Painted Into a Corner by Jason Seib

*Note from Sarah: This one needed to be written and I’M SO GLAD that Jason decided to write it and share it with you.  I used to be the person he describes in this post and although the journey took a lot of hard work and dedication I’m so glad that I took that first step and you will be glad to.  Thank you so much Jason for another eye opener. 

Please be assured that we want to provide the answers, we want to help, and we have been developing a program that we are sure will be what many of you need to take those steps towards implementing fitness into your paleo lifestyle. On December 1st we will be announcing what that program is so please stay tuned!!

Painted Into a Corner

by: Jason Seib

Time for some tough love.  I am fully aware that I may catch hell for some of the things I’m going to say today.  So be it.  They need to be said and it is worth it to me if I can just get you thinking.

Through my Facebook page, the comments on this blog, phone consultations, and emails I hear from a lot of people these days.  One thing that always gets my hackles up is all the things that people willingly put before their health, fitness, and longevity without a second thought.  I understand completely that there are those of you who literally cannot afford access to the equipment necessary for proper exercise (namely weights), and others can’t find the time, like in the case of single parents without readily available child care.  This post is not written to you.  Unfortunately, there are many who believe themselves to be in these situations who really are not.  This post is written to you.

First of all, how did it ever become the norm in our culture to prioritize nearly everything above our health?  I think I said it my interview with Jimmy Moore, if you have a car payment but say you cannot afford a gym membership, your priorities are a mess.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure my perspective is completely biased by my chosen profession, but I’m not trying to talk you into joining my gym. Despite my bias, it seems like common sense to me to give up Starbucks, drive a cheap used car with good gas mileage, live in a cheaper home, stop getting your nails done, and/or buy non-designer clothes in order to feel great, look amazing, and live a long, disease free life.  I’m sorry if any of this touches a nerve.  Like I said, tough love today.

The next one is for you moms, and I think I probably should have hired some security before I go into this, but here goes.  Killing yourself slowly is not what your kids need or want from you.  Your children will not get together at Christmas in 30 years and say, “It was totally worth it to have to bury mom so young.  At least she got us to karate, ballet, T-ball, and piano lessons all on the same day while still keeping the kitchen immaculate and doing the laundry.  If that laundry would have piled up we never would have forgiven her!”  Again, how did such things get on your to-do list ahead of “be here for my kids as long as possible”?  The other point we need to address here is the example we set for our kids when it comes to how we take care of our bodies.  If you prioritize nutrition and fitness, your children will likely grow into adults that will prioritize nutrition and fitness.  What would be different in your life right now if nutrition and fitness had always been a priority for you?  All of the health benefits aside, I guarantee you would at least be able to scratch a couple of insecurities off your list.  This is the kind of life I’m asking you to show your kids how to live.

(Brace yourself, I’m about to really get up on my soapbox now.)  Some of you aren’t lifting weights because you won’t go to the gym because you are intimidated by the people there.  This one makes me want to scream!  I understand that you feel like you stick out and everyone is staring at you.  What I don’t understand is how you can place enough value in the opinions of complete strangers that you are willing to sacrifice your health and well being just to avoid them.  Let’s consider the source.  Some over-tanned meat-head in a string tank top and MC Hammer pants finally pulls his gaze away from his biceps in the mirror long enough to look at you with disapproval and you let yourself get uncomfortable.  Then, an exercise addicted bone-rack in a sports bra, tight short shorts, and perfect hair and make-up  looks down her nose at you as you walk past her elliptical machine where she spends most of her time trying to “burn” the right amount of calories that she thinks will keep her competitive in the club on Saturday night and get her noticed by the guys that somehow justify her existence as a woman.  This is the point where you decide you aren’t coming back here.  Are you seriously going to let these people take anything from you?  If you woke up tomorrow morning to find that you had been magically transformed into either one of them you would probably throw yourself off of something tall, but here, in this situation, you are allowing them to be insurmountable obstacles on the path to the life you want.  Stop doing that! Get in there and get to work on your goals and to hell with what anyone thinks!

Honestly, I don’t say these things to make you mad, frustrated, or depressed.  I truly want you to succeed.  You probably have more power to induce change in your life than you think you do.  If you have painted yourself into a corner, getting out might be uncomfortable.  Just promise me that you will think long and hard about your priorities.  There is a lot riding on this.

Go forth and be awesome.


  1. Bea says

    Jason: I think your viewpoint in this post is rather narrow (although I’ve enjoyed some of your other posts). I don’t need a gym membership for my health to be a top priority. I eat a good, high-in-natural-fats paleo diet. I exercise with my dogs, walking, running and playing with them, which is good for all of us. I can’t lift weights due to a neck injury. A priority you don’t even mention is adequate sleep. I need 9 hours to function well, which takes creative scheduling on my part since I work full time and have other responsibilities too. I also work on lowering my stress levels as much as possible. If I ever am able to carve out a little more time I’d be way more apt to find a dance studio to take some classes at than to join a gym. How about recommending some creative ways for people to get the exercise they need instead of pushing the gym route as the only way?

    • JasonS says

      My point in this post, as is my point always, is to direct people to get to absolute peak health, not necessarily just as healthy as they can make fit their lifestyle, and that means that everyone (without injury) needs to be lifting heavy things. Period. I only push the gym route because it is much cheaper than buying thousands of dollars of weights, bars, and racks. “Creative ways for people to get the exercise they need” means people walk, run, play on a local sports team, etc., all the while neglecting the one thing they need the most. Sure, those things are better than nothing at all, but I would be a horrible trainer if I encouraged people to try to achieve a quality of life that is better than nothing.

      • Bea says

        Well, as a professional trainer I guess you can continue to push “absolute peak health”. I also know you’ll lose lots of folks that might be willing to improve their health but that feel the “absolute” route is too hard (too time consuming, too expensive, etc.). I find a similar situation with the “Paleo gurus” that insist that everyone needs to eat grass-fed meats and organic veggies from local farmers. That is what my husband and I do, but we also encourage friends to eat whatever meats and veggies are available at the local grocery, because we know that by ditching the grains and sugar they will be healthier than they would be by continuing to eat grain and sugar based processed foods. Over time we hope our friends will continue to improve their diets, just like some might choose to go in for a professional trainer and a gym membership, but why would you not encourage the person that wants to at least take those first baby steps?

        • JasonS says

          I’m sorry if I gave you the impression that this post was written to people who might be taking their first steps. This post is written to people who are already into their pursuit of health and fitness but think they will be fine just doing the things that allow them to stay in their comfort zone. As a professional trainer, I will never sell anyone short by saying, “stay in your comfort zone, regardless of how it affects your quality of life.” If such ethics would have had a detrimental effect on my career (not the case) then so be it.

      • Emilia says

        I sort of understand what you’re saying but I personally agree with Bea thinking your point of you is quite narrow here.

        And what troubles me most is that by pointing your finger at people will not make them feel good. Period. It is a known fact that love and support will motivate people long term.

        I have been through a lot in my life including excercising every day and from my experience I can say that it’s not all there is. I believe now that the MIND plays the biggest role and by letting people feel accepted as they are (even without a gym membership) is the way. Excercising does not make one happy unless there is love, acceptance and support.

        Peace! :)

        • Sarah says

          I know Jason personally and he happens to be one of the most compassionate persons that I now, someone who actually and truly wants to help people, which is rare these days. I agree with you that acceptance and support go a long way and if people do not want to or can’t get a gym membership that in no way means that they are going to be unhealthy or unhappy for life or if you do get a gym membership you sill instantly find happiness. But, that was not the meaning or even the suggestion behind this post. Jason’s post was simply a reminder that we often put other “things” in front of what is very important, which is our health. : )

    • says

      I should probably let Jason speak for himself but I think the point he was trying to make is that people need to stop making excuses about taking control of their health, not necessarily that you must have a gym membership to do so. And those of you who make a point to exercise even if it’s in your own home, are not the kind of folks making excuses.
      I don’t know about the rest of y’all, but I see people around me all the time who complain about their weight and their poor health and their overall un-wellness. And when they see the living, breathing truth in front of them, they still manage to make excuses. I have no idea what it takes for someone to stop making excuses, even though i used to be one of those excuse-makers! It just seems like something clicked in my head and i knew i was never going back to poor-health excuse land. My husband compares it to The Matrix. He says now that we are out of The Matrix and we see the truth, it makes it really difficult to watch everybody else wander around inside of it!

        • Janelle Moore says

          Haha very good analogy! I am out of The Matrix finally too! It’s hardest to see family still stuck in it. I should have let Jason speak for himself too, but I just pointed out the points that spoke to me, and the way I interpreted his post.

          • Keturah says

            wow The Matrix can apply to the gym and paleo life style!

            I’m only 2 months in a total newbie, but feel better and am happier and keep telling people, cause they ask, and most think I’m crazy but in my head I’m going “if you only new…put down the cookie”

  2. Michelle says

    I love this bit:

    “What I don’t understand is how you can place enough value in the opinions of complete strangers that you are willing to sacrifice your health and well being just to avoid them.”

    That was so me – if only someone had slapped something like this in front of me a few years back, changes would have happened sooner. :-)

  3. says

    Although I have enjoyed a lot of your posts, I don’t agree with the need to buy a gym membership. I know for many people going to the gym is great and if so they should definitely do it, but to me a gym membership sounds stressful. As an introvert, I find the idea of a gym mentally exhausting. However, I love waking up each and every day and walking with my border collie for several miles through my neighborhood or local forest preserves (often sprinting with her). It sets the mood for my day as I experience the rain, wind, snow, and sunshine. Since my husband and I work opposite shifts, we carve out 30-45 minutes early in the morning to lift weights at home together. We may not be lifting the huge amounts of weight found at a gym, but we do lift and we do have time to enjoy working out together and spending some quality time together before we go our separate ways – something we wouldn’t have the time to do together if we had to drive to a gym.

    For me the paleo lifestyle has meant focusing on family, getting lots of vitamin D, reducing stress, eating well, and finding forms of exercise that you enjoy and that don’t overdo the body. I feel like I have found that great combination without paying for a gym membership. I have also appreciated that others in the paleo community have not prescribed to us how we should accomplish our paleo goals or even how we should spend our money.

    *As a side note, despite following the paleo protocol for autoimmune disease, my rheumatoid arthritis is still a factor in my life and pretty much determines when and how I work out. (Although I am pretty proud of myself for always walking no matter how I feel.) If I am in the midst of a flare, I treat my body accordingly with exercise. Not paying for a membership that I may or may not always be able to use when that money could be spent on naturopathic care (not a car payment) is a huge benefit for me.

  4. Janelle Moore says

    I think a few of you have missed the point Jason was making. He isn’t telling people how to spend their money, or implying gyms are the only place you can accomplish your goals. He is saying it IS a widely used excuse for people. I have met so many people who tell me they are “too big” for the gym. They put insecurities and other’s opinions higher than their health and wellness. That is they point. What insecurities, obligations, materialistic object are we putting before our health and wellness?

    I was the mom who was “too busy” to exercise. I put everything in front of my health and wellness, when in reality the BEST thing I can do for my family is be an example of great nutrition and active lifestyle. I know that now. Thank you Jason for reaching out and saying what needs to be said.

  5. Stephanie says

    This post made me think to myself “YES!!!!”. Mostly the part about moms. My mom never took care of herself, never ate right, never exercised. Now that she is older she is experiencing really unhealthy results from her earlier lifestyle. I wish wish wish I could go back to being a kid and say to her “mom, the best gift you can give me for christmas it to take care of yourself so that you are healthy for many years to come”. Of course, as a kid I was stupid and selfish. But as a mom, you should all think about what will actually benefit your kids in the long term and really take care of yourself. Easy for me to say, I’m not a mom. But I was a kid and am now an adult so I can say from that perspective that I would have been better off having a healthy mom for life. Thanks Jason!

  6. Katie says

    You hit the nail on the head…AGAIN!! I deal with multiple sclerosis, type one diabetes among other issues so for my husband and I (who strongly believes in heavy lifting) after having gym memberships in the past, we did decide to invest the money in equipment for home because due to my MS I need his help a lot for my heavy lifting and it’s easier with with his schedule this way so we can due our lifting together. But, no matter where you do it, the heavy lifting is essential. Now that I’m without my walker or wheelchair (been paleo since January with a few minor stumbles) I do walk to keep my blood sugars in check, but I know the only way to be at my best and get my seriously atrophied body back is the heavy lifting!! This lifestyle is essential for my dieased body. I only wish I had found it years ago!
    Jason, I enjoy every single one of your posts. Please keep the coming!

  7. cassie says

    Once again Jason isn’t forcing anyone to join a gym or putting you down If you can’t get there. He is simply bringing attention the importance of excersise and how all of us have excuses to not do it. If you can take the time to pay 30 dollars for a set of nails that take about an hour to put on then there is no reason you cant spend that time and money at a gym or at home with free weights.

  8. cassie says

    Once again Jason isn’t forcing anyone to join a gym or putting you down If you can’t get there. He is simply bringing attention the importance of excersise and how all of us have excuses to not do it. If you can take the time to pay 30 dollars for a set of nails that take about an hour to put on then there is no reason you cant spend that time and money at a gym or at home with some free weights. Even the excuse about not having money for excersise is bad. Use things around your home get creative!

    • Amy says

      A comment about “using things around your home”: I couldn’t agree more! My husband looks and feels better the more yard work he does: fixing the fence, cutting branches, hauling things around……and they yard looks great 😉

      • says

        Great post Jason.

        Speaking of using things around the house, yoga is great because you lift your own body weight. I could never lift 125 lbs over my head, but I can stand on my hands and hold my own weight. And it’s free!

  9. Lori says

    Everything you said is true! I have always been active playing tennis, walking, volleyball and working out but my diet held me back from being body weight healthy. I’m a mother of 4 kids, now all in their 20’s and if I knew what I have learned now my life would have been completely different. Their lives would have been different, healthier. I never realized how unhealthy the food i was buying was but then again it was what a lot of us moms did. I have lost 30 pounds in the last 2 years but I hit a wall. Recently my youngest son, who is now a personal trainer, asked me if I would try the Paleo Lifestyle for 4 weeks…i agreed and 4 weeks later I have lost 13 pounds. I thank my son for sharing is knowledge with me. Now all of us are eating healthier and we are a happy family. Our garage is a workout area with weights, kettle bells, rubber mats and a bench. Our spare room houses the yoga mats, balls, bosu ball and treadmills. Yes, we have now put our health first. Oh yea, and my blood pressure has dropped from 142/88 to 120/75!!!! what more can you as for. There are no excuses.

    • Annette says

      love it. love it. love it. Your house sounds awesome … for all the equipment for your healthy lifestyle AND the relationship you just described with your son. He asked you to try paleo for 4 weeks and you did and you thanked him for sharing his knowledge with you. Sounds like your kids scored one awesome mom and your grandkids will have lots of time to make memories with a long-living, healthy grandma!!

  10. says

    I’m that mom. And I’ve made the right decisions and am living more heathfully and happily than any other time in my adult life. Yet there are still times when I feel guilty because I’m choosing my workouts over letting the kids take part in something else. THANK YOU for the reminder that I am doing a great thing not only for me, but for all of us. I definitely appreciate frequent reminders :-)

  11. Cindy Hudson says

    Thank you! From one of those who always put all perceived ‘needs’ of others before my own health needs-Thank you! I do often need reminders of the long term benefits of good health-being around to enjoy being needed!!!!
    Thank you again!

  12. says

    I think everyone is right. We do need to stop making excuses in our pursuit of health and fitness. Telling ourselves how little time we have to make sure we live long and strong. We can all find a way to eat well and excercise. It’s our own personal decision how far we want to take it, and healthy and fit we want to be.
    Jason, you make some excellent points and took a big risk with this article. Everything you said was true and the other comments were also true for them. Some people need the motivation of a trainer to keep them on track and other people do things the way it works for them. We are all right. If you want to eat a jelly doughnut on your Paleo diet, that’s your right. You know what sugar and wheat does to you and you decide how toxic you are prepared to let your body become.
    We all have so many different ways of looking at things. The challenge for us all is to just do what we know is right. People like you Jason, help us get there if we need that help. You are passionate about your work and that is what the makes the world go round.
    What a blessing it is that we have so many different people on the planet. I think the challenge for us all is to live the way we want to live and let others live it their way, even if it’s not our way.

  13. StaceyO says

    Love, love, love this! Was really impressed with the paragraph to the mommies. I am a stroke survivor, my kids know what it’s like to almost lose their mom. I’ve been doing boot camp aka lifting heavy and am in the best shape of my life. My cardiologist is thrilled that I now do this and gave up distance running. You want to talk meaningful comment from a child? When I posted on FB that I had done a particularly tough workout, I think it was “the 300″‘, my oldest boy commented and said, “Mom, you are BA!!!”. IMHO, more moms need to be BA, and worry less about piano lessons. I want to be in great shape when I have grandkids. Off the soap box now…

  14. Sandra says

    I work out with a trainer , on weights, and enjoy it, however, I have been fascinated by the crossfit gyms cropping up in my neighborhood. Someone told me that they might not be as open to us older folks, and, that some people they knew has been told it wasn’t suitable for them. I’d hate to be turned away….any thoughts on this?

    • Annette says

      I’m sure it’s possible that some Crossfit gyms discourage older folks … but I’d be surprised. Of the two boxes in my town, there are a lot of “older” folks working out, scaling the workouts as necessary and loving it! (They do tend to migrate to certain class times, though, as do the younger, elite-driven crowd. I think that’s because it’s more fun to workout with people who can do what you can do and push you appropriately.)

      Our box (Crossfit 515) is home to the Fittest 55-59 year old WOMAN on Earth after she won her age division in this summer’s Crossfit games. She is an inspiration to me!

      I have found the Crossfit community to be very welcoming and encouraging – even if my current “heavy” is far from Rx (though after 4 months it gets heavier & closer every workout :-). If you are curious, see if you can do a couple of workouts there and check out the environment. You won’t go if you don’t feel like you like it there … but like my dad always said, “No one can MAKE you feel inferior… that’s up to you.” If you want to challenge yourself with Crossfit workouts, then you deserve to be there.

        • JasonS says

          There are decent CrossFits out there, but you need to be careful that you don’t end up in one that regularly does metabolic conditioning workouts that last 20 minutes or more. Also, CrossFit (HQ) does not promote paleo, they promote the Zone diet, which is a joke in my opinion.

          Also please note that Sarah and I do not promote CrossFit in any way.

          • Sandra says

            Now I’m really confused. What’s the difference between CrossFit and what you guys do? I guess I just assumed they were the same.

      • says

        Just to clarify, when Jason is talking about “lifting weights”, it does NOT include lifting weights with a stopwatch running, which is typical of most CrossFit gyms. Timed workouts, even if they include picking up barbells with plates on them, are “metcons”, not weight lifting.

        So if the CrossFit gym has a weight lifting/strength portion in their programming that is not part of the “WOD”, good for them. But throwing deadlifts, cleans, thrusters, or God forbid something like snatches or overhead sqauts, etc into a timed workout is not a substitute for building strength by traditional weight lifting.

        • JasonS says

          Kris said it perfectly. I will also add that CrossFit is a company, not a training method. Like CrossFit, we often use high intensity interval training, but in shorter duration with form and technique as our prime objective rather than competition. We also aim to control cortisol and oxidative stress because health and fitness are our primary objectives, not times and scores.

  15. Deb says

    Great insight, I think that as Moms we love our my kids so much that we may lose sight of what we are really passing down to them and how we are passing it down to them. What I remember doing is putting them and EVERYTHING else before “me” and my health. I really thought that made me a great Mom. What I was really passing on to them was how unimportant I considered myself in terms of health and fitness. (Or just being healthy in general) and then the vicious circle continues…….. I am mindful now of how that impacted them. (huge health and lifestyle changes for me in my own life) I feel good about the example I’m setting for my children, and grandchildren. They know how important they are to me; they also appreciate my example by learning how to live their own healthy, fit and productive life.

  16. Jule DB says

    I couldn’t agree with Jason more about his statement towards moms. My mom was (and still is) focused on everyone else around her and could careless about her own health. I was raised in an extremely unhealthy household with an abundance of processed foods. Neither my mother or father ever suggested exercise to my brother or I.

    I plan on being a good example to my kids so I am taking care of myself! My husband is a really good support system for this also. He understands the importance of being healthy for our kids and is more than willing to give me time to go to the gym.

  17. marianne taylor says

    Jason, Thank you!!!!! You said what I’ve been wanting to say to my clients. I am a single mom and I make the time to workout/lift heavy. Over a year ago I switched to paleo. Then whole9life. Best decision I ever made :> )!!! I am a personal trainer. I hear “every excuse”. I have a difficult time with those that don’t even try. I found if you don’t take care of you!!! You are not 100% best person for your family (or yourself). Just not okay in my book. If I can’t get my workout in at the gym. I have equipment at home. There are many ways any one (even single) “can” get a workout in/take care of health. It just takes a little bit more effort. I’m here to say, it can be done. I trade services so I can get my run in. I ask for help.
    We gave up eating out, doing alot of extra activites. I don’t have cable (red box works great). I do shop at whole foods (son has food allergies). If I’m not taking care of myself. (getting cranky) My sons will ask “when” I’m going to go run. Lol guess they notice I’m calmer/happier after running.
    boys exercise/move too,. ride bikes, go swimming, go to a park or make obstacles in the apt. w/equipment. Happier family!!!! Now if I can just get more people to stop making excuses and get moving : >) one client at a time!!!

  18. Wenchypoo says

    Good show, Jason! If you take a closer look at that soapbox, you’ll notice worn spots–I’ve been preaching the same stuff off and on in my own blog.

    Priorities and prior planning avert so much trouble, and would’ve averted trouble for park sitters/demonstrators, foreclosure victims, government program hostages, and those on the edge…and they aren’t even in the realm of health/nutrition, but mere survival. Those of us who choose to make ourselves and our families a priority and plan for it are so much further ahead–maybe not economically, but socially, mentally, and preventatively.

    The tale of the ant and the grasshopper applies here: those who choose to lay around until the last minute, and then grab what’s available, get what’s coming to them. Those that take the time, make the effort, do for themselves, and seek out the best available, also get what’s coming to them, but what’s coming is the easy, lay-back stuff. We don’t have to gear up for a health fight with anyone. We don’t have to take over public space to make ourselves heard over problems that don’t apply to us. Best of all, we don’t have to become modern-day slaves to government programs controlled by congressional half-wits whose interests change with their underwear.

    Some of us paid closer attention to our nursery rhymes than others. Some of us took the Boy Scout motto seriously. Some of us learned from those who went before us. Now we’re reaping the reward. For others, unless there’s an effort to make changes, the struggle will endure–perhaps a lifetime, perhaps even generations.

  19. Lindsay says

    I love this and I feel this way of thinking applies to all aspects of life. Excuses are like butts, everyone has them and they all stink.

  20. Kathleen says

    Thanks, Jason for the refocus and the push I needed after this crazy holiday weekend. I have painted myself into a corner…it is like you took a peek into my life at several different moments. My health – my priority!

  21. Kate says

    I share the sentiments, if not the tone. I have to say, reading rant-y, negative posts like this on Robb Wolf’s site, Whole9’s, and a number of other sites is just disheartening, especially since I agree wholeheartedly with the general mission of all of them – eat more real food, get stronger, be healthy.

    Posts like these seem to serve the writer’s purpose (I am frustrated by the general state of health and nutrition in this country) and not the listener/potential ‘convert’s’. Persuading people to make a change happens when they see that it is in their best interests – and if they don’t, oh well, maybe next time. And then just move the hell along.

    The way to convince people is not to rant at them like they are a child in the throes of a tantrum (which, I’m sorry, is what this post sounds like), it is to show them that you have walked in their shoes, and that you made a change, and that they can do it too. That’s why I read this site, Sarah has done this again and again, and changed numerous peoples’ lives. Positive, not negative. It is frustrating, I agree. But this is not how change happens, this is how you make yourself as a trainer/health professional feel better and how you rev up the people who’ve already drunk the Kool-Aid.

    If that’s your goal, you seem to have accomplished it. Congrats.

    • JasonS says

      It sounds like you might be implying that everyone needs/wants to be trained in a coddling, hand holding fashion and we will have to agree to disagree. I don’t know much about Whole 9, but Robb and I call people on their excuses and we tend to get the response you see in these comments. People who don’t want to be called on their excuses don’t train with us or read our material, and of course that is okay. There are plenty of good trainers out there with a different approach. Saying our rants are a way to make ourselves feel better or a way to deal with our own frustration misses the point that we train this way on purpose and that it has made us very successful.

      • Kate says

        Like I said, I don’t disagree with the sentiments – it is extraordinarily frustrating to watch people in your life, especially loved ones, make excuse after excuse and essentially, as you said, paint themselves into a corner. As the child of a Type 1 Diabetic who took amazing care of herself, it is infuriating and incredibly disheartening to watch mothers and fathers (sisters, brothers, etc.) make life choices that make them sicker, weaker, and ultimately not able to be fully present in their children and their family’s lives, staying sick and dying young after not having lived the life they could have. I get it. I really do.

        My point was that this “tough love” approach, to me, is one that really only works once there is a relationship with a person and an existing, mutually respectful dialogue. I could totally see how this approach would work with a client or someone you actually know and have met who has tried and just not been able to get over the hump. I just question how well it works in this medium – though what do I know – it’s entirely possible that you are speaking primarily to an audience of people who you have primarily met or actually spoken with one-on-one, who know you and who can hear what you’re saying as part of what they would see as a mutually respectful, reciprocal dialogue.

        The reason I even commented was, “What if I had sent one of those ‘on-the-fence’ people to this site, and this is the first thing they read, without any other real context?” Because I do feel so strongly about the significance of this approach to health and nutrition, I want the ‘newbies’ to feel welcome – to feel included, not excluded – for a first-timer to the site, who might have been exposed to some of the ideas about health and fitness and sort of dabbled unsuccessfully but never really dove into them, it felt like a turn-off rather than a lightbulb.

        No disrespect intended, just a difference of opinion in how to approach an issue that we clearly both feel very strongly about. Thanks for replying! :)

  22. Shannon says

    I like where you’re going with this, but for busy moms, you need more details. I’m at home, with a husband who works crazy hours, and living the way I need to is an enormous amount of work. Ever tried cooking dinner from scratch each night with a toddler? Spending several hours a week in multiple stores finding healthy food? Arguing with older kids every. single. day. about why they can’t have x y or z? Life was so much easier when we were unhealthy.

    As for the gym, I would have seriously injured myself if I had just walked into a gym and started lifting weights. I do all the things you mention to go to a great CF gym, but I can only go after my husband gets home from work. How would you suggest someone on a limited budget learn enough about weights to go into a cheap globo gym for the babysitting and not get hurt? (for an example on the money front, I’m wearing jeans and a t shirt that are 3 sizes too big because I can’t afford to replace my wardrobe after my paleo/CF weight loss.)

    I agree that people should prioritize, but it’s far more helpful to offer a how-to than a rant. Tell me what you would do with two small kids, no free sitters, and a husband who works 60 hours a week. If I worked, there is no way any of this would happen. I’d love to hear more specifics of how moms do this. What do you do with a two year old when you’re cooking and he’s screaming for attention? Who watches your kids if you go to a gym without childcare? How do you keep kids occupied during hours of grocery shopping, or do you suck it up and buy everything at Whole Foods because it’s only one trip? We manage, but it’s a struggle and a huge source of stress.

    • JasonS says

      Come back to this very site on December 1. The answers to all your workout questions will be here then.

      As far as the child thing goes, Sarah and I both have small children and it can be tough. I have 3 girls under 5 years old. It takes solid planning between my wife and I to get this stuff done. We don’t ever do hours of grocery shopping, though. Maybe we shop more often, I’m not sure. Children screaming for attention is just something that happens. The option is to not cook, and therefore assume that fast food and box dinners is what humans ate for 2.6 million years. I feel your pain, but it’s temporary. Kids grow up. Do your best for now and know that you aren’t compromising on what you know is right for them just to make things easier.

      • SBS says

        My kids used to complain that they were served “nuts and twigs” and “squirrel chow” growing up. We weren’t paleo back then, but the only processed food they had was cheese. They dreamed of the day they could eat white bread and have a candy drawer like their friends (they had cookies–sheesh–but homemade ones…) Fast forward to now: Two of them are out of the house, cooking for themselves, and my 23 year old son recently sent me a photo of his dinner, it was a huge skillet of sauteed veggies and chicken. My daughter eats the same way. The one still at home (16) continues to gripe, but that’s his job as a teenager, I suppose. The one time I tried to save time and bought a supposedly high-end soup mix, they wouldn’t eat it because it tasted “funny” (it tasted a bit artificial.) This is a long-winded way of saying that if they grow up eating homemade food, they will like that food as adults, and you will have set the stage for lifelong healthy eating. Oh, and locking them outside in the summer (as I did a few times) ensures they get enough sunshine and exercise… :)

        I may have to challenge Jason to an arm wrestle over that “giving up Starbucks” comment, though, and I can bench press at least 40 pounds, so watch out…

      • Marybeth says

        I don’t think this mom’s feelings of frustration with a child screaming in the kitchen at dinner time will necessarily lead to choosing “to not cook, and therefore assume that fast food and box dinners is what humans ate for 2.6 million years.” What this busy mother is saying is that she is looking for more support about how to cope with/ manage these stressors that “just happen”. And she is right, the old way always seems easier–that’s just the way that humans often view change. Transitions to new ways of doing your daily business are tough. It’s really positive to reach out for support and ask around at how others are handling these day to day struggles.

        And Shannon, I got Sarah’s book for my husband’s birthday and we just finished our 2nd week of eating Paleo WITH our kids (we’d been doing it for months). They complain to me everyday about wanting a PB& J or needing to have potato chips or a bowl of ice-cream. That alone is a big source of stress in my day to day. The funny thing is we haven’t eaten rice/pasta/grains for months and they didn’t seem to notice that. They are having what I believe to be sugar withdrawals… and it’s not fun. They are literally saying, “We are sick of eating Paleo; it’s my body, you cannot tell me what to eat!” And my younger son, my notoriously picky eater, is simply coming home with nothing in his lunchbox touched AT ALL. I think they are really saying, “I’m new at this and I don’t feel that sure about what’s what. Help me to understand.”
        SO, if you are looking for suggestions: Sometimes during life transition times it’s nice to relax what your family rules are. This may mean that as you prepare dinner your little ones watch a 20 minute cartoon or PBS; maybe it means that you take out markers, crayons, or fingerpaints, cover your table with project paper and let them have at it so you can cook. Then eat picnic-style on the floor as you admire some art drying on your dinner table. I sometimes take some time in the morning (or whenever a free moment presents itself) and prep some things I plan on making for dinner (chop those carrots, peel those turnips, slice those yams!)
        It’s common when things change to call out, “Hey Everyone! Is this NORMAL?” because your normal is changing and most people want to hear from others who’ve solidified that new habit. And even then, life is always a work in progress!
        I’d love to connect more with you, Shannon–and perhaps a more personal dialog would give you some support–I know I would love to begin more conversations with parents cooking/eating Paleo with their kids!

    • Sarah says

      Hi Shannon, I hear you girl. I live your life, trust me. I have days when I’m like “ok, no way I’m doing any of this over again, it’s like groundhogs day!!” But then I do it. I know Jason wasn’t ranting he really wants to help you and everyone! Sometimes people need a little kick in the booty and this post is not saying that holy cow your not working hard enough or doing it right but just a reminder that there are other priorities we can give up or rearrange to focus on our health. We are going to be offering some assistance in the fitness area very soon that I think will help you tremendously so stay tuned for our December 1st announcement! Someone else posted some amazing ideas about grocery shopping and I have some ideas about arguing with your kids about what they can’t have. Don’t. Just ignore them. They will stop. When they are whining for a specific food you don’t have anymore just do not give them ANY response because response gives them attention and it gives them hope that they can break you. Kids need validation. Simply say, I know, you really want that food, but instead we have this and then give them an art project to do or a book to look at or a wooden spoon to bang on an empty pot while you cook dinner and if they keep whining do not say a darn word. If it escalates to screaming, still totally ignore it. It will suck but it will stop once they realize that other things are happening and that you have moved on. You can do it girl, I KNOW it’s hard. I have lived it but I promise promise promise it does get easier. Two years ago when Rowan was 2 I was so exhausted just from life and now he’s 4 and it’s amazing how much easier those little buggers get after just a couple of years! Now go kiss your sweet babies, be strong, post back and let me know how things go and wait for that December 1st post! Big hugs.

  23. Farah says

    What or where would be a good starting point in that oh so scary corner of the gym? I am very much one of those self-conscious people! But am willing to go there!! Thanks!

  24. Katie says

    I am nurse, a mom, and a recent CrossFit convert. My husband and I recently started Paleo-ing as well.
    I have done everything exercise-wise…long distance running, I taught cycle classes for 4 years at a gym, Pilates, group weight training classes, free weights on my own…NOTHING has ever challenged me like CrossFit does. I am now pregnant with our third child, and this is the only workout I have been able to do throughout my whole pregnancy (even with morning sickness, being tired, etc.)
    My husband recently converted our garage into a CrossFit gym for about $1600. It has been the best investment into not only our health, but our marriage and quality time together with each other and our young kids. They do burpees with us, lunges, squats, ring dips…and we are setting them up for success as adults because of the example we are setting now.
    Let me go through the list of things we don’t have….I don’t work, so I can be home with our kids, take care of the house, make healthy meals. So we gave up cable, a second car payment, my iphone ($30/month extra towards groceries now), eating out, movies out…mostly everything that most people in this suburban world think of as “necessities”, we have managed to happily live without. And although I do sometimes wish I could go to the store and buy a new shirt without thinking twice, I know that money can be better spent on quality grass-fed meats or other healthier food options that cost more but in the long run are completely worth it.
    As a nurse, I have seen unhealthy, sick and dying people on a daily basis. They do it to themselves. I had zero simpathy for them then, and especially now. You make decisions each day that determine where you will end up one day. A decision not to exercise, or make better food choices. They all add up, and I’ve been there too many times when those choices equal bad outcomes. Deadly heart attacks in 50 year old men who never exercise, but go out to shovel snow and never make it back inside to tell their wife they love them. Women who chose making their children “happy” over their own health who are diagnosed with cancer, just as her kids are beginning to have grandkids. Or even in the case of my own mother, who is obese and doesn’t like to come to my house and visit because we have “too many stairs” (she is in her 50s.)
    There will always be an excuse to not be healthy, because it’s easier to eat junk and be lazy. But most things worth doing aren’t easy.

      • Katie says

        No, Jason, YOU are awesome! Thank you for your honesty. You remind me of my husband. He never sugar coats ANYTHING with me, and tells it like it is. As hard as it is to hear sometimes, he does it because he loves me and wants me to be the best person I can be. I think most women are afraid to be honest with themselves and each other because of insecurities (I know that has been and still is my #1 fear of being honest at times, the fact that I am still insecure in many areas.) That is why it’s AWESOME to hear from men who think less emotionally and more realistically. Keep it up!

    • Erin says

      I need more comments like this! I have always been really great on the food front (and that is where any extra money goes) but I have never been a great exerciser! I DON’T want to pass this on to my kids. We have always been on a tight budget, but recently found ourselves in a situation where we have to choose between paying rent (if we can even make THAT! dang Hawaii rent…) and buying food (thankfully our relatives let us take home a BUNCH of Thanksgiving leftovers and we may be set… besides veggies for the week). We also don’t have new cars, cable, eat out or anything fancy…
      I would love ideas on how to get the exercise in and make it routine! I am 6 months pregnant with my second and my first is two, so I still have time to kick my exercise life into gear and be a great mode for my kids. I have always thought that health should come first so that we can be wonderful parents and live long lives with our children!

  25. Katie says

    For Shannon-does your two year old nap? That is a great time to get some body-weight type exercise in. (I have a 3 yr. old, 4 yr. old and another one on the way.) And go on line before you shop, research where the best prices are and have a plan and a list. I found that Trader Joe’s and Wegman’s have the best prices.
    Are there things you can cut out? Cable TV (you can stream Netflix and HuluPlus on a PS3 or Wii for $8/month), home phone if you have two cell phones, etc.? I know it is hard, I feel your pain. Try to plan grocery trips when the kids are happier (right after breakfast, in the mid-mornings before lunch) and pack a special snack for them to eat in the grocery cart. I also let my girls help me count fruits and veggies as I put them in the bags. And get them involved with identifying new fruits and veggies! I had to buy eggplant recently for a recipe, and I went online (before we went shopping) and showed my girls google images of an eggplant and told them they had to help me find it once we were at the grocery store. They loved it! Just keep them involved, don’t ignore them. Let them help you cook: give them a mixing bowl and a spatula and sit on the kitchen floor and cook with you. I get impatiet with my girls when I am cooking, usually because I am hungry, so I know how you feel. Plan to let them watch a special DVD/show while you cook dinner. It does take planning and strategy, you always have to be one step ahead of them.

  26. Shannon says

    Awww, this is why I love this site! Ask a question and you guys answer! I guess I keep hoping all this will get easier and it doesn’t, in large part because my kids (boys, 2 and 6) just aren’t buying into all the tricks. They don’t want to help shop or cook. (I’ve tried making their own picture lists, asking to help count, bringing special snacks, giving them jobs when I cook, letting them pretend cook with the ingredients we don’t use anymore like cornstarch and water, art projects having them pick the recipes I make, converting favorites, making stuff based on what they say they like…) Younger one does sometmes take a nap and I have several recipes I make when he’s napping. What often ends up happening is they sit and watch TV while I make dinner, and I either go grocery shopping after they are in bed (Kroger, for fruits, veggies and few organic products), or on the weekend for the stores that close at 8 p.m. (Trader Joe’s and Earth Fare for nuts, sauces, meat, eggs, raw milk, grass-fed butter…). There is a huge price swing locally in food cost. For example, raw almonds are $5/lb. at TJ’s, $11/lb. at EF. Omega 3 eggs are $3.18 at EF, and nearly $5 at Kroger and EF. I’m trying to buy enough ahead to only go to two stores a week, Kroger for fresh veggies plus either TJ or EF.

    And then they still complain about the food, after more than a year. I guess I just miss the days when I could put something like frozen meatballs and spaghetti on the table and have everyone eat it and be happy. Because homemade meatballs and spaghetti squash sure doesn’t have the same effect.

    As for the gym, I’m very happy with CF–it’s really been my lifeline to sanity throughout all this. I do think it’s worth every penny. I love heavy lifting, but even after nearly 2 years I feel I need the coaching on the Oly lifts to progress in a safe way. (I could have cared less about the crazy gym rats in my globo gym days, I was worried about hurting myself if I started using a barbell. That’s why I went with CF.) Budget-wise we are OK, but it’s basically mortgage, car payments, food, Crossfit. It’s just frustrating when it feels like all that sacrificing gets me is complaining, unhappy children. Hopefully they will snap out of it soon!

  27. Babs says

    Just the reminder I needed today! Putting myself and my health first is not selfish, it allows me to be a better person for everyone else in my life. And I’ll stick around a lot longer to be that better person!

    I do dread going to the gym – I am definitely the “fat girl” there (no really, I’m fat.). I just try to focus on the fact that A) I generally surprise the hell out of the free weight “dudes” with how good my form is and how much I can lift and B) I ain’t there for their entertainment or scrutiny. I’m there for me, and me alone.

    It’s hard to keep that in mind when standing down-mirror from the muscular ectomorph types but I do try. I also remember to not compare myself to them, but to compare myself to where I was last time I was in and to where I want my own body to be. Again, so so so so hard to keep in mind but I think I’ll print this little reminder piece out and put it in my gym bag and in the front of my workout book. :)

  28. Katie says

    totally agree about ignoring the whining, sarah! this translates into other areas of parenting, as well, like when they get to be teenagers and want to go out until 1 a.m. like their other friends, or want a brand-new car the day they turn 16, etc…saying no and staying firm with it is one of the hardest things to do as a parent. it’s SO much easier to give in and not have to deal with the whining. but all kids need and CRAVE boundaries, whether they realize it or not.
    so compared to all the other stuff we mamas have coming at us in a few years, this is probably the easy part!

  29. Diane says

    Oh Jason,

    That WAS me. I recently started at a gym (a very nice one I might add, with a great staff 😉 but I am so out of shape and my body shows all the ravages of years of not caring, taking the easy way, never exercising, eating craptastic fast food (often for 3 meals a day). Every time I’ve walked into the gym, I’ve felt out of place and no small bit of shame that I let myself get this bad. Sometimes I even have to sit in the parking lot for a bit, just to work up my courage. But I, absolutely, would be short-changing myself if I didn’t make myself walk through the door.

    No more excuses! That’s what I took from your post. No more excuse for making devastating food choices that keep me fat(I am NOT too tired to cook). No more excuses for not getting enough sleep (I do NOT need to play my 50th game of solitaire), No more excuse for not exercising (Yes, my muscles are a little sore. Yes, my ego feels tiny when I stand next to someone my same height but half my mass…so what?) There are too many wonderful things I’ve lost by letting myself get like this. It’s just time to pay the fiddler, that’s all.

    Thank you for caring about the health of total strangers, for being willing to call people on their bs, for giving people the kick in the pants they sometimes need to get over their fears.

    I’m pretty sure, when you suggest people get to a gym and start lifting, you are trying to encourage efficiency…as in…this is the shortest, most effective route to fitness…not that it’s the only route to fitness. I know you know there are some legitimate stumbling blocks or constraints on individual situations, I don’t believe your post was directed at them. But at people like I used to be.

    A new me, D.

  30. Liana says

    I totally just experienced a “clicking” in my brain! I don’t have kids yet but I thought about that one commercial where the mom goes on a health kick and the kids are totally dreading to go eat breakfast…so, from that I thought if I just eat what I know to be healthy and right for me (paleo) then by the time I have kids they won’t have to be afraid of good healthy foods because it will not be anything new to them….then from there I thought ugh my excuse why I don’t exercise is because it’s so expensive to go to our gym and I though this while sipping my 4 dollar coffee :/ wow what an eye opener! I am not putting my health first, how gross! Thanks fir shifting my perspective this morning, I needed that :)

  31. jenny says

    Hi Jason (and sarah!),
    I wondered if you had heard of an exercice class called ‘body pump’? Basically, we have a bar with two weights on it and then we lift it in different ways to music, sometimes we put it on our shoulders and do squats and lunges. Today, I had 2.5kg on either side. I thought this sounds like a good class as it is with weights and not just cardio. Could you let me know what you think?
    By the way, I agree with your post but i think that sometimes we can be a little bit ‘middle class’ about things, so many people struggle just to pay for the basic things!

    • JasonS says

      I think Body Pump type classes are much more about cardio than weight lifting because the weights are WAAAAAAAY too light. Remember, Sarah’s 1 rep max deadlift is 225 lbs and she doesn’t weigh much more than 120 lbs. Back squats of 150 lbs or more are common in my gym and completely unrelated to body weight except to say that women with heavier lifts are usually leaner than the beginners.

        • JasonS says

          Because CrossFit made it popular, which was much needed, but then they broke the industry again by taking it too far. Sigh.

          The marketing and sales of this stuff doesn’t appear to work for most gyms because an hour (or even a half hour) of intervals defeats the purpose of doing high intensity interval training in the first place.

  32. Lori says

    Well I will speak for myself, a single mom of 3 boys. My kids are in one activity, I made that choice because I don’t want to overwhelm myself and I cannot afford much. I don’t have cable, I live in a small house and own a used van. I have been eating clean for 4 years now. I dropped my body fat at one point to 16.5 on my own with no gym. No I cannot afford a gym. I have a treadmill, 3 sets of hand weight the heaviest at 20lbs. A stability ball and a gym mat I bought at a garage sale. I do my reverse push up on my treadmill (its called being creative with what you have)I workout 6 days a week. People think I’m crazy to work out at 5:45 in the morning. For me its a life style that will never give up. Through my rough times I learned that exercise and eating (and sleep at least 8 hours) properly were key. I rarely get sick and neither do my kids. Most important I am healthy so I can be there for my kids. So you I do take care of me first ! So I really enjoyed this post.

  33. says

    I would soap-box same things to many. And I’d nod to many here who list their lives. One thing I’d like to mention, with sadness – being health-nut doesn’t guarantee kids be the same. My oldest turned drug addict. With good brains and understanding on how to eat well and exercise and all (still talks about it when we meet)…may be my path to fitness instead of staying home more allowed me to miss out on signs? My youngest dipped into the “almost not drug these days and age” too. Now I chose to forgo my second workout and sit home after work, for the most part. So he can feel he matters, his skateboarding I have to “watch”, TV to share time at. I cook from scratch every day. But I do give him benefits of having sweets at times.
    Other than that, I guess the main idea behind the post is to not making excuses to other people, because the only one who should care is yourself. Look into the mirror and figure out if those opt-outs are real.
    Sometimes they are. More often they aren’t.

  34. Jennifer says

    I am disregarding most of the information in this post because I think I do a good enough job with what I have. I get help with my gym membership from work 6 months out of the year and also from the gym for being low income, aside from that I don’t go. Since I live in ND I find a reliable car to be more important than the gym. When I can’t afford the gym, I have homemade weights I lift. I eat healthy because I spend a lot of time making sure I can do so affordably. I am a single Mom, work full time, and go to college full time. I don’t have a lot of time, but I make do.

    I agree with what you’re saying in this post, however I disagree with the tone. There is nothing wrong with showing someone how futile their excuses are – people need to see that. However the lack of evidence presented to back it up is a little disheartening. I know it’s there because I live it. It is also not coddling to give a positive message. You have a good point and a great story to tell and I look forward to seeing a better presentation of it.

  35. Liz says

    Jason, stop apologizing! You already prefaced your post with a “tough love” statement so anyone who isn’t ready to stop making excuses will continue to post comments saying your post is not appropriate for this person or that person. Whatever! People, if you are not taking care of yourself then it’s not a priority! Stop making excuses and accept that you just don’t want to. Read what Lori (above) has to say about how she has overcome every excuse/obstacle and makes it a priority! Amen 😉

      • maria says

        Thank you Jason. I really needed to hear this.

        It seems obvious now, but something just clicked while reading this: I really have not been putting my health first. I have been looking for “things” to make me happy, but none of that stuff really matters if I am not healthy or if I cannot afford to buy quality food because I have been using my money in all the wrong places. I have been focused on hating my body as it is, feeling ugly, worrying about my looks and health issues, and looking for distractions and quick fixes. While I still have to find out what the mysterious swelling symptoms (face, stomach, for over a year) are about, I now realize where my focus (and my wallet) should be.

        Thank you Jason for this, from the bottom of my heart. This means a lot more than you know. I even got inspired to go to my first kettlebell class, and you know what? I loved it! I really did. And for a while I forgot all about my very swollen face and stomach.

        Now I just need to get my finances in order, so that I can afford to buy good quality food. In the mean time, I know what to focus on.

  36. CathyN says

    Great post! Thanks, I found it very upbuilding. Our health is so important, and should be a priority. I know a lot of sick, unhealthy people who have every excuse in the book why they don’t exercise or take care of themselves. Wait, I used to be one of them. Well, that was 57 pounds ago. I went against the “grain,” adopted Paleo eating, heavy weights, regular exercise, and have never looked back.

    Jason, love your posts. Say what you have to say, and say it your way. Always be yourself.

  37. Suze says

    Hi, Jason!

    So you thought you might catch hell for your tough-love post? Well, here I am. I got here as fast as I could. 😛

    Seriously – although I have cats instead of kids (!), I have my own set of excuses, er, issues. I am trying to part with them, but they aren’t going easy. After all, they’ve been with me awhile.

    Speaking as someone who has never consistently exercised, enjoyed sports in the slightest or been particularly physically active, it is very hard for a leopard to change its spots. Even with the bait of hopefully looking better and being healthy. Especially if the extra weight and associated issues are making you feel like crap most of the time. All I can say is, 5 1/2 months ago, I was around 75-80# overweight, and with relatively little exercise, have low carbed – morphing toward Paleo – and am down 34#. I have a ways to go. But I finally feel good enough to consider making exercise a bigger part. Truthfully, I’m not wild about the idea. The time involved. The soreness. The whole “a body in motion tends to stay in motion vs. a body at rest…” I am not sure I will ever *like* exercise, or even look forward to it. And when I found your diatribe, I wanted to tell you off. But sometimes a little tough love goes a long way. I would like very much not to have a crappy, sick, short old age.


  38. kel says

    Hi Jason,

    i thought a lot about how (and if) i should comment on this, but finally decided i had to at least TRY to make a point.

    i realize you have taken some heat for this post already, but because of my personal story, my heart sank a little when i read the part about the “bone rack” on the elliptical. first, i thought it was a little ironic that it was right as you were telling us not to worry about people judging us, that you were displaying how YOU yourself judge the people at the gym. if you really want people to feel more comfortable entering and working out in a gym, shouldn’t at least you be the example of how there are people who are compassionate and non-judgmental who work in gyms?

    secondly, I was that exercise-addicted, anorexic “bone rack” on the elliptical for a couple years, and I can tell you, it had nothing to do with trying to “look good” in the club Saturday night (in fact I was never in any club Saturday night – I was on the elliptical). I was starving myself and addicted to exercise – I had a disease – and that girl you are judging on the elliptical probably does too. She needs your help and compassion as much (if not more) than the person you are writing this post to.

    I realize you are trying to show some “tough love” here, but don’t forget the LOVE part. Honestly it felt more like ‘tough judgment’ …I think most people appreciate some compassion, no matter what their circumstances are. I think people would feel more comfortable in the gym and less worried about other people judging them if you yourself would demonstrate how we can be compassionate towards each other in the gym – there are insecurities within all of us, because we are all human – we should feel comfortable in the gym because our hearts are open and connected in that way, not because we are getting over our fear of being judged by judging others right back…

    Thank you for listening and hopefully, some consideration. Peace!

    • Sarah says

      Hi Kel,
      Thanks so much for sharing your own personal story, I am so proud of you for coming through your exercise addiction, it sounds like you are in a much better place. I am not Jason but I felt compelled to respond after reading your post. I know in a heart beat that Jason would help anyone, without judgement. Jason has more love for his clients, family, and friends than most people I know and without judgement he helps whoever comes into his gym who truly want to be helped. Jason was simply trying to make a point in this article that some people should consider themselves and their own needs more often and one part of this is to stop worrying about what others think about them and worry more about truly caring for their own health. Jason would help any person, no matter what shape or size, no matter what physical or emotional struggles that person might be experiencing. I think folks are looking a little to deeply into this post, trying to find something to be angry or hurt about when the reality is Jason is simply trying to help. Trust me, I understand your point, I often am hurt by things people say that hit a little close to home and I often have to remember that I can choose my own feelings and frustrations and I can choose to see the good that others are trying to do and that we all are doing the best we can and at least Jason is trying his darndest to get through to folks in the way he knows how.

      Thanks so much again for sharing, I know you are writing from your heart, but I needed to chime in express how lucky I feel to have Jason as part of Everyday Paleo and how much I value his hard work and dedication to really wanting to see people turn their lives around.

    • Katie says

      Kel, I don’t think Jason was judging anyone. He was pointing out that everyone has insecurities, even those people we tend to put up on pedastals, and that we should NEVER let that stop us from achieving our full potential. Secondly, I have been that exercise-addicted bone rack also. At 5’3″ and 97 lbs. I was sickly. I rarely ate enough, I was miserable all the time, and hated my life. But I could fit into a size 1 jeans. That was all I cared about, not my health. I think Jason’s point was, those are not the people we should be striving to become like. And those people usually don’t think they NEED any help, either, at least I know I didn’t think I needed help at the time. I WISH someone had come along and told me about CrossFit and Paleo eating then.
      You also have to remember that Jason in not a female, he is a male. He thinks like a man, not like a woman. We see things differently, most men don’t see a lot of grey area, only black and white. I said MOST men, not all men. My point is that men bring a different point of view in life that we need to hear out and take into consideration and not always let our feelings get hurt because we don’t like their delivery. We make a choice about what we take offense to. You can chose NOT to take offense.

    • JasonS says

      Point well taken, Kel. I certainly never meant to hurt any feelings. I was just trying to use colorful description to point out that sometimes we let people make us feel uncomfortable when in reality we couldn’t care less about their opinions if we really think about it.

      • kel says

        thank you so much for being open to hearing me out Jason! i really appreciate it – and i really do appreciate your contribution to this blog and this paleo “community” in general.
        one love :)

  39. Dana Post says

    Jason Seib for President! No, seriously… I am so amazed once again by how you totally hit the nail on the head! Thank you for having the balls to write and publish this

  40. Anita says

    I don’t know Jason personally, but I think he was just saying that moms should not put other things before their health. I think people are getting all crazy about this blog and the intent seems to be to empower women to take care of themselves first. I didn’t read where he says that we have to buy a gym membership to be fit. He says first, “One thing that always gets my hackles up is all the things that people willingly put before their health, fitness, and longevity without a second thought.” He does advocate giving up things we don’t need in order to pay for a gym membership, but I didn’t take this as the only way to be healthy. I suspect that the ones who are complaining the loudest are the ones who should probably take a look at why this has touched a nerve.

    • Sarah says

      Anita, thank you so much for your response. I of course do know Jason personally and yes, people are tearing this post apart and only looking at pieces of it that for whatever reason make them mad without seeing Jason’s true intent of this post. It’s really not that complicated. : ) Thank you!!

  41. Michelle B says

    Interesting time on this post. I’ve recently (3 months ago) adopted a paleo diet (through encouragement and support at my crossfit gym). The change in my diet meant I saw huge changes in body composition; weight loss, lack of the spare tire. I also had some pretty major emotional changes which I was surprised by. I actually went to the gym less during our LEANing Challenge, and still ended up winning.

    Ok, so this is not sounding like I’m supporting Jason’s post… BUT I AM! The last few weeks I’ve had a really hard time getting to the gym. I’m letting things get in the way like school, meals with friends, work etc. I don’t feel as healthy… and I’m also letting my diet slip more as well.

    I’m all for the dog walking and jogging and hiking and skiing… those are fun and healthy for sure. But I truly feel like my body needs the lifting of heavy things. It’s back to the gym for me! Thank you Jason (and Sarah) for posting this.

  42. Melissa says

    I am a Navy wife and mom of 5 kids under 10. My husband is gone 6+ months a year, my kids are my absolute top priority! Their happiness and ability to experience and explore who they want to be and what things they want to do is number 1 for me, having said that a mom who is healthy and happy is the foundation of providing for them. This is an amazing post about looking at your priorities and redirecting. I want my kids to grow up with health and fitness as top priorities so that they wont struggle to change bad habits like my husband and I did. My kids are all seeing the importance of a healthy lifestyle and are actually getting more from me by sacrificing 5 hrs a week sitting in a little baby gate watching me make my life and its health important. They are seeing what it truely looks like to balance life’s responsibilities and its pressures. Monday through Friday I spend a lot of time watching my watch driving from this activity to that one then to a workout, we’re rarely home before 6:30 at which time I still need to cook a paleo dinner and do homework with 4 kids but I’m doing it and changing my kids lives! Thanks for the post!

  43. Julie says


    You said a lot in your post, but the one thing that spoke to me was the “stop making excuses and get it done” message. I can come up with a bunch of excuses why I don’t have time to exercise…I work 2 jobs, I’m going to school full time, I need my sleep….but when it comes right down to it, you are right, we prioritize our lives and often but the wrong things first. Yes, you were talking to me in this post, and unlike others, I am not offended at all. I am simply thankful you wrote this post, at this particular time, because I needed to hear it. I think sometimes when people get offended, it’s because the message hits very close to home, which is totally just my opinion.

    This was just a really good reminder that we need to make sure the right things come first on our list of priorities….

    Thanks for the “tough love” Jason, I needed it.

  44. NeeleyB says

    I NEVER comment on posts but I am compelled to do so…..We lost everything in the economic crash of 2007, successful business of 17 years, our home, our cars. We have 3 young children(8, 4, 2) and we are now on welfare until my husband can get us on our feet again. I have every excuse known to man not to excercise! No money, no car, no childcare handy etc….(yeah I know..blah, blah) My point is…I finally got to the point where I HAD to do something with myself, sleeping while my kids took their naps wasn’t working, I have always eaten pretty good but weight was creeping on (I’m 42), I was depressed, tired all the time, not happy with my general health overall. Mostly it was how I felt day in and day out!. One excuse after another, till finally I said enough!
    I cracked open my P90x, still in its packaging (which I had purchased years earlier, it was collecting dust). I will never be the same, I’m working on round 2 of the 90 day program, I’ve lost 14 lbs and never felt or looked better! I work out in my living room while my kids have their daily play time in their room (I fight for this single hour of time people, they are forbidden to interrupt me unless someone is on fire). I have 1 set of 5lbs weights that are hilariously light now, but I make them work, if I have to do 30 reps of a bicep curl I’ll do it, until I can afford proper weights.

    I’m better for them and for me, NO MORE EXCUSES! now if I can just get my husband on board! Thanks for the post….

  45. HeatherS says


    I just had to say thank you for this post! I hear what you are saying and I take away from it what applies to me. Even though I move closer and closer to my own optimal health, I can let things get in the way and what a reminder to not let this happen!

    This week I started training with a Crossfit trainer (or a trainer at a crossfit gym) because I have always been curious about it. I will do a few sessions and then see where to go from there. I do not think I can afford a membership, but I am hoping (fingers crossed!) that with this start and what you and Sarah will offer, I can stock a little gym of my own. We’ll see. But I like your no BS attitude! Tell it like it is! I have the choice to take it or leave it.


  46. Penny says

    Sometimes we just need to look around us at what we DO have available and aren’t taking advantage of. For example, I pay $31/month to do yoga at our Family Y. I did a few spin classes this summer too. But guess what I totally forgot about??? That they have BARBELLS and weights of ALLLL sizes for me to use! :)

    And THEN, my church has a weight room….I haven’t worked out there in years because I was mainly using the treadmill when it got in the teens and wouldn’t run outside. I still need to go see if they have adequate weight plates (I know there is a Smith machine) and barbells for me to use but that is all FREE to me as a member of my church.

    So the point is…what have YOU forgotten about that is there and readily available without having to spend $100/month on a Crossfit membership? I felt like I needed the coaching (and probably still do), but I’m hoping whatever Jason and Sarah’s surprise is tomorrow, will help me figure that part out!

  47. Joellyn says

    There are so many opinions here, but it’s good to read all of them. However, Jason, what do you do if you are CONTRAINDICATED regarding weights? I’m a three-time cancer dancer/double mastectomy patient with half my lymph nodes out and implants between layers of the chest wall. It is imperative that I NOT either (a) tax my lymphedema-prone arm to the point where the compromised system can’t handle the “burn” or (b) use the chest muscles so that they pull away from the scar tissue holding the implants in place. I’m coming back to health after seven years of difficulties, so I understand the need to prioritize: you couldn’t PAY me to eat grains or dairy or sugar anymore, and we are fortunate enough to live five miles from one of the best grassfed farms in the area, so food quality isn’t a problem. But it sounds like whatever I can do in terms of walking etc. (we live in a hilly rural area, so the legs get their workout) will not be considered “enough” for me to take my health seriously. Thoughts or suggestions?

  48. Hope says

    Thank you. I’ve been making excuses and am now drawing the line. I am a single mom, putting my daughter through college and on a VERY tight financial path (I hate the word budget) HOWEVER, I can get creative and figure out a way to first and foremost START to exercise. Then I will figure out how to get some weights. Where there is a will there is a way. If there is no will, excuses will be the norm.

  49. says

    Hi Jason,
    I’m a single mom and I appreciate that you recognize that what we do is difficult and that having childcare is/can be essential in working out. I LOVE lifting weights, HATE cardio (except for sprinting). For a long time, I was able to get to the gym to workout while my son was in school because I worked for myself. I’m now working a FT job as an employee and have really struggled for the past 6 months with working out. I ordered Tony Horton’s 10 Minute Trainer and it’s a good, quick gym workout alternative. I have a question for you, though. As I begin my Paleo lifestyle, will push-ups, squats, lunges, calf raises, and planking be “good enough” for muscle building? I plan to sprint with my 8 year old a few times a week as well. To clarify, I’m talking about doing those exercises with resistance bands, without the TMT dvds.
    Thanks much! I hope to hear back from you…I’m also seriously considering subscribing to EDPLF.

  50. Nathan Greaves says

    The last paragraph about meat-heads and anorexic barbie bimbos was what did it for me. I just cant see why somebody would give these people a second thought, especially over health. Well said Jason and well worded. Definately enough to light a fire in someones eyes!

  51. Deborah says

    Many years ago, shortly after the birth of my oldest child, my mother took me aside and said, “You know, you should take better care of yourself. You are the most important person in the world to your children…if anything happened to you, they would be devestated and it will affect them all their lives!”
    Wow! I never thought of that and I did take better care of myself. I began using my seatbelt, eating better and exercising whenever I could find time….which turned out to be more often than I had supposed. Walking became a great fallback exercise for me in those days.

    I have since passed this advice on to several young friends who are new mothers and it never fails to elicit an “ah” moment. Realizing you are someone’s entire world does a number on your heart!!

  52. says

    I am a mom of four and after I had my third child I didn’t do anything. I sat at my desk and stayed fat. When I got pregnant with baby no.4, my husband started crossfitting with his brothers. I watched him change, saw the neat little community they had there and I wanted in. After I had baby Lucy I joined right up and I’ll never go back. I’ve lost 20lbs since she was born and I’m well on my way to losing the extra 15lbs I have left. In fact I signed up for the seasonal challenge they have yearly. There is a $75 buy in and the winner gets a cash prize…but really there are no losers with a challenge like this. We’re all eating paleo and working our butts off.

    I have a few friends that just can’t seem to find the motivation, importance..not sure what they want to call it, to get into the gym and eat better, healthy. I will never go back. I feel so amazing and I love it that my kids want to join in and do our WODS with us. My 11 year old daughter did “death by burpees” with my husband the day after Thanksgiving and she got more rounds than ME! Amazing.

    Thank you for your Blog, Sarah. I use that cookbook and your website at least 3x per week to cook for my family. My daughter is so impressed with the paleo lifestyle that she’s been telling her friends and teachers about it. One teacher even emailed me about it and asked for some recipes. I sent her here, of course. 😉

    And, Thank you Jason for that soap box speech. Seriously, it WILL change someone’s life.

  53. lucky says

    Great post and I couldn’t agree more. I’ve been on this same bandwagon for years! However, I urge people to be very careful about using labels that are uncomfortably close to name-calling. Please remember that “meatheads” and “barbie bimbos” are people too – and likely very nice and worthwhile people at that!

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