People at work have noticed that I'm doing things differently with my diet (bringing all my own food to work, not partaking of snacks and other goodies put out by the other office people, not going out to eat for lunch, etc.).
My work life is perhaps a little different than some. I work in the field of bicycling advocacy, as an intern at the Chicago Department of Transportation. Like me, most of my coworkers are reasonably healthy, active people who bicycle every day to work, school, grocery shopping, etc. They are naturally sympathetic to issues of healthy diet, a healthy food environment, environmental and social concerns, sustainability, etc., and many of these people are already fully politicized when it comes to the power of personal choice. So they are naturally sympathetic, I think, to the ethical reasons why I think CR is a good idea, even if they don't care about longevity. (The ethics of CR are something I take every bit as seriously as the personal benefits, but that's a discussion for another post.)
I'm unsure how best to respond to their questions. I worry that if I go into too much detail about CR, I will seem nutty--especially given that I am still significantly overweight. Who am I to represent the virtues of CR? So far, I've given a half-truth answer:
"I'm trying to address some of my serious health concerns with modifications to my diet."
I deemphasize the weight-loss goal, and longevity never enters into the conversation. I'm not ready to be a longevity advocate in public because if I fail to stick with this, it might persuade others that CR is unworkable. I also am the kind of person who would rather explain to people what I do that works for me, rather than offer advice about what they should do. And I'm not really the poster child for "what works," not yet. In July, maybe, after I've shed some weight and you can see the effects of CR just by looking at me!
So, I have a cunning plan. Okay, it's not that cunning, but it just might work. I'll give vague half-answers to their questions until I reach my goal weight. When I am the very image of virtuous CR practice, and can reasonably provide an appealing and authentic representation of what CR can do (in the short term, since the longevity issue remains an open question)--when they are looking at my thin, healthy body and asking "how'd you do it?"--THEN I'll open my big mouth and do some CR advocacy with my coworkers. And then they'll think I'm nutty anyhow. But I'll be able to say something arch and pithy, like "the results speak for themselves..."
I think it's important for me to fully internalize and prove my commitment to myself first, before I advocate to others.
I've been a "weird" eater and a healthy eater for a long time, so no one has really noticed that I'm eating differently, but I'm sure questions are going to come up. Like you, I don't want to start talking about CR until I know I'm going to stay with it, and I've seen more of the benefits. What I seem to say is that I feel better if I eat this way. And I do.
I'm also happy to share that eating simple carbs make my blood sugar go crazy and makes me physically uncomfortable and craving sugar like mad for the rest of the day.
When people ask me how I lost 45+ pounds, I just tell them I went on the "quit eating crap" diet. That usually gets a chuckle.
A few people push for a deeper answer, which I'm glad to provide as long as I feel they're sincere in their interest. But it's important to remember not everyone is cut out for serious CRON. Everyone can benefit from getting optimal nutrition, though, and I don't think anyone should see that as "weird." I'll happily preach the virtues of kale and brussels sprouts to anyone who will listen.
What Robin said.
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