I am happy to report that I just took a vacation, that included a cruise on the Elbe River from Prague to Berlin, and I didn’t gain any weight!
Although I think that I’ve changed my eating habits so that I don’t feel like I’m on a diet, I was worried about a “relapse” on vacation. I did not want to gain back the weight I have lost. I was thrilled when I got home, checked the scale, and found that I weighed exactly the same as the day I left.
What’s the secret?
For the most part, I followed the same guidelines as at home:
- Eat as many fruits and veggies as possible.
- Skip the bread, pastries, and processed foods. Go for potatoes or rice over noodles.
- If it’s not good, don’t eat it just because it’s there.
- It's OK to eat dessert, but don’t go crazy.
- Keep moving - get some exercise.
How did this work on the cruise?
- Breakfast and lunch on the cruise were served buffet style. That made it easy. There were always fruits and veggies on the buffet, and I loaded up on them, along with meats at lunch and eggs at breakfast. For breakfast I also had 1 slice of bacon, small piece of lox, and a small (half portion) bowl of oatmeal with all the toppings every day.
- Dinner portions we not too big, and the main course had a veggie, meat and potato. The first half of the week, I ate half of the potatoes. About half way thru, I realized I could substitute a second vegetable for the potato, and I did that the rest of the week. I liked the double veggies even more than the potatoes.
- Every evening, one of the dessert options was fruit (mango, papaya, kiwi, pineapple, pear, etc). Several evenings I ordered 2 desserts, the fruit AND one of the other desserts.
- The cruise included wine and beer at meals. I stuck to the red wine (with anti-oxidants). They filled the glasses freely.
- I was not tempted to eat the bread or pastries. I do not know why not. In the past I would have had them regularly, but somewhere along the line my tastes or mindset have changed. I didn’t have any pastries or bread and didn’t feel deprived.
- The ship offered a tai-chi type of exercise class each morning. I took advantage of this, as well as lots of waking at each port. The ship was small, and didn’t have any fitness facilities. I had planned to try running once during the week but due to the ship schedule and the cobblestones at many European ports, this never happened.
Off the ship:
- I walked a lot. I took all the walking tours that were offered. When there was extra time in the morning or evening when the boat was in port, we went for a walk to explore the towns on our own.
- I tried either Apple Strudel or local beer at each port.
Being in Europe, mostly Germany, for almost 2 weeks, I noticed that very few people were obese. The overall population was much thinner than in the USA. In addition:
- People ride bikes. At the shopping malls, the bike racks were full. I never saw any parking lot for cars by the malls.
- Water is not routinely served in restaurants. The first time I asked for water, I got a bottle of water that was over $3. Beer is often the least expensive drink..
- In the big cities, the public transportation was inexpensive and easy to use. It was also crowded - people take advantage of it.
The bottom line: The biggest change between this vacation, where I did not gain weight, and previous vacations where I typically gain 5 pounds, was that I ate extra vegetables and very little bread or other starches. I continue to feel great, have energy, and my clothes fit better. I'm sticking with the plan, and it doesn't feel like a diet. You too, can Beat the Creep on vacation.