It’s no secret that one of the best parts of cruising is the food. Food in the sit-down restaurants can compare with any land-based five-star restaurant. Not only is the food included, but you can order and eat as much as you want. On most cruise ships, some sort of food is available 24 hours a day. If you love dessert, you can order two or even three. On embarkation day, passengers head directly to the buffet to eat. But how do you restrain yourself with so many delicious offerings, so you’re not gaining weight on a cruise?
Choose The Early Dining Option
It’s a known fact that going to bed on a full stomach is not healthy and contributes to weight gain. So, avoid the acid reflux and hopefully the extra pounds by choosing an early dinner option. If you wait too long to eat, the tendency is to overeat because you’re hungry. Also, your digestive system has a chance to work its magic on your meal before you retire to your cabin for the evening.
Many cruise lines are moving to open-seating dining. If you’re eating freestyle, choose a set time and stick to it.
Select Lean Foods
Meal selection can make a considerable difference in not gaining weight on a cruise. A cruise ship diet doesn’t mean you must eat like a rabbit and pass on the good stuff. Instead, try to select lean meats, less rich gravies and sauces, and less starchy carbohydrates. I often order entrees without potatoes, just lean meat and steamed vegetables.
Instead of a rich chocolate cake dessert, order a fruit plate instead. While your waiter will bring you a basket full of delicious bread rolls, try to resist the temptation of eating them. Pace yourself, eat slowly, and listen to your body (or should I say stomach) when it indicates you are full.
For breakfast, try an omelet made from egg whites and skip the toast. Eat more fresh fruit throughout your day and plenty of water.
Use The Gym Or Jogging Track
Every cruise ship comes with a well-equipped gym that is free to use. Bring some workout gear and make use of the gym in the mornings and on cruise sea days. If you’re not a gym rat, bring a good pair of walking shoes and walk the jogging track up on deck in the early morning.
If the sun is too hot, walk the main or promenade deck instead. On most cruise ships, this deck runs all the way around the outside and is generally covered. On one ship I sailed, a plaque on the wall told me how much mileage each lap was to keep track of my walking each day.
Some cruise ships offer exercise classes like yoga, Pilates, Zumba, and aerobics. If you are into this, it’s worth checking it out. Most ships come equipped with a baseball court, so why not burn some calories by having a friendly game?
Take The Stairs
Walk off those calories by taking the stairs instead of using the elevator. When I say take the stairs, I don’t mean just walking down. Walk up, too, if you are able. This is an easy tip for not gaining weight on a cruise.
Choosing a cabin at the other end of the ship to the restaurant means you’ll get more exercise. Select a mega-ship and those walks across decks can double in length. If you want to keep track of all those steps, consider wearing a Fitbit.
Graze Instead Of Large Meals
It’s a known fact that eating larger meals slows your metabolism. However, did you know that eating more often can speed up your metabolism? That’s right; bodybuilders eat high protein and eat every two to three hours. This doesn’t mean you can eat all you want, whenever you want. Food selections are still relevant.
Eating smaller meals or snacks every three to four hours keeps your digestion system working, so you burn more calories in a day.
For hunger pangs, keep the stateroom mini-fridge filled with healthy alternatives like apples, melon, and sugar-free jello.
Book Active Excursions
As much as we love to cruise, we enjoy the port days also. It’s a chance to discover a whole new city, country, or island. Instead of spending the day on board, step off and get some exercise. Walking all day can burn significant calories. Better yet, book an active excursion and have some fun. However, I don’t think that active tour earns you the right to eat one more dessert at dinner, lol.
On sea days, keep busy with cruise activities as a diversion to boredom and the tendency to eat.
Get Plenty Of Zzzzzz
Believe it or not, sleep can affect your metabolism; and lack of it can cause you to gain weight. So, even if your cruise ship offers nightclubs, discos, and late-night parties, resist the temptation to stay awake all night. Instead, be sure to get plenty of rest before you tackle the next days’ activities.
The body needs 7 to 8 hours of sleep, but when you deprive yourself of enough shut-eye, it raises havoc in your brain. Your brain releases a stress hormone that tells your body to conserve energy. As a result, you burn fewer calories to save fuel. If you’re an insomniac, consider selecting an interior stateroom near the middle of the ship to minimize motion and noise.
Staying well-hydrated keeps your digestive system happy. Also, water is an appetite suppressant. If you drink a full glass of water before a meal, it tricks your stomach into thinking you aren’t that hungry. Consequently, you will consume less food.
Drinking plenty of water throughout your day also curbs your appetite, so you snack less. Studies have also shown water consumption increases calorie burning. To keep a good supply of water on board and port, use this handy collapsible water bottle. It takes up little room in your luggage but pops up to a full-sized water bottle when needed.
Not to be overlooked is the benefit of water over other drinks. Water has zero calories and is better for you than a sugar-loaded soda drink.
Specific alcohol, beer, wine, and cocktails, in particular, are generally high in sugar. Consequently, more sugar amounts to higher calories. Learn to drink in moderation or not at all. Not only will you keep your waistline, but your wallet will thank you too.
Happy travels ~ Karen