Easy steps to avoid weight gain on a cruise ship

Easy steps to avoid weight gain on a cruise ship

It seems unfair that so many people who ask legitimate questions on websites about avoiding weight gain on cruises are told to “just enjoy the vacation” and “only count sugar”.  I surfed to more than a dozen sites looking for sound advice on this subject before deciding to just be sensible during my cruise.  Now that it’s over, I can give some advice of my own.

DSCN6928For those of us who sit at a desk most of the week, it’s easy to burn calories on board by just using the stairs.  This could also be a fun reason to splurge for a higher deck cabin.

Exercise options are endless while at sea.  If you work out at home, it’s very easy to keep your routine in place while cruising.  While there are plenty of people using the treadmills and other equipment, I didn’t see anyone who needed to wait for their machine.  Big groups of people walk on deck in the morning and after dinner, some do the three laps that equal a mile and others make it a stroll.  Holland America even has a structured walk each day right after the morning stretch.

Try to keep you meal routine in place.  If you generally eat breakfast at home, enjoy it onboard.  If you normally have coffee only, try that for a few days and see what you think.  Remember, you can always get food, so don’t worry about missing out.

While there are a frightening number of calories in the dinners and desserts, there are also huge amounts in beverages of all kinds.  Try to alternate a glass of water with each beer, wine or cocktail drink.  Drinking plenty of water will also help keep you healthy and germ free on the cruise.

At mealtime, specifically ask for a side of vegetables to go with your meal.  While most meals include a few vegetables, the servings tend to be small in proportion to other meal items.  Choose either the appetizer or soup or salad; at home I would never think of having more than one but on the ship it somehow became the norm.

Get off the ship at every single port of call and choose active options.  Nearly every port has a walking or hiking trail with maps available at the information center.

If your stateroom is in the aft section of the ship, and the buffet is in the forward section of the ship, it will be much easier to avoid “just getting a little something” too often during the day.

Healthy choices are always offered and often highlighted on the menu but if you have to have that special something, DO IT!! You are on vacation and you need to enjoy.  If you drink plenty of water, especially prior to meal times, you will eat less.

Statistically, guests eat a lot more food during the first two days of a cruise than they do for the rest of the trip.  With that in mind, don’t beat yourself up if you decide to try a lot of new foods.  Instead, take a quick walk around deck after dinner to burn what you ate.  Find yourself on the dance floor to throw out those drink calories.  Swim in the pool in exchange for an ice cream.

Most importantly, you are here to have fun and relax.  Don’t be too tough on yourself if you love the food you are putting in your mouth, but don’t eat things just because they are in front of you.

A body detox treatment in the spa may be just the thing to slim your bathing suit body down for the week.  Enjoy!

Afterthought: I did gain 2-3 pounds on my latest cruise but within a few days at home, I am right back to normal weight.  I also wore my fitbit during the cruise and without any extra effort, I walked more than 25 miles during the week, mostly walking around the ship and around towns.

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