How Not to Gain Weight on a Cruise


The dual temptations of delicious food and drink are ever present on a cruise. Here’s our top-10 list on how to indulge without adding bulge

How Not To Gain Weight On A Cruise

“Would you like a second entrée?” asked my server aboard Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas. This question came after I’d already scarfed down my main course—a halibut doused in beurre blanc. “No, thank you,” I replied, already full from my parade of crostinis, scallops, leafy greens and the fish covered in butter sauce. I’d been warned about the “floating 15”—the extra pounds people can gain while cruising—and in this instance, I found out why such a tale is told, and here is my advice on avoiding it:

  1. Eat normally. Your server will offer you five courses every day. A five-course meal is wonderful, but would you eat like that at home every night for a week? Would you even want to? There’s no rule against saying no to a course. Or two.
  2. Eat the rainbow. Pack a plate with a variety of colors not called beige, white, yellow or brown, and you’ve instantly added variety to your diet. That or you’re about to eat lots of rainbow swirl ice cream. Which brings us to…
  3. Eat sweets. It’s a vacation. Enjoy yourself. But sweets at three meals a day and for snacks in between? Maybe not. Try sticking to a once-a-day rule and enjoy the one you do.
  4. Drink sparingly. I love an umbrella-wearing, giant neon cocktail as much as the next person. Preferably with a wedge of pineapple. But the first-place winner of the umbrella-drink-a-thon is putting away lots of sugar. Know this: One piña colada, on average, has the same number of calories as a six-pack of low-calorie beer. Cheers!
  5. Exercise. Even a little. There is no rule that says you can’t go to the gym on your cruise ship. Most onboard gyms feature great classes ranging from Zumba to Pilates to keep you moving. If that’s too much, then go for something simpler like...
  6. Take the stairs. Even in stilettos. Hand rails, please.
  7. Go bananas. And by that we mean eat bananas. Or carrots. Or nuts. Or some other healthy snack between meals. Because you will be surrounded by the chance to snack. And if you must snack, snack right. Or…
  8. Don’t snack. Save those calories for something truly scrumptious at dinner. And a great way not to snack is to…
  9. Drink water. Keep a water bottle anchored to your hip for regular hydration hits and to guard against mistaking thirst for hunger.
  10. Set goals. Before you sail, jot down a few health hopes for your trip. Being mindful of your well-being will put you a few knots ahead of the fleet and steer you away from the floating 15.


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