Skinny Daily Post


Okay folks. I’m gearing up for an Alaskan cruise with my parents. We’re leaving on Wednesday.

I’m going to reverse this SDP process for a day or two and ask for your advice.

How am I going to manage 8 days on a cruise ship and stay within my weight range? And no, I didn’t do the clever thing, and “bank” calories or exercise in anticipation of this trip.

Your strategies please? I’d love to hear from everyone, but particularly from those of you who have enjoyed cruise ship hospitality in the past…

Just enter your hints below. (If you don’t like entering your email address, type in “” But please know I never share email addresses, and only use them to write to you personally if your post demands a private response.)


Dave Barry Feeds My Fear

47 thoughts on “Your Wisdom Please

  1. Valerie says:

    JuJu, It really doesn’t matter where you are. The food will be wonderful, so pamper your body by feeding it often, very proportion controled amounts of yummy stuff that feels good on the tongue and still feels good when it sits in your stomach (i.e., skip the desserts and bad carbs and eat fruit). Love your muscles, too, by signing up for exercise classes, or walking the deck in the early morning or late night and feeling the salt air on your skin. Pamper yourself, not with food that your body won’t like, but by getting your nails done, a facial, etc. Remember, taking care of yourself is not LENT– It is not depriving yourself, it is instead the much self indulgent, wonderful thing you can do for yourself. Thanks for helping me. Val

  2. Lisa says:

    Ooh, I’m envious – a cruise to Alaska! You’re going to have a great time. My husband and I have “cruise ship rules”. 1) Never take the elevator, always use the stairs. 2) Choose active shore excursions. Don’t ride in a bus if you can hike somewhere! 3) Be wasteful with your food – try whatever you like, but don’t finish anything. Just eat the very choicest bits. 4) Most ships have a pretty good gym. We spend a lot of time there, and on the walking/jogging track. 5) Don’t worry if you do gain a pound or two. You know by now how to climb back on that wagon when the cruise is over

    Have a wonderful cruise!

  3. Joan Ryan says:

    1. I would try to eat all my meals in the formal dining room where the servings are “gormet” size. You’ll have much more luck with portion control there than in the buffets that go on from breakfast to midnight!

    2. Tell your waiter what your restrictions are in food prepartion and they will accomodate you.

    3. Exercise by taking advantage of the ship’s exercise facilities(pool and gym, attend scheduled yoga, pilates or other exercise workouts, or even take a stroll on deck.

    4. Use all the skills you’ve learned at home and apply them on the cruise.

    5. Relax and enjoy!

    Bon voyage!!!!

  4. puglover says:

    Echoing Lisa’s advice; no elevators, ever. Beware tho-DOWN stairs is harder on older knees (over 40) than up. So, if you can’t do down, do up-it takes more energy, anyway.
    Food is good on cruises (been on 6) but not always great-except in quantity. So don’t be afraid to leave something which isn’t as good as it looked.
    Love the active exccursions-even just walking for hours in a new and exotic place is wonderful exercise and a great way to ‘know’ the area.
    Don’t forget to have fun-that IS what you’re going for-try new things, eat things you NEVER eat at home. It IS a special occasion-never eat to over-fullness, no matter what you must leave behind. The next meal is right around the corner!

  5. Lavonne says:

    We just discussed at my Saturday WW meeting. Someone indicated that you can request special healthy meals on the cruise ships so that you don’t go “overboard”. They indicated that this could be done thru the travel agent or their particular cruise line had healthy meals on their menus. If you want a dessert – share it so that you at least get a taste but you are not stuck with the whole thing and still not deprived.

    Our leader also advised us that we can allow for a small weight gain of a couple of pounds but as soon as the vacation is over get back on the plan. Better to allow for a few pounds that be miserable and not enoughing ourselves. Also take in as many of the on shore activities as possible to take advantange exercise points so that you can indulge once in a while.

  6. Teri says:

    I so agree with the above comments, esp. eating in the formal dining room. You get to try wonderful new foods(and some old favorites) in a portion controlled setting. Try to steer clear of the buffets and move whenever you can.
    Most of all-have a good time. We’re not only trying to maintain a healthy weight, we’re trying to live a good life. Our naaturally thin friends are not freaking out over “maybe” gaining a few pounds, they are concentrating on living and enjoying this wonderful experience, knowing that when the cruise is over htey will be back at their normal eating patterns.
    Have a great trip!

  7. Debbi says:

    Juju: Enjoy your trip. The wonderful and horrible thing about a cruise is the food. There is all food all the time which makes those with compulsion rather upset. I know I have great anxiety about going on a cruise for the same reason. However, staying on plan is really quite easy. There are lots of excellent food choices available. Salads, grilled foods, and alway fruit. The other simply wonderful thing is there are lots of exercise types of activities to burn off some of the not so excellent choices. There is a gym, a pool and lots of deck for walking. Avoid dessert and chocolate buffets and you should be just fine.

    Say hi to the moose for me!!

  8. Rebecca says:

    How often do you get to go on a cruise?! Don’t let it stress you out and make sure to fully enjoy yourself. I know, easier said than done.

    I think you should try a LITTLE of everything. On some of these cruises, the cuisine is so exotic, you’ve got to be adventurous. You don’t have to finish what’s on your plate, but at least try it. Sharing is always nice.

    Make sure to get in a workout of some kind everyday to somewhat negate the caloric consumption. Usually the fitness facilities on the big liners are FABULOUS! Wading in the pool is fun. Taking the adventure excursion could bring a good calorie burn.

    I suggest checking out the midnight buffet for all of the artistic beauty (what wonderful things they can carve out of fruit!), but that doesn’t mean you have to get in line. Bring your camera and snap a few pics. Then, go to bed.

    Don’t stress, you’ll be fine. I second Val’s comment. Remember to pamper yourself. Have a blast!


  9. Amy says:

    I third (fourth?) the no elevator rule. Two years ago I went on a 10 day cruise in the Baltic with my mom and managed to lose a couple of pounds. We were on Deck 10 and I don’t think I used the elevator more than twice the entire trip. Also, keep in mind that just because the dining room serves a 5 course dinner doesn’t mean you have to order all five! I would pick an appetizer OR a soup OR a salad; a main course, and a dessert. I would eat precisely half of each item on the plate (except I ate all the veggies). Our waiter was very concerned that I didn’t like the food.

    I also agree with the ideas to go on active shore excursions. Each ship has walking/jogging deck, and that’s a great way to see the scenery and get your exercise.

    Hubby and I are going on an Alaska cruise in August and I”m planning to put these all into practice.

    Above all, HAVE A BLAST!

  10. Linda says:

    JuJu —

    From what I’ve been reading in the papers lately, just let yourself get one of the cruise ship stomach viruses. That should take care of any potential weight gain!

    All that being said, it’s probably more important for you to watch how your food is being prepared and stored than it is to watch how much is going in your mouth. You already know how to do that!

    Have fun!

  11. Pattie says:

    I have never had the pleasure of going on a cruise, but I’d say to remember that it’s always all about choices.

    CHOOSE to eat small tastes of the “bad” stuff so you don’t feel deprived. CHOOSE to eat lots of fruits and veggies. CHOOSE to be very active every single day.

    And most importantly, CHOOSE to have a great time and not stress. Remember, it’s only a couple weeks out of the lifetime journey that you’re on. Enjoy the ride!

  12. Elaine says:

    To counter the scarey url try this

    “Part of catering to cruise-ship guests’ every need includes accommodating passengers who require diabetic, low-fat or low-salt meals, kosher or other special dietary requests or who just want healthful choices. “Spa cuisine, unheard of years ago because it defeats the purpose of cruising, is now popular with all lines,” says Lesley Abravanel. “People are leading healthier lives, and most ships now have a spa menu that allows people to order low-calorie, low-fat and heart-healthy foods.”

    Have a smashing time

  13. Susan says:

    JuJu, what a wonderful adventure you will have! One not-yet mentioned way to burn any extra calories is the dance floors! The ship I went on had at least three and you can burn a lot of calories and have some late-night fun.

    Most cruises try to pair you up with others who share your current life situations (i.e. we were seated for meals with couples also honeymooning). Talk with your table partners about your goals, worries, etc. Maybe you can start a mini-support group right there. Get together in the early AM for an aerobics class or walk around the decks.

    Let your waiter know at meal #1 if you wish to have smaller portions, half-sized desserts, double veggies (be careful, they’re frequently laden with butter or other high-fat sauces!), etc. He/she will go out of their way to accommodate you (and boost their end-of-voyage tip potential).

    Most of all, remember to have fun, enjoy the sights, bask in the glory of nature and bring back some wonderful memories to share!

  14. Mj says:

    Remember the Law of Diminishing Return (which is really-truly a concept in economics): the first bite of any food will provide the most satisfaction taste-wise. Any bites after that do not – will not – CANNOT – reach that same pinnacle of enjoyment. Be sure that you savor the first few bites, and be sure to stop when you realize that “it doesn’t seem to taste as good”.

    Don’t let the volume of food presented guide the amount of food consumed. Enjoy the luxurious excess of the accommodations and APPRECIATE the groaning tables of plenty – don’t become a groaning JuJu because you’ve eaten too much (no matter how healthy your choices may be!).

    Find the ONE or TWO food items at any meal that you would particularly like to try, and that will probably not appear on your plate again during the trip. Why eat steak (even filet mignon, provided that you’re a beef eater) every day? Make each meal as unique as possible.

    Waste food (!?!?!?!?!?). This is a great opportunity to try many things and NOT finish the portion. How totally hedonistic!!!

    Keep moving. Unless it’s a seven-course dinner, there’s no reason to stay at the table indefinitely – and you’ll have so many wonderful things to do!

    Have a wonderful trip, Juju! Can’t wait to hear all about it!


  15. MaryLou says:

    Dear JuJu,
    I have been on the Alaska Inside Passage cruise. I had a wonderful time. It was back in the days when I wasn’t much worried about food, though I should have been. Add my voice to the echo of it’s about choices. You will be in a situation where you will get lots of practice in choosing. All the words of wisdom so far are great. I like the idea of little bites of things that you wouldn’t normally eat. One thing I discovered that after eating a very low fat diet your body will tell you right away if it doesn’t like what you’re feeding it. I wouldn’t count too much on the pool part unless it’s indoor. Warm enough to swim isn’t much of a factor on this cruise. In fact when I went they didn’t even have water in the pool and it was mid July! But being outside and walking around the ship, enjoying the 360 degree view is great. You may see whales, seals and the most gorgeous mountains ever. It was 19 years ago that I took this trip, seems like only yesterday. Two months after I came back I met the man who is now my husband. Today we are celebrating our 18th wedding anniversary. Little did know it would be my last single fling!

    There are lots of fun things to do on board and off. Lots of walking through the ports of call. Enjoy yourself and you parents too. This will be a special memory for all of you, embrace it, savor and relish this time with them.

  16. Dana says:

    Hey Juju,

    Keep in mind Geneen Roth’s chapter 37 in the “When you Eat at the Fridge” book you just mentioned in an earlier post: “When You are Not Hungry Beauty is Better than Bonbons.”

    When you are hungry, but not for something to eat, take a beauty break and enjoy the scenery. This should not be difficult in Alaska!

    I find that sometimes, I have just as big of a tendency to overeat on a normal day when I’m feeling a bit bored and just need *something.* On the cruise, you’ll be surrounded by so much. When all the food starts to overwhelm you, try to turn your attention other ways. One more bite may not be as satisfying as seeing, doing, and experiencing.

  17. Chris says:

    I think that you know exactly what to do, you may gain a pound or two, but you will survive. I have gone on several vacations in the past year, after I reached my weight goal, and survived quite smashingly. Don’t deprive yourself completely or you WILL overdo it. I always splurged alittle at one meal and tried to stick to my veggies, fruit and make good choices the rest of the time.

    Have a wonderful trip!

  18. Ellen says:

    JuJu–First–just because they offer all that food doesn’t mean you have to eat it! Are you used to eating a full meal 6 times a day? So just stay away. Eat at meal times and enjoy your selection. I’d advise you to eat in the dining room at a set time so you’re not tempted to graze at a buffet.

    Second, the deserts are not terrific. We’ve been on several different lines and they do not serve the sweet desserts Americans are used to. Even Holland America that had a Dutch chocolate midnight buffet, did not have things I really wanted to eat. One bite and I was finished.

    Third, avoid the midnight buffets–if you go to sleep at the time you ususally do at home, why would you stay up to eat? Besides, you need to get up to walk around the decks and get to the gym! 🙂 Take advantage of organized exercise programs and games. They are fun. Besides, you might like the exercise to stay warm this time of year.

    Fourth, get in lots of walking at stops along the way. Ketchikan was way cool–we went on kayaks and saw the most unbelievable sea animals in the water, on the rocks; balad eagles up in the sky.

    You are gonna love this trip–can’t wait to hear all about it. Have a great time and just eat and exercise as you do at home. It will be perfect.

  19. Jodi says:

    If your ship stops in Juneau, hike the Mt. Roberts trail to the top instead of taking the tram. The view is awsome, and you can take the tram down for a fun ride! Also, skip the Alaskan Fudge Shop (it’s too good to resist). Have a great time, my mom says the weather the past couple weeks has been great, I hope it holds on for your trip.

  20. SWR says:

    Vacation eating is hard, but I think the hardest part is the anticipation–the fear of what might happen. I find that on vacations I stress about whether I will pig out, then in the first few days I alternate between anguished self-denial and rebellious pigging, and FINALLY I settle down, focus on the enjoyment of the place and the new experiences and less on the food, and then begin to have a good time and eat sensibly.

    First of all I think you did the RIGHT thing by not “banking” calories by dieting or over-exercising in the weeks leading up to the trip. If you’d done that, you would be totally setting yourself up to binge on the trip, because you’d be hungry and (subconsciously) angry at yourself for the hard treatment you’d endured, and think that you now deserved to overindulge. Much better to be consistent and healthy all the way through.

    Remember that the trip is not about food. The trip is about family and scenery. You have had great food before and you will have great food again, after the trip, so there is no need to “stock up” on desserts and other things you don’t usually get at home. To me it is AMAZING how easy it is to forget this, and to lapse back into disordered-eating-thinking: “I’m going on a diet as soon as I get home, so I’d better have another piece of cake now.” Remember that there is no Cruise JuJu separate from the Home JuJu; there is only one JuJu, and she always takes care of her body.

    Good luck!

  21. Rachel (in Galway) says:

    WI’m just back from a conference in Denmark where we had amazing buffet lunches every day. The stimulation of so many wonderful foods is hard to resist.

    For me the key would be (i) keep up the exercise and (ii) mindful eating.

    Mindful eating includes (i) thinking about whether you are actually hungry – on a scale of 1 (not at all) to 10 (ravenous), only eat at say 6/7 or above;(ii) deciding exactly what you are hungry for, before you hit the buffet; (iii) rechecking while you eat whether you are still hungry.

  22. tortoise says:

    So much good advice! I know you recently mentioned receiving a pedometer as a gift – if you can get in 5-6 thousand steps per day, I doubt if you’ll gain weight. I recently spent two weeks in Hawaii and while I ate a great deal, I didn’t eat everything. I skipped desserts and baked stuff (mostly) but I ate more fat than I normally do. I tried the pedometer thing. I came home two pounds lighter. And I’m 49.

    As everyone says, have a wonderful time. That’s the best defense against bingeing for me – I eat when I’m bored and irritable. The worst trip I ever took was on a little schooner. The thing never stopped, and you couldn’t walk without getting clipped in the head by a sail. NEVER AGAIN!

  23. Becky says:

    These are all phenomenal suggestions! How about a rule for buffets — take only 1 small salad-sized plate instead of a dinner plate. Make one trip and put the right proportions of veggies, proteins and carbs on your plate. Eat slowly and ENJOY!

    For me, I would make it a rule to choose one meal per day where I would have my little treat — be it pasta, cheese or chocolate. And just make it a *little* treat — indulge yourself a bit, but don’t over-indulge.

    I think you’re going to have a GREAT TIME!!!

  24. Karen C says:

    When you come get to port, get off the ship, and WALK to my house! I live in Fairbanks, in the interior. By then the mosquitoes will have eaten you enough that you will surely lose a FEW pounds!

    And yes…we are dying up here at 85-90 degree weather this summer. Have a great trip and enjoy the beauty of creation in this beautiful state!

    Eat to *satisfied* and move lots!!

  25. Laurie says:

    The problem with “allowing” onesefl to eat more than usual is knowing the cost. The cost in taking off the pounds gained. The cruise experience needs to be enjoyable and not a time to worry about the pounds you will have to remove when you get back.

    So take back all that you left with- and not more.

    Eat via writng down all you eat and giving yourself a calorie range each day. “Spend” your calories any way you want. In small portions of great delicious rich items perhaps, in one big splurge- anyway yuou want- within the range.

    Since, on a cruse, you have meager duties, you can devote more time than usual to MOVING. So you will know when you get back that you have exercised mkore than usual- cruise ships have gyms-enjoy.

    Let us know what you actual did and how you did in terms of controlling-or not controlling what you ate. Knowing you as I do via this great Skinny Daily- you’ll not only be fine, but you’ll come hone with additinal tips for all of us.


  26. Laurie says:

    The problem with “allowing” onesefl to eat more than usual is knowing the cost. The cost in taking off the pounds gained. The cruise experience needs to be enjoyable and not a time to worry about the pounds you will have to remove when you get back.

    So take back all that you left with- and not more.

    Eat via writng down all you eat and giving yourself a calorie range each day. “Spend” your calories any way you want. In small portions of great delicious rich items perhaps, in one big splurge- anyway yuou want- within the range.

    Since, on a cruse, you have meager duties, you can devote more time than usual to MOVING. So you will know when you get back that you have exercised mkore than usual- cruise ships have gyms-enjoy.

    Let us know what you actual did and how you did in terms of controlling-or not controlling what you ate. Knowing you as I do via this great Skinny Daily- you’ll not only be fine, but you’ll come hone with additinal tips for all of us.


  27. Beverly says:

    I went on a 9 day trip to California with my husband and 2 kids and didn’t eat anything — really. I was doing Optifast (5 shakes a day, nothing else but water) and was already 2 months into it when the trip was scheduled. So I decided that my vacation was going to be about something other than food. It was about taking the kids to Disneyland, showing them the ocean for the first time, marveling at the incredible scenery, not having to do dishes … you get my point. I had a hard time with it on several occassions, but at no point did I sincerely regret my decision. In fact, I ended up being very proud of myself. That was about 6 months ago, and when I recall the trip I don’t think at all about what I didn’t eat. It took reading your email for me to even remember that I had fasted for that vacation. Food doesn’t make the trip fun – it’s not like you’ve never eaten before. But I bet there are going to be many opportunities to do things that you haven’t done before, and I would suggest that you would be happier focusing your attention there.

  28. Susan says:

    I disagree with the comments about only eating in the formal dining room. The food on offer there tends to be much, much richer. If you absolutely don’t trust yourself with portion control, that’s one thing. But I personally have a much harder time making myself pick out only the “healthy” things on a menu full of luxuries than I do making smart choices at the buffet. I recommend doing the buffet for breakfast (eggs any way you like them, a variety of cereals both hot and cold, and lots of fruit) and lunch (several soups, an enormous salad bar, sandwiches made to order, more fruit, roast beef or chicken at the carving station) and then indulging yourself a little at dinner.

    Absolutely walk and take the stairs–cruise ships are big, you’ll walk more than you do in the office every day; active shore excursions and/or walking through the towns (Juneau and Skagway also offer some great local hikes), take advantage of the shipboard activities (dance class, fitness classes, Walk-A-Mile around deck) and the gym. Steer clear of the ice cream bar, the pizza bar, the taco bar, the hamburger bar, the midnight buffets, the afternoon teas and hors d’oeuvres served in the bars before dinner. For a daily indulgence, have a cappucino instead.

    Oh yeah, and have fun. 🙂

  29. Gardenwife says:

    I admit that I’ve not read all the previous comments here, so this may have already been suggested. Drink lots of water while you’re there. When you get that bored hankering to check out the buffet, drink a few glasses of water. You might even want to bring a bag or two of low-cal, low-fat things you like.

    Best advice, though, is this: Give your cruise tickets to my hubby and me. 😉

  30. Jennifer says:


    I haven’t read all of the comments, but I was on a cruise recently and here is what I did. FYI, I was on Carnival COnquest.

    1) I let the crew know that I had special diet restrictions. That way I was able to get soy milk at breakfast, which always made me feel like I was off to a healthy start.

    2) Before I ate anything, I would raid the fruit buffet. Eating a plate of watermelon or a banana helped me keep my eating in check.

    3) Avoid anything fried or addictive.

    4) Try to eat at the restaurants most of the time (instead of the buffet).

    5) Check for the vegetarian entree on the menus…they are usually healthier.

    6) They will have some “diet” desserts, but realize that they are probably even more unhealthy once they add all of the aspertame, etc. Don’t fool yourself into thinking it is okay.

    7) Go to all of the health seminars and some aerobics classes/gym so that you will keep yourself in check mentally. Make it part of your daily routine.

    8) Pamper yourself in other ways besides food (spa treatments).

    9) Decide that if you excersize in the morning, that you will allow yourself one (reasonable) splurge at night.

    10) Enjoy the cruise and focus on the actual experience, not the food. We have food at home, we don’t have the clear water, beautiful scenery, dolphins, etc.

    I hope you have a great time!

  31. Janee says:

    Hi Juju!

    I lost 8 pounds on my last cruise. There are so many wonderful fresh foods to choose from, it’s very easy. Wonderful seafood dishes, an ever present array of fresh fruits and vegetables, and exotic dishes you’ve never even tried all help to avoid the temptation of reaching for your red-light foods.

    I allowed myself one dessert a day and never felt deprived.

    There are also ample opportunities on a cruise for activities and exercise.

    Have a great trip!!

  32. Dawn Boelke says:

    I went on an Alaskan Cruise two years ago and I have to tell you that I actually lost weight (about 4 pounds). I ate buffet for breakfast, for the lunches that I was on the boat for, and in the formal dining room for suppers. I made smart choices if I could, but I never turned down the dessert in the evening because I knew that it would be a long time before I ate those kinds of dessert again. We were active during the day with outings and up late watching shows, taking in the evening entertainment. I imagine that just keeping active along with all the healthy food choices that I had available to me, was just the right combination.
    Enjoy – it’s the most beautiful area I’ve ever visited!

  33. Sheryl says:

    I’ve been on 3 Carnival cruises since becoming a WW lifetime member. I lost 2 lbs. on the first cruise and gained 1 1/2 lbs. on each of the other two cruises. I take my own cereal for breakfast and get a lowfat yogurt and some fruit to go with it. We usually eat in the dining room for all meals as the buffets are full of fried foods. Carnival has a “Spa Cuisine” choice for each lunch and dinner. I always choose the spa choice and have found them to be delicious. I would usually drink two glasses of wine each day and eat one dessert every day. As stated above, take the stairs, work out in the gym, take the fitness classes, and choose active shore tours when possible. I was worried the first time, too. Have a great time!

  34. Elisabeth says:

    I went on my first cruise last July to Ensenada and had a blast! I don’t know if you use and special foods, but I like to eat low-calorie bread. I brought a loaf with me and talked to the maitre’d and asked that it be served to me whenever a dish required bread (i.e. sandwich) or bread would be served (i.e. dinner). It was AMAZING how much better that bread tasted when it was on a little doily!

    I do use Aspartame sweeteners (I am diabetic) and have never had any problems with it. The ship (Royal Caribbean) had a menu of daily low-cal desserts and we tried several of them. They were all great. In fact, we ordered sugar free chocolate ice cream and my non-dieter husband was converted! (It turned out to be Dryers, not some exotic brand). Also, for every evening menu there were always broiled fish and chicken options.

    We did try foods we had never tasted before: escargot (1 piece for me), shrimp bisque (didn’t like it, so I didn’t finish it) and yes, chocolate cake. My single slice was plenty.

    And remember, those waiters are there to serve you! (You get two, a chief waiter and an assistant) Tell them if you want a half-order of something and they’ll do it. Tell them you want no sauce, no salt, whatever and they’ll make it happen. And remember, EVERYTHING tastes better on fine china with a doily, so you aren’t missing anything.

    But do watch out for the late night pizza/cookie restaurant! They had an all night snack bar on our ship where you could get fresh cookies at 1:00 a.m. Yes, you’ll be up that late just watching the moon shimmer on the waves…Just be aware and avoid it.

    Also, we found that we didn’t have time to go to the gym because we were always out on excursions.Don’t let yourself get too tired or you’ll sleep and eat too much. And lastly, don’t worry about extra pounds gained. Once you go home and eat like a normal person, they’ll drop off. I gained 8 pounds (midnight buffet ;)), then had lost them by two weeks after the trip’s end through no special effort on my part.

  35. Toni says:

    Have a wonderful time on your cruise. Try to select healthy foods (ones you usually eat) and eat only when no one is speaking to you, so you can focus on what you are eating and how much. If you sit with a chatty group, and you listen or chat with them, you eat less. I know this sounds kinda silly but it will do wonders for that mindless eating we all try to avoid. If all else fails, do your best and remember this is a special trip, there is always tomorrow. If we were perfect we wouldn’t be human. Enjoy this time with your parents. They are a treasure worth more then silver or gold.

  36. Suzanne O. says:


    Having never been on a cruise I can only imagine how wonderful the whole experience will be! I have however faced the PANIC of
    the buffet line at weddings, brunches etc…for me planning helps. Thinking ahead about what I am hungry for and what I will and won’t eat. Also not allowing myself to get ravenous before a mealtime (this you know)helps me keep my head when the little cheesy,fried,crunchy,salty things are being offered up as ALL YOU CAN EAT!
    Oh! I also started telling myself that I am ALLERGIC to certain foods, DONUTS, FRENCH FRIES, CANDY BARS etc…I just keep repeating that too myself and to anyone else who asks “why are you not partaking in XYZ?”
    Hope this helps. Good advice all!

  37. Edna says:

    The first thing I do is decide if I want to gain, lose or stay the same (as far as my weight is concerned.)

    I have lost 90 lbs. and for me, to gain weight is not worth it.

    Then I ask myself why am I going on vacation? Is it for relaxation, fun, meet people, etc. etc.

    I didn’t go on vacation to EAT! I could stay home and eat.

    On the trip I would tip the waiter to get the same type of food I eat at home and enjoy the activities around me.

    I then would be careful about my behaviors and reactions to people, places and things while sailing. I need to remember to call a HALT! I can’t get toooooo hungry, angry, lonely or tired.

    Have fun

  38. JuJu says:

    You guys are just amazing. I think I’ve figured out how to let this column write itself. What terrific advice!

    I will move and move. For sure.

    I will check in and let you all know how it’s going.

    I will, sadly, not see you who live in Alaska, because this darned ship doesn’t stop at your houses. I’m sad about that. But if you’re in Ketchikan, Skagway, Juneau? I’m on an Inside Passage and Glacier Bay tour.

    And you’re all right, this is not about eating or exercising, but about hanging with my folks. Something I enjoy lots and rarely get enough time to do. Also there’s a wedding anniversary for us in the soup too. 21 I believe. Yipes.

    Midnight Buffet, indeed. I can’t stay up past 10 on a wild night.

    I packed for Arctic, but it’s been around 80 up there lately… Gotta go repack.

  39. ann weller says:

    Alaska–I’m green with envy. My niece just got married in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains last Saturday; she and her new husband both work in wilderness areas of Alaska near Sitka. Wave when you hit the state boundaries!

    I liked the comment–you’re not going on the cruise/Alaska to eat; you can do that at home.

    But…small portions of what you like; good books; lots of exercise; maybe your journal; talks with your folks uninterrupted by the dailyness of life back home; gratitude for health and life and family and this beautiful country; hugs for yourself and your family–just feel darn good about the whole thing as much of the time as you can! Food may seem secondary.

  40. Michelle says:

    My hardest part of cruises is the alcohol. I don’t drink much at home, but for some reason on a cruise ship it’s much more tempting. So, I allow my self one drink a day – whether it’s wine with dinner or a fancy frufru drink before the evening’s entertainment. It’s just so easy to get carried away with all those empty points…

    You’ll be fine – and have a fabulous time!

  41. Sheri says:

    I just returned from a Southern Caribbean cruise last month and, while water weight led to me appearing to be up 4 pounds when I returned, the net gain only ended up just over a pound within 2 days of returning.

    As many have suggested already, taking the stairs vs. the elevator is a big help. For breakfast, I had some wholegrain cereal (they even had my favorite cereal on board!) with skim milk and plenty of fresh fruit (buffet). For lunch, I focused on salad with lots of veggies and some lean meat from the carving station (buffet). For dinner, I enjoyed the dining room menu and even had dessert. I didn’t deprive myself of anything I really wanted.

    Though I intended to get to the gym on board, I never made it. Our excursions were always early and lengthy, so I’d be tired and hungry by the time I got back to the ship. I got a good bit of activity on some of the excursions and of course lots of walking around ship.

    Have a marvelous time!!

  42. Megan says:

    I’ve not been on a cruise, but I’ve been in lots of situations when I’ve had to deal with eating temptations.

    Remind yourself of all of the habits you’ve gained and all of the progress you’ve enjoyed.
    Know that whatever happens on this cruise you’re not going back to the old you. Maybe that will reduce some of the fear the cruise inspires?

    Pick one habit that you’re currently working on that you’ve almost mastered, and make a committment to yourself to keep that habit through the cruise. Maybe that’s leaving the meal a little hungry. Maybe it’s getting 5 servings of fruits and veggies a day. Maybe it’s taking your multivitamin. Whatever it is, make a committment to yourself that you’re going to keep it for the whole cruise.

    (I just got back from a weekend with food provided where I did gain weight, because I have such control issues with food that I need to eat to fullness at each meal because I wasn’t in control of when the next meal happened. But it wasn’t a lot of weight, and I did make pretty good food choices. So I’m not beating myself up over it. I just kept remembering how badly I used to eat in cafeterias, and how much better I ate this past weekend. I focused on the protein and the dairy and the veggies and the fruit, and then ate other things as I was hungry.)

  43. Liz says:

    I have been on 2 cruises and I second the suggestions above. I found that I am better off getting the later seating at dinner. That way I am active all day long and then eat a beautiful (usually seafood) dinner in the dining room and I am not hungry for the midnight buffets. Also, they usually publish the menus for dinner early in the day so you can plan ahead. And move whenever you can. When I come home from vacation I am always suprised that I don’t gain much more than a pound or so until I log my activity. Walking or swimming or kayaking or biking all day burns so many more calories than sitting at a desk. Have fun!!

  44. Mimi says:

    Pamela Peeke has a brief video on a Discovery Health Channel site. It’s week 10 of her program and the focus is “Eating well while on vacation”. It’s about 30 seconds long and worth a watch. Enjoy AK!

  45. dianne says:

    You’ll have a wonderful time. My husband and I honeymooned on an Alaskan cruise. I feared the worst and I did actually gain a few pounds, but not at all what I imagined to gain.

    My advice …
    – You’ll have the same waiter at your table each night. He/She will be very accomodating. Ask him to make sure that your food is prepared the way you want it be. Order half the cheese, more vegetables, not fried, etc. The fruits and vegetables will be fresh and beautiful, ask that the chef prepare a special dessert for you with only fruit. It will be as beautiful as what everyone else is eating.
    – Our ship had an exercise class every morning and night. Stretches, walking, aerobic dancing, etc.
    – Don’t be tempted to wear ugly sweat pants with an elastic waist. You might tell yourself that it will be warmer. No. The temperature doesn’t really affect you that much because the ship is very warm. Buy some nice clothes that you’ll be proud to have your picture taken in.
    – You’ll do a lot of walking on the excursions. Make sure that you bring hiking boots, athletic sneakers, etc. We walked on a glacier, hiked in the mountains, did a lot of shopping, went on a river trip to find eagles, etc. Be prepared for the unexpected excursions. Also sign up early. The really fantastic excursions get filled up early.
    – Late night buffets are killers. Usually you are tired and have had a glass or two of wine, you are off your guard. Don’t even go there! Or go once, take a picture for your friends and then go get some good sleep so that you can play the next day.
    – They will give you a card that allows you to pay for your drinks on a tab. I would suggest that you pay as you go. You’ll make better choices when you pay for each drink individually.

    Try to relax and enjoy this wonderful experience. I’ll be anxious to read about all of the fun you’ve had.

  46. praytherosary822 says:

    When we went on our first cruise we NEVER used the elevator we took the stairs, there should also be a work out gym on the ship, and we walked and walked. Also it’s better to eat in the dining room, smaller portions, and eat only half of each course and you should be ok. Good Luck and enjoy the trip.

  47. Stasia Bachrach says:

    I haven’t been able to read all the answers but can you take any food you feel safe eating? Protein bars, Meal replacements, some beef jerky? Whenever I travel I always pack my suitcase full of food in case I’m in a situation where there is nothing I can safely eat. You would be safe with the boiled shrimp, veggies and fruit if you can handle small portions. Eat small amounts often then you won’t be tempted to go overboard. Avoid the dessert table. If you are ever served a dessert at any sort of sit down dinner, salt and pepper it so you won’t be tempted to pick at it. Hope this helps.

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