I’ll be honest… I have gained a lot of weight over the last year and it seems like as easy as the pounds come on, it has been nearly impossible to take them back off. Its not a lack of exercise for me – I am a gym rat and work out pretty much every day. The hard part is that I do like food, and even more, I really like to try new exciting food and drinks when I travel. Travel nearly every month, and well… you can see how this yo-yo I have been on effects me. I lose some and then gain some back… Grr!! I am going on a beach vacation in the end of August and want to feel comfortable in my swimsuits and cute dresses. Plus, vacation or not, I just need to get healthier again! But, I know August will be here before I know it, so you can imagine my concern over going on a cruise just a few weeks ago. I didn’t want what progress I have made so far to be completely thwarted by this trip and then some! Most people gain about 5-7 pounds or more over the course of a one week cruise and I was determined not to be one of those people.
So, with endless buffets, champagne toasts, and late night snacks, how in the world was I going to manage this? I followed a few basic rules which allowed me to still enjoy my time, try the yummy food, but not go crazy. Here are my 7 simple rules I followed during our week long cruise to help make my weight loss efforts be smooth sailing:
Rule 1. All things in moderation – I tried to keep an eye on what I was eating when and balance it out throughout the day and throughout the week. If I had a lot of carbs at lunch, I would try to have less at dinner. Heavy dessert one night, meant a light breakfast the following morning. I also tried to fill up a minimum of 60% of each plate with fruits and veggies.
Rule 2. One spoon, two bites – This is my own personal rule. At buffets, there are so many yummy things to try. So, referring back to rule one, buffets should come in moderation too. That’s where my “one spoon, two bites” rule comes into play. Take only one spoonful of whatever food item you’re looking at. It can be tempting to load up on your unhealthy favorites, but this will help you limit it. You can always go back for more if you’re still hungry later. As for the “two bites” part of the rule, never aim to clear your entire plate. Always leave at least two bites of something uneaten. Again, portion control.
Rule 3. Use the ship’s gym. It amazes me how many people will not work out while on vacation. I hit the gym 6 out of 7 days and was able to keep up on both cardio and strength training, as well as try out a new class that was really challenging. And, with the views from the onboard gym, how could you not spend some time in there enjoying a good sweat session?
Rule 4. Move! Barring any physical disabilities, this is another one that always gets me. People don’t like to move anymore. They don’t want to walk… its easier to take the elevator or order in room service. I tracked my activity and, not including my gym workouts, I walked an average of 27 to 33 floors of stairs and at least 10 miles per day of walking. Cruise ships are big – go exploring! Same with time in the ports… walk around when checking out all the sites. You can also try to arrange activities that involve some physical activity both in port and on the ship.
Rule 5. Drink water, limit everything else. This also falls under rule number 1 of enjoying in moderation. It’s very tempting to indulge on the yummy cocktails every time you are enjoying the hot tub, have juice with breakfast daily, etc. But, what you really need is water. It’ll help with hydration, which is really important with all the moving you should be doing, regulate your systems, and help with many other things like retaining water or bloating. Don’t like plain water? Bring your own drink mix packets or infuse with some fruit from the buffet.
Rule 6. Share. Oftentimes, my hubby and I will split meals and/or desserts. Again this helps with automating portion control. On the times we pay for our meals out, this also allows as a 50% savings on food costs.
Rule 7. Take some probiotics, eat some fiber. Oftentimes when traveling, my digestive system can get off track. I like to take a probiotic with me when I travel to help keep everything aligned and moving. I also try to eat lots of high fiber foods, including things like prunes! Yes, prunes…
Really, its all about balance. Have some fun, try the food, but don’t go overboard. I was optimistic when I got on the scale upon returning from vacation that my weight gain would be minimal and I would take off any extra pounds I may have gained in a day or two. However, I was so excited to see a smaller weight than I was before I left! Not only did I not get too far off track on my efforts prior to going on the cruise, but this also gave helped me jump start my efforts even more and give me the motivation I needed to really started on taking off some pounds!
In the few weeks since I have returned from the cruise, I have taken off 5 more pounds, with hopes of taking off at least 10-15 more before the end of August. It really is possible if are mindful of what you are putting in your mouth and how active vs. sedentary you are being, you too can be in ship-shape, even on a cruise!
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