How to Avoid Being “Healthier Than Thou” This Holiday Season
You, dear reader, have made some drastic dietary changes over the last year (or 10) that have already improved your health or given you your life back. I mean this sincerely: Good for you! I could not be prouder of my readers and those who are taking their health and bodies into their own hands. It brings literal tears to my eyes every time I see a success story on my computer screen.
I hate to break it to you, but almost everyone else does not care. And it’s the holidays, which means you’ll be spending face-to-face time with people you only ever see on Facebook. See also: people who don’t care. Sure, they care about you. Your family undoubtedly loves you and wants you to be in good health. They don’t care about the way you eat, and frankly, they’d rather not ever hear you talk about it.
Though we can’t control what food goes on the plate of our beloved relatives this holiday season, we can control what does or doesn’t come out of our mouth when we see that cringe-worthy plate of food. (See? Calling it “cringeworthy” is something you should avoid).
7 Subjects to Avoid
If you find yourself uttering the words “You should,” it means you’re giving advice to someone who probably didn’t ask for it. Maybe Aunt Peggy is venting about her arthritis. Maybe your cousin is eating his 6th slice of pie. Take this opportunity to stuff your mouth with an oversized bite of salad. No one wants to hear your advice. Even if someone asks you for advice (not likely), start your answer with “you could…” That makes the decision to follow your advice the other person’s…which it is.
2. The Amount/Type of Food
It’s going to be utterly unbelievable what and how much people are packing away. Get over it. They will likely still be alive at the end of it, and so will you. Everyone goes home alive, which is the goal of a holiday gathering.
3. Awesome “Compliant” Meals
Even if they are awesome (are you signed up for my Weeknight Meal Planner?), no one else cares. No one wants to hear how amazing your cauliflower crust pizza with spinach and mushrooms is when they’re chowing down on Sugar Glazed Walnut Fudge Bars. The only food to which you should be giving accolades is the food you are currently shoving into your mouth. Even if it’s not awesome, say it is. You see these people once a year.
4. Health Issues (publicly)
People may want to know how you’re doing. You may also want to know how others with health issues are doing. The dinner table or the gift exchange is not the place to bring it up. If someone brings your issues up when others are listening, say “I’m hanging in there!” and give an exaggeratedly hokey thumbs up, before stuffing your mouth with another large bite of salad. Then make the “mouth full” hand signs for the next minute until another taboo subject is breached.
What you’re doing is not about weight, yet that is the only physical attribute with which people have to gauge how well your “crazy diet” is working. If people start asking how much weight you’ve lost, say “I don’t know exactly–I’ve been feeling much better, though.” This is a straightforward and unpretentious way of relaying to others that what you’re doing is about more than losing weight.
I know you believe you are going to outlive all of the people in the room, but don’t dare hint at it. The fact that you’re super healthy now means nothing to the genetic roll of the dice. Lord knows Aunt Josephine is going to smoke, drink, and pie-eat her way to 100 years old, and she’ll be laughing at you the whole time if you voiced, even once, that you were going to outlive her.
7. Food You Miss
You’ve said goodbye to your old life, and that’s great, but no one wants to hear you pine for it. This is your decision, so you suck it up and live with it. The fastest way to get a pie in the face over holiday dinner is to talk incessantly about how much you miss pie.
Shop for Unpretentious Healthy Things
If you’re looking for the most unpretentious health and kitchen items of the season, check out my 2017 Lectin-Free Holiday Gift Guide. You’ll find the best ideas for “everything-free” people, from the happiest cookware in the world to 300 squares of dark chocolate (for real.)