We all look forward to family gatherings and big meals but for someone trying to lose weight these festive gatherings can be a mine field.And just when you think you’ve got everything under control along come the well meaning people who can derail you. They may be unaware loved ones or they may be total strangers, but either way you need to be prepared.Here are some easy, stay-on-track responses to common lines that may trip you up.

The Trip Up Line: “It’s my specialty, you have to try it!”Your Stay On Track Comeback: “I will in a bit!”

Why It Works: You just have to stall for a bit. Odds are no-one will follow you around checking on what you actually eat. If need be, tell them that you’re full now but you’ll be sure to try it next time. This also works well for “This is my favourite – you’ll love it.”

The Trip Up Line:”It’s just once a year!”Your Stay on Track Comeback: “I’m looking forward to many more healthy holidays if I stay on track with my goals. I appreciate your support :)”

Why It Works: Reminding people that eating right leads to better health and a longer life, not just vanity about looks. Plus, you’ve made them an ally by suggesting their support has already been given.

The Trip Up Line: “Looks like someone is obsessed with dieting…”Your Stay On Track Comeback: ” I am being more conscious of what I eat, yes. Thanks for noticing my new commitment to my health.”

Why It Works: Passive-aggressive comments like this may come about when your good choices are highlighting someone else’s bad ones. It can make them feel better to try and bring you down. Instead, allow your actions to set an example. Thanking the person turns their negative comment into a positive.

The Trip up Line: “You need some meat on your bones.”Your Stay On Track Comeback: “I’m not wasting away yet!”

Why It Works: This is another passive-aggressive statement. Humour is always a good way to defuse situations like this… and perhaps you are funnier than I am! Please feel free to tell me your own witty comeback.

The Trip Up Line: “One bite isn’t going to kill you.”Your Stay On Track Comeback: “Who says I’d be able to have just one bite? I’m sure it’s too delicious for that!”

Why It Works: You are complimenting the other person and changing the subject at the same time. If need be, start talking about other foods that are hard to stop at just one bite and you’ll get them on your side in no time.

The Trip Up Line: “You love this! And you’ve worked so hard you deserve it.”Your Stay On Track Comeback: “I love it so much I’m getting sick of it. Plus, I’ve got plenty of ways to reward my hard work.”

Why It Works: If a loved one made the dish specifically for you, it can be easy to let guilt sway you. But people understand enjoying a dish so much that they can’t touch it for awhile. This also gives you a change of subject opening by talking about all the things you have planned as rewards.

The Trip Up Action: Someone puts an extra helping on your plate for you.Your Stay On Track Comeback: Push it around with your fork like you did as a kid to make it look like you tried it.

Why It Works: You’re not a kid anymore. If you’re full, you’re full and no-one will send you to your room. If that extra helping is tempting you, clear your plate from the table and offer to take anyone else’s if they are finished.

The Trip Up Line: “Have another drink!”Your Stay On Track Comeback: “I have to get up early.”

Why It Works: Kids or dogs or work or friends are all good excuses for needing to be up early. And no-one getting up early wants to drink too much.

The Trip Up Line: “We have so many leftovers. I don’t want them all here!”Your Stay On Track Comeback: “That’s OK! Just pop them in the freezer and you’ll have them handy whenever you want them.” 

Why It Works: Maybe you’re not going straight home and they’d go bad. Perhaps you’ve already got a fridge full of leftovers. There are many reasons you might not want to take leftovers. Or be polite and take them. What happens to them after that is still within your control.

The Trip Up Line:”[insert any food pushing line I might not have covered here]”Your Stay On Track Comeback: “Sorry, but I don’t like (or can’t eat) [insert ingredient here].”

Why It Works: Allergies can be a good thing because who would ever tempt you to eat something that could make you have a reaction. If you’re not comfortable with the white lie, state it as a food preference issue. Technically, it is true as you are avoiding certain foods and it’s hard for anyone to argue with your personal food preferences.

Bottom line is that you can enjoy large gatherings around holidays and still enjoy your healthy lifestyle. Perhaps next week I’ll cover some comebacks for “when are you having children?,” or “when are you getting married?,” or “how is your career going…?” On the other hand, that might be out of my area of expertise!