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  • Frustrating conversations with coworkers

    I work in a company and atmosphere where you can go a month or more without really seeing some of your coworkers. There are over 400 of us working on two different floors plus branches in a couple of different cities. And I switched departments about five months ago, about the same time I committed to living primal. I've lost a lot of weight since then, and people are really starting to notice. Which is awesome, don't get me wrong! I love it. And I especially love when people ask me, "So what are you doing?" because it gives me a rational reason to wax poetic about this lifestyle, which I love and which has done wonders for my health.

    But I'm getting, so, SO tired of the conversation that inevitably follows.

    "So what are you doing?"

    "Well, I cut out all grains and all added sugar. I don't drink sodas, regular or diet. I make sure I get a lot of healthy fats in my diet so I don't get hungry between meals, and right now I'm keeping my carbohydrate intake pretty low. I donít eat a lot of fruit, but I do eat a lot of vegetables. Oh, and I donít eat between meals."

    Response #1: "Grain, grain, what is grain?!"
    It always floors me how many people don't know what grains are. I'm not talking about quinoa, amaranth, even such wildly esoteric things as barley! I'm talking about lacking the basic bread=grain connection. And these aren't stupid people. They're just heinously, heinously under-informed about their food. (Okay, granted, I'm actually kind of... chronically over-informed about my food. But still!)

    Response #2: "Oh, I could never do that!"
    This makes me a little crazed because -- Well, actually, you can. You just don't want to. Which is fine, I respect other people's choices! But it irritates me when people say they can't. I came to primal drinking corn syrup sodas and with a 90% McDonalds and Doritos diet. I was a baker. I thought spaghetti was a food group, and Starbucks the conveyer of all god's blessings to the chosen. Ben & Jerry probably listed me as a major investor on their annual reports. I was a wreck, and Iím coming back from it, and Iím nothing really special in the willpower department. It just burns me when people say ďI canítĒ when what they really mean is ďI wonít.Ē I didnít lose almost 80 lbs eating low carb-style-primal because I have some kind of special super power. I lost it because I was desperate enough to do something hard to get something good in return. (Note: I know this isnít entirely rational, because most people are sadly uninformed about how nutrition affects health. When people say this to me, I usually just smile and nod and change the subject. But I canít deny I walk away a little pissed off.)

    Response #3: "You donít eat grains? Honey, you shouldnít starve yourself to lose weightÖ"
    I know thatís well-intentioned, but since I usually run into them at the coffee kiosk next to my desk or in the cafeteria, it means Iíve usually just had breakfast or lunch. Imagine me hearing that when Iím stuffed to the gills with eggs, berries, salmon, avocado and onion. Or pork roast leftovers slow-cooked in coconut milk and two avocados. I admit it, when I hear that, I just laugh. I do get hungry sometimes, but I have to go a long way past a regular mealtime to get there. Starving is what theyíre doing, with their Lean Cuisine lunches and skim milk and slimcados. Iím eating just fine.

    Sorry for the self-righteous rant, I just needed to get that out!

  • #2
    I disagree on the second one. Most people are weak. They like being sick. They like complaining about it (and one-upping each other on who feels worse). They like to sit passively by while they "contract" type 2 diabetes. They don't like anything to be difficult or contrary to the herd. It's crazy, but I've found it to be true. It takes a strong individual to admit they've been wrong AND correct it, too. Consider yourself one of the strong.
    5' 9" 47 YO F
    PB start June 2, 2012
    Pre PB SW = 180 (no scale at home, Mom's scale January - 153lbs!)
    Current deadlift 245 lbs, squat 165 lbs, bench press 135 lbs


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    • #3
      Originally posted by merryish View Post
      I just needed to get that out!
      And you've come to the right place. My wife believes that I am killing myself using butter when I could use margarine, when I eat the fat on meat instead of cutting it off, when I have spinach or mushrooms in a TWO EGG omelette virtually every morning, when I go to the garage for five minutes and do my HIT rowing in three 20 second bursts (she goes for an hour fitness class), when I go to the gym and do an HIT strength training session for ten minutes once a week.

      Even though I've gone from 240lbs to 208lbs, reduced my resting heart rate from 60 to 50 and come off one of my blood pressure medications since March, she still KNOWS that I am doing everything wrong.
      Why use a sledge hammer to crack a nut when a steam roller is even more effective, and, is fun to drive.

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      • #4
        Merryish, Mark recently did a post about how to answer people when they get into why what you're doing is clearly wrong, and never mind your phenomenal success with it. I'd link, but I'm feeling lazy at the moment.
        F, 44 years old, 111.8 lbs, 4 feet 11.5 inches (yes, that half inch matters!)

        **1st place sparring, AAU TKD regional qualifier, 2/15/15 - It's damn good to hit like a girl!**

        **First-ever 5K race 11/28/13: 37 minutes, 18+ seconds, no stopping**

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        • #5
          One of the most frustrating experiences I had recently at work was listening in on a food-based conversation between two co-workers: one is very overweight, the other is thin.

          "Oh, I don't eat blah blah blah because it's so high in fat" says the obese one.

          Skinny one: "You know korean pork belly? OMG IT'S SO GOOD but I don't eat it because it's so fatty"

          Obese one: But it's so good!

          In my head: IF YOU DON'T EAT FAT THEN WHY ARE YOU?!?!! ARRGGHHHHH #@&^#%@@#(&*@ *BRAIN EXPLODES*

          It's gotten to the point where I can't eat lunch with my coworkers in the lunch room. The conversations are RIDICULOUS.
          A Post-Primal PrimalPat

          Do not allow yourself to become wrapped up in a food 'lifestyle'. That is ego, and you are not that.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Nigel View Post
            And you've come to the right place. My wife believes that I am killing myself using butter when I could use margarine, when I eat the fat on meat instead of cutting it off, when I have spinach or mushrooms in a TWO EGG omelette virtually every morning, when I go to the garage for five minutes and do my HIT rowing in three 20 second bursts (she goes for an hour fitness class), when I go to the gym and do an HIT strength training session for ten minutes once a week.

            Even though I've gone from 240lbs to 208lbs, reduced my resting heart rate from 60 to 50 and come off one of my blood pressure medications since March, she still KNOWS that I am doing everything wrong.
            Have your wife read Gary Taubes's book "Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It" and she will understand. Science can be pretty convincing.

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            • #7
              Good rant. And congrats for sticking with what you know is best.

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              • #8
                Next time just tell your co-workers you're on a Reiki diet where you only eat animals and food that have positive life force balance like pork and brocolli, but not beef or potatos. The positive life force removes fattening toxins from the body.
                http://lifemutt.blogspot.sg/ - Gaming, Food Reviews and Life in Singapore

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                • #9
                  When people say "I could never do that" it either means they're just being polite or they're really not interested.
                  I give the same response when someone asks me if I'm interested in a vegan, macrobiotic, halleluiah, weight watchers or juice fast diet. Sure, i could, I'm just really not interested.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Nigel View Post
                    And you've come to the right place. My wife believes that I am killing myself using butter when I could use margarine, [...]
                    Point her at this: Margarine additive linked with Alzheimerís disease
                    Argue not with idiots, lest they drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

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                    • #11
                      Here are some examples of what I've gotten:

                      Oh sorry, I could never do that. Just can't give up the pizza, man"

                      Well, you asked. I can't tell you what to do.

                      No, it's all about the calories, can't you do simple math? Those fat women are pigs.

                      I have no answer for this one. So I kind of ignore it.

                      It's OK as long as it's whole grain.

                      How can it be OK? The "whole" grain is still has the sugary part -- you're just adding the germ to it to get to Whole. That's what Whole means, duh. If you want the good parts of whole grain, why not just eat a tablespoon of wheat germ? (this is usually too complicated for them).

                      I have to go to zumba class.

                      Yeah, just like Kelly Korg and her spinning. Wake me up when you lose THE LAST 6 pounds.

                      But that sounds like Atkins...isn't that dangerous?

                      Everyone gets stymied by the first two weeks of Atkins, but you ramp up after that. But don't bother. Too much to keep track of, and Atkins's doesn't work anyway because the ramp up is back to carbs and his fake food.

                      But you need carbs to live.

                      I get plenty of carbs from vegetables. Seriously, look at the Nutrition Facts on the back of the frozen veggie bag. All those 3 g and 4g of carb add up fast.

                      ------------

                      Other things I say. They seems to get some traction:

                      "I had to take Prilosec for years and now I don't have to... no no, I'm not celiac, but I have a mild gluten intolerance, the same way that some people have lactose intolerance." <-- this seems to connect with people. People know about lactose intolerance where you can have a little milk but not a lot.... sure why not the same with gluten? This worked with a co-worker. His mom is serverly lactose intolerant, so he was much more receptive to other intolerances.

                      "My favorite snack is salted butter. This is not a joke. Last winter I ad 200 calories MORE than usual, much of it butter, and still lost a pound." <-- they get pretty intrigued by this.

                      The one thing I do NOT do is recite some condescending primal creed
                      like "I eat real food... I don't put junk in my body... I eat like my ancestors... I eat clean and do not eat poison... I avoid artificial frankenfood..."
                      This is guaranteed to turn people off. To them, whole wheat IS real food, and organic IS clean, even if it's pasta. To them, "poison" is stuff like arsenic that kills you immediately. People have been eating wheat for 10,000 years and nobody keels over from it. Remember celiac is still rather rare.

                      I did have one success story. One guy overheard my talking, and started to tell me about his wife, who had found that bread made her joints ache. I told him about the 24 chromosomes in dwarf hybrid wheat. Co-worker asked for some links. I emailed him the link to Wheat Belly and Mark's Daily Apple. Hope he makes progress.

                      Challenges -- can anyone help with this?

                      I tend to be skinny fat. If I lose 8 pounds and go from skinny to skinnier, no one notices. So my advice doesn't carry a lot of weight (seriously) with people. That's why I use the Prilosec example.

                      How do I convince people that they have to TOTALLY primalize the pantry? You can't just cut back on carbs here and there and take Zumba and woo-hoo six pack. It doesn't work that way. You have to switch from sugar-burner to fat burner, and to do that, you have to go cold turkey... FOR LIFE! Do you realize how difficult that is for people? Sure, it's easy for the young or single, but what about families, or people set in their ways? 85% of the grocery story is off-limits? Every family food gathering has to change? You have to swear off most people's pride-and-joy recipes? The mental aspect is mind-boggling. How do I get past that?
                      5'0" female, 45 years old. Started Primal October 31, 2011, at a skinny fat 111.5 lbs. Low weight: 99.5 lb on a fast. Gained back to 115(!) on SAD chocolate, potato chips, and stress. Currently 111.

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                      • #12
                        I've lost 50 pounds since February and I was in part inspired by my sister who had lost 30 pounds eating a more balanced SAD. Several weeks ago she and my brother and SIL were comparing allergy medication stories and all of them were talking about spending the summer hopped up on allergy meds. I said this was the first summer I didn't want to take my eyeballs out and rinse them off and coincidentally it was the first summer I had not eaten grain on a regular basis. The response I got was "see, it works FOR YOU." I have no response to her defensiveness, so I just drop it and let my weight loss speak for itself.

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                        • #13
                          I love all the stories you guys have posted - it makes me feel less alone.

                          I admit, the dismissive response that hurt the most was from a coworker who has rheumatoid arthritis. It's so bad that she's basically just had her entire spine fused. She's had her knees AND her elbows replaced. One day after she got back from her spinal surgery we rode up in the elevator together and I asked her how she was doing - she had to turn her entire body just to look at me to answer. She told me how bad it was, and how much pain there was. She's a trooper, she's not letting it get her down. But I couldn't help it, I HAD to tell her about all the people I've read about here and over at Robb Wolf's site who have seen a lot of improvement to their RA after dropping grains from their diets.

                          I was cool about it -- I didn't preach or anything. But I told her I'd been looking for ways to improve my own autoimmune condition (dermatomyositis) and had seen some improvement off of grains, and that in the course of looking around I'd seen a lot of RA sufferers who had also had success without them.

                          She kind of blew me off, which broke my heart for her. She said she had thought about it some but just didn't think she could give up pasta. When I got back to my desk I emailed her a link to this site, and let it rest at that. Who knows, maybe someday it'll be bad enough that she gives it a shot, and maybe she'll be one of the people it helps.

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                          • #14
                            I always read these threads and think about this issue heaps. It's so hard to find a way to tell people about this without becoming "that person". I remember when I was eating CW "healthy" and someone would tell me about the raw food diet, or veganism or something, and I'd just immediately close off my mind thinking "oh it's one of those people again".

                            Really, REALLY hard to help people and know what to say, and when to say it. My results are speaking to people close to me, because they trust my opinion on things anyway and they know I'd never jump into something. But for people not close to me, I just don't know how to make them see!

                            I work at a medical centre so my conversations with coworkers are absolutely frustrating, because they're doctors! Have you ever tried telling a doctor they're wrong? Hahahha. We have about 10 general practitioners, and at least 6 of them are overweight. None of them obese as such, but definitely not optimum health. I always see them on their lunch breaks eating pasta, or pastries with veges & meat inside, or sandwiches, and lots of cake, for some reason.

                            Whenever I eat at work, which isn't much because I only work 4-8hours a week, I bring my big ass salad. One day, one of the doctors said "you'll turn into a rabbit eating like that!" as he munched his lasagna. All I could think of to respond was "there ain't no carrots in here mate!". He actually said something else interesting in the staffroom a while ago though, he was talking about people thinking rice crackers are healthy when in reality they're like a starch bomb. Interesting I thought.... but still he eats his pasta and sandwiches.

                            One of the female doctors was talking to me the other day when we were quiet, complaining she couldn't lose weight. A few of the staff there know I have lost 45lb / 20kg so maybe that's why she decided to ask me, I'm not sure. She wondered whether she should go join Jenny Craig. I told her how my parents use to always do it and the food looked yuck and fake and seemed really high carb. She decided not to in the end. I told her I lost my weight through low carb eating, and she exclaimed "I never eat carbs!". Then I said, I found I had to eat more natural fats to keep satisfied, but then she launched into "Oh no I never eat fats." Then I was thinking, you live off protein? I doubt it. But again, not much point arguing with a doctor! Hopefully she will continue to see my results and maybe ask me more about it sometime in the future. She also told me she thinks I look "cute" being chubby hahahaha. To be fair, I don't think she realises how overweight I really am. A lot of people probably wouldn't guess my weight.

                            I hope one day I can work out the perfect way to tell people about this kind of eating
                            Current weight lost: 82.9lb (37.6kg)

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                            Squat: 100kg/220lb
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by merryish View Post
                              I love all the stories you guys have posted - it makes me feel less alone.

                              I admit, the dismissive response that hurt the most was from a coworker who has rheumatoid arthritis. It's so bad that she's basically just had her entire spine fused. She's had her knees AND her elbows replaced. One day after she got back from her spinal surgery we rode up in the elevator together and I asked her how she was doing - she had to turn her entire body just to look at me to answer. She told me how bad it was, and how much pain there was. She's a trooper, she's not letting it get her down. But I couldn't help it, I HAD to tell her about all the people I've read about here and over at Robb Wolf's site who have seen a lot of improvement to their RA after dropping grains from their diets.

                              I was cool about it -- I didn't preach or anything. But I told her I'd been looking for ways to improve my own autoimmune condition (dermatomyositis) and had seen some improvement off of grains, and that in the course of looking around I'd seen a lot of RA sufferers who had also had success without them.

                              She kind of blew me off, which broke my heart for her. She said she had thought about it some but just didn't think she could give up pasta. When I got back to my desk I emailed her a link to this site, and let it rest at that. Who knows, maybe someday it'll be bad enough that she gives it a shot, and maybe she'll be one of the people it helps.
                              As a person with severe RA, I would just point out that you are probably the 10,000 person to give her advice on how to help her RA. I can't even tell you how many people told me that if I "just" went vegan, tried accupuncture, exercised more, didn't eat protein and carbs together, had a green smoothie every day, etc, etc, etc that I would be better. It is really tough to take all that advice over time. First of all, when you are exhausted and in pain you can't imagine how hard it is to make all these changes. Next, when you don't take advice, people assume you don't really want to get better.

                              But, you are right, you planted a bit of a seed and maybe when the time is right your co-worker will do a bit more reading. For the life of me, I can't remember what or who it was that first pointed me to this way of eating. I wish I could remember so I could go kiss their feet with gratitude
                              Using low lectin/nightshade free primal to control autoimmune arthritis. (And lost 50 lbs along the way )

                              http://www.krispin.com/lectin.html

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