10 Ways To Avoid Gaining Weight On A Cruise

10 Ways To Avoid Gaining Weight On A Cruise
It’s easy to gain weight on vacation, particularly on a cruise. The dining opportunities on today's cruise ships are tempting and there are a wide variety of venues available to binge on board, including lavish all-you-can-eat buffets. In addition, there’s a tendency to think that “I paid for all this, so I should eat as much as possible to get my money's worth,” since meals and snacks are included in your cruise fare.

Cruise vacations don’t have to be synonymous with weight gain, though. In fact, it’s quite possible to maintain or even lose weight on a cruise. It’s all in your mindset and how you approach the cruise experience.

If you’re trying to avoid weight gain on your next cruise, here are ten great tips:

1. Make a plan. Think about your goals for staying healthy on vacation and make a plan in advance. Write down your plan and bring it along with you on your cruise. Your plan will help you to stick to your goals. If you have a specific exercise routine at home, like a morning jog, stay with it on your cruise.

2. Get out and walk. Today's cruise ships are huge and there's so much to see and do on board. Don't just sit around. Take a walk around the ship and check out all the different venues. If you own a Fitbit or a pedometer, take it with you and set a specific goal – like walking 10,000 steps. You'll be surprised to see how far you've walked as you circle around the ship.

3. Pick active shore excursions. Once your ship is in port, plan to participate in an active tour. Shore excursions that incorporate hiking, biking, swimming, snorkeling or plenty of walking will burn up calories. Research your options in advance and make reservations for any "must have" excursions in advance to avoid disappointment. Popular activities and excursions often sell out quickly.

4. Stay away from self-serve buffets. Most cruise ships feature massive buffets that are very tempting and can wreak havoc on your willpower. It's hard to exercise self control when faced with so many delicious choices. Even when trying to be disciplined, it’s easy to overfill your plate. Rather than opt for the buffet, head to the main dining room or a specialty dining option for your meals. Main dining rooms on cruise ship often feature spa menus and reasonable portions are served. When in doubt, have it your way. It’s easy to custom order your meal in cruise ship dining rooms. Just ask your waiter to serve items simply grilled and leave off cream sauces, fattening salad dressings and other calorie-heavy fare. Eliminating bread from your meals will help, too.

5. Take the stairs. While it’s tempting to ride the ship’s elevators, choose the stairs instead. Walking up and down the stairs to the gangway, meals, shows and other onboard events will burn up calories and provide some of the exercise needed to stay in shape. Taking a Fitbit with you on your cruise can provide added encouragement to use the stairs. The device will track how many sets of stairs you’ve taken each day, helping you to reach your goal.

6. Choose your drinks wisely. It’s tempting to order a tropical pina colada on board to celebrate your cruise as you sail away from shore. But that single pina colada can be packed with as many as 500-600 calories, making it a poor choice. Stay away from sugary sodas and cut back on alcoholic drinks while on your cruise. Watching your weight doesn’t necessarily mean avoiding alcohol all together. Just take a look at a calorie counting website before you leave on vacation and choose your drinks wisely.

7. Hit the gym. Exercising at a gym can be difficult to fit into an everyday routine, but it’s much easier on a cruise ship. After all, you’re on vacation and there’s a state-of-the-art gym located just a few floors away. Pack your exercise gear and bring it along on your cruise. When using fitness equipment, don’t forget to wipe off surfaces with sanitizing wipes to eliminate germs and viruses. Make a commitment to yourself to exercise a certain number of days during your cruise and build it into your schedule. If you’re considering participating in some of the many fitness classes offered onboard, make sure to determine which ones are free and find out about any additional charges before signing up.

8. Dance it off. There’s at least a party or two happening every night on most cruise ships and many venues feature different types of music. You’re sure to find something that fits your musical taste. Plan to dance the night away while you’re onboard your ship. Dancing burns up lots of calories and it’s wonderful to live it up on vacation.

9. Get plenty of sleep and drink lots of water. Make sure to drink as much water as possible and get lots of sleep. Staying hydrated and getting lots of rest are important parts of any diet and exercise plan. It will help you avoid getting sick on your vacation as well. Make sure to get plenty of sleep prior to leaving on vacation, too. It’s quite common for people to stress out, run around like crazy and stay up late working prior to traveling, only to get sick once on vacation due to a run-down immune system. So pack and prepare for your vacation in advance, then sleep well before departing. If you follow all these tips, you’ll be likely to stay healthy and may even find yourself losing weight on your cruise.

10. Bring your own scale. If you’re very serious about not gaining weight on your cruise, pack a lightweight scale and put it in a prominent place in your stateroom. This tip has been recommended by several friends who have cruised while being on Weight Watchers and other programs. Having the scale in the room is a constant reminder to stay true to your goals. Weigh yourself every day and keep track of your weight. If you can’t bring a scale with you, or simply don’t want to, make sure to check your weight when you go to the gym to work out.

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