Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Minimize Weight Gain While Cruising

I just came back from an 8-day cruise through the Caribbean aboard Oasis of the Seas!

It was exciting, tropical and exhausting...

Before I left, many told me horror stories of gaining 20lbs while on a cruise. Twenty pounds seemed a little high for one week of indulgence, but I heard the same tale over and over again.  I was determined that my summer vacation would not sabotage all my hard work to lose weight!

So here's what I did to minimize the weight gain:
Oasis Climbing Wall

  • Skip the in-flight meal: I don't eat plane food at ALL, I've read too many articles of FDA investigations on the bacteria, germs and feces found in pre-packaged plane food and it's disgusting, let alone not healthy!

  • Pack healthy snacks: shelled pistachios with raisins, fruit, dark chocolate covered plums (my indulgence), granola bars (plan ahead, you know your cravings)

  • Take the Stairs: my cruise ship had 15 floors, I took the stairs (up/down) every opportunity I got, even after a day walking around an island, I hoofed it up 11 flights to avoid the elevator crowds (it was rough, but I was proud of myself)

  • Exercise: every ship has exercise facilities and most offer special morning classes (while I don't go to a gym at home, I decided it was not the time to figure out how to use the scary machines and the classes were way too early - I did however take advantage of the walking track, which was half inside/half outside, giving a very unique perspective of the ship and ocean)

  • Hydrate: skip the fancy drinks, alcohol and flavored water and drink more than 64 ounces of water a day (you will be losing more than the typical 10 cups of water a day due to the hotter climate and increased activities)

  • Food: I intended to remain Vegan on this trip - my food options made that impossible (I would have eaten rice, pasta and breads the entire trip).  Instead I kept fish consumption to a minimum, scouted out the healthiest stuff on the buffets and customized meals when I could.  The staff is overly accommodating, so don't hesitate to ask for anything.  When my waiter, William from China, said I was eating like his people, I knew I was on the right track (broth for an appetizer, rice and veggies with soy sauce for dinner)

  • We had a tofu wrap together

  • Clean Plate:  I don't think so, I don't even do this at home.  Just because our parent's demanded that we clean our plates as a kid, doesn't mean we have to eat beyond fullness or eat something we don't like as adults.  

  • Buffets: Treat buffets as samplers, not feed troughs - take a little of everything that interests, not heaping helpings, you can go back for seconds once you discover what you love.

  • Avoid Sugar-Free: I was amazed at all the sugar-free options, these ships must get a high population of diabetics.  But sugar-free means artificial sweeteners (Spleenda, NutraSweet, Sweet & Low) and you don't want those.  I chuckled when the waiter told me that they switched to Spleenda, because the "blue packet" causes cancer, news flash so do all the rest...

  • Oasis Walking Track
    I'm not saying you have to do everything 100% - it's not possible or fun.  You should enjoy your vacation and not feel like you missed out on something, but not at the expense of all your hard work and spending the next 6 months working off one week in paradise.
    What I am saying is to be mindful and to look for healthier options.
    Did I go to the Cupcake Cupboard - damn skippy, but I opted for the mini cupcake instead of the mammoth one.  On St. Martin I broke down and had a Strawberry Daiquiri, but a virgin one.  

    For all my efforts, I put on 5 pounds - a far cry from the dreaded 20. I was miffed, but relived that it wasn't more.

    How did I deal with the 5 pound weight gain?
    1. Strict Vegan diet as soon as I got off the plane
    2. Plenty of water
    3. Exercise daily
    And the's been three weeks since my return and I have lost 3lbs.  So I'm on track for sustainable loss at 1lb per week.  Two more to go!

    Bon Voyage!
    The Hoff


    1. I am shocked that you ate this: ~broth for an appetizer, rice and veggies with soy sauce for dinner~ and gained 5 lbs. Dear Garth, that sounds like a horrifying cruise dinner.

    2. Trixie, that meal creation was actually after 3 days of eating very rich foods, my body couldn't take it anymore - I needed something simple. And yes 5lbs on that!!!!