Saturday, August 29, 2009
How to Not Gain (Much) Weight on an Exotic Vacation!
Whew..ok, I'm finally (almost) caught up enough to post about my Birthday Cruise to the Bahamas!
Beren and I had a fabulous time and though this was my first cruise experience, it will definitely not be my last. You can't beat the convenience, only unpacking once yet still being effortlessly transported to several locations. The entertainment on board was outstanding, the accommodations small but adequate, and the ship was gorgeous! Then there's the food...groan..I had heard horror stories about midnight buffets, round-the-clock feasting and the subsequent post-vacation weight gain and, yes, those things existed! I could have easily put on a ton of weight in those 4 days and would have thoroughly enjoyed the experience...until I got home. Instead, though, I made good, if not perfect, choices with a better outcome. Did I gain? Yes. In fact, the day after we returned I wrote a frenzied e-mail to Ms. Bitchcakes lamenting the initial 4-pound gain which a day later settled into a 2-pound gain. She and my cruise-aficionado friend Jersey talked me down off the ledge and away from a depressed binge. As they said, it was mostly water weight thanks to the incredible amount of salt used in food prep, and maybe a tiny bit due to the slightly increased calories. Yet today, after 5 days ashore, the scale reads the same number as when I departed.
So, here's how I did it. First off, there is absolutely no reason why can't eat healthfully at each & every meal, at least on the ship we sailed on. The buffet was chock-full of whole grain breads, fruit, salad, vegetables and even veggie burgers! For breakfast I had whole-grain toast, scrambled eggs, yogurt, fruit & coffee. A typical lunch was salad, fruit, seafood, Asian-style mixed vegetables, etc.
At dinner I did indulge in whatever I wanted (fish one night, pasta another, Thai the last) and even had dessert at two of the meals but they were both sugar-free! Since they didn't leave a bread basket at the table, the waiter brought it around, I wasn't tempted to consort much with the devil either. Honestly, though there were several courses and the food was amazing, the dinner portions were reasonable, small by restaurant standards, so I left feeling satisfied but not stuffed!
Even at the private island where we spent our first day, there were plenty of healthy choices and since it was so freakin' hot, water was my beverage of choice.
Besides, we walked around the island for 20 minutes until we found a secluded area in which to relax, no way was I walking all the way back just for a cocktail!
And speaking of alcohol, I admit to sneaking some vodka onboard..blush..to save money and also control how much I was consuming. The poolside bar had a special going, $6.00 for 3 days of unlimited soft drinks and once I found out they carried Sprite Zero, I was sold! So, while I did have several cocktails a day, for the most part they were relatively low-calorie, no fruity umbrella drinks for me! At dinner one night I ordered a bottle of champagne (thank you, Jersey, for gifting me!) but shared it with my dinner companions. I also had a couple of the local beers, but more about that later.
In addition to watching my food intake, I literally walked my ass off! In addition to trekking around the island and the ship in general, we also hiked for a solid two hours in Nassau, non-stop! The attractions were definitely worth the effort...
...but I felt totally justified in partaking of some local favorites once we arrived at our final destination! For the record, this conch salad is super-healthy, consists of cucumber, tomatoes, onion, green pepper, hot pepper, lime juice and of course, conch. The local beer was not light but, again, I only had two and enjoyed every drop!
And, instead of the midnight buffet, we eschewed the ship's night life for the most part and turned in early. Both of us have an active social life at home and tend to be early risers anyway, we didn't feel like we were missing much. It was more important to us that we take advantage of every waking moment!
So, I didn't lose this week but so what? I went on vacation, enjoyed myself immensely and can still fit in my favorite jeans, I'll take that any day!