Cruise Ships Offer Fitness Classes, Lots of Walking

Q. Dear Dr. Baskett: I am going on a cruise this month and am worried that I will regain my lost weight; what should I do?

A. Cruising can be so much fun and it does come with an abundance of food to eat. However, do not despair. You have worked hard to be at a healthy weight, so don’t let those healthy habits get thrown overboard.

When cruising, you will find that the ship has an exercise facility as well as a walking deck. Use both. On your days at sea, make those good exercise days as well as days for fun and relaxation. Walk around the ship’s deck for about 2 miles and accumulate 4,000-5,000 steps, which can be tracked on a simple pedometer. Possibly you can take in a fitness class offered at the fitness center onboard.

When you go to a port, there are often suggested excursions and opportunities for exploration. Try to choose ones that involve activity versus sitting on a bus for an extended driving tour of an island. When you get back onboard the ship, take the steps instead of the elevator to your cabin. Even if you find that walking all of those steps might be a bit too much, walk a couple of flights of stairs and then take the elevator the rest of the way up.

The food will be plentiful, but there will also be healthy choices present. Try to stay on a regular eating schedule and don’t forget to take in adequate protein. Your servers will be most willing to provide you with healthy choices and will be able to alter the menu somewhat; do not be afraid to ask. You also will want to ask yourself, “Do I really need to get up at midnight to go to the buffet and then go back to bed?” Even if you are still awake at midnight, how hungry are you?

Most of all, when going on a vacation, don’t worry about losing weight. Try to maintain. A lack of weight gain is a success. If you end up gaining a few pounds, all is not lost. It will be time to rein things in when you get home. Most importantly, have a great time!

Kathleen Baskett, MD is the Medical Director of Weight Management at St. Vincent Healthcare. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and the author of “Moving Forward: The Weigh to a Healthier Weight”.