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  • Courtney E Hanlon

How To Minimize Your Weight Gain While Cruising

If this title caught your attention, it means you're either worried about gaining weight on your upcoming cruise or you've gained the customary 5+ pounds from the 24 hour buffet during previous ones. Fear not! Minimizing your weight gain actually easier than you think.


I actually tend to lose weight on cruises. Granted, I grew up as a picky eater (as my mother has reminded me, but I am much better about trying new food now, which I gladly do on while cruising). I thoroughly enjoy adventurous activities that require me to burn all of my daily calories by the afternoon. I also have an alcohol intolerance, which means my body can't process alcohol very easily. It just doesn't work. Two or more drinks and I'm sick for the rest of the night. I can't sleep without sitting up or I fear I may throw up. Sometimes when I roll out of bed in the morning, I can still feel liquid sloshing in my stomach, even though 8 hours may have passed! It not fun. But don't feel bad for me. I use this to my advantage on my vacations.


We are all different from one another. I am not like everyone and everyone is not like me. However, it doesn't mean you can't try. Trust me, any combination of the tips below will help you feel good about yourself by the time you step off the boat. Here are 5 tips on how to gain very little weight (or no weight at all) while cruising.




1. Don't Over Eat


It's easier said than done, but I can assure you this is the absolute first step on how to avoid taking in so many unnecessary calories. I admit, it's hard when you've got the buffet by the pool, the unlimited options in the dining room, and when the cruise director on the Disney Dream announces to the crowd on day one: "if you see it ... EAT IT!" Cruises are insane. There are tons of food options. On my most recent one, they literally baked more than 5 types of cake every day - and not a single flavor repeated during the 5 night cruise. I have a massive sweet tooth (it's pretty much genetic, it runs rampant in my family) ... do you realize how difficult it was for me to not say "one of each, please!"?


But here's the trick: you never want to eat until you're so full, you physically can't move. I'm talking like Thanksgiving-turkey-dinner-stuffed. We have all been there, though quite honestly, I don't even find this enjoyable anyway. I don't like being "food baby" full. You know, when you've eaten so much food you are basically carrying the weight of a small child inside of you? #ProTip the goal is to feel as though you are full from eating a bowl a soup. It's supposed to feel like you're simply no longer hungry, right before that dreaded point of no return. I only over ate once during my last cruise, which is pretty good considering!


I feel like Americans forget we're allowed to stop eating when we want to. We also tend to over portion our plates. Don't eat with your eyes. A human's required portion size is actually a lot smaller than what we are used to. Be realistic with your choices, get small samples if you want to try multiple things, and remember it's okay to stop.


Be realistic with what you can manage / via Destinations By Courtney


2. Take Advantage Of Healthy Offerings


Guys, cruises have stepped up their game when it comes to healthy options. They heard you loud and clear. Their crafty chefs make some of THE MOST delicious healthy meals on the seven seas. One of my main issues at home is how expensive healthy food is. However, all of the food is FREE on cruises, including the healthy options, so take advantage of it while you can. Bonus points if you choose vegetarian offerings. They are SO good and are my preference (even though I do eat meat).


Honestly, some of my favorite cruise meals were the healthy ones. For example, I had this awesome vegetarian barley cake dish on the Disney Dream. I would have never made something like that at home, and I wish I was paying attention to what I was eating so I could try to replicate the recipe. Another amazing meal was this vegetarian Indian dish on the Carnival Paradise. It had lentils, basmati rice, pickle, papadam, and raita - some of which had the perfect curry to pair. I've also had some really nice, juicy, perfectly cooked grilled chicken breast on both the Carnival Paradise and Royal Caribbean's Empress of the Seas. Oh my gosh, I'm salivating while I sit here writing this. Absolutely amazing. But all of these were low calorie, healthy meals. I can assure you I was missing out on NOTHING.


The Featured Vegetarian dish on the Carnival Paradise cruise: an Indian style vegetarian dish with lentils, basmati rice, pickle, papadam and raita (so good!) / via Destinations By Courtney

3. If You're Feeling Up To It, Limit Your Alcohol Consumption


This one is tough. I get it. Most people literally go on a cruise purely to get trashed all weekend. I mean, that's the point, right? Being able to get drunk and crawl back to bed without the issue of driving home? Also, how can you turn down those great alcohol packages? They are a pretty good deal if you are able to drink your monies worth.


If you are REALLY trying to watch your weight, I recommend avoiding excessive alcohol consumption. Listen, if you don't already know, alcohol has a lot of calories. Sometimes it's worth half a meal. That's crazy! I usually have about 2 drinks a day, 3 depending on how spaced out they are. This way, I can have those fancy shmancy cocktails and not feel bad about it. It's perfectly fine to have one or a few.


If you want to be that hero, though, I'd avoid alcohol all together.


Morning Mimosas and Bloody Marys on the Carnival Paradise / via Destinations by Courtney


4. Do Active Shore Excursions Or Other Activities In Port


To me, cruising is an adventure. I want to run around and explore everything the port has to offer before I have to go home. Usually, the shore excursions are more extraneous than anything you'd experience at home (unless you are already a very active person who does ridiculous activities on a regular basis). Some awesome excursion ideas are snorkeling, zip lining, exploring ruins, and non-motorized water sports such as kayaking. If it makes you want to roll into bed when you get back on the boat, you did good!


If you don't choose to do an excursion, shopping in the port area is a great idea, too. They don't say "shop 'til you drop" for nothing. Usually, port towns are several blocks of shopping and restaurants. And who said shopping wasn't good for you?



Me on a super rickety jungle bridge in Roatán (on our way to play with monkeys!!) / via Destinations By Courtney


5. Visit The Workout Room


Cruise Ships usually have a workout room of some sort. Some ships even have a jogging track. The best thing is that your cruise vacation essentially comes with a free gym membership, so this is a great time to test it out. They will usually have a good selection of machines and even specialty classes such as yoga or salsa lessons. Who knows, maybe it will influence you to finally get your own gym membership when you return home!


Workout room on the Carnival Breese / via www.cruisebe.com


If by the time you get home and discover you still gained weight, it's okay. Please don't fret. You were on vacation for crying out loud - enjoying what makes YOU happy. Unwinding from the every day life, stress, and dieting! One of the best things about traveling is indulging in the local food. It's one of the best ways to learn about other people's cultures. Plus, how can you resist the culinary genius of the renowned chefs on board? As Shia LaBeouf said ... "just DO IT!"


Are you looking for your next perfect cruise? Reach out to me by clicking on my logo below and I can help you book your next vacation!




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