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Are Your Relationships Making You Fat?

5 strategies for dealing with non-dieting loved ones

2. Keep Temptation Out of Sight

Even if your loved ones agree to eat their fattening goodies when you're not around, sometimes just knowing the forbidden foods are within arm's reach is enough to derail your diet. When this is the case, Lynda Mezansky, MS, RD, tells WebMD that playing a little game of hide-and-seek might be just what the diet doctor ordered.

"I'm not saying hide the food from your family members, just get it out of your sight -- ask them to keep it in a cabinet where you don't normally go for your diet foods, for example, or if you have a refrigerator in the basement or family room, keep the tempting foods there," says Mezansky, a clinical nutritionist at the Health and Fitness Center of Stamford Hospital in Connecticut.

If it's harder for you to get to the forbidden food, she says, you'll be less tempted to eat it.

3. Learn the Art of Substitution

While getting through the main course of dinner is usually not all that difficult -- even if you're rubbing elbows with a band of diet saboteurs -- that can change when dessert time rolls around. When family members trot out the apple pie a la mode, cheesecake samplers, or fudgey chocolate brownies, it can leave you feeling depressed and deprived -- not to mention tempted.

"It can be even worse if you are the one who has to prepare these desserts," says Restuccia. "You can certainly feel a little down when you spend the time making the foods that you can't eat."

The solution here: Give yourself a taste treat of your own by preparing a less-caloric dessert that captures some of the essence of what your family members are wolfing down.

For example, if the clan loves cheesecake, Restuccia says, "doctor up" some low-fat ricotta cheese with low-calorie sweetener and strawberries or blueberries to capture the taste without the calories. If it's apple pie you've got to look at, mix applesauce with cinnamon and some low-calorie whipped topping to help nip temptation in the bud.

"Be creative in finding foods that capture the smell and the taste of the tempting treats without the calories, and you'll often find that watching others eat the goodies won't be so hard," says Restuccia.

4. Share the Health

While traditional "diet" foods may not sound appealing to your partner or family, experts say you can often make the foods that everyone craves in a more healthful and calorie-conscious way. This not only benefits you, but everyone you share meals with.

The trick is to learn the art of ingredient substitution.

"Use unflavored, no-fat yogurt in place of mayonnaise in coleslaw or salad dressing, always use skim milk instead of whole milk, make lasagna with low-fat cheese instead of whole milk-cheese," says Mezansky. "If you make the changes gradually over a few weeks' time, your family may not even notice the difference."

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