You gained HOW MUCH on that cruise?!

FB_IMG_1485373261825While being interviewed a few days ago, one of the ship’s food and beverage managers said that passengers gain an average of one to two pounds per day on a cruise. Per day! Not bad if this were only a weeklong cruise. But this one lasts eighteen days.

Could I actually gain thirty-six pounds? Not that I don’t like a challenge, but that’s how much I lost fifteen years ago and promised myself I’d NEVER have to lose again. Besides, I gave away all my fat clothes.

So this is one area in which I am determined to stay well BELOW average.

I do expect the scale to be up a bit. After all, I’m on vacation and the food is delicious and plentiful. The dining room offers modest portions of delectable dishes, appetizers, and desserts, all included in what you already paid for the cruise. So, it’s practically free.

Or one can choose to eat at the buffet. It’s a more casual atmosphere and there are more choices.  Besides, you don’t have to share your table with eight strangers as you do in the dining room. That’s helpful if, like me, your traveling companion resides at the extreme end of introvert spectrum.

Trouble is, at a buffet you can take as much as you like of anything and go back for seconds. Or thirds. Or— you get the idea.

And then there is room service. Food, drinks, whatever you want, brought to you. Day or night.

To counteract this increase in intake there is a well-equipped gym, a running/walking track, fitness classes, and stairs. So many stairs. Yoga, spin, belly dancing, and boot camp give passengers plenty of opportunities to burn off a few of the extra desserts and cocktails. 

However, I’ve learned you can’t out exercise a bad diet. I can eat way faster than I can run.

I just have to make good food choices and move my lady-like keester. You know, that motivation thing. Overcoming excuses–too hot, too cold, ooh look, ice cream! And setting priorities– I really ought to finish reading that book, or work on my novel, or check my email… You know, that stuff.

That being said, I’m at the gym the other morning, using the elliptical when I notice a middle-aged Asian gentleman on a stationary bike. He finishes, reaches for his collapsible cane and feels his way to the towel rack and the next machine in his circuit. Yes, he was blind. By himself. On vacation. On a boat. And did I mention he was blind?

My excuses paled in comparison. I hung my head and powered through a few more sweaty minutes and a 30-minute stretch class before climbing the stairs to breakfast. Then I strolled right past the sweet rolls and pancakes, the biscuits and gravy,  and the explicably ever-present baked beans on toast. I selected poached eggs, wheat toast, and as much fresh pineapple and melon as I could fit on my plate.

Day 15 and I can still zip and button my capris. I’ll take that as a win.


Healthy Habits for Happy Humans #2, Baby Steps

gentle to selfMost of us have watched a child learn to walk, roller skate, or play the clarinet. They didn’t start out proficient, did they? There were plenty of stumbles and falls and a few screeches along the way. Nonetheless, we didn’t criticize or belittle their efforts. We applauded and encouraged them, understanding the each little step was necessary to the next.
Unfortunately, we rarely give ourselves the same privilege when we set out to learn something new, like eating healthier or moving more. We call ourselves weak or stupid. Or worse.
I submit that the fault is not in ourselves, but in our expectations. We expect perfection of our very imperfect, very human selves. Perhaps the goal—perfect compliance with new learning— was too big.
Don’t get me wrong. Lofty, long-term goals are important and worthwhile, but so are all the steps leading to them. Break that big goal into smaller goals. How small? So small that you are absolutely certain of success. And when you achieve that little bitty goal, don’t belittle it, celebrate it. Soon, you’ll feel more capable and ready to take the next step. Success breeds success.
Start where you are, with what you have, just one small step from where you are right this minute.smallest step
Some examples:
Want be more active? If you can only walk five minutes away from home and five minutes back, do that. Then next week, add five minutes. If you are walking twenty minutes a day, make it thirty. Already at thirty? Make it forty.
Already hitting the gym three times a week for an hour? Add a day.
If you wear an activity monitor (pedometer, Fitbit, or the like), spend a few days seeing what “normal” is for you. Then bump up your steps a bit each week until reach the recommended 10,000 a day. Maybe your goal will be to find that pedometer and wear it. Or buy one.
Want to eat more fruits and vegetables? Start where you are. Not eating any? Replace one snack a day with an apple or banana. Already eating some but not the five-a-day? Include a fruit or vegetable with every meal or snack.
Not sure what you’re eating? Keep a food diary for one day. Or two. Or a full week. Observe what foods, situations and times of the day trip you up.
Start small. Set a goal that is too small to fail, but not too small to matter.
What one baby step will you take this week? Care to share?

It makes me feel like dancing

When I started wearing my Fitbit, I was pretty much convinced that I was already moving enough to maintain my weight. After losing 35 pounds twelve years ago with Weight Watchers, my healthy eating and activity habits are pretty well-documented and well…habitual. I refuse to eat less than my recommended budget. My mantra: Don’t do anything to lose weight that you aren’t willing to do to keep it off.
Moreover, I’ve been a WW leader for seven years. I know this stuff. But I’m also in my sixties and retired. And the scale was giving me feedback I didn’t like. But seriously, shouldn’t that sweaty 45 minutes on the elliptical four times a week, a yoga class, a long walk every Friday, little walks in between, and living in a three-story house be enough? I mean I’m not THAT sedentary, right? Continue reading “It makes me feel like dancing”

To walk or to write, that is the question

Three weeks into January. Time to assess progress toward my New Year’s walker

Want to know what I’ve discovered? My goals are in direct conflict with one another. Yup. I mean, what was I thinking?

What are those two opposing goals? Walking more and writing more. The trouble, of course, is that one requires sitting on my butt at the computer for hours at a time and the other requires that I …uhm… don’t. Continue reading “To walk or to write, that is the question”