9 Sure-Fire Tips to Deflect the Doubters and Achieve Your Paleo Goals


Post image for 9 Sure-Fire Tips to Deflect the Doubters and Achieve Your Paleo Goals
271 Flares 271 Flares ×

You’ll find more practical advice like this in The Modern No-Nonsense Guide to Paleo. Navigate being paleo in a non-paleo world with success. Pick up a copy today!

You know what to say to the paleo skeptics. You’ve stopped apologizing and you’re adept at disengaging.

But what if you value the relationship with your critic? Or you live around them constantly?

Negative energy can be a real problem because it hits us in our weak spots. It can make us vulnerable to temptation, slow our progress, or worse, cause us to lose sight of our goals altogether.

What can we do to deal with this problem and keep ourselves focused when facing  fear, cynicism and doubt? How do we let the judgement roll off us like water off a duck’s back?

Here are nine sure-fire ways to deflect the critics and the ‘downers’ in your life. Paleo skeptics, be damned!

1. Get in your ‘paleo zone’. Just quietly and calmly, focus inward and carry on. Imagine a wall separating yourself from those around you. I have a friend who imagines herself wearing an invisible raincoat deflecting the barbs and attack she has to deal with during her day like spots of rain. Get in the zone and work on your eating habits, your preparations, your rituals.

2. Find yourself a self-soothing ritual. When these difficult moments occur and you get anxious or riled up, find something to go do until you calm down. I would go lock myself in my van and listen to music. You could go to the bathroom for a few moments. Read a book. Take a short walk. This is an important life-skill and it must not involve food.

3. Avoid people who scrutinize your eating. Try not to eat with them if possible. If your co-workers are dubious, eat lunch somewhere else. Walk to a park and eat there for example. Always be on the look out for opportunities to avoid your saboteurs and connect with your supporters.

4. Focus on building paleo skills. At the beginning of your paleo journey, if you tell yourself you will only eat paleo, then you eat pizza and birthday cake at a party, you will feel a failure and appear a flake. But in the beginning, the reality is that going paleo is really about developing the skills and knowledge necessary to live paleo in a world where you are the odd one out. The focus should not be on losing x number of pounds, how many reps you do, what your pant size is. Instead set a broad goal like wanting to be the mom who runs around with her kids and work on acquiring paleo knowledge and skills – such as how to shop the perimeter of the store, practicing saying ‘No thank you” to doughnuts, or finding the restaurants that don’t derail you. By focusing on the big picture and accepting your own learning process, you will tolerate imperfection in yourself, and others’ criticism will matter less.

5. Undertake a cost/benefit analysis.  If your husband‘s favorite aunt has baked a pie especially for you and won’t accept any attempts at declining, you have several options. Weighing these up and making a decision takes skill and practice, and planning. They concern the context of your situation (for example, is the pie just for you or is it for several people?) as well as the relationship between the two of you. Make a decision based on your assessment of the situation and move on but know that people become attuned to changes in behavior over time and that with preparation, you can moderate and even avoid this situation in future.

6. Find a paleo buddy. Preferably more than one. Join a mastermind group, go on a forum. Have someone to reach out to when you need a like-minded soul. Gather these people in advance so they are there when you need them. Don’t wait, anticipate. Have someone or somewhere to go to, when you need support or to simply feel normal.

7. Keep your goals constantly in mind. Write them down. Review them at least once daily. Refer to them at difficult times. You can write them on index cards and carry one in your waistband to pull out when you’re wavering. Post others around the house or at your desk. Make them your screensaver. Create a paleo inspiration board on Pinterest. Keep wafting those goals in front of you so they stay front and center.

8. Role play or mentally rehearse what you will say and do if you receive criticism. Say it out loud and practice it. Use your paleo buddies for help with this.

9. Keep a paleo journal. Journal your feelings and write them out. Ask yourself questions as you write. Keep writing and wait for your subconscious to answer those questions for you. Remember there is a wealth of information embedded in your brain – a product of millions of years of evolution and survival training. Let it come out and solve your problems.

Do you have a situation where you have to deflect criticism constantly? What ideas do you use to protect yourself and focus your energy? Let us know in the comments!

If you liked this article, please do me a favor and share on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter or Google +. There are buttons in the floating sidebar to your left.

Or ‘like’ PaleoNonPaleo Facebook page. I would so appreciate it! Thank you.


amazon, modern no nonsense guide to paleoAre you struggling to sustain a paleo lifestyle change? Or not sure how to start? Or perhaps those around you are resistant and you're feeling undermined and unsure. The Modern, No-Nonsense Guide to Paleo provides practical tools to ease the transition to a full-on paleo life. Each chapter includes strategies, tips and checklists to identify the actions to power you on your paleo journey and create sustainable change. Buy it at Amazon.com.

Written by 

Alison Golden writes on the topic of paleo over at Paleo/NonPaleo. She aims to share ideas, inspire and motivate readers by teaching them how to live paleo in a non-paleo world. She is also the author of the bestselling book, The Modern, No-Nonsense Guide to Paleo, a unique tool that gives the reader hundreds of strategies to navigate the learning process to successful paleo living.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Leslie June 26, 2012 at 7:55 am

Thanks for this! Eating paleo over a year and my husband characterizes how I eat as an ‘eating disorder’ … I’m ruining my body by not forcing it to digest things like bread (eyes rolling). We never buy bread anymore, but did at a farmers market on the weekend; he ate two pieces of the artisan sourdough and this morning told me he noticed he had lots and lots of gas … he said half-joking that I’m ruining him now haha! I’m hoping that small observation might finally get him to open his mind :-)


Alison Golden June 26, 2012 at 8:17 am

Hi Leslie! That’s cool. I hope so. For both your sakes. Good luck! :-)
Alison Golden recently posted..9 Sure-Fire Tips to Deflect the Doubters and Achieve Your Paleo GoalsMy Profile


William June 26, 2012 at 8:38 am

“An I must drink sour ale, I must, but never have I yielded to a man before, and that without would or mark upon my body. Nor, when I bethink me, will I yield now.”
― Howard Pyle, The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood
lead by example, be the best you can be.


Alison Golden June 26, 2012 at 9:09 am

That’s cool, William. Very true. Good to have it confirmed what I already suspected – I have some very intelligent and well-read persons among my readers. :-)
Alison Golden recently posted..9 Sure-Fire Tips to Deflect the Doubters and Achieve Your Paleo GoalsMy Profile


Allison June 26, 2012 at 2:32 pm

“The lady doth protest too much, methinks”
- Hamlet Act 3, scene 2, William Shakespeare

Sticking with the literary theme . . . I find that people who go out of their way to attack the paleo lifestyle tend to actually feel threatened by it which to me means that it is working! July 1st will mark the 3-year anniversary of the beginning of my journey and I have moved from avoidance of those who criticize to an advocate for change. Ultimately I think the results speak for themselves and I actually have converted several people who now come to me for advice and are doing great. But in the short run, until you feel you want to take the haters head on, I found that simply saying, “everyone makes choices in life and I’m very comfortable with mine,” tends to shut them up! Thanks for another great post Alison and say hi to Robin for us – just be sure he doesn’t steal bread for the poor – tell him to steal steak!


Alison Golden June 27, 2012 at 7:44 am

Hamlet (in reply to Queen Gertrude): “O! but she’ll keep her word.” :-)

I find those who argue hard are not at all likely to change anytime soon so I tend not to waste my energy. I have better things to do. Plus I don’t want to deal with haters, I don’t want that kind of energy in my life. But I suspect, Allison, you’re not dealing with them, you’re dealing with people who are already some way through the transition as to be somewhat open-minded. and perhaps you have significant weight-loss to demonstrate.

My husband has been more successful than I have as a paleo advocate in real life, possibly because he lost weight himself while I did not so that people would notice – weight is not my issue, my results are all on the inside. He’s converted several people who have seen great results while I am often treated as some slightly barmy individual who is doing it all wrong by not eating wheat and eschewing dairy. I get things like, “But where, Alison, will you get your calcium?” and “But you’re already too thin!” Sigh. I notice the ‘but’s’ and shut up. When it extends to my depriving my children and even harming them, I move on completely. These are not my people – an important point to recognize.
Alison Golden recently posted..9 Sure-Fire Tips to Deflect the Doubters and Achieve Your Paleo GoalsMy Profile


Lulu Jones June 27, 2012 at 3:36 pm

So my partner likes the paleo diet and has been following it partially for a couple of months. He still eats hummus (he’s from Israel), vegetable oil, and a little bit of packaged snacks like potato chips. He often makes comments about having to eat meat everyday, he is concern that meat everyday is unhealthy. I kind of just listen to his concern and keep on going….any thoughts.



Alison Golden June 28, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Hi Lulu: You’re doing exactly the right thing. You might be interested in this guest post I wrote:

Alison Golden recently posted..9 Sure-Fire Tips to Deflect the Doubters and Achieve Your Paleo GoalsMy Profile


Paleo Suz July 5, 2012 at 5:48 pm

For me it was important that I learnt and understood the science. Once I understand why something works, it makes the process so much easier.
Paleo Suz recently posted..319 Paleo Foods – The Definitive Paleo Food ListMy Profile


NJ Paleo July 12, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Even before going Paleo 4 months ago I was always considered “weird” among my circle of friends because I am a big advocate of health and fitness. For example, one day I overheard 2 of my friends saying that I was thin because I was “lucky enough to have good genes” and I patiently explained to them that my mother is 5’2″ and weighs 250 lbs and that most of my mother’s family are overweight due to poor lifestyle choices and that I choose to have a different lifestyle. Some of my friends have relatives with Celiac’s disease so at least they are familiar with “gluten-free”. My main issues come from comments from my husband and kids. I try to patiently explain things, which helps. Though I probably don’t want to know what they eat when I’m not around! And they all appreciate that I no longer have the stinky gas that I had before going paleo. I also get comments from friends as my husband and kids talk about the bacon. Bacon gets a bad rap, and I have to explain always that the bacon is from a farm that raises grass-fed animals, organic, no nitrates, etc. And comments from people about eating fat….but then they look at me and figure it can’t be that bad…..


Erin D. September 20, 2012 at 10:54 am

On the issue of scrutinizing and perhaps not drawing attention to how you eat in social situations, yada yada. I used to get nervous and think “I don’t want to draw attention or make others feel uncomfortable” but I’ve come to a realization about some of those kinds of situations. Recently my two teen daughters and were at a fundraising luncheon where everyone either knew us or knew my mother in law (small town, much tongue wagging). On the menu was gluten with a side of gluten all smothered in gluten gravy. My household is not strict paleo/primal, but it forms a strong base for how we eat and gluten is avoided (varying degrees of compliance, my oldest and I being the most). Needless to say, we barely touched our plates, opting for only the fruit salad. One of my daughters whispered “Everyone at our table probably thinks we’re anorexic or something.” We are slender, but very healthy in our appearance. Well I certainly don’t want people thinking I’m running a family legacy of eating disordered daughters, but past that I don’t care. Here’s why; if I claimed that my family and I were vegetarians or vegans, someone would probably be hunting down some tofu and a Nobel Peace prize for us. I’m not going put myself in an unhealthy place just because others are not educated about the serious mistruths and lies being shoved at us by the medical community and big ag. Granted, many/most don’t know that they have been misinformed, that makes me sad. Which now leads me to say a big thank you to you for the work you do! hopefully the word and good health will spread.


Ellen October 2, 2012 at 4:01 pm

I’m afraid I have to disagree. I would never absent myself from a function or a lunch with friends or coworkers who say anything about paleo. I wouldn’t want to diminish my life in that way. I’m confident about what I’m doing AND I look so good that no one really questions me about it except to maybe ask about paleo to try it themselves. If you don’t make a big deal about it, it isn’t really noticeable. You order a salad with chicken. You order chicken and vegetables. It’s easy not to eat bread. Just say you don’t like it, or you have celiac (no one bothers you if you say that). Don’t order dessert. Just say you’re full. Really, this is easier than it would seem. I’ve had no trouble doing this at all. I just wouldn’t be furtive or secretive about it. If it’s natural to you. You like it. You feel better. Just do it. You’ll look and feel so good that the people around you will only feel jealous and curious. Unless they’re jerks, in which case, find new friends.


Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

{ 2 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: