preach." Blame & criticism don't work. You have no obligation to lecture others. :)

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on July 24, 2012
at 02:24 PM

If you are able to help others in this way, then more power to you. Perhaps I lack sublety or empathy...

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on July 24, 2012
at 02:21 PM

@PB - That's a key point, however, I found that I got nowhere when I mentioned to people ordering egg-white omlettes that the nutrition was all in the yolk. If I say cholesterol and and saturated fat are fine, but that "heart healthy" whole grains or canola oil are bad for you, why should they believe me over the rest of the establishment culture? (Got milk?) After all, that message has been pounded into them for years. If I say anything to people (only if interested), it's about cultural transitions - how HG and others who switch to a western lifestyle and diet become obese/diabetic, etc.

153c4e4a22734ded15bf4eb35b448e85

(762)

on July 24, 2012
at 02:17 PM

That was a bit harsh, sorry about that, I didn't actually mean that you are one of these professional helper types who have a real problem with wanting to "help" people. What I meant that often times there is something going on with the person who has found the "light" in some way and who is trying to steer others there too, sometimes with force even, behind that there is always egostuff, and seeing others through the ego makes you lose sight of the person inside, and that's how you start behaving in a way which makes you lose friends, because your friend isn't a person to you anymore.

06c0ce9ada45c9680344e22e28b3960f

on July 24, 2012
at 02:11 PM

Ouch, nM, that hurt. Along those same lines, does that also apply to those "helping" others in this very discussion? (I do not think so, for the most part, BTW).

06c0ce9ada45c9680344e22e28b3960f

on July 24, 2012
at 02:08 PM

My point was not to feel superior by educating her. My point was to add length and quality of life... she is my friend, and I care about her! I am wondering why you assumed the former? (Not baiting, sincerely wondering)

153c4e4a22734ded15bf4eb35b448e85

(762)

on July 24, 2012
at 01:59 PM

I have found that people who want to "help" others have a problem within themselves, and the "help" is only for their own ego gratification. These "helpers" are some of the cruelest, most evil people I have ever known, although they themselves feel that they are just there "to help" others.

153c4e4a22734ded15bf4eb35b448e85

(762)

on July 24, 2012
at 01:57 PM

Great answer! There is so much information, and inspiration from people; I think that when the time is ready for someone, they will find solutions which will resonate with them at that time, no need to force anyones hand and lose friends by being rude. Ideologies, which are just ideas, should not come between real living, breathing, people.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on July 24, 2012
at 01:56 PM

If you want to keep friends and influence people, start a blog.

153c4e4a22734ded15bf4eb35b448e85

(762)

on July 24, 2012
at 01:53 PM

I don't know why anyone would want a friend who explains to them how they are wrong, and makes them feel like shit. Relationships, I think, are something else than making people feel bad. People mostly go by how other people make them feel, not by how "educational" their "friends" are to them.

06c0ce9ada45c9680344e22e28b3960f

on July 24, 2012
at 01:48 PM

Karen, yes, I agree, but only partially. My (thoroughly flawed) method has so far immensely helped 4 people, possibly more (as it is paleod-forward). I have lost one friend (perhaps annoyed a few others, I don't know). I do not believe there should be a scoreboard of how many people have been helped indirectly through me, though I just *cannot* ignore these numbers. Since they are overwhelmingly positive so far (many more helped than hindered), how do I overlook that? Doesn't it suggest to keep going with my efforts and my "obligation"?

06c0ce9ada45c9680344e22e28b3960f

on July 24, 2012
at 01:45 PM

Dave S., agreed. However, the vast majority of us *know* that cigarettes are unhealthy. But many of us do *not* know that perhaps gluten or casein can be problematic for some, therein lies the difference. I have never, ever felt the need to mention anything about cigarettes, for that reason - it is well-known and does not take a lot of research to discover :)

474ae29b80569199c6589e879e6cd7d1

on July 24, 2012
at 01:42 PM

I feel obligated to +1 Karen.

474ae29b80569199c6589e879e6cd7d1

on July 24, 2012
at 01:29 PM

It sadly took me a few decades to learn this, but the best way to lose a friend is to helpfully explain to them how they're wrong. The only thing you can do is model a healthy life and hopefully they are inspired. There are a lot of good people who believe a lot of bad information. Articulating their wrongs merely puts up a wall between you and them.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on July 24, 2012
at 01:09 PM

Do you badger smokers, telling them they should quit, that they are ruining their lives? I don't. People are at least aware that junk like donuts, french fries, cookies, candy and soda are bad for you, but they eat it anyway, because they like it. They don't want to be told that they shouldn't, anymore than smokers want to be told to stop smoking. They will stop smoking when they decide to stop - usually too late. The only thing I will do is annoy them if I tell them to stop. Sometimes I will make a joke like: "Eating butter is like taking vitamins!", but that's about it.

06c0ce9ada45c9680344e22e28b3960f

on July 24, 2012
at 01:04 PM

To answer your question - yes, I have to say it *was* worth losing THIS friend over, in order to clarify this issue for me, so I can learn to be more helpful to others in the future. But there are other friends/family that it would NOT be worth losing, so I am thankful for the discussion here with this question, so I won't lose friends/family for whom I care even more.

06c0ce9ada45c9680344e22e28b3960f

on July 24, 2012
at 01:00 PM

Thank you for posting this - helpful to hear that someone like Dr. Harris has *found* his boundary. Sounds like he has obviously had this struggle, and has found it NOT his obligation to help those who don't really want it. The problem I have: how can you look at yourself in the mirror knowing you have the capability to help (at a steep potential price to yourself!) and yet do not because the recipient is obviously not receptive... I may struggle a while longer with this, but your posts are nudging me along quickly to my endpoint in this struggle, thank you.

06c0ce9ada45c9680344e22e28b3960f

on July 24, 2012
at 12:57 PM

You got me with the "cognitive dissonance" - I think that is *exactly* what I caused for her :( And yes, to *her* I *did* attack HER (I did not, but I can see that she would have to think that, to preserve her own beliefs). She was not entirely receptive to my help, but I waited until an opening, and jumped right in. Crap.

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13 Answers

15
81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on July 24, 2012
at 01:15 PM

My friends and I had a rule that we adopted back in high school (wow...that was a long time ago). If we didn't like each others girlfriends, we were to speak up and say something. ONLY once though. That was it. One time we were obligated to tell a friend, 'What are you doing!? She's X.' After that, keep our mouth shut. Then when it didn't work, we got to say I told you so and rub it in.

I find that to be good strategy in life. Voice your disagreement or opinion on a subject, share your concerns with your family and friends, and then move on with your life. If you harp on a subject again and again, you come off preachy, condescending, and in the end do more harm than good. It is after all their life.

We live in the information age. Information is free and available to all (with internet access). If someone is unwilling to do a basic Google search (which is where 90% of us started this journey) then they don't want to change. No amount of brow beating will change that.

724ac8ed9ddc603e87adf6cfb901a8d8

(325)

on July 24, 2012
at 03:56 PM

+1 because this is a great way to be in life in general :)

153c4e4a22734ded15bf4eb35b448e85

(762)

on July 24, 2012
at 01:57 PM

Great answer! There is so much information, and inspiration from people; I think that when the time is ready for someone, they will find solutions which will resonate with them at that time, no need to force anyones hand and lose friends by being rude. Ideologies, which are just ideas, should not come between real living, breathing, people.

11
5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on July 24, 2012
at 01:31 PM

A lot of extremely religious people feel an obligation to save their fellow humans from a fiery hell. They knock on your door on weekends.

A lot of vegans feel an obligation to save their fellow humans (and the animals) from the horrible health affects of eating animal products. They force handouts on you outside restaurants.

Don't be these people. Proselytizing never improves a relationship. It's quite possible that your friend (hopefully not ex - apologizing helps) is now immunized against paleo. Think about how you feel when someone tries to save you from the horrid affects of eating paleo.

It doesn't matter that you are trying to help them. Everyone who feels the need to change another is sure that they are going to help them. Live life your way, for yourself. Don't start this discussion. If someone is interested, they will ask you. Don't overwhelm them. Keep it short and sweet.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on July 24, 2012
at 01:56 PM

If you want to keep friends and influence people, start a blog.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on July 24, 2012
at 02:24 PM

If you are able to help others in this way, then more power to you. Perhaps I lack sublety or empathy...

474ae29b80569199c6589e879e6cd7d1

on July 24, 2012
at 01:42 PM

I feel obligated to +1 Karen.

06c0ce9ada45c9680344e22e28b3960f

on July 24, 2012
at 01:48 PM

Karen, yes, I agree, but only partially. My (thoroughly flawed) method has so far immensely helped 4 people, possibly more (as it is paleod-forward). I have lost one friend (perhaps annoyed a few others, I don't know). I do not believe there should be a scoreboard of how many people have been helped indirectly through me, though I just *cannot* ignore these numbers. Since they are overwhelmingly positive so far (many more helped than hindered), how do I overlook that? Doesn't it suggest to keep going with my efforts and my "obligation"?

6
1398eff69b192c35de5e0dbaad59052a

(2024)

on July 24, 2012
at 03:40 PM

If you knew she wouldn't take it well, then why did you continue talking? That's not respectful of another person and his or her choices.

At the risk of sounding harsh, it seems that building your "help" numbers is more important than friendship. Which is fine if that's where you want to go with it. But IMO, building those numbers is as much, if not more, about making yourself feel good as it is about helping them. And that's the boundary: Are you genuinely doing it for your friend ... or are you doing it so you can be the mighty paleo savior?

6
Cccb899526fb5908f64176e0a74ed2d9

(2801)

on July 24, 2012
at 12:50 PM

Context is crucial here. Did you initiate the argument, or did she inquire about your dietary choices beforehand? Diet is as sensitive a topic as politics and religion because most people feel it implies a lot about their character; how disciplined they are, how informed, etc. Pair that with the relevance of the "obesity crisis" and modern health crisis and you've got one heck of a sh-tstorm on the horizon if you open that can of worms (they're Paleo, no worries).

Changes in diet and lifestyle can (and do) often have a tremendously beneficial impact on peoples' lives, should they choose to endure the stresses of sustaining major alterations to habits ingrained from the first time they savored a Carvel cake-batter Carvelanche with gramps. What is food? A social facilitator, a drug, a source of nutrients and energy? The answer is yes, depending on the way you look at it.

This woman likely has reservations and concerns about her dietary choices that are only augmented by her own diseased state. She's scared, and when you jump into the picture with a radically alternative viewpoint, you're causing MAJOR cognitive dissonance and making things very unpleasant for her.

The bottom line is this: even if she would benefit from the changes you suggest, it's important that you first gauge her receptivity to change. If she's clearly stuck in her ways, then it'll take a lot more than giving a Paleo-preaching seminar to shift her viewpoint. She is looking at you through biased lenses; when you attack her diet, you attack her core make-up, her intelligence, her knowledge.

Be gentle and be wary, she's in a tough spot and she knows it.

06c0ce9ada45c9680344e22e28b3960f

on July 24, 2012
at 12:57 PM

You got me with the "cognitive dissonance" - I think that is *exactly* what I caused for her :( And yes, to *her* I *did* attack HER (I did not, but I can see that she would have to think that, to preserve her own beliefs). She was not entirely receptive to my help, but I waited until an opening, and jumped right in. Crap.

5
A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on July 24, 2012
at 12:50 PM

Was it worth losing a friend over?

My wife and kids eat SAD/neolithic and I was very zealous 2 years ago. It only hardened them against me. I don't talk about food much any more. It's not worth the trouble. Anyone who is interested in food and health can find this information quite easily.

As Dr. Harris stated in his getting started post:

"So eat what you want. This is simply free advice that has worked very well for me and at least hundreds of patients and readers. I'm not trying to save the world, as I find it generally does not want saving."

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on July 24, 2012
at 02:21 PM

@PB - That's a key point, however, I found that I got nowhere when I mentioned to people ordering egg-white omlettes that the nutrition was all in the yolk. If I say cholesterol and and saturated fat are fine, but that "heart healthy" whole grains or canola oil are bad for you, why should they believe me over the rest of the establishment culture? (Got milk?) After all, that message has been pounded into them for years. If I say anything to people (only if interested), it's about cultural transitions - how HG and others who switch to a western lifestyle and diet become obese/diabetic, etc.

06c0ce9ada45c9680344e22e28b3960f

on July 24, 2012
at 03:52 PM

Karen, why mean-spirited, and assuming the worst about me? Unhelpful. I am learning a great deal from this post. I don't like some of the answers, true, but am trying to assimilate all. Also, there is not as much difference in my RL situation with my friend - she gave me an opening that I deemed as *asking* for my help.

06c0ce9ada45c9680344e22e28b3960f

on July 24, 2012
at 01:00 PM

Thank you for posting this - helpful to hear that someone like Dr. Harris has *found* his boundary. Sounds like he has obviously had this struggle, and has found it NOT his obligation to help those who don't really want it. The problem I have: how can you look at yourself in the mirror knowing you have the capability to help (at a steep potential price to yourself!) and yet do not because the recipient is obviously not receptive... I may struggle a while longer with this, but your posts are nudging me along quickly to my endpoint in this struggle, thank you.

153c4e4a22734ded15bf4eb35b448e85

(762)

on July 24, 2012
at 02:17 PM

That was a bit harsh, sorry about that, I didn't actually mean that you are one of these professional helper types who have a real problem with wanting to "help" people. What I meant that often times there is something going on with the person who has found the "light" in some way and who is trying to steer others there too, sometimes with force even, behind that there is always egostuff, and seeing others through the ego makes you lose sight of the person inside, and that's how you start behaving in a way which makes you lose friends, because your friend isn't a person to you anymore.

06c0ce9ada45c9680344e22e28b3960f

on July 24, 2012
at 02:57 PM

nM - thanks. You are right a wee bit. I am *not* one of those EVIL types you mention, but I will admit that my ego *did* get in the way, just a wee bit. I can tell, because, a few of your (more gentle!) words *did* resonate with me. Thanks.

59fa7cd87fb9d669adf21e5cf3e7ada5

on July 24, 2012
at 04:10 PM

Imo the giving of unsolicited advice to an adult is rude and offensive. With children it's okay because they are presumed to be incapable of managing their own lives.

06c0ce9ada45c9680344e22e28b3960f

on July 24, 2012
at 01:45 PM

Dave S., agreed. However, the vast majority of us *know* that cigarettes are unhealthy. But many of us do *not* know that perhaps gluten or casein can be problematic for some, therein lies the difference. I have never, ever felt the need to mention anything about cigarettes, for that reason - it is well-known and does not take a lot of research to discover :)

153c4e4a22734ded15bf4eb35b448e85

(762)

on July 24, 2012
at 01:59 PM

I have found that people who want to "help" others have a problem within themselves, and the "help" is only for their own ego gratification. These "helpers" are some of the cruelest, most evil people I have ever known, although they themselves feel that they are just there "to help" others.

06c0ce9ada45c9680344e22e28b3960f

on July 24, 2012
at 01:04 PM

To answer your question - yes, I have to say it *was* worth losing THIS friend over, in order to clarify this issue for me, so I can learn to be more helpful to others in the future. But there are other friends/family that it would NOT be worth losing, so I am thankful for the discussion here with this question, so I won't lose friends/family for whom I care even more.

8d0159cec3d62b31d9acce9243915ab9

(20)

on July 24, 2012
at 04:16 PM

@mM: and then there are people who actually want to help the people they care about. PaleoBarbie wasn't walking down the street with a bullhorn and sandwich board shouting her opinions about food and nutrition to the general public. She was talking to a friend with real health problems that could be greatly alleviated with this lifestyle. I only found Paleo because a friend had recently started and was so excited about it she could barely talk about anything else for a week. Annoying, yes, but also convincing. And I'm very grateful to her.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on July 24, 2012
at 01:09 PM

Do you badger smokers, telling them they should quit, that they are ruining their lives? I don't. People are at least aware that junk like donuts, french fries, cookies, candy and soda are bad for you, but they eat it anyway, because they like it. They don't want to be told that they shouldn't, anymore than smokers want to be told to stop smoking. They will stop smoking when they decide to stop - usually too late. The only thing I will do is annoy them if I tell them to stop. Sometimes I will make a joke like: "Eating butter is like taking vitamins!", but that's about it.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on July 24, 2012
at 03:41 PM

The difference from RL encounters like the one with your friend and PH discussions is that people here ASK for help/information. For instance, you asked "So, please, do you have any thoughts on where our "obligations" begin and end?"

06c0ce9ada45c9680344e22e28b3960f

on July 24, 2012
at 02:11 PM

Ouch, nM, that hurt. Along those same lines, does that also apply to those "helping" others in this very discussion? (I do not think so, for the most part, BTW).

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on July 24, 2012
at 04:09 PM

@PB I was not the one who used the term mean-spirited. If you mean that I am mean-spirited, your entitled to you opinion. I feel relatively strongly about this topic, because I used to be one of those proselytizing people. (for a different cause) Eventually I discovered what a harmful thing that can be, both for others and yourself. If your friend gave you an opening, it's fine to talk to her about paleo, but it's clear that you went to far. IF you are asked for info, here's how. http://whole9life.com/2010/05/the-paleo-pitch/ Don't go further than the elevator speech unless asked for more.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on July 24, 2012
at 03:43 PM

Of course it doesn't mean that people will get the answers they want or like the answers they're given. Take what you can use and leave the rest.

4
4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

on July 24, 2012
at 03:11 PM

hmmmm I'm more interested in being effective than right. There's a difference.

You have an obligation to yourself only, imo. I think you know that actually and are aware, as you say, that your boundaries are muddied. Great. Something to work on in yourself! A good thing.

You can only change yourself. Period Its not your job to "spread the good word" or save others. I agree that there is a religious zeal to your description of what you do.

Self righteous indignation is a huge turn off to me personally and to many. Even if I believed what you were saying or wanted the information, if the delivery was aggressive or arrogant, I would write you off as someone with lack of ability to communicate effectively and wouldn't listen. I'm just being honest here. Nobody likes a "know it all".

You seem to be very well intentioned. I bet you will figure out a way to improve your delivery.

Best of luck.

06c0ce9ada45c9680344e22e28b3960f

on July 24, 2012
at 03:18 PM

Would love constructive criticism on how to improve my delivery.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on July 24, 2012
at 04:06 PM

It might work to say something like "hey I'd love to tell you about my mother in law and how she lost x pounds and is no longer insulin dependent" or something like that.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on July 24, 2012
at 04:13 PM

http://whole9life.com/2010/05/the-paleo-pitch/ Only if asked. No longer than the pitch shown. Don't offer more unless asked for more. If you feel the NEED to help people, you're not the right person to save them one by one in person. Start a blog.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on July 24, 2012
at 04:03 PM

PaleoBarbie - I think you have to gauge it with each person. The friend you describe may have her own issues with co-dependency or whatever. She may not want to get well. You may or may not want to remain friends with someone like that. Friendship is a two way street so its possible she is not healthy enough to be a good friend. Anyway her aside, in general, I think you need to put a feeler out so you can judge if the person is open to hearing about a new way of eating or lifestyle. If they are not interested, why bother proceeding. It will be a turn off for them & frustrating for you.

Ac04066a888a3f0b66f9a2935a6117c3

(315)

on July 24, 2012
at 06:11 PM

The people who encourage me most lead by example. I am motivated to work harder for the boss who is a hard-worker. I run faster for the coach who is running right next to me. I became Paleo after seeing a friend make the change. He politely answered my questions about why he was making these strange changes then waited the year it took me to come around. When I became more curious, he lent me Robb Wolf's book but still let me come to my own conclusions. I never felt pressured which allowed me to be more commited when I made the change...I did it for me and no one else.

3
Fcf39d668ea77dea39efbe15f8ad74aa

on July 24, 2012
at 06:04 PM

To quote every therapist ever, "Use 'I' statements in place of 'you' statements."

But seriously, no disagreement over health, diet, fitness, etc. is worth losing a friendship. Life is too short (and much shorter if you don't adhere to the paleo way)!

:)

3
6e37f170409bc1b100c880c57508c5fd

on July 24, 2012
at 05:57 PM

PaleoBarbie, how timely! I just brought the Paleo topic up again with my sister, who is 300# or is it closer to 400#...I don't know.

I've been Paleo for 1 1/2 yrs but only had 25# to lose.

First mention was just that. Seconcd mention was a "you should read the books" and sent some links to jump-start it until she could get the books from the library.

Hadn't seen her in a couple of months, and when I saw her the other day trying to get up from kneeling off the floor, I almost cried.

I called her the next morning and coaxed her to read. Then the excuses started - high cholesterol can't be good, family won't go for it... So I tried the "try it for 30 days" gig and told her to tell me specifically which parts she wanted scienitific studies on.

I emailed to follow up a day later and she responed by saying she was going to clean out the fridge and go shopping that day!

When I did a status check 2 days later, she said she hadn't for various reasons.

She is seeing a therapist, mental illness runs in the family, as well as depression, etc.

Barbie, like you, I want to share something that actually works! Like when we shared going chemical free in the house, or...when the kids were younger, we talked through issues.

But somehow, she won't even read about it. It hit me when I realized she doesn't want to try to learn or read. Co-dependency, fear, independent, doesn't want a younger sister telling her what to do. I don't know.

I will say that I felt better, in a weird way, when I hear Robb Wolf say this week that he'd battled his very own parents over healthy eating! I Googled - Paleo Diet: How Do I Convince Someone to Try It?. Here's the post http://robbwolf.com/2012/04/04/paleo-diet-convince-it/.

So, like you, I kinda knew I probably shouldn't bring up Paleo in the first place, but when you love someone, it behooves me to try to help. So the ball is in her court now. She's intelligent enough to research it herself now. I wished her luck. What else can you say?

3
Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on July 24, 2012
at 04:24 PM

I just (as in last week) finished a master's in nutrition. Imagine how I feel in terms of wanting to proselytize to family, friends, and coworkers, with their endless stream of obesity, diabetes, autoimmunity, prescription meds, and on and on.

But my policy is to just keep my darn yap shut. If they want my help, they'll ask for it. (And starting in a few weeks, they can make an appointment and pay me for it, so it's their loss if they didn't pick my brain when it was free!)

Hehheh...mostly kidding. I'm always happy to talk food & health, but only if asked.

2
Cc3ce03985eac5ebcbb95fc2329f13b0

on July 24, 2012
at 05:28 PM

I find it's better to tell people what I'm doing, and how it's working for me, rather than criticise them. With family, I'm a bit more direct, though. But to me me, it's an awareness at how much I hate proselytizing. As an atheist, I absolutely can't stand when religious people sy things that imply that they know better, and that if I simply believed what they do, well, I'd be a better person.

When people ask about my way of eating, I tell them a little bit, then give them websites to look up and read on their own.

2
Medium avatar

on July 24, 2012
at 05:25 PM

OMgosh, this questions and all of the answers have been so eye-opening to ME. I am annoying and bossy. I must stop.

The advice I loved the most here is from Karen who said, "Proselytizing never improves a relationship."

I am going to shut the heck up unless asked from now on.

Medium avatar

(572)

on July 25, 2012
at 12:02 PM

Oh yes! And I do not want to be that girl. I don't want to see Coyote Ugly on anyone's face!

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on July 24, 2012
at 08:12 PM

It's like being approached by that guy, 'Have you heard the good news...'. The look on everyone's face is the wide eyed 'where is the escape hatch' expression.

1
D41fcf8a3e7f2fa31c7a9c444a505f3f

(362)

on July 24, 2012
at 12:53 PM

Think that is quite an interesting question.

I agree that people should know about Paleo but it is still up to them to go for it or not. Sometimes it's just not the right time for people to make a drastic change in their life and trying to force feed them Paleo could only lead to some sort of negative associations or even flat out rejection of the concept because they were pushed into a corner.

I just let them know why I think it works, how well it works for me and my other friends who jumped on the Paleo wagon. Once they are ready for change or encounter the concept again in a more open minded setting they will remember that a well meaning friend once told them about the primal lifestyle as well which they might perceive as an additional argument to give it a try.

0
Dc6407193ba441d1438f6f0c06af872b

on July 24, 2012
at 07:47 PM

There's no right answer to your question. Some people will come around if you beat them up enough. Some will never talk to you again if you don't switch to their diet! Everybody's different. There are a few people I'm working on, and I have a strategy tuned to each. But there are also many people who I'm not even going to try to approach with this, because what's the point?

I will say, though, that direct people like you make things happen in this world. Maybe one of those people I'm handling with kit gloves would have come around had I been more direct.

So who knows? Don't beat yourself up, keep promoting paleo the best you can, but the lesson is to tailor your pitch (or lack of) to your audience. This won't be the last person you alienate -- my modest pitches still haven't always gone over very will. That's life.

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