How not to gain weight on a resort or cruise vacation

Hi Frugalistas!  While I love heading to Europe and being on the go, there are times when a resort holiday is just the thing I need.  An opportunity to sit in the sun, be still and enjoy the balmy weather.  Recharge the batteries, and have fun relaxing as a family.  While resort or cruise vacations (holidays) can be fun and relaxing, they are also tiger country, if like me, you sometimes love your food just a little too much.  So here are my favourite tips on how to not gain weight on a resort vacation:

Eating at the buffet

You arrive at your resort on the first day, and invariably your eyes pop at the delights of that buffet.  The temptation is, of course, to just eat everything on the first day.  The thing to remember is that there will be plenty of delicious food again tomorrow – you don’t need to eat everything now.  Save yourself….

plates of hot food on a buffet

Start with something safe.  At lunch or in the evening that means a plate of salad or a light shellfish dish (such as natural oysters or a plate of plain shrimp/prawn).  Go for a light, or even no, dressing rather than the thick creamy ones.  Breakfast time is easy – a plate of delicious local fruits.  This will help take the edge off your appetite, and will stop you from feeling deprived by not visiting the buffet so often.

white bowl of fresh fruit salad

Create your own tasting plate.  Cruise the buffet and work out what looks good.  You don’t need a full serve of everything to appreciate your choices.  Curate your own “tasting plate” of your favourite choices.  Make it look beautiful and special.  Think about dishes that will go together nicely and complement each other.  Just like in a restaurant.  Return to your table and indulge……

Bulk up your plate.  Fill your plates with vegetables and salads rather than rich food.  You don’t need me to write a blog post on this – you know it’s the right thing to do.

white plate with oysters on the shell

Watch rich foods and heavy cream sauces.  Whether it’s the dessert bar or the more savoury dishes, don’t eat only heavy cream-laden and other rich foods.  Are there simple grilled fish on offer rather than fried?  Do you have to have both the cheesecake and the chocolate mousse at the same sitting?  Balance your plate and your meal.  If you’ve gone heavy on the rich main courses (entrees) stick to lighter desserts.

Keeping on track at the bar

bar with shelves with bottles of alcoholic drinks

Don’t we all love cocktails?  Cocktails and resort stays just seem to go together don’t they?  Again, it’s another opportunity to blow some serious calories if you are unwary.

So, avoid the cream, milk and coconut based cocktails in favour of water or fruit based drinks.  Stick to the “simpler” recipes – the more spirits, liqueurs and syrups your drink contains, the more calories it is likely to have.

margarita in a cocktail glass and a mint based mocktail in a tall glass

Slow down.  Alternate your cocktails with soda or mineral waters with lemon or mint added for some interest.  If you are settling in for a long session at the bar, go for wine spritzers or other low calorie (and alcohol) options.

Keep moving

It’s so easy to settle down beside the pool for the day, isn’t it?  Any passing waiter will bring you anything you want, but movement is your best friend.

Do lots of incidental movement.  Get up and go to the bar to order your drink or meal rather than relying on the waiter.  Go back to your room yourself to get things you’ve forgotten.

In the pool.  While you are in the pool itself, how about some do it yourself aquarobics, or dare I say it, do some proper serious swimming?

swimming pool with grass and white gazebo

Walk.  Another obvious one, but so easy not to do, if you aren’t paying attention.  Put the golf buggy away and walk around the resort itself.  Walk into town, along the beach or even just around your resort.  If there are stairs, use them.  Go on a walking tour – it’s fun to do some exploring even in very touristy locations, so even if it is a do it yourself walking tour off the local tourist office or resort map, get out and walk.

crowds at the Sunday market in port douglas

Take a day trip

Yes, you are likely to spend a lot of time on a boat or the bus, but day trips are a great way burn up some extra calories by getting in some extra walking, stair climbing or swimming.  Just watch the onboard snacks that undo all your hard work!

How not to gain weight on a cruise or resort vacation

Coming home from your cruise or resort stay and finding you don’t fit into your clothes is not fun.  Be prepared, and be conscious of what you are eating and drinking, and you too can come home trim, taut and terrific, without depriving yourself of anything!

What are your favourite tips for managing your weight on holiday?

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2 Comments on “How not to gain weight on a resort or cruise vacation”

  1. 06/08/2014 at 7:54 am #

    You hit the nail in the head with this post, Jo. I always gain weight when I go on vacation.

    • frugalfirstclasstravel 06/08/2014 at 6:33 pm #

      It’s really hard not to Anda. I have to try really hard, and stick rigidly to my program

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