Health and Family
Now that we have have a good understanding of what healthy eating means, what being healthy looks like, my guess is that many of you here and many of you watching at home you already care about your health that's why you've been here for three days with us, you know you we all have our own struggles, but at least you know where you where you stand and and are trying to do something about it, but one of the most difficult things that I think all of us face is dealing with people that we love people in our families, people that we care about deeply close friends and their health problems, you know, in in this time that we live in so many people are struggling with food related health problems diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, cancer and these are some of the most tragic stories anywhere, and I think we've all been touched by one. You know, I think most of us have at least one or two people in our families that have really, really suffered as a result of a lifestyle that they probabl...
y didn't you know they were choosing and at the same time there's so much emotional baggage around food and health that it can be sometimes crushingly difficult to talk to people about these things and what I hope to give you in this segment is some tools and a little bit of ammo and a little bit of compassion that can help you reach those people and hopefully start to make some changes in a positive way for their health so that they can be happy so that they can feel better and so they can be with you longer and have better life experiences. So this is something that personally touches me very closely. I am my what my mother passed away over ten years ago in a car accident and she was actually ironically she was the healthy one in the family and I think I got a lot of her jeans she was in the gym all the time she was more of the dieter so she, you know, believed the diet mythology that a lot of us but into back then but regardless she she kept herself in good shape, you know, she was in everybody admired the way she looked put it that way and so we thought she'd be around forever and then, you know, this unexpected tragedy happens and that left me with one parent you know, I was I was still very young I was twenty three and that parent my father, I'm very, very close with him he is, you know, my mentor he's always been there for me I talked to him all the time were very, very tight and but he has struggled with his health over the last several decades, and it was partially caused. I mean, he had health problems before, just like most americans and sort of fallen into a habit of eating processed foods, relying on a lot of takeout food. Ah, but after my mom passed away, he got very depressed and the small amount of taking care of himself he used to do it went completely away and he started having very severe health problem as a result. And you know, for me that this was the only riel like this is my family was the last thing I have, and for me, this was a very, very important thing, you know, I study this all the time I was really easy for me to look at what he was doing and know exactly what he was doing wrong. And he was guzzling fake fruit juice all the time, you know, had a whole cupboard full of little little debbie's treats and little snacks that he would eat and I you know, it was so clear to me that this was killing him, you know? But what do you do, d'oh? Right? Do you tell somebody who's stubborn? Do you tell somebody who's depressed? Do you tell somebody who's sad and you pay that they're doing things wrong and pick a fight with them and try to tell them how they live their lives when they're thirty years older than you when they're your when they're your parents it's really, really hard and so I actually have a happy ending to that story that I'll tell you later but I want to just give you some tips and advice on how to talk to these people and get across how important it is because it's it's so it's so tragic but it but I do believe there's something we can dio and it all starts again with language I love this quote by mark amun and he's one of the I think it was the executive producer of survivor but he says languages the means of getting an idea from my brain into yours without surgery I've tried the surgery one with the mice in the lab doesn't work quite as well as just talking to somebody very convincingly um so let's talk about you know in order to really get down to this stuff I mean this is some really weighty heavy emotional stuff let's talk a little bit about why that is, you know, let's talk about some of the perceptions that your family has for instance, and people online I'd love to hear from you as well uh how does your family perceive health? Because you know it's you know we have ah very here in the bay area, we've got a lot of people are very pro health, you know, in some other cities very pro health, but now a lot of places don't like that so let's hear some from anyone here has a family with, you know, very strong views around health positive or negative jane think, um, my my middle child, my son who's almost twenty six he I think he really looks at it is I'm young, I could do whatever I want and it won't catch up with me, right? So I'm young and invincible. Yes, and this is really scary because we're seeing now. Well, I think that's how you spell it because as we're seeing now, the kids are in a place where they're going, they're not going to live as long as their parents for the first time in ever, probably in history if they don't change their eating habits. So it's a great point is like just because you're young and maybe you're thin now, but the habits you develop we seen can last a lifetime and it catches up that kind of caught up to all of us you know anyone else? My father has the typical standard american diet, completely sad diet, lots of red factory farm meat and smokes, a lot of cigarettes even and all of that, um yet he has this really strong faith and god and his religion so he believes that he can eat whatever he wants and he can treat his body how everyone's because he's protected by like uh I wr force I've heard that too it's great thank you for bringing that up that's a powerful one and this could go either way I've heard people say the opposite which is I have a responsibility because of my faith to take care of this vessel that I was given by god but there is some people to take the opposite approach which is first of all I'm protected I'm special so I can do what I want or doesn't matter because I'm just going to go to heaven and be happy and so it doesn't matter what I do on this earth but if that's somebody love that's a really hard message to swallow so great thank you for sharing that anyone else um my family generally subscribes to the organic um good meat but they're in the midwest and don't have a ton of options so sometimes convenience consort of creep in um and also one of my family members has a lot of maybe guilt around if they don't get to the gym or not and then my oldest sister is really good at sort of helping us all along to get on the rial food bandwagon so I love that so the guilt for bad health anyone else let me think the perception that you're already possibly eating healthy but the whole everything is processed my mom, I'll throw my family out of the bus my mom was you know forever was just losing fruit goes like raw fruit does sugars and other mom is bad for you really can't she's like sprinkling freaked out on her fruit on her food and she's like oh, this is totally way more natural as fisher okay, I love it it's hard yeah so it's hard to tell someone they're doing something totally wrong when they don't believe it they think you're crazy well, my approach I could work in my approach and that's part of the reason why I'm here you know it's just really howto why and conveyed that message exactly sean coming from the midwest as well I think there really isn't necessarily a connection between health and food especially holidays it's just here's a bunch of stuff shove in your mouth and then watch football and that would be so it gets a sense a sort of denial because it's all over the news right? I mean sometimes but yeah, the denial part might come from well everything's bad anyways or this might be bad so why should I make any type of why should I try tryingto thing trying his point? But I still think there's still a disconnection between how what you leave, how often you need right really impacts your overall health and and so and then there's sort of a lack of understanding lack of knowledge how about online astonishing responses here is well, I am here saying my family simply has no will with regard to health they just all have big portions they're unhealthy all the old men are overweight they're trying to be difficult to start different but it's difficult for them but they just embrace their bad healthy essentially and this is what other people are saying though marrying in germany saying her mother has lung disease from smoking and she simply given up on herself so she stopped to drinking heavily on they're all saying this is the same path claim they got different stories that they think it's too late uh it's too late to change the damage is done marinus thing her mother just feels it's too old she's too old to change to old on dh ese w photograph says my wife says our diamond I die so I'm going to eat what I want to eat now make life here good absolutely so how powerful are these like you can you just feel like the deep sense of emotion? I mean we've got hopelessness, we've got desperation, we've got denial I mean these air such charged issues for people this is why it's so tough and so difficult to really get people to make changes so thank you guys so much for sharing inside like it's such hard to talk about s o in my experience there are a few categories weaken sort of it's uh identify the types of obstacles were going to come up against as we're dealing with people who aren't ourselves so like lenny was saying I am healthy I am healthy I hate vegetables nobody said that yet but I'm sure there's somebody out there who's family just like thanks vegetables or stupid our growths or whatever and and the message there the underlying message is that healthy eating is joyless people who eat that way aren't enjoying life you know that sort of the you know I'm gonna die when I die I'm gonna enjoy my life now I've heard a lot of men say they don't need cissy food we talked about this a little bit earlier but there is this idea that vegetables is sort of a weakness and then it's like real many meat there's some of that going on again we talked a little bit before about how some people believe that skinny people are mean and they said they don't care about their health because they don't want to become a mean person uh there I I wouldn't hear this this time either but I've often heard people say health is a luxury it's too expensive I can't do that and in almost dismissively like oh that's for, you know, that's for west coasters as for east coasters is not for us normal folk this one's didn't bullet out um and then there's the opposite the health obsessed people so I've spoken to a lot of people that their issues like they just won't touch fat no matter how detrimental it is and when you know for somebody like me who knows the effects like it's very obvious that they need more fat in their diet but they won't touch it because of the ethos that they grew up in twenty years ago which is all fat is bad the I'm too weak there's no point in trying is really complicated or it's too late or some people think it's impossible, you know, maybe they've tried a few times a few different diet plans or whatever like many of us have had it haven't succeeded and have concluded that it's pointless that losing weight is impossible and why try? Just stop and just give up so now let's talk about us so our families have these attitudes. How do you feel about it? Like, how do you feel, erica, when you hear your family talk about the way they feel about health, is it frustrate you? Does it upset you issue? I guess I I don't know how to go about it because you try to say something and then they're even more guilt they feel even more guilty about it um so I guess it's just like a confusion on how tio go about helping but but there's probably an emotion behind that like you wish they would stop with obsession oh yeah absolutely and it's a little bit of sadness oh yeah yeah I've talked and I started crying and then I want your on for my kids and that kind of thing so there's definitely like fear fear thank you yeah that's what I was trying to get out like that was the one thing that was the hardest thing for me to tell my dad like I told you guys before I was in school until I was thirty I'm not going to be having kids for a while I don't have a mom my husband's dad actually passed away as well and his mom is older and like I would like some grand parents could you guys please take care of yourself so that you know what it's like you can't say that but it's like you want to break down because you're like please just try for the rest of us like you know you it's frustrating it's like it's almost selfish in a way but but it is how we feel, you know? So I think thank you for sharing that jane it's frustrating frustrating because I'm I hate to say older and wiser but you know, I I see the effects of that attitude that you know I'm young and invincible and and you've infuriated it's yes repressed rage yeah, yeah cheryl, I was just thinking that, you know, after death in the family and some other things we're sort of in this place where the medical advice was not good, right? And so it's this interesting place where I worked in medical devices for a long time so another family members are looking to me to figure out what the issue is and I had the opportunity look back at some old photo photo albums realizing, you know, we were healthier thirty years ago when things were really simpler um how can we create that simple get the people who are delivering bad advice too? Shut up or leave and how do you get people actually take action when they've taken action so many times and it hasn't worked out well, right? Right. And it is hard even come up with an argument if in the trade and you like no really it's gonna work this time yeah, I swear um anybody have anything in particular? I might could go around picking on all of you, but lisa that my parents are really healthy and active side I'm very at all about them badmouth the answer he's we talked about this in the break his super skinny he can everything like bacon cheeseburgers, fries and you will even see it and so he's does this misconception that if you don't gain weight and if you're not overweight then you're healthy and he thinks I mean but now I guess you know is that it's not healthy tend to eat cheeseburgers all the time but you know, since it doesn't show he's always like yeah it's it's okay and s o it's I had to convince him to actually eat healthy in gammel vegetables because he wouldn't cook vegetables himself when we cook together we do it vegetables because I'm a vegetarian um but it's hard to convince him that is something that he needs to it every day for and then how does that make you feel? Um it's just frustrating and isn't here with your cell and he's like yeah two seven pizza or something and I'm like yeah, but that's unhealthy you're like, damn it, I love you so actively yes yeah so I there's a lot of frustration I I definitely feel a lot of sadness for people in my family when I see them not taking care of themselves and I know what they're doing and it's just like gosh, you know um so I'm curious does anybody do this these feelings these s o you see these family members acting this way you you clearly feel bad for them you want to help them? Does it change your own behavior in any way did you do anything is what do you do wanna? Well I used to be a really big extremist what? When I first started eating healthy I was eating a vegan food I was total animal rights activists and I would make everyone upset around especially my father who eats the way that he does s o I would just you know, like do the whole shaming thing stuff that you're talking about earlier um and it it made an even bigger gap so now I have no place to say anything right? Um so for a while I said nothing and now people in my family that we're totally offended and turned off since has been such a large amount of time a long amount of time that I haven't said anything I've gotten calls like I'm experiencing less now now what do I doson I've taken the approach not saying anything at all after learning that it totally pushes people when it works better so that's great insight so right it's like you you know your inclination is really guys this is what you should be doing and more often than not walls go up and they were run and they are or they want to fight you back, you know, so that is your right very difficult approach um right and so that's what? We just talked about trying to get her family members to change and so yeah, I just two quick exercise and based on all we've talked about so far um what what would you suggest? What do you think would be the best approach now was somebody knew there was somebody in your family that you really love and you really care about and you really would like to see them start on the path toward better health? What do you think? What would be a good tactic to start with anyone? Cheryl, look, she did start with something just the other day, you know, the new york times article that came out about this is why you're still that I think was the title of it, right? And I sent it to an automatic as we've been debating this thing and she and I like to, well, it's tough and so it it was interesting and that she engaged in it in a way that we might be able to try something new versus going down the path of I've tried something like that already it's not gonna work never mind I'll keep doing what I'm doing, but I think it opened up a new dialogue and then for some other family members that have engaged with that it's ended up in conflict, I'm going to disengage change because I just don't have the energy for that I'd rather work with the people who they would like to engage in a healthful way and I don't mind debating the issue I have to agree with me but the conflict part I'm going with so that's a great that's a great distinction you just made, which is that some people are open for a discussion there will be combative but at least they're open for discussion other people are not and as as an individual yourself you have to choose your battles, right? And sometimes as much as you love a person, you know, sometimes there's a acceptance point that you have to come to where they're not ready to hear this and if I keep pushing it, I'm going to lose my relationship with them completely and that's that's really sad and really tough but sometimes it's the reality so great deciphering between those two different things um that was really stupid. Yeah nicky so thinking about my sister like I found out as she feed her daughters with fried chicken and so they gain weight really fast and I was like no like especially the skin part because they really like it and I was like, that shouldn't be and um so I try like maybe you shouldn't do it, but I know that she would immediately will get defensive so I used the tactic off kind of come in her when she picked something else that but I know it's better so I was like all that looks awesome to see the kid loves it like you know so I used that one is the great great so focus on positives instead of focusing on negatives very very smart awesome so right so lesson number one I think we're all sort of getting out of this never ever ever ever ever nag it does the opposite of what you want which is getting someone to change it makes somebody just hate you you know it just really makes people mad and it makes them more resistant to change than ever so tell me jack it's so tempting I know but use that will power that you save from stop dieting and is don't nag so another very powerful thing you khun dio as work on empathy and hopefully this doesn't sound too patronizing but for this was sort of an epiphany for me was you know sometimes you think you can put yourself in someone else's shoes but you do it at a rational level you know you could say like well if I were you and I was your you know if I was your twelve year old boy I would care more about my future than your carry you know and it's like it's rational but when you put yourself in the emotional state and the other person is like I'm just having fun like there's plenty of time to worry about health you know all my other friend like it's too much to ask a young person who's going out with all their friends to del taco or whatever to not eat with them, you know? So there is, you know, so maybe and once you understand you can put yourself in their emotional place, you can start to understand the real problem and then you can actually start to maybe have a more productive approach to what your suggestions khun because if you suggest something that's completely and from their perspective completely out of the question, you know, like there's, no way I'm going to start like eating a rubella every day if you don't if right now all you need is fried chicken, you know you can't start there, but if you could manage to put yourself in their emotional position instead of the rational physician you can start to find an answer so that that was a huge one for me to learn because I'm a very logical person. And so my my inclination is just go straight into the logic and try to out logic them and people hate that people hate being out logic and basically what they decide is that you're a jerk another very powerful approach is to just only give advice when asked so live on I was saying once you set a good example, right, you set a good example yourself and you're you're eating vegetables regularly there, seeing you maybe lose weight they're saying you you know, exercise suddenly, you know, even if you don't say anything, maybe they'll start to be curious. You figure something out, some things working for you and then when they're ready, they're more likely to approach you and ask, you know, what do you think about the salad dressing or you know, this thing or another? And then there they can listen, so when they've asked, then you can give advice if they haven't asked yet they're probably not ready, so only getting advice when asked again, just like in the office moralizing food choices again, I'm gonna being this home, it's not good to do for yourself, it's not different to do to others and it's really not going to do it a family because it sets up dichotomy of pain either you're doing, you're being good and you're miserable and depriving yourself or you're being bad and you feel guilty you lose in both situations, so always avoid moralizing always avoided words like good and bad and healthy and unhealthy say things like pleasure, happiness, energy, you know, convenience, joy, you know, talk about actual attributes that you gain as opposed tio what is and isn't right to do because that puts you on a high horse and you're talking down to someone and when he likes that feeling, and we're going to go into depth detail about this. But, you know, we talked about language already words, stories and emotions. And and keep in mind, you're not going to overhaul somebody overnight. It's hard enough to overhaul yourself kind of impossible. You can nudge, you know you can put plants ideas in their heads, inched them toward the right direction until you know you sort of get the compass moving slightly toward north, you know, and it's going to be gradual and it's going to you should think of it in terms of nudges is and not in terms of a complete like overhaul, because, you know, well, that would be amazing and sure really helpful for all of us to completely overhaul of our health styles and become, you know, magic, super foodists eyes not realistic, so nudging in the right direction.