Since I've been home for the summer, and he has confided in me that he really looks up to me for my weight loss journey, I have tried to help him lose weight. There have been a few victories and many setbacks. I'm not trying to convert him to Primal, but I want to use some of our knowledge here, along with some of the least offensive CW, to help him out. He won't give up grains or eat a ton of veggies.
- He did some reading online about omega 3. He doesn't know anything about omega 6 ratio, or else he would throw his computer out the window because all his favorite foods (bread/margarine) are on that badlist. He started taking flax oil, instead of fish oil. I told him that plant-based ALA omega 3 isn't as good as fish-based DHA/EPA. He believed me, and he's going to switch back to fish oil. Check.
- He is getting more receptive to veggies. We go to the store and get all kinds of stuff for my BAS, and he is starting to grab a few things. A few onions here, tomatoes there. Unfortunately, last weekend, he said "I'm in the mood for a salad" and proceeded to put some iceberg lettuce in a bowl and drown it in fat free 1000 island dressing. That is NOT a salad, but it shows a willingness to touch green things....I'm going to keep pursuing that path. He has also started buying watermelon: I don't want to tell him not to, because that may turn him off to all fruit, but I really don't think he could have picked a worse, more insulin spiking fruit.....
- He still buys all "fat free" food products. I am actively working to convince him not to. He simply refuses. He won't buy butter. He won't listen to me when I talk about trans fats. He simply doesn't know what HFCS is or does to his body. I don't know how to convince him that the similarly tasting products that have fat in them are actually better for him. I don't know how to convince him...
- He has always eaten white bread. He read last week that wheat bread is better for you. He came into the living room and started comparing the labels. "This has more fiber, but this has less fat". I should have kept my mouth shut because it was a step forward for him, but I said "there really isn't a difference in those two loaves you're holding. They're both stripped of their nutrients and full of additives and sugar." He got upset, thinking that he had finally taken a step towards better health, and thew away the wheat bread. He LOVES bread. Lets take off our primal hats here for a second: if we first assume that he isn't going to give up bread, what kind can I tell him to buy that will be better for him than straight up white bread?
- He can't read labels. As I mentioned before, he is "afraid of fat" and ignores me when I tell him not to. He willfully consumes transfats in the form of vegetable and soybean oil, but he only buys fat free products. He does not look at carbs or sugar. He does not care about fiber. He doesn't buy anything for protein besides sliced ham, bologna, and chicken breast. He buys huge tubs of ice cream every weekend, and just doesn't "get" that insulin causes bad health and obesity, not just eating fat.
A typical attempt to help him usually goes down like this: He and I were shopping the other day, and his eye rolling at my vegetable haul had put me in a bad mood. When he was in the soda aisle, his girlfriend grabbed him a 2 liter of root beer. "On second thought," he said, "Debbie, grab me the Diet Root Beer." I calmly said, "Just get regular. You don't need the aspartame." He gave me dirty look and kept going. I said again, "Papa, please just get the regular." He gave me another look and said, in a very sarcastic tone, "Oh, Debbie, put it back. Dr. Phil over here says the diet's not good for me." I lost it. I started in on a rant about artificial sweeteners and cancer, "I'm trying to help you! You shouldn't be drinking this crap," gesturing to the wall of soda, "in the first place." And I stormed off. I think he stuck with the Diet.
What are some obvious things I can tell him to look out for and avoid on the labels, besides HFCS and the trans fats?
- He lives a sedentary lifestyle, drives over an hour each way to work, lays on the couch most of the evening. He has shoulder, back, and past hernia problems. He uses that as an excuse to continue to be inactive. I did some shoulder dislocation stretches in front of him last weekend, and when I left the house he tried one, and had to go to the clinic after work the next day. His doctors cant really help him. He wants to get on the treadmill again, but he can't run because of his back. What can I tell him to do, exercise-wise, to get him moving again? He would probably only devote 10-15 minutes a day, but that's all he needs to see a little improvement.
So, biggest concerns are: too much (white) bread and vegetable oil, he believes fat-makes-fat, too much HFCS condiments/ice cream, too little exercise, not enough knowledge/concern that diet, not medicine, is what heals the body, and a general attitude that he should be able to eat what he likes without someone telling him he's wrong. I know that's quite a list. I was able to reverse 20 years of terrible eating in one year. 100 lbs lost on a CW/unknowingly-primal hybrid, and another 10 from going full primal. There has to be something, some series of small changes, that can help my grandpa escape his terrible lifestyle.
Thanks for reading.