How to Lose Weight and Get Fitter on a Cruise

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Lose Weight on Cruise

Cruise food can be a weight-conscious person’s nightmare, beginning with the early risers’ breakfast and working right through to the midnight treat. It’s a really challenge not to gain weight during a cruise, let alone actually lose weight.

Part of the problem is the ‘It’s there, it’s paid for so why not take it?’ mentality. The main enemy here is the buffet, although others cite 5-course dinners, cocktail happy hours, ice cream dispensers, poolside or bar snacks with drinks or the chef’s special tastings.

Buffets are usually part self-serve, in that passengers can help themselves to packaged items and starters, but the main courses of carved meats, soups, fish, stews and stir-fries are likely to be served onto a plate by kitchen staff. Left to themselves, many passengers simply take too much because there are so many delicious possibilities, and the staff will simply serve a ‘normal to large’ portion unless caught quickly.

Coping with the Cruise Food Buffet for Effective Weight Loss

  • Take a look at the whole display first and decide exactly what to eat, rather than just joining the queue and trying a bit of everything.
  • Beware servers trained to dish out Sumo-wrestler-size portions.
  • Eye-ball anyone serving before handing your plate over, with a smiling, firm, ‘Half that, please. No, really,’ and a smiling hand-chop gesture.
  • Be very clear, because English is sometimes a third language for cruise staff, and they are only trying to please.
  • Look at what people leave on their trays uneaten. Some ships are abandoning trays because so many people take far more than they can ever eat.
  • Think ‘green’. The waste is truly appalling, and be aware that many of the crew are from places where people may regularly go hungry.
  • All the low-cal, low calorie stuff is there for the taking, whether it’s food or drink.
  • Substitute vegetables for carbs – the choice is better than most people have at home, and they’ll keep hunger at bay.
  • Having overdone lunch, don’t fall into the trap of taking extra snacks or packaged items away as a substitute for dinner. Inevitably these will quickly become ‘as well as dinner’.

Healthy Eating and Drinking at Dinner

Check the dinner menu early, then go for a stroll to assess what courses to leave out. After all, who eats 5 courses at home every day – or any day? Waiting until others have been served allows time to note the size of the portions. Choose the healthy option, or diabetic option wherever possibly – the chefs are so good, you won’t regret it.

Drink water from the dispensers before dinner, have a spritzer instead of wine, and only one or two low cal drinks a day. Cocktails are for special occasions – such as the first and last nights, and maybe a gala night or two.

Exercise for Weight Loss at Sea and on Cruise Excursions

The rules of effective weight loss apply at sea as well as on land. If more calories are consumed than are burnt off by activity . . . we know the rest. So devising some extra exercise is a good idea. For example, never use the lifts, especially going up. Some ships have 14 decks or more, and a lot of calories can be burnt off just by walking at a regular pace. Early morning and late at night are best, building up day by day the number of decks that can be done without stopping for breath, or the number of deck laps jogged or walked.

Top Tip for Weight Loss Plan on a Cruise

Most cruise ships tend to have bunk-type beds, with no foot boards which is a great advantage here. All that’s required is either packing or keeping a large, plastic (at least 1.5 litre) drinks bottle with lid, or two smaller ones.

  • Leave the label on or fit something to act as a grip – an old kitchen glove, band-aid strips, or even a sock will do as long as it’s tight.
  • Fill the bottle with tap water, and lie face up at the foot end of the bed, with the back of the head just over the edge. Holding the bottle or bottles firmly with both hands, swing back, with arms straight.
  • Raise arms and lower to stomach, and repeat according to your present level of fitness.
  • Try 20 or 30 times at first but aim to achieve 50 times or even more.

The best part of this is that it can be done in privacy at any time, and it’s great for the stomach muscles and upper arms as well as for burning off extra calories.

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