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10 Nutritionist-Approved Secrets To Resisting Temptation On A Diet

You're honestly trying to eat better, but sometimes it can feel like you're fighting a losing battle. A coworker brings in doughnuts once a week. Your spouse insists on home-style dinners. And friends want to catch up — over ice cream. How can you resist the in-your-face temptations when you're constantly surrounded by diet saboteurs?

We asked a few registered dietitians to share the secrets to their success. Here's how to stay on track with your healthy eating plan no matter who or what surrounds you.

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  • Stock up at your cube.

    Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, at Chicago's Northwestern Memorial Wellness Institute, suggests keeping your own goodies at work to make it easier to resist overdoing it. Stock up on oatmeal packets and low-fat yogurt for a quick breakfast, low-fat hot chocolate packets for a chocolate craving, 100-calorie bags of popcorn for a salty fix, and string cheese or unsweetened applesauce for an afternoon snack.

  • Distinguish between "like" and "love."

    When food is free and readily available, like at office luncheons, we tend to overeat, Blatner says. Avoid eating foods you just "like," and save the calories for the treat you absolutely "love" — and split a piece with a coworker.

  • Watch out for happy hour.

    Blatner recommends choosing low-calorie drinks, such as light beer and wine spritzers (half wine and half club soda), or a nonalcoholic seltzer with a twist of lemon, lime, or orange. And mind the munchies: Alcohol may cause us to eat more — about 200 calories more!

  • Volunteer to pick the restaurant.

    Christina Stark, RD, a nutritionist at Cornell University, says that when it comes to friends who tempt, the key lies in compromise. So try to get your friends to go for a healthy snack and conversation. If they insist on going somewhere tempting, keep your energies focused on the conversation instead of the environment. Holding a cup of coffee or tea can help.

  • Treat within reason.

    Allow yourself the occasional mini serving, Stark says. Order the smallest possible amount (for example, a doughnut hole or kiddie cone), or share a serving with a friend.

  • Catch up over an activity rather than a meal.

    Ask your friends to join you for exercise. Regular exercise can increase commitment to a healthy lifestyle and help ward off moments of temptation, Stark says.

  • Prepare to make smart swaps.

    Dina Aronson, RD, a nutrition consultant in Montclair, New Jersey, says the key to sticking to a healthy diet and lifestyle at home — where temptations often run high — is to plan ahead. Spend a few minutes each day preparing healthy snacks such as sliced fruits and vegetables, portion-sized leftovers and salads. Keep them front-and-center in the fridge and within easy reach.

  • Rely on makeover magic.

    Create lighter versions of favorite home-style meals so your family is willing to go along with your new plan. We've got a vast array of delicious and nutritious <a href="http://www.livebetteramerica.com/food-recipes/healthified-recipes/healthified%20recipes?nicam5=PARTNERSHIPS&nichn5=AOL&niseg5=TDCORE_LBA&esrc=16549" target="_blank">healthified recipes</a> at Live Better America to help inspire you.

  • Make it a team effort.

    Ask younger children to tear up lettuce for the salad and older children or your spouse to make a healthy side dish. Having all family members involved may help make them interested in the healthier fare, Aronson says.

  • Catch the Zs you need.

    Get enough sleep every night. Recent studies suggest that sleep deprivation disrupts the regulation of hormones that control hunger, triggering some people to overeat.

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