When you’re on your health and weight loss journey, there are many obstacles and potential detours along the way! They come in the form of temptation, old habits and …. often times, family, friends and co-workers: the people closest to you.  There are reasons this happens and ways you can avoid the detours and stay on track of your goals.

1)  You are offered food that is not on your plan or congruent with your goals.  What to do?  Instead of saying, “I can’t have that” or “I’m on a diet,” simply respond with “no thank you.” You do not need to explain your food choices any more than those who are pushing food on you explain theirs!  As soon as you say “I can’t,” friends will come to the rescue to tell you why you can and should!  Don’t open that can of worms.

2) Avoid junk food at the work place.  Break rooms can be hazardous collection sites for all sorts of junk food from donuts to cookies to cakes and candy.  Avoid break rooms and other junk food gathering areas by taking a walk, leaving the building or going to another room for a break.  You will be less likely to indulge. Remember, it takes just minutes to down 500 to 1000 calories of sugar and the impact last FAR longer.  Is it worth eating that?

3) Family holiday and celebratory gatherings.  You most likely know in advance what will be served at these meals.  Offer to bring a dish or two such as a beautiful salad, roasted vegetables or another healthy side dish.  This way, you know you’ll have options. Fill your plate with good protein and plenty of veggies / greens. If offered heavy desserts, recognize it’s okay to say “no thank you, I’m stuffed!”  Another option is to take the dessert home for someone else to have. Again, there is no need to explain your choices or make excuses to others.

4) Avoiding diet sabotage from a spouse or partner.  This can be a true challenge when one is on a health journey and the partner / spouse is not. I see this quite often. The non-supportive partner may feel threatened when the other is getting healthy, losing weight or that n-s partner may feel he / she is expected to change eating habits as well.  The solution? Ask your partner for support.  Explain why your choices and health journey are so important to you.  Reassure your partner that you do not expect he / she to make any changes or feel threatened.  If your partner likes to keep sweets, junk or unhealthy food items around the house (a temptation!), ask your partner to enjoy them outside of the home.

5) Dining Out.   Check menus on-line ahead of time so that you know your options.  This way, you won’t be reacting to everything on the menu (and to what others are ordering).  Often times, an appetizer and salad are plenty as portion sizes at restaurants tend to be large.  Don’t be afraid to ask for dishes to be prepared “your way.” These days, this is more the norm and restaurants are accustomed to special requests. If you dine out often, you’ll want to be especially mindful of what you order. If bread and chips are a temptation, ask the waiter to keep those off the table.  Be sure to drink water with your meal as this helps you feel full and satisfied.

6) Parties and Happy Hours.  With the holidays, come more parties and celebratory get-togethers.  Alcohol stimulates the appetite, changes the taste buds and reduces our inhibitions.  One hour of partying can be disastrous! This is where planning really is important. If drinking alcohol, limit yourself and choose lighter options.  Be sure to drink water in between and, perhaps, opt for a sparkling water with lime afterward.  Don’t allow friends to pressure you into having more than your limit and making bad decisions.  You’ll feel so much better when you wake up in the morning and proud that you’ve stayed on track of what is truly most important to you!!

And always practice STOP. CHALLENGE. CHOOSE.  You’ll maintain control and make better choices!