A Healthy Eating Owner’s Guide for Control Freaks and Never-Want-to-Changers : Addicted to Food Series Part 4

Friday Apr 22 | BY |
| Comments (24)

A happy and healthy Control Freak at Breitenbush Hot Springs

[This is the final installment of my “Addicted to Food” Series inspired by the new show on the Oprah Winfrey Network. Here is part 1, part 2 and part 3.]

You know who they are…

The Control Freaks won’t let a thing pass their mouth without a sign off from the certifying agency that the food is organic, never been processed by anything other than a human hand and is labeled with a time stamp that identifies when it has been picked and the relative amount of enzymes that have been degraded since then.

The Never-Want-to-Changers… well…. they just never want to stop eating what they’ve always eaten. They, just as their name suggests, never want to change.

In the short term, neither of these people really pose any problems for anyone else, but in the long term their – equally as intense – rigidness, may bring them health challenges as well as cause agony for their friends and family members.

The control freak goes too far down into the healthy eating rabbit hole which causes deficiencies and closemindedness, while the Never-Want-to-Changer stays up on the surface with their favorite meal – the one they’ve eaten every day since they were 5 years old – in hand, as they develop diabetes, heart disease and all other diseases that their favorite comfort food causes.

Both these people need help.


Because I was a classic control freak and the help that I got was the only thing that didn’t bring me too far down the hole. I’m still in the hole (it’s actually not bad to be there), but I can still see the light up by the surface from where I am.

I know a few Never-Want-to-Changers as well. In fact, I’m married to one.

On our first date, Annmarie told me that she didn’t like change too much. She wasn’t interested in anyone trying to change her, nor was she interested in changing how she did things.

In terms of food, she ate the classic American-Italian fare – lots of bread, lots of pasta, and enough mozzarella to make your brain curdle.

But just like I came up out of the rabbit hole from 100% raw vegan to a little more balanced, Annmarie tossed out her past beliefs (let go of the chicken parm) and jumped down a bit to meet me.

Usually it doesn’t happen this nicely.

So how did we make it work for us?

I’m going to share that with you today in the form of an Owner’s Manual for each personality and how you can step-by-step understand how each person works and help them be open to possibility and eventually healthy eating for the long run.

The Control Freak – Owner’s Guide

WARNING: Please keep a Control Freak at least half a kitchen table’s distance from another Control Freak.

To use the Control Freak, be sure to follow these instructions exactly:

Step 1: Understand the Control Freak fears losing control.

The Control Freak, as you probably know, needs to control everything. This isn’t a big secret.

When it comes to food, they are the ones that must do the shopping, must make sure everything fits their very detailed needs and specifications.

If they don’t have control over this they usually react by freaking out or closing up.

If they could, the Control Freak would run the grocery store, the restaurants and the farms to insure that all food is of the purest quality. (It’s a noble idea, but likely impossible.)

The Control Freak is the orthorexic, the anorexic, the dogmatist, the strictest of the bunch.

They’re also the emotional one.

I’m sure you’ve been out with friends before and went to a place the Control Freak really didn’t want to go to – maybe there weren’t any clear vegan or raw options or there was some non-organic ingredients on the menu.

I don’t need to tell you how the Control Freak reacted. You know how they did.

What’s important to note, in terms of your long term association with the Control Freak is that their emotional expression may seem like an assault on you or others around them, but it’s really an expression of how they’re feeling internally and isn’t intended to hurt anyone. They just believe that their tantrums will make the situation right again.

Usually those outbursts doesn’t.

To help the control freak regain a bit of sanity in these situations (and still feel like they have some control), allow them to make as many food decisions as possible. What’s the point in fighting it, they’re likely going to make good choices that are healthy for you anyway.

Always include them in the discussion about where to eat or what’s on the menu as well. Otherwise, you’re in for a long night.

Step 2: Do not tell the Control Freak what to do, it will bite.

The thing that the Control Freak hates the most is being told what to do.

Even if they are eating a diet that is driving them to poor health (anorexics and orthorexics are good examples of this), you will not be able to crack them if you tell them that they’re doing something wrong.

Again, the Control Freak needs to be in control. So when they’re in control of their sinking ship, they actually are fine with it. As long as they can take it to the bottom or right up on shore, they will stick to their plan.

The best way to tell the Control Freak what to do is to plant suggestions.

For me, I broke out of my disordered diet regimen when I began working with Dr. Williams. He had a knack for breaking me out of my comfort zone by telling me stories about how he overcame his own incredibly strict diet as well.

He never told me what to do, but he suggested through story.

Listening to stories, leads the Control Freak like me to think that I came up with the idea that my diet needed to change on my own.

The Control Freak, as I’ve said a few times, loves to be in control – so when they think they’ve controlled themselves to a new conclusion they’re happy.

Step 3: Give them facts.

Another way to derail the Control Freak is just give them facts.

When I saw that my cholesterol was really low and Dr. Williams associated it to my hormone imbalances, I didn’t need to hear any more suggestions.

I knew I needed to change.

The Control Freak, if you can get them to hear the facts, will change.

The hard part is getting them to place where the facts can be presented.

A Control Freak won’t usually be open to getting blood tests or going to a lecture about a different type of diet, so you need to creatively get them there by using stories and suggestion.

If you want them to get their blood tested, tell them about a friend you know who had some issues with an unrelated ailment. Tell them the friend got their blood tested, they found out what it was and took some supplements to fix it.

Then, the kicker, is to tell the Control Freak that you’re going to get some testing and they’re welcome to join you.

Chances are they will. Remember, they need to be in control of that situation too! LOL.

Step 4: Don’t get too many Control Freaks in the same room.

This doesn’t necessarily apply to health, but it may apply to safety. (This is a Owner’s Guide you know… we have product liability.)

Step 5: Let them experience it for themselves

Finally, be sure that the Control Freak experiences the change themselves.

Know that they don’t want help and they want to be in control. If you can guide them to a conclusion that they feel they made on their own, everyone wins.

You have brought them up the rabbit hole a bit, they’re healthier (in mind and physically) and everyone in the family is much happier for it.

Now, on the other side…

The Never-Want-to-Changers – Owner’s Guide

WARNING: Banging your head against the wall, will not affect the Never-Want-to-Changers’ behavior. It will only hurt your head.

To use the Never-Want-to-Changer, be sure to follow these instructions completely:

Step 1: Understand the Never-Want-to-Changer fears change.

There’s nothing worse to a Never-Want-to-Changer than doing something different.

The Control Freak isn’t exactly afraid of doing things differently, their ego just wants to be sure that they came up with the idea.

On the other hand, the Never-Want-to-Changer is very afraid of breaking a pattern that they’ve done their entire life.

Never-Want-to-Changers are spouses, friends or family members that aren’t willing to change their diet no matter what signs of disease are showing.

They’d rather take their baloney and cheese sandwich to the grave, than think about trying a green smoothie.

Many times, for the Never-Want-to-Changer, the thought of anything green makes them queasy.

I have no idea why, but it’s in their DNA.

To help the Never-Want-to-Changer get healthier you have to understand that they are more than willing to change as long as they know it’s just as safe on the other side.

Their “change language” is doing.

Step 2: Show the Never-Want-to-Changer how to eat healthy.

The best way to get a Never-Want-to-Changer to want to change is to show them just how easy it is to eat healthier.

Telling them about people who are eating healthy or getting better will never work for them, like it does for the Control Freak.

The Never-Want-to-Changer has to see it and do it.

If they have diabetes, you need to take them to a place where people are recovering from diabetes and show them that it’s possible.

They need to see real people getting real results in order to think about changing themselves.

I think one of the reasons Annmarie changed her diet with me was because she saw how good she looked by just making a few changes. After that, she understood what raw foods were all about and gracefully made a transition.

Step 3: Please be patient with the Never-Want-to-Changer.

You may need to turn it on a few times before it finally gets moving.

Having patience is essential when working with a Never-Want-to-Changer.

If you show them how to make a green smoothie and two days later they’re eating bacon and eggs again for breakfast, you need to be patient and show them again.

The Never-Want-to-Changer doesn’t want to change, remember?

So the more you can ease them through the transition process, the more likely they are to stay on the track to healthier ways.

Step 4: Ask them what their biggest concerns are.

A secret to knowing the Never-Want-to-Changer is this…

The reason they may not want to change is because they have unanswered questions that are holding them back.

You’d be surprised, when you dig deeply enough, that the reason the Never-Want-to-Changer may not make green smoothies every morning is because they’re afraid they’ll run out of recipes in 4 weeks. Or, the reason they haven’t stuck with it is because they don’t like kale and you put kale in yours once, so they’re doing their best to avoid the moment you suggest they try kale in their own smoothie.

It may sound weird to a non-Never-Want-to-Changer, but it’s true.

For Never-Want-to-Changer to change, they need to know a lot.

So ask them questions and give them answers. You’ll be surprised at how receptive they are.

Step 5: Sometimes, you’re too much of a Control Freak to help them.

Here’s where the two personalities meet.

You’re a Control Freak who wants to change your Never-Want-to-Changer.

In this case, your best best is working on yourself first before you convert the Never-Want-to-Changer over to your (in their eyes) wacky health religion.

If you meet halfway, your chances of succeeding are much greater than if you keep pushing your ideas on someone who is deathly afraid of doing something different. It’s like trying to free a mouse from a room by scaring into a corner. It’s fear paralyzes it.

To work with the Never-Want-to-Changer, never push them too far.

If you’re a Control Freak, work on yourself first.

Of course there are many other ways to deal with these prevalent types of people, but these are two examples of how – we, in the past – have worked out or own health issues.

I hope it works for you too.

I want to know your thoughts: What camp are you in? Are you a Control Freak or a Never-Want-to-Changer?

Live Awesome!

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog RenegadeHealth.com — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.

Comments are closed.