You Can Lead a Horse to Water, But …

        Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS       September 1, 2015    


evolution rA cliché, no doubt, but with important meaning. I cannot motivate anyone. You cannot motivate anyone. Only an individual can motivate himself or herself. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. I can present information that may be factual and convincing, but the individual must take the leap of faith and become self-motivated. Facts don’t move a person to action as much as emotions and social interactions do.


In my practice of treating mouth diseases, I help patients understand the importance of healthy food and lifestyle choices. Many get the message and jump in with both feet. But, even those that become self-motivated could lose their way if other factors were not in place.


A Paleo diet and lifestyle are perfect examples. My belief is that this way of eating and living has been effective for 2.5 million years of evolution, and I don’t doubt its teachings. Results are very clear to me. Science also is now proving many of the anecdotal stories from the past are indeed factual.


A few of my patients that had embraced a Paleo-type diet and lifestyle have quit. The reasons usually were not a loss of faith of the facts; the reasons were lack of support at home or an apparent lack of recipe variety.


The number one reason in my experience that several of my patients quit Paleo was no support at home. Even if a person had understood all the health benefits of at least avoiding grains and sugars and had become motivated to make it happen, one critical factor was lacking. His or her significant other was not on the same page. Success was doomed. The emotional and social aspects of eating with a person’s significant other were too strong. If one wanted to go to places that were not Paleo-friendly or if one insisted on eating pizza and cake at home, then the other who was trying to be Paleo unfortunately could lose interest.


The second reason I have encountered was boredom. Most people don’t realize there are abundant choices in Paleo meals. Some people need to have variety all of the time. These people need to know that there are hundreds of recipes that can be made in minimal time to create delicious and unusual Paleo menus at home. There is a wealth of Paleo recipes in books and on the Internet from which to choose to keep meals exciting. Without variety, one could get bored after eating leafy greens all day with a piece of bacon or an over-easy egg without changing it up.


These two reasons for quitting Paleo could be overcome, but they are compelling. In my experience, these were the major two reasons why some of my patients quit Paleo.

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