I met a man in Whole Foods. I had noticed him before he spoke to me. He looked like an avid Jimmy Buffet fan with his colorful shirt, shorts and hat that reminded me of many middle-aged men I had seen during my brief time in the Florida Keys.
We spoke about juicing, great documentaries, books, etc. I could see the excitement in his eyes as we both had found in each other an unexpected kindred spirit who shared a passion for health. He also mentioned the challenges and criticisms we run into when we go against the norm.
It’s a strange thing that happens unexpectedly. You decide to make a change for the better. You do your research, clean out your fridge and pantry and add healthier alternatives, begin to exercise, and try new things. These small changes start to impact your life in bigger ways than you had imagined, or planned for, but they happen and you embrace them. We rejoice when we are taken off medications, have more energy and just feel so darn happy every day to get out of bed.
However, what we don’t expect is friends, family members and co-workers to not only question what we are doing, but to also throw in some condescending comments and glares. Now, this isn’t to say that we won’t have positive support as well. My family has been supportive and so have most of my friends. I was happy to share my knowledge and everything I am learning. But along the way, we encounter questioning looks, sarcastic comments and skeptics. I have backed off from bombarding co-workers and random people I meet with the knowledge that I am so excited to share. Believe me this is hard! It sometimes feels like it’s bursting at the seams!
But I have found that I am starting to inspire more people to take their health into their own hands by talking less and just doing. And along the way, we will encounter those who are just not ready yet; I call them skeptics, the negative Nellies—but most of all those who are unsure of the unknown. When we are used to a certain way of living and doing things, change can be scary, hard, and sometimes uncomfortable. Especially when we try to change our thinking from pharmaceuticals as the cure for all and instead start thinking of food as medicine. That is not to say that medicine does not have its place, because it certainly does and is very necessary at times.
The man I met in the grocery store began to talk a little bit about his experiences with such encounters, and then what he said really did hit home: “we can lose friends.” As he said this, I could see sadness in his eyes, even though he tried to shrug it off.
Bottom line: some people just aren’t ready. But you are, and you are not alone. So be compassionate to others who aren’t ready yet and who question everything you are doing. We all start somewhere. Remember where you started and be compassionate with yourself on this journey toward health. We aren’t perfect, and that’s okay! Every day we are making choices, and we learn from those choices. If you do find yourself going against the grain, find those who you can call your tribe, your people, your support system.
In the meantime, cherish those moments similar to the one I had and know you are not the only one out there trying to make a change for the better!