You're at a family reunion. You've managed to stay away from the creamy potato salad and the barbecue ribs, but then your grandmother appears with her famous apple pie. You have a bite – to avoid offending her – and next thing you know, you’re back for seconds. Every day we deal with diet distractions – triggers that can cause us to overeat or make unhealthy food choices. 

Maintaining a healthy weight is especially important for people with arthritis. It makes exercise easier, helps keep inflammation in check, reduces excess pressure on joints and lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease, which is of particular concern if you have an inflammatory form of arthritis.

That’s why it's important to understand your eating triggers and learn strategies to deal with them, says Courtney Burtscher, PhD, a clinical psychologist at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital in Maywood, Ill.

Here are five common diet downfalls – and how to overcome each.

1) Family pressure: Your mother pushes you to try the sugar cookies she just baked.

Why you give in: You don’t want to offend. Every family has “food pushers” who are hard to turn down, even for the most dedicated dieter, says Susan Albers, a psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic and author of 50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food (New Harbinger Publications Inc., 2009).

Solution: Have a direct conversation about your eating goals whenever possible. If that's not possible, get creative. “Tell her, ‘I love your cookies so much. I'm going to put some in a baggie and take them home,’” Albers says.

2) Social snacking: At a party, you make multiple trips to the dessert tray and drink too much wine – like everyone else there.

Why you give in: It’s the mirroring effect, Albers says. “We tend to see what others around us are eating and do what they're doing.”

Solution: Sit down, Albers says. When you move around at parties you tend to graze more and lose track of what you're eating. Another tactic: Eat a healthy meal or snack before you go to the party so you’re less inclined to overindulge, and stay away from resolve-busting alcoholic beverages.