8

votes

Are you alienating people just by being healthy?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 11, 2012 at 8:25 AM

People who know me, know I'm into eating healthy. I won't eat everything they eat. However, I try not to drive others crazy. I'm strict at home, but bend the rules when I'm invited to someone's home for a meal or when I go out to eat. I won't eat total junk, but I can usually find something that's sort of ok. I try not to make a big deal about it, not to preach, though I'm so excited about how my own problems have disappeared that I do sometimes talk about it if the conversation goes that way.

It's happened quite a few times that I've been with people, not said one word about their choices, and had the feeling that my friends feel judged. Recently attended a public event. I ate before I went, knowing there were awful hotdogs and baked fries offerred. I just had some wine. My friends said stuff like "you wouldn't eat this, would you?" They felt they should apologise for digging in. I never asked them to eat what I eat (or not eat what I pass over).

On the other hand, they are complaining about weight gain and other, sometimes serious medical issues. Um... er... no comment.

I seem to be a walking reminder of what they feel they should be doing, but aren't. Sigh.

Anyone else feel this way? Any way to avoid it?

B8fa88e3a94784aeb9280cf1180564fa

(320)

on May 14, 2012
at 10:41 AM

That means you're human, not flawed. I did the same with a small sliver of cheese cake on a friend's birthday over the weekend. I had a great run in the woods the next day and turned my indiscretion into glycogen storing and had a great run :-)

Da20058e445fa4c5ce328132379521b3

(373)

on May 12, 2012
at 02:34 AM

And it confuses them too :) Bonus points!

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on May 11, 2012
at 05:30 PM

great answer. this goes well beyond just dietary choices. any positive thing we do with our lives could be resented by those who do not make the same choice.

0d0842381492a41b2173a04014aae810

(4875)

on May 11, 2012
at 04:38 PM

Yeah, I did - and he went a bit crazy. I didn't figure out if he was on meth or 'roids, but it was one of the two... self preservation necessitated that I apologize for bothering him and keep my head down.

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on May 11, 2012
at 04:14 PM

Short answer: Yes. I don't remember the specifics, but a study on dieters showed that when people dieted together (a family or group of friends), there success rate (measured as losing the weight and keeping it off) was significantly higher than dieters who tried it alone. Lifestyle changes do not happen in a vacuum. Being in a supportive community can make all the difference.

5cd8441bd01fc10816085bfc092477c4

(925)

on May 11, 2012
at 04:08 PM

HOnestly, I would have called the man out that made that remark. It's disgusting that he is teaching his child bigotry and hatred like that.

870fdea50f2a9f1cd2890c8e22549300

(2056)

on May 11, 2012
at 03:59 PM

http://paleohacks.com/questions/115102/the-first-rule-of-paleo-is-you-do-not-talk-about-paleo#axzz1uZkJ6K5Z

Ddfdaa75ac9f47e01fc71162dd0d38dc

on May 11, 2012
at 03:06 PM

People use food to mark social boundaries. Your diet change makes some of friends insecure about their place in the social circle. Just reassure them that your friendship isn't about the pizza.

34503e0d0acbea7cfc44d180454571f4

(134)

on May 11, 2012
at 02:59 PM

Definitely (Paleo) food for thought.

0d0842381492a41b2173a04014aae810

(4875)

on May 11, 2012
at 02:57 PM

I get yelled at or flipped off fairly often, sometimes even swerved towards, simply walking down the road. I walk/bike/bus everywhere, so I guess I spend a fair amount of time on the road, but wow... it really makes some people uncomfortable.

Eedf46c82d0356d1d46dda5f9782ef36

(4464)

on May 11, 2012
at 02:31 PM

"I want to enjoy life, so I'll eat what I want" I'd just say "Exactly, me too." and leave it there. Agreeing with people who try to disagree with you can be terribly effective.

0e395acc856e3353f3f5892e6b09b0e7

(1227)

on May 11, 2012
at 02:25 PM

And thank you too Amerindian for sharing your experience. Makes me glad I tuned in this morning.

0e395acc856e3353f3f5892e6b09b0e7

(1227)

on May 11, 2012
at 02:22 PM

It is lovely to hear about your co-worker! There are so many friends and family of mine that could benefit from just getting off grains. I've always felt that I could lead best by example, but yesterday fell prey to "If you can't lick them joing them." I fell face first into a chocolate cream pie to keep our dinner guest company. I am suffering a collosal alergic reaction this morning:sneezing and runny nose. Dang that pie. Thank you for your leadership.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on May 11, 2012
at 01:05 PM

I knew a woman who lost a lot of weight and her husband lost interest in her, so they got divorced.

7e1433afbb06c318c4d90860d493c49d

(5959)

on May 11, 2012
at 12:29 PM

Exactly. As long as Melissa is saying nothing to draw out the reactions, it's all about them.

Da20058e445fa4c5ce328132379521b3

(373)

on May 11, 2012
at 11:59 AM

I think I could say "I want to enjoy life, so I'll eat what I want" about Paleo foods too =P

34503e0d0acbea7cfc44d180454571f4

(134)

on May 11, 2012
at 11:38 AM

I think a good retort to that is I want to enjoy life, so I want to feel healthy.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on May 11, 2012
at 11:02 AM

For some reason I alienate people when they see me eating oysters, liver and gelatin with chocolate, coffee, orange juice and homemade candy ;).

34503e0d0acbea7cfc44d180454571f4

(134)

on May 11, 2012
at 09:17 AM

I don't really let it drag me down, but I'd love it if it didn't drag them down.

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11 Answers

10
34b560c8b9ce660d7839fb7e29d7be89

on May 11, 2012
at 09:48 AM

My belief is that we are all our own worst enemies. Make any effort to better yourself and you'll find it rubs some people the wrong way.

I remember going to a grocery store to pick up a few items with a fellow employee for a work barbeque. There was a guy in line ahead of us buying the kind of conventional wisdom health food I regularily bought at that time. When we left my coworker remarked "did you see all the healthy sh*t that guy was buying" followed by "what a motherf*cker." I was a bit stunned to say the least as we had talked recently about the 50+ pounds I had recently lost by eating better.

I can remember in those same days running along the highway years ago or riding my bike to work, most people if they acknowledged you at all were generallly positive but I'll always remember the ones who'd go out of their way to harass you and flip me the bird or yell obscenities. Some would throw garbage at you.

It's the same with other things too, for some it might be finding religion, stopping drinking or smoking, deciding to be financially responsible, whatever. Some people will complain about their problems while at the same time praising you for overcoming the same obstacles. I think some people fear success as much as failure.

I've seen people begin to get the results they've always said they wanted by trying what I'm doing only to quit after they've seen undeniable results and regress back to their old ways. In the end I've decided to help those who really want it and reserve judgement on those who aren't ready to make the decision to create a better life for themselves. I've come to realize I'll have to leave some people behind no matter how badly I want for them to have a better life.

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on May 11, 2012
at 05:30 PM

great answer. this goes well beyond just dietary choices. any positive thing we do with our lives could be resented by those who do not make the same choice.

0e395acc856e3353f3f5892e6b09b0e7

(1227)

on May 11, 2012
at 02:25 PM

And thank you too Amerindian for sharing your experience. Makes me glad I tuned in this morning.

0d0842381492a41b2173a04014aae810

(4875)

on May 11, 2012
at 02:57 PM

I get yelled at or flipped off fairly often, sometimes even swerved towards, simply walking down the road. I walk/bike/bus everywhere, so I guess I spend a fair amount of time on the road, but wow... it really makes some people uncomfortable.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on May 11, 2012
at 01:05 PM

I knew a woman who lost a lot of weight and her husband lost interest in her, so they got divorced.

10
Cd2305a4a4c2126418a13c41b6e61050

on May 11, 2012
at 08:40 AM

They are only focused on YOUR choices because they feel guilty about their own. This is about THEM, not you. Don't let them drag you down!

7e1433afbb06c318c4d90860d493c49d

(5959)

on May 11, 2012
at 12:29 PM

Exactly. As long as Melissa is saying nothing to draw out the reactions, it's all about them.

34503e0d0acbea7cfc44d180454571f4

(134)

on May 11, 2012
at 09:17 AM

I don't really let it drag me down, but I'd love it if it didn't drag them down.

4
870fdea50f2a9f1cd2890c8e22549300

(2056)

on May 11, 2012
at 12:55 PM

"I try not to make a big deal about it, not to preach, though I'm so excited about how my own problems have disappeared that I do sometimes talk about it if the conversation goes that way."

My own view, firmly contrarian to the rest of the thread here, is that the quoted sentence is the heart of the problem. You may be preaching despite your efforts. The saying that there's no zealot like a convert is well-known. And, even without words, you may be betraying your thoughts. Did you find your lip curling as you looked at the SAD purveyed that evening?

I absolutely refuse to discuss my food choices, and the reasons behind them, except in anonymous forums like this one. I don't delude myself I have any of the answers, even anything beyond provisional answers for myself only. I might, if pressed, talk a little about sleep (in particular) and exercise, because those activities are both relatively uncontroversial. In my experience people are much more interested in finding out what is your secret if you do, in fact, keep it secret.

"The first rule of Paleo is you DO NOT TALK about Paleo."

34503e0d0acbea7cfc44d180454571f4

(134)

on May 11, 2012
at 02:59 PM

Definitely (Paleo) food for thought.

870fdea50f2a9f1cd2890c8e22549300

(2056)

on May 11, 2012
at 03:59 PM

http://paleohacks.com/questions/115102/the-first-rule-of-paleo-is-you-do-not-talk-about-paleo#axzz1uZkJ6K5Z

2
246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21430)

on May 11, 2012
at 03:00 PM

I see it like this...

Everyone you know, should be the apex of a million years or so of hominid evolution. That means, essentially, that everyone you know has the potential to be considerably healthier, smarter, faster, stronger than their ancestors. Everyone has the right to be healthy - but just like all rights, you have to claim them, enforce them, and use them.

So, my personal opinion is that "if they want it, they will get it". If they choose not to, alienating or not, it's their decision. Alienating people because you are healthy (and they are not), is better than the alternative, which is passing abject judgment upon them because they choose not to reclaim their health.

And either way, it's their choice to alienate you, not the other way around (unless you are projecting some kind of "holier than thou" Paleo zealotry, which many of us may have done in the past during a moment of weakness, but for the most part is really, really uncool).

Right or wrong, you will be judged as the man with one eye in the land of the blind.

But the alternative would be to proverbially pluck out your eye and accept being a sickly sheep... so...

2
B41cdb2253976ba9b429dd608d02c21f

(1495)

on May 11, 2012
at 12:08 PM

This may sound sad, but I've always been a little alienated by my friends for my healthy choices. I'm invited if I want to participate in their lifestyle, but they won't consider participating in my lifestyle every once in a while...and I'm not talking force feed them Paleo food or participate in a triathlon...I'm talking an easy bike ride or a ziplining adventure. I have never told someone what to eat or do, but if they ask what I do or for advice on being healthy, I offer what I know and what works for me.

2
B8fa88e3a94784aeb9280cf1180564fa

(320)

on May 11, 2012
at 09:51 AM

This is a hard one. Like others here, all of my health problems have disappeared, including weight that was out of control. I am surrounded by others like me who are busy professionals who can very easily ignore their own health if they're not focused. I try to ignore the snippy comments because they're really an indication how guilty or out of control the speaker feels. If it's someone whom I've known for a while, I do offer a brief but serious answer if they ask what I've done. I actually had a coworker who asked me to help her transition. I did and that was nearly a year ago. She has regained her health after years of being overweight, sick and tired.

0e395acc856e3353f3f5892e6b09b0e7

(1227)

on May 11, 2012
at 02:22 PM

It is lovely to hear about your co-worker! There are so many friends and family of mine that could benefit from just getting off grains. I've always felt that I could lead best by example, but yesterday fell prey to "If you can't lick them joing them." I fell face first into a chocolate cream pie to keep our dinner guest company. I am suffering a collosal alergic reaction this morning:sneezing and runny nose. Dang that pie. Thank you for your leadership.

B8fa88e3a94784aeb9280cf1180564fa

(320)

on May 14, 2012
at 10:41 AM

That means you're human, not flawed. I did the same with a small sliver of cheese cake on a friend's birthday over the weekend. I had a great run in the woods the next day and turned my indiscretion into glycogen storing and had a great run :-)

2
Da20058e445fa4c5ce328132379521b3

on May 11, 2012
at 08:43 AM

I get the "I want to enjoy life, so I'll eat what I want" reaction if I say no thank you to something I don't want to eat. It does feel like they're being defensive even though I don't say anything about their choices.

I just disengage when they talk about weight issues, because I don't believe in giving people advice when they clearly just want to rant. If they were going to do something, they'd probably already be doing it. I avoid feeling weird by... avoiding the situation, I guess =)

The rules are different for the people I really care about, of course =) There I just try to slowly introduce a few things - my diabetic mom is already changing a few habits just because she sees me do it, and I make sure healthy stuff is easily available for her and my dad.

Eedf46c82d0356d1d46dda5f9782ef36

(4464)

on May 11, 2012
at 02:31 PM

"I want to enjoy life, so I'll eat what I want" I'd just say "Exactly, me too." and leave it there. Agreeing with people who try to disagree with you can be terribly effective.

34503e0d0acbea7cfc44d180454571f4

(134)

on May 11, 2012
at 11:38 AM

I think a good retort to that is I want to enjoy life, so I want to feel healthy.

Da20058e445fa4c5ce328132379521b3

(373)

on May 12, 2012
at 02:34 AM

And it confuses them too :) Bonus points!

Da20058e445fa4c5ce328132379521b3

(373)

on May 11, 2012
at 11:59 AM

I think I could say "I want to enjoy life, so I'll eat what I want" about Paleo foods too =P

1
8d93455e9b5c459d2a290f55fa7c238f

on May 16, 2012
at 12:36 PM

My (heavily overweight) colleagues all take great enjoyment at shoving the biscuit tin under my nose every day, trying to 'break' me.

I'm regularly asked "Did cavemen drink coffee?" "I don't suppose cavemen were able to make an omelette were they?" and other ridiculous questions.

I also get berated for exercising nearly every day. It can get quite tiring, especially when they bring it to the attention of a new group - "Oh, Claire won't eat that she's a cavewoman *roll eyes and look down nose laughing"

This, I know, and exactly as you and others above have said, is because what I do is highlighting what they're not doing, and why they are fat, tired and miserable and I'm healthy, alert and happy. I know which I'd rather choose, and they're the ones living with the resentment, not me.

Stick with it, and who knows, they may end up asking how you can help them! :)

1
96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19463)

on May 11, 2012
at 02:44 PM

If my choices make me healthy, and if other folks' choices make them unhealthy, their jealousy doesn't bother me one bit. Nothing I've done caused their problems - so if they wish to be offended or alienated, that's their own tough coprolite to deal with.

Why care what other people think, if what they think is detrimental to your well being?

1
3f0a69f164d8fac2cdee80c19526f83f

on May 11, 2012
at 12:38 PM

I have long ago come to realize that my choices are my choices. Those who are friends, family etc. respect that, but I often meet people who question how we live, eat, and educate our children. We are long-time homeschoolers; and that fact is just as potentially alienating as is the way we eat.

The best way to deal with it is to be firmly convinced that the choices you are making are the best for you. Truthfully, it matters not what others think. Some people are defensive, others are mildly curious, and others do actually want advice. Decide which category they are in, then respond accordingly.

I often say to the defensive crowd, "I'm glad I have found what works for me." But again, in the end, you must do what you believe is best for you, regardless of others apparent judgment. You will be the one with the last laugh (or breath).

0
0d0842381492a41b2173a04014aae810

(4875)

on May 11, 2012
at 03:05 PM

Yeah, constantly. I actually have people in my office that will belittle me when I'm preparing a meal in the break room, and will buy sodas and leave them with me, "because I'm too healthy." There are a few that just have an interest (albeit in a bit of a circus-sideshow sort of way), but there are also a few that are made so uncomfortable that they lash out regularly. It seems like it is a game to some people, trying to see if they can make me feel bad enough to make themselves feel better.

I had a guy in a restaurant the other day say to his son (age 12ish) as they walked by my table, "Look at this salad eating fag, I could drop him." (Who talks to their kids this way?!)

It really wears on me.

0d0842381492a41b2173a04014aae810

(4875)

on May 11, 2012
at 04:38 PM

Yeah, I did - and he went a bit crazy. I didn't figure out if he was on meth or 'roids, but it was one of the two... self preservation necessitated that I apologize for bothering him and keep my head down.

5cd8441bd01fc10816085bfc092477c4

(925)

on May 11, 2012
at 04:08 PM

HOnestly, I would have called the man out that made that remark. It's disgusting that he is teaching his child bigotry and hatred like that.

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