Ask Leah


Leah high in the trees on the ropes course

It’s no doubt that food is social.  Social pressure can make it difficult to stay consistently committed to a Paleo lifestyle.  Today Leah addresses this dilemma.

Q. I want to change my diet but it’s hard because my family and friends aren’t that supportive.  When I dine with them they cook/order unhealthy foods and encourage me to eat it.  Plus, at my job I am constantly tempted by all of the treats that get passed around.  Any suggestions?
A.  When I started Paleo in June, most people around me asked lots of questions trying to figure out this crazy new diet with the crazy new gym.  As the first weeks passed there were plenty of comments:

“Did cavemen eat that?”

“What, you cook your meat?  Don’t you think cavemen ate their meat raw?”

“Why can’t you have any good grains, like brown rice?  That seems very wrong to cut out something so healthy!”

“No beans!  What is wrong with beans?”

I am blessed to be surrounded by many supportive family members and friends as I stick with Paleo/Zone, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t had plenty of bumps or struggles to get to this point.  There is no question that I mess up plenty and have a long time until I can even think about being at any sort of maintenance level that might allow for some more cheating now and then.  Overall, eating Paleo has been rather painless, but the social aspect can be challenging at times.  I have found a couple of things to be very helpful when dealing with all those people around you who want you to cheat or are irritated by your crazy diet.

1. Have a clear, concise explanation of the diet for all those times you are asked why you aren’t eating something.
For me it is this, “the Paleo diet is meat, vegetables, fruit, and some nuts and seeds and that means no dairy, no sugar, no grains and no legumes.”  I said that same thing over and over.  If anyone really wants to know more, I am happy to go on, but really, hardly anyone actually wants to know all the minute details of my food plan. 

2.  Be a militant Paleo eater!
Just as important to clearly communicating the Paleo diet is actually living it.  Let’s be honest-how many of your family members and close friends are going to be that supportive if they see you cheating all the time?  If you don’t take it seriously, they won’t either.  Unless you draw your food lines and stick to them pretty consistently, those around you will always figure that today, this meal, this treat, is an acceptable cheat. 

3.  Realize that food is central to many of our social activities and it can be unsettling to people if you never eat their food.
Food is such a central part of our social interactions that people will expect you to eat what everyone else is eating, what you used to eat.  You can’t dismiss this social pressure!  People want you to enjoy what they have prepared.  They want you to enjoy what they are enjoying.  People also get nervous when you are making healthy choices and they aren’t.    Knowing this and being prepared for this pressure makes it easier to stand your ground.  Others can and do adjust to your new way of eating, but it can take time.  Those who actually like you will see how much this matters to you, support you and even start to make sure you have Paleo food.

Sunday Open Gym


*Paleo Challenge 2.0 mandatory meeting tomorrow at 2PM (at the end of open gym)