Do you dread the holidays because you find it challenging to stay on your health kick?  And/or do you dread the holidays because it means you’ll be forced to be around certain people that all they do is criticize you – whether it’s to your face, behind a screen or behind your back (we weren’t born yesterday) for being healthy, losing weight and/or choosing to live a certain type of lifestyle?


Listen, I’ve been there done that for pretty much my entire life and let me share with you some strategies on how to:


  • Not take it personal
  • Go about these situations when unfortunately, you “can’t” just “cut these people off” because they’re “family.”
  • How to keep moving forward and channel that energy towards even more power for good.
  • And how to allow yourself to indulge (if you want to) and stay on your health kick


First, grab your coffee and let me tell you a quick story.


Two weeks before Thanksgiving, Jane’s sister in law, Susie, sends out a group message asking what the plan was for Thanksgiving dinner and whose house they were all going to gather in.  After a little joking and back and forth Jane’s husband replies and generously indicates “we can have it here, at our house.” In which Susie (Jane’s sister in law) responds “but we want to eat food, not leaf.”


Some of you might read this and think – okay, so what’s the problem?  She’s just being honest, straightforward and blunt.


Others of you might read this and think – what a b***h.  She’s being so inconsiderate of the fact that they are opening up their home to her and offering generously what they have to offer and here she is criticizing what they have to offer in their own home.  Does this girl have no manners?


And honestly, neither reaction is right or wrong and this is why.   


Both Jane and Susie value different things. Jane values health year round and while Susie might value health (assuming she does) maybe she doesn’t value it at all times and wants to allow herself to eat something different during the holidays?  Maybe she sees Thanksgiving dinner as a time to celebrate whatever she considers “rich” foods and perhaps that doesn’t include what Jane might see as healthy which may or may not be “leaf.”

Or maybe Susie feels comfortable enough to make those comments because she see’s Jane as family and feels like Jane shouldn’t get offended?  Or maybe… Susie doesn’t realize that Jane is on the group message and is making the comment towards her own brother?  Who knows?!


Rule #1 is to not take it personal.

This has nothing to do with you so don’t make it about you.  Remember, the only thing you can control is YOUR reaction. Go on about your business and do what feels good and right to you.  If you are having guests over to your home and feel insecure about being criticized for what you have to offer because it’s “healthy” just remember that you’re never going to please everyone.  


Tell people in advance what you so generously, lovingly and graciously are planning to share with them. Tell them that that you openly invite them to bring something that they’d like to share with everyone else if what you’re planning to prepare does not meet their expectations.  Stop trying to please everyone and stop getting all worked up by people’s comments regardless of how rude, inconsiderate, and disrespectful they may seem. Try as much as possible to see where they are coming from.


So in Jane’s case she can respond with something like this:


Hey everyone, we are looking forward to generously opening up our home to you for Thanksgiving dinner and can’t wait to see you!  Now, it’s no surprise that it may seem like we tend to go overboard on the kale, so this year why don’t we all bring something to share?  This way we can be sure everyone’s taste buds are accommodated whether you want to indulge or get a health kick. And by the way, we’ll make the salad. Thank you for respecting us, our home and our choices.


Rule #2 is manage “family” and “friends” in a way that gives them and you the space to grow.

I get it, it can be so hard to move forward with your healthy choices and lifestyle when you have to live with these people you so call “family,” and be around your so called “friends” who make you feel awful with their comments that may come across as hurtful, mean, inconsiderate and/or straight out rude and annoying!  Can you tell I’ve been through this?


Again, it goes back to rule #1 about not taking it personal but what about the fact that you wish you could just cut them out of your life and not have to deal with them ever again?  Well, the truth is you can do that if you want but most people find it really challenging to do that for various reasons. Instead, the way I like to see it is this – see it as giving them space to grow in a way that is either complimentary to you and/or give them the space to grow in a way where they understand how to respect you in your journey of continuous growth and transformation.


The truth is most people, especially if they are your friends and family, don’t really mean harm or don’t truly have intentions to hurt you in any way.  Who knows, they may feel insecure, envious, jealous or perhaps even not good enough when they are around you because you’re making all of these changes and they’re not.  


Sometimes, it’s best to give each other space in order to avoid any type of misunderstandings.  The people that you truly love and that truly love you will always figure out a way.


So instead of telling yourself “I need to cut them off,” tell yourself you’re going to give them and yourself the space you both need and instead surround yourself by people that lift you up and are uplifted by your energy and intentions.  Allow what you DO want to naturally crowd out what you don’t because there is just no space for it right now.


Rule #3 is fuel that fire, charge forward and use that energy towards even more power for good.

It’s so easy to fall into a rabbit hole if you’re not paying attention as you walk down the path.  It’s even easier to keep falling down rabbit holes if you fail to learn the lesson of the importance of paying attention, going around the rabbit holes and eventually choosing to go down a different street. And finally, shame on you if you learned the lesson, keep it to yourself and don’t share it with the world.


Yes, what I’m telling you is that you know in your heart that these changes that you’re making to your lifestyle to be healthier, feel better, have more energy are everything.  You also know that making these changes haven’t been easy at all but because the outcomes you’re experiencing are so powerful there is no way you’d ever go back to old habits! Therefore, it’s your duty to help everyone else find their own way by not taking things personal, respecting differences and finding your own tribe.


For me health is the greatest wealth.  I learned at a very young age that without health you have nothing.  And by health – I mean all aspects of health – mental, emotional, physical, financial, and spiritual health.  It’s all interrelated. You can eat all the kale in the world and have all the money in the world but if you hate your friends, spouse, or family and constantly struggle with anxiety and negative thoughts then that alone will eat you up alive.


This Thanksgiving I’m personally going to practice being more patient, kindness and the vulnerability to open up my heart.


And now, for the Thanksgiving salad I’m making, I’ll definitely be using my fool proof strategy to make the perfect salad – check it out here

So the best way to have a healthy Thanksgiving dinner and allow yourself to indulge, is to have a little bit of everything and a lot of nothing.  And/or, always be the one that brings the salad!


Need help getting started?  Check this out

With love, health and happiness, 


Brenda V. Sillas, MBA, CHES, INHC

Evidence Based Weight Loss Coach 
Certified Health Education & Well-being Specialist
Professional Keynote Speaker
Nutrition Coach
Top 100 Health Promotion Professionals by WELCOA
Healthcare Champion Finalist – San Diego Business Journal

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