Counter Arguments: for the Pedestrian Skeptics (Part 3)

Following from our guide on how to deal (or not to deal) with skeptics, here I am sampling a few response(s) to the commonly thrown remarks.

“That’s not healthy! Why can’t you just be healthy!”

Whoever throwing this type of remark is probably coming from one, or more of these two confirmation-biased camps:

  1. They’re pedestrian epidemiologists. They’re already married to the statistical herd of general doctors, lipid hypothesis, vaccines/pharmas, and Government “My Healthy Eating Plate” template.
  2. They’re insecure. They are trying to bring down others to-their-level, so they feel better. In other words ~ Tall Poppy Syndrome. 

This will not be easily dealt with just a short one sentence, exit statement. Not easy I shall repeat, because they come from everywhere. Even amongst families, relatives, colleagues and/or friends whom you trust.

First and foremost, prepare a polite counter, but with a question for them “what-about-you?”.

“I am healthy as I am my own evidence for Science ~ learning about my own body. About what works for me. As well as what doesn’t. Healthy or not Healthy I don’t care. I learn it. I absorb it and I keep it. What about you? What makes you ~ “you”?”

If they do not respond or that they concede, then good, you’ve won. Do not continue the conservation. Try changing the subject (if possible).

If not, prepare yourselves a series of probing questions.

  1. “What is your ideal, definition of what healthy means?” (Wait for their response, then follow-up below)
  2. “Where or who is that <so and so> definition comes from?” (Wait for their response, then follow-up below)
  3. “Now, can you define, in your own words (Important!) ~ what does “healthy”, “fitness”, “average” or “normal” means to you, and only you, no-one else’s?

Then probe further, the following question.

  1. “Now that you have defined what “healthy” is. Is this person you aspire to be? If yes, have you proven yourself?”

What if you are met with some resistance? Try the following remark.

  1. “I see. So you have made your own case. You have made your own definition what healthy means. You have dictated your own experience what healthy is, to you. You’ve cherry picked what you liked and what you do not like. How would you feel however if you are being signalled towards another belief, dogma or subscription? Do you realize – that you are doing the same thing to me, right now?”
Mohammad Reza @ Unsplash
Mohammad Reza @ Unsplash

“Why can’t you be just like everyone else?”

Ask them back: “Why can’t you be yourself?” Ask them when was the last time – they make a decision for themselves. And by themselves.

If they’re still chatterbox, try this.

  • “Are you really that desperate ~ to seek validation from everyone else, other than your own?”
  • “Are you really that desperate to ask everyone if you are okay?”
  • “What do you gain from all this approval? Will you be satisfied only for now, or will you be asking for more?”

If they counter-respond with “I have seen XYZ papers! I disagree and you should be ashamed”. Then we shall revert back to the pre-conclusive remarks similar to the ones already shared above.

  • “Are you making a decision on behalf of everyone, or for your own self,  for your own autonomy and for your own good?”
  • “Who or what are you trying to take control ~ everyone? The entire world? What about your own self?”

“Being healthy is just too expensive.”

Tell them there is a much more expensive “asset”, more than even the most precious of all metals gold, and/or rhodium combined. Their own life.

  • “I know everything is expensive. But what is more expensive, is your own life.”
  • “Do you really want to cheapen your own life?”
  • “Health is like investment. Money don’t grow on trees.”

If this discussion lingers on more than a few minutes, unfortunately you’d have to come up with a creative apology.

  • “I can defenitely relate to your’s (circumstance). I am doing my own best by experimenting what I can willingly sacrifice. I hope the same goes to you.”
  • “I know this conversation is rather tough on us both. But we can’t change reality that your time is finite. Maybe what’s best to “buy” for now is most probably not ~ that next iphone or that latest gadget.” 
  • “I can defenitely relate. But I cannot spare a time for us here exchanging over who’s had it worse. Trust me, you would not feel any better if you are being compared to someone else.”

“I cannot exercise. <Insert excuse here>.”

  • “Regular brisk walking may also be more effective than running in preventing coronary disease. And just 30min of moderate activity a day more than three times/week significantly improves insulin sensitivity and helps reverse insulin resistance (ie, lowers the chronically elevated levels of insulin that are associated with obesity) within months in sedentary middle-aged adults.” Malhotra A et al. 2017

Nobody cares how much you lift. My life lesson: it’s probably less about how good you look. More about how good you will live.

If nothing else matters or that nobody cares. Then the onus is on you, that you must care about yourself, selfishly, more than anyone who tells you otherwise. 

Now, what if you are still being barked/accused that you are the one being judgemental? Try these remarks.

  • “You don’t need to change for the world. But you need raise your own expectations for what is best for you. Nobody can do that for you.”
  • “I don’t have any more to say nor than how it worthwhile it is at putting myself to the challenge. Maybe one day you will learn for yourself. It’s up to you to take the time to change for yourself. Or let time speak for itself.”
  • “I am not judging you. If you are unhappy, I am sorry you are running through tough times. But if you are happy bearing the consequence that you are no different than you were last year or a decade ago ~ then you be the judge.”

What if ~ they’re still complaining about their own image. You can safely say to them:

  • “Well okay that’s fine by your own terms. You don’t have to exercise at all then. So long as you are aware over what is coming to you, not from anyone else – that your life is in your hands.”

And what if – they’re too self conscious during exercise? My advice, no matter how clumsy you look ~ close your eyes ~ as you do your exercise. Remember that your time in the gym is your own routine.

Lift intently, not intensely. Rest briefly. Time-under-tension. Mind-muscle-connection. Repeat.


“I don’t get all you conspiracy health nuts on all this <such-and-such fearmongering>.”

…”Sugar is bad”. “Insulin is bad.”. “Wifi is bad.” “EMF is bad”. “This/that is bad.” .  “So what? What am I going to do? What do you WANT me to do? I can’t do anything! I am just one person!”.

This scenario is a typical display towards Learned Helplessness.

Try the following response/s.

  • “I am not expecting you to change for the world. Only you can change so much for what is you for you.
  • “Only you can give yourself expectations to be the best of yourself, in whatever life throws at you.”
  • “Congratulations, you are just one person. But you represent your own potential. Does that mean you are going to give up like everyone else? And stay like everyone else?”

Soon, they will likely ask for magic bullets. Certainly my pet peeves. Cheapskates. But it is what it is:

  • “Learn how to read food labels. Plenty of free information out there for you to read over.”
  • “Learn how to read scientific papers. Plenty of free information out there for you to read over.”
  • “Learn how to track your consumption / calories. Plenty of free information out there for you to read over.”
  • “Keep yourself a journal somewhere that only you can keep, read and reflect on.”
  • “Set yourself some goals no matter how small, but Be Smart ~ Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant.

And of all things ~  say firmly but politely – your exit statement/s. Many of these are what we’ve described above.

  • “Health is your own selfish pursuit. Get over what everyone is thinking. You might not even need to listen from me. But you need to challenge your own interpretation.” 
  • You can believe in anything. But don’t overstay your welcome.”
  • “If everything-in-moderation works for you. Great. Provided you know exactly how you moderate Every. Little. Thing.”
Erik Eastman @ Unsplash
Erik Eastman @ Unsplash

Thank you.

Easier said than done ~ but an underlying message is “Ownership”. Whatever happens, nobody cares as much as you derive meaning from whatever you wish to keep for yourself, revise for yourself and reflect for yourself.

Every virtue spares a vice. And vice versa. That has been my own motto since the beginnings of this initiative.



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