How to Enjoy a Cruise. . . Without Going Overboard!

By Michelle May, M.D.

We just returned from a cruise to Mexico. We’re from Phoenix so we weren’t escaping the cold, just the dirt and our busy lives. We met a nice couple at dinner the first night with a cruise-mindset pretty typical of the sort of thing we heard all over the ship: “We already know we’ll gain ten pounds.” With their cruise-mindset, I’ll bet they did!

On the other hand, my husband and I continued to use our “eat what you love, love what you eat” mindset throughout the cruise and each gained just a pound – which we’re blaming on the margaritas!

cruise shipOvercoming the Cruise-Mindset

So how do you enjoy a cruise (or any vacation) without going overboard? You don’t need to deprive yourself but you do need to change your thinking from the cruise-mindset (CM) to an Eat What You Love mindset (EWYL).

To show you the difference, I’ll use examples from each of the decision points in the Am I Hungry? Eating Cycle. (To review the Eating Cycle, see Chapter 1 of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat or download it here.) Of course, even if you aren’t going on a cruise, the Eat What You Love mindset applies to any situation where there’s an abundance of food – in other words, every day of your life!

Why? (Why do I eat?)

CM: I’m on vacation so I’m going to eat as much as I want.
EWYL: I’m on vacation so I’m going to eat as much as I want, but not more than I need.

CM: I dieted before I came and I’ll go back on my diet when I get home to lose what I gain. I better enjoy it while I can.
EWYL: I eat what I love and love what I eat every day.

When? (When do I eat?)

CM: Food is everywhere all the time so I can eat constantly.
EWYL: Food is everywhere all the time so I can wait to eat until I’m actually hungry.

What? (What do I eat?)Mexican_lunch

CM: The buffets are amazing! I’m going to try everything.
EWYL: The buffets are amazing! I can choose what I love and skip the rest.

CM: The food is so good!
EWYL: Some of the food is so good. When it isn’t, I don’t bother with more than a bite.

CM: I don’t want to miss out on anything.
EWYL: The food just keeps showing up so there’s no need to worry about missing a thing.

CM: I’m not going to worry about what I eat this week.
EWYL: I eat to meet my needs for nourishment and enjoyment no matter where I am.

How Much? (How much do I eat?)

CM: I have to get my money’s worth.
EWYL: I get my money’s worth when I eat exactly what I need. More than that is a waste of food and makes me feel uncomfortable.

CM: I’m on vacation so I’m going to splurge.
EWYL: I’m on vacation so I going to enjoy some new foods and activities.

CM: I’m going to eat until I’m unconscious.
EWYL: I’m going to eat until I feel content then I’m going to relax with a good book.

Where? (Where do I use my fuel?)

CM: I’ll eat until I’m stuffed tonight but I’ll hit the gym to make up for it tomorrow.
EWYL: I’ll eat until I’m comfortable tonight. Maybe I’ll check out the gym tomorrow.

CM: Why exercise? I’m on vacation!
EWYL: Why exercise? I’m on vacation! I can swim, walk on the beach, dance, kayak, and rock climb.

CM: I know I’ll gain ten pounds.
EWYL: I know I’ll enjoy an abundance of wonderful food and come home feeling great!

By changing your cruise-mindset to an eat what you love, love what you eat mindset, you’ll enjoy your cruise or vacation without taking it home with you.