You're excited as you prepare to embark on your cruise, but shudder at the thought of what the midnight buffet is going to do to your waistline. The guys are worried that if they go cruising, they'll never achieve those Taylor Lautner six-pack abs they're dreaming of owning. The ladies want to live it up while at sea, but who wants to buy a whole new wardrobe because you outgrew your old one... besides, clothing in the onboard shops can get expensive!
There's no doubt that eating is a major pastime aboard cruise ships, and if you aren’t careful, it’s inevitable that you’ll gain a few extra pounds with all that overindulgence. For those of us who are constantly fighting the ‘battle of the bulge’ at home, adding all this extra bad influence may be enough reason to consider avoiding a cruise vacation. But should you really surrender to your weight scale and skip out on what could be the vacation of a lifetime? No way!!!
You've heard the old adage over and over, 'where there's a will, there's a way.' With that in mind, by sticking to a few common sense principles, you could return home without adding to your waistline, and, possibly, even shed a few pounds with all that activity while you're away.
The first tip here is something that's incredibly simple and basic, but is often overlooked in the way we dine today. Doctors and scientists are discovering more and more evidence of the impact of what we drink on our diet. It's becoming obvious that we're actually drinking many of those extra inches onto our hips. And with the super-sugary sodas and mixed drinks we all indulge in nowadays, the truth is, this news should really be no surprise.
The obvious, powerful answer? Return to water. Iced water with a twist of lemon is great with a meal, and will also help you avoid that sugar rush (and crash). It's equally important to remember to drink water regularly between meals, to help your body flush itself naturally of the impurities we consume. So plain old water is not only crucial to your body's proper hydration, it can actually be a vehicle to a slimmer you, both while on your cruise vacation, and as a lifestyle change when you return home.
Want to catch up with friends and loved ones sharing the cruise with you? There's no better way to do it than while sharing a walk around the ship's track. Doing so will give you a degree of privacy, and as you're consumed in your conversation, you may forget that you're actually exercising! And if you're like me, anything you can do to take your mind off of the work involved means you're more likely to get a good workout routine accomplished.
And speaking of workout routines, why not make this cruise the one where you actually darken the door of the ship's gym? These gyms are often expansive, and feature many of the same amenities that you'd pay to use in a gym back home. Sea days, and the downtime that comes with them, are a great time to take advantage of all that the onboard gym has to offer. Taking a swim in one of the pools aboard is another great way to burn those extra calories.
At buffet lines, it's so easy to just get in queue and start loading your plate up, beginning with the very first item you can reach with a serving spoon. Then, further down the line with your plate now more full than it needs to be, you discover that your favorite dish is in front of you. What to do? Well, you've got to load it on there! By the time you make it to the end of the line, your plate is so heavy you've got to hire a porter to wheel it to your table. And, of course, mama always taught us to finish our plate, so you eat until you're bloated and trash the rest. Not good for either the ol' diet or your conscience! So at meal times, especially with buffet lines, make it a point to 'pass low over the field' once before 'landing' in queue to load your plate. That way, you've got an 'attack plan' on what your main entree will be, and it'll make it easier to pass over those mediocre items in the serving line.
At traditional style meals, such as formal dinner, remember to pace yourself. Sure, it's tempting to indulge in two appetizers before the main entree... but remember, you've still got dessert coming at the end, and once again, you don't want to end up bloating yourself early and then feel like you've got to force dessert down. Just because you can double up the serving on items doesn't mean that's the best thing for you.
Of course, there are going to be nights when the stars all align for you, and you find there are just too many things you love on tonight's menu to let slip by. Don't sweat it, especially if you've been good up until now. After dinner, take a long walk, or hit the dance floor to burn off those extra calories!
Between meals, it's good to snack at short intervals to keep your metabolism going, as long as you do it right. Any diet expert will tell you it's better to eat small amounts more often, as opposed to gorging yourself during a meal or two. Do your best to avoid the fried items, and go for the fruit instead. The fruit will help your body to get the precious vitamins and nutrients it needs (no, french fries smothered with chili con carne doesn't count as a nutrient). Besides, eating smart between the larger meals means you can indulge a little more at dinner... warm chocolate melting cake, anyone?
If there are yoga classes available on board, consider joining up. Who knows, you may discover something you love, and even continue to pursue yoga when you're back home. Yoga is a great way to stay fit and healthy.
Make it a point to use the stairs instead of the elevator, especially when climbing up between decks. Try your hand at the sports options available on your ship, such as volleyball, basketball, ice skating or rollerblading. If there are dance lessons available, then that gives you another option to exercise while having a great time.
A cruise vacation doesn't have to automatically mean adding 5 or 10 pounds to your waistline. With just a little planning on what you'll eat and a little more planning on how you'll burn it off, you'll find that you're getting more out of your cruise, and giving back that guilty feeling that comes with letting go of your health while on vacation.