A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

Weight Loss Wednesday: Navigating cruise eating

on February 11, 2015
Notice I didn’t title this avoiding weight gain on the cruise? This trip I intentionally decided NOT to worry about avoiding weight gain on the cruise. This trip was about relaxing and I was honestly worried I would find it harder to relax if I was too worried about weight gain (especially with the unexpected gain right before we left!).
My personal goals for this trip were a) make healthy choices MOST of the time, b) avoid binge episodes, and c) don’t finish anything that isn’t great. That was it. I was fairly successful in those goals (other than finishing some mediocre chocolate chip cookies any time I was presented with them). I was okay with gaining weight because people with a normal relationship food sometimes gain weight on vacation and tighten things back up when they’re home. As a big goal of mine this year is trying to become more of a “normal person” in terms of my relationship with food, accepting a gain seemed like a good idea.
So how much of a gain are we talking about? As of Tuesday morning, I was up 6 pounds from before the cruise to 182.2 pounds. I actually wouldn’t mind a 6 pound gain at all, especially at less than 48 hours home from the trip, if not for the fact that my husband only gained 3 pounds. Grrr. Testosterone stinks.
Let's hope that dips back down next week!

Let’s hope that dips back down next week!

Some of this 6 pounds is fluid retention, possibly, from the increased salt and increased carbs I had on the boat. I probably didn’t really eat 20,000 calories more than I burned over the course of the week as I was reasonably healthy in my choices and ran 21 miles. However, I may have had that extra 20,000 calories to drink. 🙂 Regardless, those 6 pounds will go away and I’m very proud of myself for not being freaked out about it at the moment. If those 6 pounds are still hanging around next week, remind me that I’m okay with this and going to patiently get them off, okay?
If you do want to avoid weight gain on the cruise ship (which was the approach I took with my first cruise), here are some things to keep in mind:
Healthy options are available on the ship if you look for them. All of the menus and buffets had lighter options if you looked for them, including no sugar added desserts. The portion sizes, especially in the main dining rooms, are actually pretty small on the Disney ships, which helps as well. I tended to eat a veggie-heavy lunch, oatmeal and fruit for breakfast and fish options at dinner.
Lunch from the adult only section of the beach: Fish, fruit, salad - all delicious!

Lunch from the adult only section of the beach: Fish, fruit, salad – all delicious!

Try not to drink your calories. I know, easier said than done and in my case, not done at all. I got lots of extra calories in alcohol and frou frou coffee drinks on this trip. Avoid sugary mixed drinks and syrup loaded coffee drinks, no matter how tempting they seem when the waiters walk around the deck offering them.
Don’t eat just because it is there. It is so tempting to grab pizza because it’s there by the pool or pastries from the case by the coffee counter (which I admit I fell prey to, although they were worth because they were so much tastier than most of the mine dining room desserts). There is so much food at the buffets and so much food around all over the ship, it is easy to grab calories all day long. Try to stick to your regular meal schedule as much possible. One of the things I am proudest of from this week are the many desserts I didn’t finish just because they weren’t that good. That’s a huge accomplishment for a dessert lover like me!
Pick your indulgences carefully. A piece of advice I relied on a lot with my first cruise, when I was still in active weight loss mode, was to choose one indulgence a day. For me, that meant dessert or bread or alcohol, not all three.
Take the stairs. There is a lot of vertical motion in a cruise ship, going from deck to deck for different activities. Not only does taking the stairs avoid the long wait times for elevators, it burns extra calories (especially if you’re carrying an almost 40 pound 3.5 year old!).
When vacation is over, vacation eating is over! I got right back to my normal breakfast when I got home, thanks to oatmeal in the pantry and some canned fruit. Just having a reset healthy meal to get things back in gear helps keep vacation from bleeding into everyday.
Thank goodness I had these options in the pantry as the fridge was BARE.

Thank goodness I had these options in the pantry as the fridge was BARE.

What are you favorite tips for avoiding weight gain on vacation? Anybody else ever go into a vacation being totally okay with a bit of weight gain?
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