Fighting conventional wisdom

It’s rough, man. It’s rough to convince your friends that you’re not crazy when it comes to your diet and your exercise. Exercise…they get it. They don’t like it, but they get it. They understand that everyone has flavors…some people just like running (and what masochists they are), others are all about the boot camps, and so on. Most don’t consider exercise fun, but it’s generally accepted as a necessary part of ‘healthy living’.
Oh man.
NOW you got a fight on your hands.

Conventional wisdom rules. That’s why it’s conventional. The food pyramid has dictated our ‘healthy diet’ since the 60’s. Food pyramid says we NEED our grains. We need our dairy. The USDA released it, it’s government sanctioned, so it’s GOOD right?
While at Wally World the other day (I told this story in class), I came upon a couple who were in their late 30s early 40s, and had obviously finished a workout within the previous hour. Still in fitness attire, sweaty hair. Not by any stretch firebreathers but at least making the try. At first I thought, “Good ON you guys. Excellent. Doing it together like that.”

Then I looked at their cart.

They were picking up the Yoplait yogurt, had two boxes of whole grain pasta, a bag of organic cheddar cheese, a gallon of whole milk, and some granola in their buggy. I was busy, I had just tagged out to go grab dinner for us to eat while the gym was a little slow, so I didn’t engage with them, but I really wanted to.

I wanted to tell them to STOP, and LISTEN to what I had to say. If I’d had more time to come up with something, I would’ve, but I’m almost positive I’d’ve been met with resistance. After all, as far as conventional wisdom goes, they’re doing the ‘right’ things. Whole grains, dairy, organics…that’s the way to do it, right?

I honestly believe that the reason crash diets are so popular is because there’s an air of non-permanence to them that makes them easier to buy into, despite the health risks and detrimental effects. Our rationale is willing to accept a two week crash diet of 500 calories and cabbage soup. It says that’s easier, because it’s temporary. The concept of a lifetime of no grains, no milk, no pizza, no cheese, no sammiches…that’s much harder (despite the proven benefits) to swallow and buy into.
A friend of mine came into the gym the other night, I’ve been on him to come in and get some CrossFit for awhile, but he’s not doing it yet. Gives me excuses. Friend announces to me that he’s going to go on a ‘stupid crazy crash diet’, 500 calories a day, only drinking water, only eating one meal with breakfast being a big glass of milk, and lunch being another big glass of milk.
Needless to say, I was (and am) alarmed. I asked him why, and his response was that he wanted to get down to weight.

Dude, I get that, but COME ON. He’s into the UFC/MMA type thing, enjoys climbing, swimming, running, biking, long walks on the beach, etc., and wants to ‘get back into shape’ and has to ‘make weight’ first. I told him about paleo. I told him about cutting the processed foods and refined sugars out. Told him about no dairy and no grain. Told him about not drinking beer and eating good food and having three eggs at breakfast with four pieces of bacon and some chicken or some tomatoes or a bowl of fruit. Told him about lunch and food and not really ever being ‘hungry’.

He was. not. buying. it. Told me I was INSANE not eating whole grain rice. It’s what’s good for you. Told me greek yogurt is SO MUCH protein (it is). Told me that too much meat and eggs are bad for you. Told me that milk is a diet staple and I shouldn’t do without it.

I argued (passionately, I may add) that just cutting out the things I told him to cut out and giving me a solid month of work in CrossFit would give him more dramatic results, in a far healthier manner, than anything he could come up with that was ‘stupid crazy hard core’.

He was having none of it. I admit being a little aggravated at his resistance, but I understand it. Conventional wisdom dictates. It’s ruled and it’s going to rule, for a long time. I know this, but I don’t accept it. I’m going to keep fighting the good fight, leading by example, and encouraging others to just give it a go and see how they feel. I hope you all do the same. You’re going to have resistance, people are going to try to sabotage you into ‘slipping’ (not understanding the difference between a generally 90 to 95% clean diet and being a food nazi), and they’re generally going to meet you with disbelief and bemusement when they stare at your food choices.
That doesn’t matter.
What matters is through your choices, you become their example. You become the leanest, meanest, fastest, strongest you possible.

Eventually, they see it enough, they’ll buy it. Hopefully. And if not, *shrug*. Ok. At least you’ve got your ass covered.


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