In 2008, after struggling with my weight for most of my life, I finally found something that worked for me and lost 70 pounds. Since maintaining weight loss can be just as hard, if not harder, than losing it, I have developed my own strategies to keep it off and still enjoy my cruise. And trust me, I am not one for deprivation and definitely love my food and drink.
Food is everywhere on a cruise, it’s unlimited, it’s free, and you are encouraged to overindulge so it’s not that surprising that the average cruiser gains about 8 pounds on a week-long cruise. That’s as much as the average adult gains over the entire course of the holiday season.
So, how can you avoid gaining weight on your cruise or at least minimize the damage?
Stick to three meals or five small meals. Pizzerias, ice cream stands, 24 hour cafes, afternoon teas, room service, pool-side grills… There are plenty of opportunities to “snack” on your cruise. If you aren’t careful, the calories in that snack can be the equivalent of a typical meal. If you want to try something, eat half of it rather than the whole thing or decide to make it part of your meal the next day.
Don’t let extra activity fool you. You do a lot of walking on a cruise ship and in port. Pair that with extra activities like swimming and it’s easy to believe you can eat a lot more because you are getting more exercise. Just remember, an average glazed doughnut will take a 150 pound woman about 50 minutes of brisk walking to burn off.
That said, be active! There are tons of opportunities on board to try out new types of exercise and many are free. Use the pool to swim laps, walk the Promenade deck, take a dance class… or just go dancing! Plus, there are exercise classes, some of which are free, including yoga, Pilates, and Zumba. You can just do the obvious and use the fantastic array of equipment in the gym or hire a personal trainer.
Don’t drink your calories. Booze is everywhere on a cruise ship. In fact, some cruise lines count on guests purchasing multiple drinks per day just to make a cruise profitable. To keep guests imbibing, many areas of the ship that just look like public seating areas are also serviced by bar staff.
Traveling to a tropical destination? Chances are you will be tempted with some of the most caloric drinks around:
- Piña Colada: 644 calories for 6 oz.
- Margarita: 740 calories for 8.5 oz.
- Mai Tai: 620 calories for 9 oz.
Lastly… If you want it, eat it! I know that sounds a little counter-intuitive, but the fact is you are on vacation. Eat the cookie! Just don’t eat ALL of the cookies. If you don’t indulge your cravings you are more likely to replace the food you really want with something less satisfying. If you don’t scratch that craving itch, you will continue trying to replace it and may end up eating more than you would have had you just indulged the craving. Savor every last bite of that delicious food!
Need more advice on eating smart while on board? Check out “Avoid Gaining Weight on Your Cruise: The Dining Room” to learn how to eat what you really love without the guilt! Also, learn how I tackle the buffet and turn it into an opportunity to save calories in “Avoid Gaining Weight on Your Cruise: The Buffet“.