Ok listen up, I am going to describe to you a real-life (for the most part) scenario. The scene is four college-aged dudes having lunch…
After scanning the menu, the waitress comes around and asks what they will be having… Guys #1 and #2 order the bacon cheeseburger with a side of fries. Guy #3 orders a Philly cheesesteak with fries.
Me, guy #4, orders a grilled chicken salad…
Suddenly, abruptly, time seems to stop for a moment. The opening of Beethoven’s 5th symphony seems to have begun playing in the background. All of my friends look at me with both shock and disgust as if I have ordered for a cute, cuddly koala to be hunted down, slaughtered, cooked and then brought to me on a platter. Even the waitress gives me that, “Did you seriously just order a salad” look as if no male on earth had ever before uttered the words ‘I’ll have the salad’.
After my friends recover from their initial shock, the insults start hurtling in. “What the hell man? Are you some type of chick?” Guy #1 simultaneously follows up with ‘Really?! A salad? Is this part of your CrossFit diet or something? HA HA” as him and guy #2’s palms meet above my head for the most epic of high-fives. Even the waitress gets in on the action asking, “Do you want a Shirley Temple with that?” causing my friends to erupt in laughter.
This is just one of many experiences I have had when ordering food out with friends. It is all lighthearted and in good fun, and I always shrug off the insults as I have gotten more than used to them by now. The insults usually come from my good friends, while others often ask if I am on some type of diet or something.
Because after all, who eats healthy without being on a diet?!
Before I get into why these reactions take place, I want to provide you with some background into my eating habits, or according to my friends, my feminine diet. I have always been passionate about healthy living, and have always exercised and done my best to eat healthy when I could. I played baseball my entire life so this allowed for me to frequently work out and stay in shape.
A few months after my baseball career ended, I finally gave in to my “CrossFitter friend” and tried out CrossFit, figuring that at the very least it would get me ready for “beach season”. After about a month of doing CrossFit on my own at the school gym, I was hooked. I started upping my workout volume from 4-5x a week to about 7-8x a week after about a month or so. My friend suggested that I follow the Paleo diet as it had worked great for her and she said it would complement my CrossFit training. For those of you unfamiliar with the ins and outs of the Paleo diet, it basically is a diet that eliminates all processed foods, grains (bread, pasta, etc.) and dairy in favor of natural foods – fruits, veggies, nuts and meat. For a more in-depth breakdown, check out this great article for a beginner’s guide to the Paleo Diet written by my buddy Steve Kamb.
As hard as it was saying goodbye to processed foods, cheese, grains and ice cream, what eased the pain was the results that I was seeing. I was not only leaning out, but my strength was increasing and I also felt better and more energized despite my drastically lower carb intake. I ate strictly Paleo for about 3 months, and as you can imagine, eating out with friends during this time resulted in many situations similar to the scenario I opened this post with. Another great insult I got after living abroad and ordering my usual “girly” meal choices: “I guess I know why you loved Thailand so much, you’re a ladyboy!” Yes, exactly it. My friends are modern-day Sherlock Holmes, don’t you think?
Which one is the ladyboy?
After getting more involved in CrossFit I continued to up my training volume and began to bring some grains back into my diet to provide my body with more carbs. Today, I use the Paleo diet as a guide to healthy and clean eating but I do occasionally eat some grains and some dairy. I have found this way of eating provides me with plenty of energy, allows me to feel great, and yields the best results in the gym. So why do my meal choices cause such a scene? Why is it that when attempting to eat healthy, my efforts are stigmatized and made to seem so out of the ordinary?
I don’t think that this situation is unique to me. I have seen it occur in many other settings with other people. It seems that choosing “healthy” options off the menu is so unusual whereas ordering a burger with a heavily buttered bun, cheese loaded with saturated fat and deep fried french fries is the norm – especially for a guy.
Let’s take a look at the statistics in an attempt to learn more about “the norm”
The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) for 2011-2012 found that 68.5% of adults are overweight OR obese. Of that 68.5% of adults who are overweight or obese, 34.9% of the population is obese, meaning more than a third of our nation’s population is obese. Further, 31.8% of children and adolescents (up to 19 years old) are overweight or obese, with 16.9% of all children being classified as obese.
I don’t know about you, but that is certainly one norm that I do NOT want to be a part of. And if you’re reading this, I’m assuming you don’t want to either. Perhaps we should all stop adhering to the norm and instead live in a way that results in a healthy, thus, more satisfying life? Just a thought.
“So, are you on some type of diet?!”
First of all, I hate the word “diet”. It implies something that is temporary, something that doesn’t last. Also it suggests a “quick fix” to achieving whatever it is you’re after – whether it be losing fat, losing weight, gaining muscle, etc. Quick fixes are a staple of our society, especially when it comes to working out and eating healthy.
Unfortunately, when it comes to training and dieting, there are no quick fixes to seeing the results you want . There is no supplement for hard work. However, a healthy diet is the foundation of training and seeing those results. I choose to eat clean because it allows me to look and feel better than I would if I were eating whatever I wanted (I do of course pig out every now and then). Most importantly, eating clean improves my quality of life and well-being.
If you are still reading, you are probably interested in how to get started and begin eating healthy. Well it’s time to get some quality foods in your system.
Heading out to get groceries?
Read this article that I wrote on TheRxReview.com and then head on over to get yourself some high-quality groceries that won’t put a dent in your wallet!
Headed out to eat?
We’ve got you covered as well. Whether you’re eating Mexican, American, Greek or more, check out this article and learn what to eat and what to avoid.
I want to hear your story. Ever been called a ladyboy because of your diet choices?! I hope not. Or have you ever witnessed anything similar to what I described?
Also, if you have any questions about dieting or clean eating please let me know! I’d love to hear from you!