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Danger: Diet Disaster Area Ahead!

How to navigate potholes on the dieting highway without gaining a pound.

Travel Troubles continued...

''People tend to lose sight of what their dieting goals are on vacation,'' says Hall. ''Health and nutrition are not really top of mind.''

Mix that with little to no exercise and you have a recipe for dieting disaster: ''The other problem is that most people are not very active on vacation,'' says Hall.

Coping Strategies: ''First, decide what the vacation is all about for you,'' says Susan Mitchell, a registered dietitian and author of Fat is Not Your Fate. ''Is it OK for you to overeat and scrap your diet, or are you going to be careful?'' The important thing is to balance out your indulgences with healthy choices.

''Many hotels have small refrigerators in the rooms,'' says Mitchell. ''So if you know you want to go out for dinner and maybe splurge on a few extra calories, keep some healthy food stocked in your room for breakfast and lunch.''

And while exercise may not be your primary concern while on vacation, it's not too difficult to work some in here and there.

''You don't have the use the gym while on vacation, but you can go for walks and try to balance sitting on the beach with exploring and walking around,'' says Hall.

For Linda Neuman, who lost 53 pounds and has kept it off for more than a year, vacations are challenging, but not impossible.

"I left for vacation right before the holidays, and from there I had a business convention,'' says Neuman, a certified public accountant from Orlando, Fla. ''I made sure when I was eating out I did not eat the whole portion -- I would put half of it aside and box it up for later. And I walked as much as I could, since I wasn't able to do my normal exercise routine.

''While eating out for two weeks and not being in my normal routine was tough, I was proud because I came back and had only gained one pound.''

Family Frustration

The Disaster: Family gatherings at which you sit down to huge portions of fatty foods -- and are pressured to eat, eat!

''Most families offer loving environments, so when it comes to dinners, your relatives who make the dish want to make sure you enjoy it to the fullest extent, so they'll encourage you to keep eating,'' says Hall. ''We eat because people are telling us to. We also have this idea, that most of us have grown up with, that we have to clean our plates, which isn't necessarily a good message.''

Coping Strategies: Be polite but stand your ground, even with family members.

''You have to nicely say, when someone is offering you something for the third time, 'Oh Auntie Sophie, I absolutely love your mashed potatoes, but I can't eat another bite,' and be firm about it,'' says Mitchell.

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