It’s hard enough to stick to a diet. But when faced with an annual visit to your family of origin, it’s very easy to fall off the wagon. Your normal routines are gone, you tell yourself you are on vacation, it’s a special occasion so diets don’t count.


And even though it’s nice to go home and see family, being around family members can also be stressful. Often it doesn’t take long for old family dynamics and patterns to resurface, and you can feel like a child again that has never left home.


These patterns also involve food and eating. Your mother says you are getting too thin and insists you have a second helping. You say yes even though you are full. Or she makes your favourite meal and you just can’t resist.


When old emotions are triggered, you may also find yourself turning to food for comfort and to cope. Here are three strategies to help you stay on track:


  1. Make a plan for your meals and establish some ground rules: Decide ahead of time your ground rules for eating. You might decide not to have second helpings for example, or try to avoid dairy or wheat, or eat lots of vegetables. It’s also a great idea to keep a food journal of your food intake each night, and weigh regularly. These measuring tools can help you be accountable to yourself, and may motivate you to say no to temptation, knowing you will be recording your food intake later.


  1. Carve out quiet time alone to take care of you: It can be great to spend time with parents and siblings, but it can also get intense. To avoid upsets, it is helpful to take time out to do things you enjoy such as reading, or walking alone. You might also take quiet time to meditate, or journal to help you stay ‘in your own skin’, and avoid getting embroiled in family arguments, rivalries etc.


  1. Do your best but don’t be hard on yourself: Sometimes you can fall off the wagon despite your best intentions, and the best you can do is survive your visit with family. You may have to wait until you return home to get back properly on your diet, and that is OK. Tomorrow is another day.


If you would like help to drop 5-7 lbs weight before your family visit or summer vacation, join me on my 30 day weight loss group challenge starting Wednesday July 8th, and feel good in your skin this summer! Register today at

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