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Confession: I Gained 10+ Pounds on a Cruise!

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
8/2/2011 10:00 AM   :  132 comments   :  24,930 Views

See More: birdie, weight gain,
It's been more than four years since I started changing my life. I have lost well over 100 pounds and, for the most part, kept it off. The scale goes up and down sometimes, but all of the clothes in my closet still fit. How's that for consistency? I've been wearing the same pair of size 8 jeans for more than two years, and I'm committed to be part of that elusive "5% group"--people who not only lose the weight but keep it off long-term! But, I'm not perfect. In fact I'm far from it. I believe that one of the most important factors that separate success stories from false starters is the ability to reject the "all or none" attitude, which has the potential to end a healthy lifestyle. Still, rejecting that "all or none" attitude remains my greatest challenge. I’m still working on it, and I just had the opportunity to practice my skills.  My story is an example of what it looks like to reject the all or none attitude and to get back on track.

My family and I recently went on a seven-day cruise. I love to cruise. My first was in 2009, and we have done one every year since. So, that makes a total of three cruises where I have had the opportunity to practice what I preach when it comes to healthy living.

As we all know, cruises are notorious for having plentiful and delicious (but not always healthy) food. We also know the reputation that cruises have for overeating and weight gain. Every year I have committed to not becoming a cruise statistic.

Confession: This year, I did just what I promised myself I wouldn't do. I gained more than 10 pounds during my most recent cruise. Ten pounds! How can that be? I'm going to explain to you how and why it happened, but first I wanted to tell you a little about my previous two cruises and the lessons that I learned from them.

Cruise #1 (2009): I booked our first cruise--a short but sweet 3-day getaway--well in advance, then spent months dreaming about beaches and drinks with umbrellas. I planned to live it up, maybe gain a pound or two. But, a sudden opportunity to be featured in People magazine popped up and my photo shoot (in a bikini!) was four days after my cruise! Of course, I now had to change my plans. I couldn't do all of the overindulging that I had planned, and I had to be mindful of everything that I ate. My plan was that I was going to eat sensibly for breakfast and lunch and splurge a little for dinner. But, the minute I stepped onto the ship and heard the Caribbean music playing and saw little old ladies sipping colorful drinks with umbrellas I said "Forget it!" I boarded the ship at 150 pounds and disembarked at 156 pounds. I gained 6 pounds right before a bikini photo shoot! (Did I really gain 6 pounds? We will get back to that in a moment.)

Cruise #2 (2010): This cruise was a longer--five days instead of three, which meant more time to remember the lessons I learned from the first one. I recited my plan in my head for days before we set sail. I was determined to indulge gain a maximum of 2 pounds on this cruise, my second. I had an opportunity to succeed where I had failed the year prior. My plan was to:
  1. Include a source of protein at every meal.
  2. Eat loads of non-starchy veggies at each meal to fill me up.
  3. Order only one dessert at dinner this year. (You don't have to order three just because you can, Birdie!)
  4. High fiber!
  5. No ordering room service at night (remember those 2 a.m. cheeseburgers?)
  6. More exercise. (Do you seriously think that reclining by the pool all day constitutes exercise?)
I boarded the ship at 153 pounds and disembarked at 158 pounds. 5 pounds! Oops, I did it again! (Did I really gain 5 pounds?)

Cruise #3 (2011): This was a 7 day cruise. I had difficulty on a three-day cruise and a five day cruise, and now I was attempting a seven-day cruise? But, I had two cruises under my belt and I felt that I was ready to improve upon my last two performances. This cruise was a little trickier than the previous two. We booked it last minute and I had very little time to prepare. I came in at a cool 153 for the cruise. Here was my chance to get it right and beat the statistics.  I came off the ship at 167 pounds. 14 pounds! Wow! (Did I really gain 14 pounds?)

So how did I gain all that weight? Easy. My meals and snacks consisted of hamburgers, hot dogs, French fries, milkshakes, butter-infused steaks, potatoes with cheesy, creamy sauce, pizza, and boatloads of chocolate chip cookies. Let's not forget the fruity drinks with the umbrellas (the ones that kids can't have!).


Those mega portions of high-fat food are a far cry from my usual meals of high-fiber cereal, healthy frozen meals, and our family favorite, Salsa Chicken.

I'm sharing my cruise experiences with you to show you that perfection is not required for weight loss or maintenance.

Now it's time to assess the damage.

Even though I didn't want to I hopped on the scale as soon as I got home. I was shocked. How in the world did I gain 14 pounds? I'm not quite sure what I was thinking. I've been living this lifestyle for more than four years. I live with an ever-present element of restraint. But when I get into certain situations (like easy, unlimited access to any and all foods), I throw caution to the wind, telling myself that I can get it off later on.

Back to the weight gain.

Did I actually gain those 14 pounds? I sure did! But, I think the question you should really be asking is: Did I really gain 14 pounds of fat? The answer is NO. In order for me to gain 14 pounds of fat on that cruise I would have needed to eat about 49,000 over my daily caloric needs (or 7,000 extra calories per day). Did I do that? No. The weight on the scale was the literal weight of the food and waste in my body and the fluid that I retained to process the tremendous amount of calories I consumed. Fourteen pounds is difficult for the average person to gain in 7 days. In my case, I believe that I have to capacity to gain more weight in the form of water than most because I have a significant amount of excess skin that the water can hang out in. 

I'm writing this at six days post cruise and I am down to 160 pounds. Did I gain seven pounds of fat? Maybe.  But it doesn't really matter because I am back to my routine and I'm in my regular environment.  The rest of the weight will come off when it comes off--whether it's excess water or fat. I'm not going to succumb to the “all or none” attitude here at home. Getting back on track is also much easier if you have a support system (thank you, Nick, my wonderful husband!). If you take home any lessons from my confession and hope that you took away these:

1. Sudden weight gain after falling off the horse is not all fat gain.
2. Always get back on plan. Even if you feel like you have failed.

 
As you can see, I’m far from perfect.  I accept this and I use the pivotal concept of balance to work on correcting my bad choices.  Even though I work daily on understanding the impact of my choices on my health, I will invariably make bad choices. We all will.  Attempting to achieve balance is what helps me regain my equilibrium when my choices send me off track.  Although I am working toward the idea of having balance in every moment of my life, the reality is that being balanced for every second, minute, hour, and certainly on a week vacation is not routinely achieved.  I always try to remember that balance over time is what matters!

Do I hope to go on another cruise next year? Yes. Do I have any grand plans to prevent weight gain? Not really. It has been three years in a row that I have come through cruise weight gain and I'm not back at my starting weight. 
I don't weigh 292 pounds. I did learn more lessons from this cruise that I will attempt to use next year, but if all else fails, I know I can get back up if I fall. 

Vacations can lead to you getting partially or even completely off plan. You may even relapse into pre SparkPeople behaviors for weeks after your vacation has ended. Will this cause you to gain all the weight back?  Only if you let yourself give in to the negative thoughts that are the breeding grounds for excuses to give up.  As SparkPeople members I hope that you know by now that "all or none" behavior is dangerous for maintaining your new lifestyle. If you fall, dust off your knees and get right back up. Vacations are meant to be enjoyed and remembered. Forgive yourself for any slip-ups and get back to your routine. Your path to better health awaits!

Do you go off track on vacation? How do you get back on track?
Do you fall prey to the "all or none" attitude? How do you fight it?

Dr. Birdie Varnedore, M.D., is happy to offer her expertise to the SparkPeople community; however, she cannot offer specific medical advice to dailySpark readers. Please do not share confidential medical information here. If you have a personal question or a concern about your health, please contact your health-care provider.




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Comments

  • 132
    My husband and I discovered cruising in 2004, and have been on one each year since then. This past year we did a B2B, which meant two consecutive weeks on a cruise ship. We find we walk so much all over the ship that we end up losing a couple of pounds. I am also very careful about what I eat (I'm also a diabetic), but will have one or two drinks (rum & diet coke) in the evenings. I pick a seafood dish for dinner almost every night and skip the carbs with dinner, so I can have a dinner roll and a sugar-free dessert. Usually by the end of the cruise, I'll have a regular dessert. My one weakness is breakfast -- bagel, lox (smoked salmon) and cream cheese! Thank goodness they have small bagels and light cream cheese!! Most cruises have done away with midnight buffets, so you shouldn't worry about that. And you don't have to eat all the food you see, but you are on vacation, so it's okay to have something you don't normally have at home.

    Maybe if I lose 75 lbs, I'll feel different about this, but right now, cruising doesn't scare me. - 8/31/2011   12:03:51 PM
  • COMPASS_ROSE
    131
    We have something in common, I love to cruise. It is easy to go "overboard" while on the ship. Temptations are everywhere but I work have the same philosophy--it's a lifestyle and the cruise is my reward. I work hard all year and celebrate a little on the ship. :) - 8/28/2011   6:35:11 PM
  • KAYAKGIRL1108
    130
    Great outlook on the vacation weight gain. I always gain on vacation and am disappointed in myself when I get back home and step on that scale. - 8/28/2011   5:01:13 PM
  • 129
    Good blog. I've been on several cruises over the years, and I've been better on some than others, both with regard to eating and exercise. I have gained 11 pounds on a 7 day cruise. We have another cruise planned for November, and I'm planning to be more moderate in my eating and get in a lot of walking and maybe even use the gym (which I don't usually do), but, like you, I also plan to enjoy my vacation, knowing I can get back on track when I get home. - 8/28/2011   2:39:01 AM
  • C-H-R-I-S
    128
    Thanks for sharing, your story describes me to a "T".

    Over the past year I've lost 115 pounds, I went from 305 to 190, but right now I'm back up to about 205. I still experience all kinds of wild cravings for the foods I used to love to indulge in, and sometimes a find myself saying "the hell with it" and stuffing my face until my stomach hurts. I've had times where my weight has gone up 15 pounds after a good summer weekend of barbecues and beer drinking, but it always returns back to normal within a few days of normal eating.

    As you stated, which I cannot agree more on, is that regardless of how bad you may of let yourself go over a weekend of partying, vacationing etc. always get back up on the horse and keep on keeping on. It doesn't get you anywhere to beat yourself up over it. - 8/24/2011   2:50:33 PM
  • 127
    Thanks Dr Birdie! I totally agree with you! When I have been on VACA and overindulged I did not worry about it. I had faith in myself and my diet buddy (Thoms1) that we would get back on track! Of course we didn't over indulge at every meal or every day. We enjoyed we celebrated and we got back on track! - 8/22/2011   6:14:21 PM
  • 126
    I guess that experience has always kept me from taking a cruise. After we retired my husband wanted to take a cruise and I was against it all because I thought I would be uncontrolable around all of that food and the 24 hour buffet. Now that my mindset is better (as I have really been tested this last year) If the opportunity comes our way again I will be the first one on the ship. - 8/17/2011   4:11:35 PM
  • 125
    I read this blog the other day, right after returning from a short vacation and gaining a few pounds. I am wondering how long it actually takes for the excess waste and water from sodium exit the body before we can assess the "true" weight gain? - 8/10/2011   8:26:32 PM
  • 124
    Great article... I always worried how I would go about managing my final goal reward (which is a trip to Vegas or a cruise) and my eating. This blog was absolutely awesome... really helpful! - 8/8/2011   12:17:31 PM
  • 123
    This is exactly what I needed to hear. I was dreading my vacation in September, but you brought it back to common sense for me. Thank you!!!! - 8/7/2011   10:36:18 PM
  • ODIETOADY
    122
    Hi Everyone, This is my first day and one of my daily goals is to blog. I've never done it before so here goes. I have only been on one 5 day cruise (loved it) but I came home exactly the same weight as I started. I ate well but didn't go overboard. My bad hip keeps me from exercising alot so I got only a normal amount of exercise. My good friend and I were celebrating our birthdays so we ended up splitting a bottle of wine on two of the evenings. I had dessert everyday but the biggest thing, I guess, was that I picked and chose what I wanted but never went crazy. We had a lovely time, ate yummy food, drank wine and both ended the cruise at our same weights. It can be done and I can't wait to go on another cruise. - 8/7/2011   2:27:22 PM
  • 121
    I'm probably one of the few people who loses weight while on vacation ! Mind you, I eat like a horse and still lose ! It's because I'm walking all over the place doing sight seeing. And when I'm sightseeing, I don't think about food until my tummy starts growling. then I know it's time to eat. LOL !!! Sightseeing, checking out museums, shopping, etc... all these things keep me busy and I only think about food when I pass by a restaurant with amazing aromas wafting from the kitchen. Then, I'll make a pit stop. Can't pass up on yummy local food !

    When I'm away, I do what I do at home i.e. practice moderation as best I can. - 8/7/2011   1:28:59 PM
  • 120
    Glad to read this as I'm finishing up a quick vacation visiting family. I was doing SO well & I could tell my body was off during this trip as I wasn't eating as well, not as often & not walking as much...So as of now, I'm +3 for the week! Blah! Thank goodness it's a new week & i head home today so I can get back on track (even though I'm headed back to my classroom to unpack, organize & decorate which will be stressful & make me busy!!). My weigh in day is Tuesday, today is Sunday, so maybe I can make a small dent in the 3lbs before then ;) - 8/7/2011   11:45:17 AM
  • 119
    Enjoyed reading this. I might be an exception but when we took our only cruise to Hawaii, we went off-shore on daily excursion with lots of tour buses but some walking too. Therefore we ate breakfast (I had fresh pineapple every single morning) but always missed the main lunch. We enjoyed dinner in the upgraded resturants but I wasn't that impressed with the food on the ship. My own cooking is much better.
    Since I'm also prone to motion sickness, despite the ear patch, I only drank aclcohol off the ship a day or two. The rest of the time I drank diet ginger ale because I didn't want to run the risk of 1) being sick or 2) gaining weight.
    We walked the ship alot, took stairs much of the time, and ate sensibly. One night my steak was over cooked, twice, so I ended up not eating much, then having a hot dog in the bar later. You know what? I probably ate less because of that. Everyone said that cruise line - which is known for their food - never seems to offer great food in that region; they had taken over the route from another company and could hold down costs since so many people want to visit Hawaii. That turned out to be good for me. There are lots of great places to eat in the world and a week away from them and instead focusing on the local beauty was fine with me.
    I have to say that I will never be a great sailor (even though I never was seasick) although I might go crusing again some time. Wasn't crazy about that movement. Put me on a train instead, any time. Still we had a great time and saw some fun shows; also enjoyed the guest lecturers on board. And like others, we do travel alot.
    Last couple years, more road trips. Fly somewhere then drive or just drive a few states from home. It's all in the planning (we carry our own small ice chest to buy healthy snacks; carry protein powder that can be stirred into water; share certain meals), not beating yourself up, and moving forward. Eat To Live! - 8/7/2011   9:50:42 AM
  • 118
    I have been on 4 cruises and have one planned for March 2012. I always start with a plan, that I blow by the first night. Last time I gained 10 real pounds and was so mad at myself it took me a long time to get back on track. Now I've lost 8 of those 10 and am committed to keep going. I find I retain a lot of water on every cruise. It is the ONLY time my feet and ankles swell. I think just the food, drink and maybe something to do with the weather, I don't know, but I am hoping to do better next time and still plan to enjoy the rich food. - 8/7/2011   8:47:52 AM
  • 117
    On my cruise last summer, I gained 10lbs. BUT.. 3 days after I got home, it was all gone. Most of it was just water retention. Granted, I ate some stuff I shouldn't have, and stuff I should have. But food you find on a cruise - it's not something that I'm use to, so I enjoy it, otherwise I spend the whole cruise worried whether I'm going to gain weight, rather than having a good time. - 8/7/2011   8:25:49 AM
  • 116
    Thank you for the article. I went on vacation and had to eat all restaurant food. The meals were a part of the vacation package. So I had to choose meals off a specific menu. So I was not able to eat like I normally do. I ended up gaining seven pounds. I will lose the weight. - 8/6/2011   3:31:34 PM
  • JAY75REY
    115
    Awesome! such great advice and encouragement. I'm really inspired that you are honest about eating the "junk" on vacation (I do the same thing) and that you don't wallow in guilt afterward but instead get back to normal eating (something I don't do). This September I have a fun road trip planned for visiting my Dad in L.A. (and my favorite hamburger stand Tommy's) then returning up north through the eastern Sierras then through S Lake Tahoe to Sonoma. But this year, I will return to normal after vacation. I vow it! - 8/6/2011   2:55:25 PM
  • 114
    Thanks for sharing and confirming my recent attitute following my recent 10 vacation. I was away and eating out each meal or at my daughters. I gained 2 pounds. I did try to watch what I ate and swapped out egg beaters for eggs most days. Yea I did have burgers and frys. I was able to leave most of the frys on my plate. I had a good time. I found that if I over ate that I felt miserable and uncomfortable. Ate what was available, not as much fruit or vegetables as I would have liked but the weight gain was reasonable. I have been back 10 days and have lost most of the 2 pounds. It feels great to be back on the program of eating better and exercising. It is good to hear that this is a part of life and we can all deal with it with support of others. - 8/6/2011   11:39:12 AM
  • 113
    Glad to know some can pull off a cruise without gaining. I hope to prove that too next May. Thanks for sharing! Nancy - 8/5/2011   6:58:36 PM
  • 112
    SO good for me to read this right now. I had family come to visit for a while and I also "gained" 14 pounds with all the celebrations. It was hard for me to get back on the horse, I've lost 7 of those pounds in 2 weeks (no doubt a lot of water weight), and I know I'm going to keep going down despite the slip up. - 8/5/2011   3:35:24 AM
  • 111
    Thank you - excellent. Great words of wisdom...forgive yourself and get up when you fall. - 8/5/2011   12:33:41 AM
  • 110
    Excellent post and the "all or nothing" attitude has been blocking my success for a very long time. Thank you for sharing! - 8/4/2011   7:31:25 PM
  • 7WORSHIPS
    109
    Thank you so much for writing this blog. It was right on time for me.Spending 6 weeks away from my usual environment, socializing with relatives who think love is spelled "FOOD" really wrecked havoc with my weight loss efforts, and of course I had been doing so well. I had recently moved from the overweight to normal category for BMI. Now I face the task of losing extra pounds to get back to that category. Thanks for reminding me that I am not alone and that I can get back on track. - 8/4/2011   7:19:13 PM
  • 108
    Thank you for sharing. It is so helpful when it is not all good news and success. Learning comes from failure too. On my last vacation, I countered my eating with more exercise than usual. I didnt lose but I didnt gain in a city where I love to eat, drink, love and laugh San francisco! - 8/4/2011   4:59:41 PM
  • 107
    So happy to see this blog! I wasn't on vacation but I did manage to gain about 10 pounds during the month of July. It was one birthday celebration or BBQ after another and it seemed I was never mindful about what I was stuffing into my mouth. Last July when I was losing instead of trying to maintain I lost during July even though there were just as many birthdays & BBQs. I was mindful and planned a year ago and know even though I'm in maintenance that I have to still do the same! - 8/4/2011   4:54:34 PM
  • CHUNK40
    106
    I have been on three cruises. the first one I told myself I would enjoy myself and thought I would gain 10 lbs. I was amazed and shocked that I only gained 2 lbs. I did work out and walked quite a bit at our destinations/excursions. The second cruise I gained nothing and the last one just one lb. I always joked how I need to cruise all year around - I do better. My other vacations usually involve biking/hiking/camping so I come back pretty much the same as when I left. - 8/4/2011   4:00:07 PM
  • LADYSWIMMER
    105
    I am going on a 12 day cruise in Jan. Did this last Nov. and did not gain a pound. But to do that I really had to limit myself - such as 1 glass of wine, an appetizer and a salad for dinner most days. Breakfast was cereal. I tried to eat the same way on the cruise as I do at home. Not always fun and exciting, but it is just so hard to get the weight off I'd rather limit the food. - 8/4/2011   3:05:03 PM
  • 104
    Good to keep in mind as I am going on vacation to Universal Studios with the family next week. I know I won't be able to stick to my calorie range, but I am promising myself I will try to load up on veggies when possible and get a run or two in during the week. Thanks for the article! - 8/4/2011   12:29:50 PM
  • 103
    I know the feeling of eating and cruising. I did good last year when I went on my cruise and I'm hoping for the same results this year when I go for my cruise again :) Thanks for sharing. - 8/4/2011   11:27:01 AM
  • 102
    Here's some sweet revenge for those of y'all who prefer to sit on the deck with umbrella drinks for vacation -
    My vacations often consist of backpacking... carrying a 30 pound pack 30 miles over a few days. I find this actually suppresses my appetite, so I usually lose a couple of pounds. But.. once I get off trail, I can't just eat everything I can get my hands on for 3 days, or I wind up heavier than when I started. - 8/4/2011   10:28:36 AM
  • 101
    I loved that the breakfast and lunch buffets on the ship i was on had tons of cut up fruit. Cantaloupe I don't have to mess around with is my idea of a healty luxury! - 8/4/2011   9:11:02 AM
  • 100
    Judith Beck, PhD says in her wonderful book "The BECK Diet Solution" that when you go to any event or on a vacation to eat only 15% more than your regular day. Just because you have "paid" for the food, she says you should stay in your regular guidelines. - 8/4/2011   12:50:58 AM
  • 99
    This story was fantastic and I came across it just in time. I'm new to SparkPeople, just my second week but I was feeling like this was going to take forever and why bother. I read this and remembered how sick I was on and after my only cruise. All that salt and water weight gain as well as a few real pounds of fat.. I actually PAID to eat and get fatter..
    Now I remember my thoughts coming in to SparkPeople. I knew this was a lifetime commitment. I knew it took time to put this weight on so I need to take time to take it off. If I slip and fall, I can come here and find a reason to get back up and dust myself off and get back on track. Even walking for miles on that ship when I did take the cruise didn't keep the weight off. I wasn't drinking enough water. A premium product on board a ship. I did eat my veggies and lots a fruit but OMG, all that wonderful food..and bacon.. I never eat bacon. I did there.
    This came just in time so thank you ever so much. I may slip but I won't give up. I know it's forever and SparkPeople even helps to make it fun and easier..
    Hugs,
    Hope - 8/3/2011   11:08:31 PM
  • 98
    I really needed to read this today. I have been within 3 or so pounds - give or take - of my goal weight for months now, untill this past week, where I tipped the scale at 5 pounds over. What went wrong? A missed fitness session here or there (I was just too tired after work) or late night munching (the stress was getting to me)....and I was starting down a very slippery slope. What can I do? I have the tools and I just need to start using them, remembering that it isn't all or nothing, but I have to do SOMETHING to turn this boat around before I end up in deep water. Thanks for the reminder! - 8/3/2011   10:46:06 PM
  • 97
    I rememeber gaining weight on my first cruise as well. Being much more active& ate much healthier the second time worked wonders for me. Took the aerobics classes, went jet skiiing, walked all around the ship or island, danced, etc... - 8/3/2011   10:03:27 PM
  • 96
    this is wayyy too funny. i cruise at least once a year (usually twice) and i have been doing really well on them.... until we went to europe for a cruise with my friend and in-laws.... i found a new friend, by the name of IRISH COFFEE... mr Bailey and mr Sheridan (two totally incredible beverages) and the private tours we booked were not as ACTIVE as i had hoped they would be. i came home 18lbs heavier. i frieked for about an hour or two -- then realized that most of it was water weight and within a week i was back to my pre cruise weight. however, i do believe i indulged a little to much with the irish coffee, but you cannot go to dublin and NOT have irish coffee!! and you cannot go to italy without eating PASTA!. and the brazillian restaurant on the boat did not help either... they had 10 different main meat meals and you got to have ALL OF THEM!! anyway.... i loved your blog and had to put my 2 cents in since i am a big time cruiser. i did good until i went to europe... never been before and i was soooo excited. no harm, no foul...... life is still good and i'm still working on my goals. and yes, i am going to bermuda in october and back to europe next year.... viva la france!! - 8/3/2011   8:55:04 PM
  • CIRANDELLA
    95
    You know how to LIVE, Birdie!! Rock ON!! Now, I've never been on a cruise, though I'm a few pounds below goal. If I had the good fortune of cruising, though, all bets would be OFF! I'll be a die-hard foodie 'til the day I die, and given that opportunity, yes, I'd go completely nuts (and dessert...and drinks! :) Having said that, though, I'd have left port a good 5 lbs. or so under goal so as not to be too shocked when I got home. - 8/3/2011   8:52:08 PM
  • 94
    We just went on our 4th cruise this last April. Previous cruises I always had gained weight (lots of weight). This one was the first since joining Sparkpeople in Oct. 2010 and I only gained 4 pounds. I'm sure all the swimming, walking and exercise I got helped hold it in check. Because of the low weight gain it was easy to loose that extra 4 lbs when I came back home. - 8/3/2011   7:21:45 PM
  • 93
    I just went through exactly what you're talking about!
    I didn't go on a cruise, but we did just take a week-long camping family vacation. When camping for the weekend, I let myself go and eat the sweet treats at the end of day (homemade cookies, s'mores, cherry pudgy pies, etc.) and I drink more than usual. I thought maybe I could rein myself in for most/part of the week, but no - I drank a couple drinks everyday (instead of my usual one or two on the weekend), and I ate every sweet treat that came in front of me! I gained about 10 pounds.
    But, after the first day back home I already was down 4 pounds - clearly most of the weight I gained was water weight from the alcohol and higher calorie days.
    I also think that once you get in maintainance mode, your body adjusts a little easier to up and down calorie days. I get right back on track after a "binge" weekend and usually get back to my ideal range by Wed. or Fri. of the following week.
    I still always go into the weekend or party or event with the intentions of doing better - but I try not to beat myself up (too much!) if I don't meet my own expectations. - 8/3/2011   2:32:24 PM
  • 92
    This has been such an amazing read! I will be going on my first cruise ever in a couple of months and I am trying to plan all the time on how to handle it. This is provided me with so much great info. Thanks so much! - 8/3/2011   1:50:21 PM
  • 91
    Thank you for this - and for all the comments as well. My husband and I are going on our first cruise (it will be our 10th anniversary) I am doing everything I can to get in shap for it. I will definately be re-reading this a few days before my cruise in December. - 8/3/2011   1:37:34 PM
  • 90
    Well, I'm here to say that it CAN be done!!! My husband and I went on a cruise this past Februrary, and I ended up LOSING 6 pounds. They told us at one point to expect to gain a pound a day. We ate most of our meals at the BUFFET, believe it or not, but I had (sort of) a plan. I ate LOADS of fresh fruits at every meal. Maybe a veg/cheese omelet for breakfast. A small muffin or other bread thing every meal. A LITTLE (relatively plain) chicken, fish, beef, or pork lunch and dinnier. A big salad twice a day with just a little dressing. I had a (small) dessert twice a day. No "fast foods." There was a 5K walk on board during one of the sea days, and I participated. We took the more active shore excursions. I was amazed at the end because I felt like I just ate and ate and ate. And I guess I did, but I must have made good choices. I thought it was MUCH easier to make good choices at the buffet than in the traditional dining rooms. - 8/3/2011   1:09:37 PM
  • CLCRISPEN
    89
    Thank you for this article. I have lost a total of 80 pounds over the past 2 years and have gained back close to 10. Like you, I still easily fit into my size 8 pants, but I do want to lose the extra weight. This article is inspiring because I realize that I do know how to keep on track and lose this extra weight. I have maintained my weight loss exceptionally well, considering. - 8/3/2011   12:51:03 PM
  • DPAASCH
    88
    I've gained 5 pounds after a cruise. It's not fun. I didn't get rid of that weight I gained. I don't want to go on a cruise for a few more years.. - 8/3/2011   12:28:28 PM
  • BERGSB14
    87
    Great article and I love the comments from other cruisers! I myself have been on 5. I find that I get tired of eating after like the 3rd or 4th day but that I just keep eating when my husband does. The man is a bottomless pit! Of course he can eat 800-1000 calories more/day and not put on weight. I think that is my problem as to why I put on the cruise weight; eating when my husband eats and eating when I am not actually hungry. The 14 day cruise we took in March I put on 5-7 lbs.! And that was with walking an average of 4+ miles a day (We NEVER take the elevator and I wore a pedometer) and going to the gym 4-6 times to lift weights. I am determined when we take our next cruise to discipline myself to actually eating when hungry. I have also started running 6mi 3x/week since then. So I am hoping with the additional workouts on top of all the ship walking that I will come home and the scale will be the same as when I left it. - 8/3/2011   12:25:02 PM
  • 86
    Although I have not had the experience of going on a cruise (sigh!) I relate to this entirely! I have been maintaining for several years. I have to weigh every week & if I see that I am pushing up out of 18 to 25 on the BMI index, I adjust. So far, I have had the will power to adjust & hope I keep the will power! The things which have helped me are to make my goal a range & not a number & the weekly weigh-in & adjustment if necessary. I agree totally that the entire gain is not totally fat....I have weighed the following week & have been down as much as 2.5 pounds & I know for sure that I have not saved over 7,000 calories in that week! - 8/3/2011   12:13:36 PM
  • 85
    Thank you soooo much for this. I had a major setback on my bday cruise and always feel like giving up but HEY life happens. Gotta get back on track and keep pushing!!! - 8/3/2011   11:39:14 AM
  • 84
    I love and appreciate your comment that perfectionism is not necessary for weight loss!!! I am the very worst - all or nothing type of person. If I eat one cookie, I might as well eat the entire bag. That is probably the hardest thing for me. I enjoyed your article. Thanks. - 8/3/2011   11:06:48 AM
  • 83
    You see, that's why they invented undressed lettuce. I have never been on a cruise, though I have wanted to go ... [went to travel school about 15 years ago, but much of my traveling has been on land, thank you] ... surely they have salad bars on the cruise buffets. Also, calorie cycling was invented by Wendi of (pardon the expression) Weight Watchers. Rather than starve yourself for days before the cruise [some of us work too hard to do that ...], while on the cruise you could have "feast days" and "fast days" - Go on active (and by active I mean ACTIVE) shore excursions on the "feast days" .... and the "fast days" - not really a fast, but kind of low calorie day ... that's your lounge-around-and-catch-rays day. Then, the next morning you wake up famished, and you have a moderate day. And then do an onboard aerobics class or two ...

    Voilà, slight weight loss after cruise! - 8/3/2011   10:47:39 AM

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