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How to enjoy a cruise without going overboard

By Michelle May, M.D.

Mexican lunch My husband and I 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!

Overcoming 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?)

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 do?)

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.

P.S. Have you taken our Eating Cycle Assessment to find out whether you typically follow an instinctive eating cycle, overeating cycle, or restrictive eating cycle?


About the author

Michelle May, M.D. is a recovered yo-yo dieter and the founder of the Am I Hungry?® Mindful Eating Programs and Training. She is the award-winning author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat: A Mindful Eating Program to Break Your Eat-Repent-Repeat Cycle , winner of seven publishing awards. She is also the author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat with Diabetes, Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat for Binge Eating, and Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating for Bariatric Surgery. Michelle shares her compelling message and constructive keynotes with audiences around the country, offers workplace wellness programs, and has trained and licensed hundreds of health professionals to facilitate Am I Hungry?® Mindful Eating Programs worldwide. She has been featured on Dr. Oz, the Discovery Health Channel, and Oprah Radio, and quoted in Diabetic Living, Fitness, Health, Huffington Post, Parents, Self, USA Weekend, US News & World Report, WebMD and many others. Her personal success story was published in Chicken Soup for the Dieter's Soul. Michelle cherishes her relationships with her husband, Owen and grown children, Tyler and Elyse. She regularly enjoys practicing yoga and hiking near her home in Phoenix, Arizona. She and Owen, a professional chef, share a passion for gourmet and healthful cooking, wine tasting, photography, and traveling.

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