Empowered or Enabled?

*Note from Sarah: Jason Seib is back with more inspiration!! 

Empowered or Enabled?

I want to preface this post by stating that what you are about to read is by no means a rant, or an attempt to pass judgement on anyone and that my true intention is to help!! The goal of what I am writing is to simply get you thinking about your perspective.

Having said that, I have a question for you:

Do you use the internet to find those who might empower you to succeed, or to congregate with those who might enable you to slip up?

It’s great that we can all find each other on Facebook, blogs, and forums.  It’s wonderful to have support and the rapid exchange of information.  And it’s always nice to know that we aren’t alone when it can sometimes seem like the rest of the world thinks we are crazy despite our results.  But I think there can be a downside to these things, too.

I sometimes see (and suspect) behavior in some of the clients I have worked with in which the internet becomes their place to go when they need to find other people who are also struggling.  Don’t get me wrong, I understand how difficult it could be if you believed you were the only one messing up and everyone else had their fitness and nutrition dialed, and it makes perfect sense to me to discuss our slip-ups in an attempt to learn from them.  However, this is not always what appears to be happening.  Let me give you a hypothetical example.

Bob Newtopaleo is still learning the ropes and trying to get this whole paleo thing figured out because he works with someone who got amazing results from it and he wants those results, too.  He has searched the internet for all the information he could possibly find, as well as for other people that have gone before him.  He learns a lot and meets a lot of people who are on the same journey he is on.  The problem is that one of the places he frequents happens to be home to quite a few people who seem to gather together to feel better about their mistakes instead of to learn from them.  Since Bob is a newbie and has never given this any consideration, he begins to believe that the obstacles in his path are insurmountable for many people and he is simply one of the unlucky few, like his internet friends.  Eventually Bob may even come to resent those who are as driven as he could be because he feels that he belongs to a whole group of people who are struggling and, therefore, he is justified in believing that the paleo lifestyle is too hard for him.  This is probably not the route to success, or more accurately; to health.  Instead of doing further research and asking questions to help him understand what he might need to do to make this lifestyle work for him, he continues to stumble and his health, well-being, and happiness continues to be compromised…

No one is perfect, and we don’t ever expect you to be.  We aren’t perfect and it’s silly for anyone to assume so. This post is not about achieving some sort of unrealistic and evangelical level of paleo, it’s about being healthy first, and finding avenues of positive and real support rather than avenues that continue to support and promote negativity. I sort of doubt that I have escaped upsetting a few people at this point, but I only want you to take a critical look at where you direct your energy.  If you slip up and fall off the wagon, if you are not getting the results that you want, and if you feel like you need more direction, you are not a victim, you do not suck, and you are not incapable of coming away from the whole thing smarter and stronger.  Of course, this means that each back slide should be viewed as an opportunity to learn and improve, and this in turn means that looking for people who support and justify choices that do not lead to a life of health and longevity will not be the best path you could choose.  Find mentors that are there to HELP YOU, or comrades to journey WITH YOU, but don’t seek out sanctuaries where it is okay to not make progress. Your goals deserve better. Please, walk away from the negativity that can only weaken you.

Go forth and be awesome.


  1. Nancy Puckett-Dunn says

    Wonderful post. Thank you. I like to use the internet to find info from people who are way ahead of me. I feel that if you never give up you will never fail. I am stricter on Paleo than I ever have been on anything at any other time in my life. My main slip up is the occasional overindulge in things like fruit and nuts. I never knowingly go off it altogether. I find with Paleo, the stricter you are the easier it is. That is just the nature of if, for me.

  2. Anthony says

    I use the web for support as I am new to all this as well. But I think it has to be in the individual to rise above their mistakes as with everything else in life. I started my wheat free journey on Labor Day. And have struggled with the fact others have lost weight and I have not. But I realize thru research that my meds may be hindering that progress. So I am doing something about it. I should also mention I feel better, never really tired to play with my 4 year old son or do tons of house chores throughout the week. I feel more energetic without any cardio and still kettlebell group training 2-3 times a week.

  3. Jenny says

    I’ve joined a few FB forums (and real live groups) on specific health issues (to learn more) and had to leave a couple because of the overwhelming amount of negativity and pity parties. Obviously we all have bad days and if we’re facing health issues, it can mean a lot to communicate with folks who empathize. But it can be a slippery slope into just whining all the time instead of seeking ways to become healthier. Being part of those forums was bringing in too much negativity for me, so I opted out. The other two I’m still in are more focused on what we CAN do to overcome obstacles, and folks share a lot of advice. Every once in a while someone will post about a setback and everyone is encouraging, and it just seems like a more healthy balance. Also, I would say we need to learn to be self-motivated and not so reliant on outside cheerleading. Yes it’s great I completed my workouts this week, no I don’t need a bunch of “hurrays!” every single time I go for a walk. I guess I like saving those for milestones or new achievements.

  4. Shelly Stewart says

    Wow, I guess I have been lucky. It never occurred to me that people would sabotage themselves this way but I can see it now. I started my journey of health and fitness because I was determined to do so. I have achieved far greater success than I ever imagined and would say I am a walking advertisement for what is possible but that hasn’t come without some others trying to sabotage me. There are plenty out there who have told me to just indulge or that it can’t be healthy to deny myself of one thing or another. I simply say to look at me. For the most part people start talking fitness and nutrition whenever I walk into a room. I have been an inspiration to friends, family, and colleagues without initiating any of it. Some people just aren’t ready. They will look for ways out and apparently there are places they can go to get their negative support. The good news is, there are places like Everyday Paleo where people who are committed and serious can go to feed the dream and nurish our path to success. I turn 42 this month and have never been this fit. I have completed and placed in several races over the past two years and just completed my first Tough Mudder event. Exercise is key but without my nutrition dialed in, these things would not have happened. Keep up your amazing work!

  5. Brooke says

    Love this post. I always try to remind myself that “those who have given up on their dreams will discourage yours”, but it’s not always easy to stay positive in fostered negativity. Thanks for saying this!

  6. says

    Interesting post. I purposely only looked at websites and blogs of the paleo/primal experts ( Sarah , Robb , Mark Sisson and Nom-nom Paleo). From those sites I gathered and tried what did and didn’t work for me.
    I had read a book called Refuse to Regain ( about weight maintnence) and the author recommended a Primal style of diet. If I was going to keep off 72 pounds I was going to have to kick the nay-Sayers to the curb while I worked it out.
    Something told me it would be too confusing to join any other blogs or groups. I would need to decide what my plan would be after I worked it all out. Glad I did that, since I can see Jason’s point. Negative thinking or irrational beliefs could completely derail a good thing nd lots of hard work.
    I attended an Everyday Paleo workshop in Laguna Niguel in Feb 2012. The workshop, Sarah , and Jason were awesome. One of the coolest parts were the break out groups where we talked to others in our group about our experiences with Paleo. I learned so much from those who had been eating Paleo for awhile. And I learned I was not alone in my community , too and I had driven and hour away.

    Anyhoo, very good topic. As time goes I hope that more of us who have had success and health benefits can be the leaders of in person groups in our areas in real life as well as online. . Karen P. ( 8 months eating a Palelo template and those 72 pounds are still gone. Life is good!!)

  7. Aimee says

    Great post. I started out stong Primal/Paleo in April, and now I can’t get back on track to where I was with myself or my family. I really needed this today. One day at a time……..

  8. Rudy says

    Amen! Stick with the winners and leave the rest. Seeing is believing. I’ve always had borderline hypertension and after a physical and blood work up, I’ve not only have lowered my blood pressure, my cholesterol levels are great! Thanks for the post Sarah.

  9. Lindsey says

    I loved this post. I also think that what we search our (support or commiseration) says a LOT about our personality, and that can also make (or break) our success. yes it’s important to meet those who struggle, but It is just as important to be inspired by those who succeed (because they have likely struggled tooo). I love that about this community, in that we’re not afraid to share with one another and to be supportive of one another. Because we all have struggles in one fashion or another, that IS what makes into the people we are. I am reminded of a post that I read a few weeks back from a surgeon in Canada, he said made a distinction between “cheat” and “life choice” :http://www.weightymatters.ca/2012/09/do-you-know-difference-between-diet.html I know that I some times struggle, and then i remember what he says and realize that each day is it’s own and that there is a TON of support around me, including my loved ones who see my transition and theirs as a GREAT thing!

    Thank you for the post, and keep the inspiration coming!

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