10 Ways to Avoid Weight Gain on a Cruise

brunch buffet

It’s a common woe of cruising–the dreaded extra pounds that seem to magically appear after a week or more of 24/7 buffets, five course meals, free room service, and plenty of lounging in the sun. But take heart, because there are ways to maintain your weight while still enjoying your cruise. Follow these 10 tips to ensure smooth sailing for your waistline:

  1. Resist the buffet bonanza. Instead of heading to the Lido Deck for a buffet breakfast or lunch, take time for a nice sit-down meal in the main dining room. You’ll find a less crowded atmosphere, and it’s a treat to enjoy the ambiance and service of a grand dining hall during the sunny daylight hours.
  2. Choose your cabin wisely. I like to pick a cabin that’s situated all the way at the back or front of the ship. This forces you to walk more, and also puts you a little further from the buffet, eliminating the temptation to “run upstairs for a quick ice cream cone.”
  3. Take the stairs. Don’t stand around waiting for the elevator. Taking the stairs allows you to save time and get a little exercise in.
  4. Work it out. Pretty much every ship has a state-of-the-art fitness facility these days. And many have huge windows and great vantage points of the sea. At least a couple times on your trip, wake up a little early and get in some cardio at the gym–the sunshine and sea views are a great way to start the day.
  5. Promenade. If you’re on a ship that still has a classic promenade deck, grab your sweetie or a friend and go for a nice sunset walk on it. The ocean breezes, scenery and conversation will make you forget that you’re even exercising.
  6. Pick active excursions. There are many shore excursions to choose from at any given port, but I recommend picking an activity that’s both fun and active. Biking, snorkeling, kayaking, canoeing, hiking and other like pursuits are great ways to take in the natural beauty of a region.
  7. Savor the good stuff. You’re on vacation, so by no means should you starve yourself. However, don’t eat every rich, fatty food that’s within arm’s reach. Pick and choose the decadent stuff that you indulge in, and only eat things you truly love. For instance, even though there’s fries and onion rings aplenty at the poolside grill, I skip those items in favor of indulging in a delicious dessert at dinner.
  8. Dance the night away. Most ships have multiple night spots to choose from. Take a gander at your daily newsletter and find a venue that’s playing music you enjoy, then head there after dinner and hit the dance floor! It’s good exercise, and also a fun way to spend quality time with your boo or make new friends.
  9. Easy on the alcohol. We all know the liquor, beer and wine flow freely on cruises, but don’t get carried away. If you must imbibe, avoid high-calorie, sugary tropical mixed drinks and those buckets of beer they sell by the pool. Instead, opt for a glass of good wine or quality scotch.
  10. Try the activities. Your cruise staff works hard to offer a wide array of daily activities on board. Check the schedule and pick a few things that appeal to you, whether it’s a dance lesson, kitchen tour, trivia game or informative presentation. By rounding out your day with these activities, you’ll be less likely to constantly graze on buffet fare and snacks.

Photo via flickr.com/scorche.

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