Cruisin’ While Losin’
“What’s the motto on this ship? If you see it, eat it!” So declared our cruise director, via loudspeaker, as lunch (in the form of a stadium-size buffet) was served. I stood trapped between the build-your-own-pizza station and the ice cream sundae bar, and another phrase came to mind:
We all know that cruises have the potential to be floating islands of weight gain. Yes, it’s possible to eat healthfully on a cruise—with new lighter menu options, state-of-the-art gyms, and plenty of veggies and fresh fruit. But between the “free” food (you’ve already paid for it, so you’d better get your money’s worth, right?), unlimited booze, and 24/7 room service bringing chocolate chip cookies on a silver platter—literally!—it might be hard to get psyched about salad.
I admit it: I didn’t even try. And I work for Weight Watchers! I help create program materials for members, so I know how this “eating” thing works! Since I had already prepared for a gain, I returned to dry land a little rounder but a whole lot smarter. Here’s hoping that all the “lightbulb moments” I had along the way may make it easier for you to stay on track on the high seas.
On the boat: The tenth bite will never be as good as the first.
There’s a lot of food on a cruise. A lot. It was really hard to know when to say when. But I discovered that the food didn’t start tasting better the more I ate. And it wasn’t just my imagination: A study of 21 obese and 23 normal-weight women investigating a scientific concept called “sensory-specific satiety” found that the tasting pleasure of a certain food may decline as you eat it, particularly sweet and savory foods.
Back on land: That info helps me notice when a food stops giving me pleasure and I’m just eating out of habit, which makes it easier to stop before I get full.
On the boat: I am not a garbage can.
It wasn’t until the last day of our voyage that I remembered a quote from my favorite WW Leader (shout-out to Hal!): I am not a garbage can. Remembering these wise words gave me the strength to look at, say, the mound of bacon on my breakfast plate and think, “You know what? I’m good.”
Back on land: When I’m tempted by my kid’s leftover spaghetti, I just remember Hal’s motto. I’m not a garbage can, so why treat myself like one?
On the boat: Sometimes it’s worth it.
At Weight Watchers, I’ve learned I can eat anything—I just can’t eat everything. But sometimes, having that treat you really, really want could be worth it. Enjoying an ice cream bar with my son or a glass (OK, bottle) of wine with my husband while staring out at the ocean? Totally worth it.
Back on land: Three-hours-old pizza in the conference room? Soooo not worth it.
On the boat: Savor the memorable bites you can’t get at home.
Some of the food on the cruise was absolutely delicious. (I’m looking at you, warm, sticky date pudding.) But most of it was just… food. Yes, a hot fudge sundae is awesome, but I can also find it practically anywhere. What’s so special about that?
Back on land: When I go out, I now spend my SmartPoints on things I can’t get anywhere else, like a cup of freshly made clam chowder on Cape Cod. Instead of just a routine, eating becomes an experience. And experiences become memories.
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