Obesity & Cruising: Meal Times, 3 Courses Under 800 Calories,Sugarfree Dessert

  • Traveling is fun and exciting, however it can pose challenges when you are watching what you eat and how much you weigh.  As I mentioned previously, I went on a cruise to Alaska and just returned this past Saturday.  It truly was a wonderful trip!

    Having never been on a cruise before, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Sure, more experienced cruisers told me about the waiters who take care of your table and dinner companions for the entire week.  They told me about the stateroom attendant who leaves towel animals on your bed each evening.  They told me how wonderful all the food would be.

    I found each of these things to be true.  Although there was no Midnight Buffet - seriously, who needs a full buffet at midnight anyways? - food could always be found.  For a short period of time, 2:00 am to 6:30 am, room service was the only option remaining if you just had to have a snack but I was happy to be sleeping most days during this time period.

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    Typical meal routine (for me) on the ship:

    • 6:30 am - 8:00 am - Breakfast in the Cafe
    • 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm - Lunch in the Restaurant
    • 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm - Dinner in the Restaurant
    • 12:00 am - Snack (one night I did eat a hotdog near the pool)

    With meals spread out this far, you do tend to feel hungry when the next one comes around.  Thankfully the portions served in the restaurant were reasonable, yet satisfying.  Of course, you could always order two starters, entrees, or desserts if you really wanted to.  Some of my table mates did this just to try more selections.  It’s amazing just to think of how the kitchen managed to feed 2300 people three meals a day (plus those of the crew members).

    One thing I was surprised to discover - and I should not truly have been surprised - is that at each restaurant meal, there was always at least one option of a complete 3-course meal which had 800 calories or less.  The dessert choices always included multiple items which were sugar-free which certainly helps any diabetics onboard.  Eating a lighter, healthier meal was easy.

    As for beverages, orange juice was popular at breakfast as was coffee.  Water was served at every meal and iced tea was available.  Sodas were an extra cost so not on my list of options.  (Trying to be somewhat reasonable with extraneous costs.)  But if you wanted wine, it flowed freely yet costly.  I happened to sit at a dinner table with women who ordered multiple bottles of wine for the week.  I had a few glasses “to help them out.”

    Even with these options, it was difficult to stay hydrated.  The water glasses in the cabin were small enough to empty in two full swallows.  The water goblets were average size but I lost track of how many times my waiter had to refill mine during a single meal.  I was thirsty a lot and so thankful to eat piles of melon and pineapples with each breakfast.  I needed the fluid it provided.

    With hydration being an issue, water retention was to be expected.  A few mornings I looked in the mirror and cringed at how round my face appeared.  After working so hard these past six months to gradually lose weight and after beginning to see a more slender face smiling back, I could have become distraught with this development.  However, I knew that it would likely happen so I wasn’t surprised.

  • Curious to know how my weight was affected by the vacation?

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    Well, I’m still figuring that out myself.  The day my flight returned, I did step on my bathroom scale at home and clocked in at 11 pounds heavier than the day I left.  But wait - the next morning (Sunday), the scale registered only 8.5 pounds heavier.  On Monday, it was 5 pounds.  Today it is only 3.3 pounds heavier than when I left on this 10-day voyage.

    Obviously I came home carrying much more fluid than when I left.  Just as my body did after the Memorial Day holiday, it is dumping this excess water weight in a short period of time.  Where it will settle?  I’m not sure right now.  Hopefully it won’t be long before I am working on that 2nd 10% weight loss.

    As I said in January, I do not expect this journey to be an easy one or one which is straight.  There will be twists and turns along the way.  With all of the traveling I’ve been doing in the past two months - Switzerland, North Carolina, Seattle, Alaska - I am pleased that the overall chart is still pointing downwards.  Certainly the rate of decline has declined and there have been big bumps along the way, but the weight is moving downwards nonetheless. 

    Fellow writers, Kimberly and Krista, have been through this journey.  I look to their experiences and know that I am not alone in my struggle.  I take heart that it took Krista three years to lose her 100 pounds.  So far I’m at 6 months and have lost 30 pounds.  Not bad, I’d say!

    Here’s photo of me at the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, Alaska on June 20, 2010.

    Lisa at Mendenhall Glacier 2010

    June 27, 2010
    Weight: 249.6
    Blood Pressure: 119/77
    Pulse: 77

    June 29, 2010
    Weight: 244.5


    Lisa Emrich is author of the blog Brass and Ivory: Life with MS and RA and founder of the Carnival of MS Bloggers.

Published On: June 29, 2010