just be a human.

by Janetha on December 4, 2013

in tips

as a health & fitness blogger, i get a lot of mass emails that contain tips & tricks related to the industry. since we are smack dab in the middle of the holidays, several of those emails are geared toward “surviving” the holiday season.

surviving? a christmas party? i didn’t know a christmas party was equivalent to warfare and surely wasn’t aware i needed to prep myself for survival. last time i checked, nobody died from an evening of egg nog, cocktail weenies, and christmas cookies. (okay, you got me, i’ve never checked. but i will bet on it.)

i get it. the holidays are a time where we are bombarded with social events, all which contain lots of delicious, less-than-healthy things to eat. i suppose it can make people nervous. they worry about over-eating and gaining weight. but that’s really not what they need to worry about. this quote says it best:

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isn’t it so true? the world gets hyped up about fretting overeating during the holidays.. but that’s, like, a month out of the year. there are 11 other months to focus on healthy eating and fitness!

a lot of times marshall tells me: “just be a human!” when i am doing things that.. are.. well.. kinda ridiculous. for example, when i am trying to open a package with my teeth. he hands me a pair of scissors and tells me, “just be a human!” or when i throw something away in an already overflowing garbage can and grumble about it, he tells me to be a human and take the garbage out. those are just a couple examples.. but he tells me this on a regular basis, it’s pretty funny.. and i can be pretty ridiculous.

but when i read the latest of my never-ending “survive the holidays!” emails, i thought to myself… “people just need to be human!” coincidentally, i scrolled past this quote on instagram almost immediately after:

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isn’t it true? we are meant to live our lives and enjoy our lives and not flip out about a holiday party or two. i mean, if you are going to 13 parties this holiday season, maybe don’t take my advice.. but remember:

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you gotta look at the overall picture. if the majority of the time you are eating healthfully and putting effort into your fitness, enjoying yourself at holiday parties isn’t going to undo all your hard work. i know, i know.. this is a “healthy” living blog and i am sure in the past i have given tips JUST like these listed below. but part of being truly healthy is being OK with going out and not caring about how many calories are going into your mouth at any given moment. it’s healthy to let loose. to enjoy your food. it’s normal. it’s human.

i thought it would be fun to edit the latest email i received, my thoughts in red!

· Have a snack at home first: Never go to a party hungry because the minute you walk through the door, you’ll be more likely to stuff your face with unhealthy options. So have a small snack before to keep you satiated. no. don’t have a snack at home, because then you will not only have eaten the snack, you will also eat all the delicious stuff at the party, too, and then you will have eaten double what you would have had you skipped that snack. we all know spinach artichoke dip with pita bread is way more fun to eat than a rice cake, so just skip the snack and eat sensibly at the party, keep your portions in check but don’t worry about showing up to the party already full. let’s face it: you are still going to want that sausage stuffed mushroom whether you had a snack or not.

· You don’t have to avoid sweets – just be smart about it: Check out the buffet table before digging in, and pick the foods that you like most or want to try. Allow yourself one treat you’re dying to have, then, fill the rest of your plate with healthy options like fresh veggies and hummus dip to fill you up. okay, this is pretty solid advice. but when there are 18 treats.. it’s hard to pick ONE. i think having two or three won’t kill you.

· Use a dessert plate for your main course: Using a smaller plate is the perfect way to make sure your portions aren’t getting out of hand. You can always go back for seconds if you really want to. Be mindful when eating so you can feel when you’re getting full. just NO. use a normal-sized plate like the rest of the crowd. it’s okay to eat a normal-sized meal. you are a human, not a bird.

· Chat away from the food: Congregating near the buffet table makes you more likely to eat even after you’re full since you’re surrounded by food. Instead, grab a friend and head to a spot where you can take the time to enjoy your meal without being easily tempted to reach for more. more often than not, food is within reach anywhere you stand at a party. once again, be a human, not an animal. if you have already eaten and you are full, just stop. i know for some it isn’t as easy as JUST. STOP. EATING… but the more you practice stopping eating when you’re full, the easier it will become. the more you distance yourself from the food and look at it as an “off limits” thing that you have to stay away from, the harder it will be to actually stay away from it.

· Opt for virgin drinks: Most drinks come loaded with extra calories so try to limit your intake. If you must, alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. let’s see…if i am going to have a drink, it’s going to have alcohol. otherwise i am going to drink water—why . a virgin grayhound (my favorite cocktail) is 110 calories. a regular one (with the alcohol) is 175 calories. i don’t think it’s the 65 calories of vodka that is weighing me down. i would rather have a couple real cocktails and then water the rest of the night than alternate between drinking virgin (but still calorie-laden) cocktails and regular ones all night.

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so.. yeah.. don’t stress out so much about the holiday parties. focus more on the other 350-some odd days of the year. and enjoy yourself. and remember, just be a human.

full disclosure: i used to be one of those have-a-protein-shake-before-the-party and carry-protein-bars-in-my-purse-to-avoid-the-snacks kind of person. i would chew gum to avoid the chips and salsa or bread basket when eating out.  back in 2008 when i did body for life, i think i was a little crazy about the whole stick-to-the-meal-plan mentality. i would take protein powder and almond milk and a suitcase of healthy “clean” snacks on vacation—to all-inclusive resorts, for crying out loud!! if you read blogs like mine, i am sure you have also been this way.. or are possibly still this way. it’s fine, to each her own, but personally i am real glad that i no longer worry about what i am going to eat and when. yes, meticulous planning yields incredible results.. but it’s also not very fun (for me.) and if it’s not fun.. then what’s the use? you can see more on my thoughts about this here.

Qs~

1. i know some may not agree with me. tell me, what is your approach to food & fitness during the holidays?

2. what is your favorite holiday party bite? and drink?

xo. janetha g.

{ 59 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa December 6, 2013 at 3:57 pm

I absolutely adore this post and couldn’t agree more with your advice. I have unsubscribed from SO many e-mails this year because of the ridiculous advice (how did I ever think it was helpful?).
It’s totally fine to be human for a month of the year and then get back to healthy eating. It’s the season of celebration and gratitude not about rigid rules and limiting yourself on the fun to be had.

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Cassie December 7, 2013 at 8:30 pm

Thank you SO much for saying “you won’t get fit from one salad and a workout and you won’t get fat from one cupcake and a rest day”. I have such a hard time with that – never in my life do I have such guilt as on rest days.

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Brittany December 8, 2013 at 3:46 pm

LOVE this post lady. I’ve always thought the healthy party tips were annoying–especially the one about eating before you go to a party. I’ve never even thought about trying it because I knew it wouldn’t work. I’d just end up eating the snack and all the food at the party. :)

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Ashley@cupcakesncrunches December 8, 2013 at 4:39 pm

Loved your thoughts on holiday eating & I’m going to start saying “just be human.” That’s great!

I still strive to eat well rounded meals during the holidays (lean meats, veggies & fruits) but I don’t think twice about grabbing a holiday flavored drink, baked good or Reese’s peanut butter cup in the shape of a Christmas tree. I try not to over indulge but I don’t beat myself up when I do because it is the holidays & life is just too short!!

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Jessica December 9, 2013 at 11:37 pm

PREACH. All of this. I second it. Hope you are having an awesome Christmas season!

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Angela December 11, 2013 at 9:57 pm

i thought i commented but can’t remember and don’t see it. anyhow, i loved this post. you rock.
i love that “just be human” came from your hubby. my bf always use to tell me “just be easy” whenever i would get stressed/anxious. :)

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Destini December 12, 2013 at 10:15 am

THANK YOU!! I was actually going to write a similar post. But now just going to link to yours. Because we’re all human, and there is another 11 other months of the year. A couple days is not going to blow you way over any goals that it cant be reversed.

That slice of apple pie, or those 1, 2 or 4 cookies wont ruin the other 11 months, or even 11 and half months of the year. We’re human, and this is a time to celebrate and enjoy our blessings!

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