It's such a wonderful part of the overall travel experience. (I like my beer, too, by the way.)
I have severely overdone it on cruises, especially the first few. I had dessert at every meal. I ate two or three main courses at dinner time. I rarely went past the buffet without grabbing a slice of pizza, another couple of chocolate chip cookies or a soft-serve ice cream. This would go on day after day during my vacation.
It was fantastic. I was on vacation. It was all included. Of course I was going to indulge myself.
These particular sailings, though, were well before I traveled for a living and also when I had a much younger metabolism and could easily snap back. If I was to go all out now on my cruises, my waistline would be going all out, too, spilling over my waistband!
Anyways, let's recall my days of bacchanalia on the high seas. On my third cruise, I decided to attack my plan for gluttony a little differently. This was a trip with a group to celebrate a friend's 30th birthday, and there no doubt was going to be excess, both food and drink.
So, I undertook my first pre-vacation diet plan. Think of it as getting ready for the season. A spring training for travel, if you will.
I wanted to be able to thoroughly enjoy myself, add a few pounds throughout the week and return home little the worse for wear.
Over the course of the two months leading up to the cruise, I cut back on carbs and calories, worked out more religiously than usual and built in some wiggle room in my jeans. I went from about 206 pounds down to 189 by the cruise date. I was 37 and had not seen that weight since I was 19.
During the sailing and festivities, I again ate and drank all I wanted and more than I should have. As the cruise got under way, the food tasted better, the beer was cooler and more refreshing, and I looked great. For the first few days, at least. (Quick tip: Make sure you get all your best bikini pictures in the first day or two if you undertake this practice of pre-cruise dieting.)
"When this vacation is over, I'll be right back to my normal weight," I thought, proud of my grand plan. Well, I was a little surprised to step onto the scale back home and see it settle at 214 pounds.
"Holy crap! What have I done." I had gained 25 pounds on a one-week cruise!
But one day of returning to normal human-portion eating helped. I stepped back on that scale a day later to see the number at 207. OK, then. This tells you how much salt is in that food and how much water weight I was retaining.
Since that trip, I have never again eaten as much when traveling. Now, I'm 48 and hover right at 194 pounds. I get plenty of opportunities to enjoy some nice meals when I travel, so I don't go so crazy anymore. My big treat when traveling are desserts and beer, and trust me, I enjoy that immensely. But no more doubling (tripling?) up on the main courses.
That doesn't mean you shouldn't get all you want when you cruise. In fact, I recommend it. Live it up. It's your vacation.
I just wanted to share a strategy that has worked for me to stave off my guilt and my gut and help me get back to my fighting weight more quickly when I return from the adventure. Don't make it a habit of overindulging, of course. But when you decide you are likely to live it up a little more than usual on vacation, you can try the pre-trip diet and workout regimen to earn the right to binge a bit.
Thanks for reading.
Travel fit. Travel happy.
A Story About a Picture
On my first cruises, I took advantage of all the chances to eat. In this picture, you see the spoils of my trip to the midnight buffet gala, a rarity on ships these days, on our first cruise on Carnival Inspiration.
After another day of feasting, I was still somehow intrigued by the offer of even more food, laid out in a glamorous fashion, accompanied by ice sculptures and intricate fruit carvings. Although not very hungry, I grabbed a couple plates and filled them up to pick at some of the offerings. On the way out of the dining area, staffers began handing us full pies and half cakes to take away with us. We tried to demurr but relented and then staged this photo to show the ridiculousness of the whole affair.