Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Travel Tips

I had intended to post before we went on our big vacation, but in hindsight I'm glad I didn't because I didn't stick to my plan 100%.  James and I spent the second half of January- 15 days- on a cruise to Hawaiian.  (You can read all about the fun on my other blog.)

James and I do travel a lot, and over the years we've gathered up a few tips for staying on track with diet and exercise.  Cruises are difficult, and this trip was especially challenging since it was two weeks.  We were only in port in Hawaii for five days, so the other at sea days were we very much confined and limited on what/where we could eat.

One of the tips I've learned over the years applies to both cruising and staying in hotels.  I simply don't go out for breakfast.  Our preferred hotel chain that we always stay at has free breakfast, as most hotels do these days.  But even so, one could get in trouble by treating this as an all-you-can-eat buffet because let's face it, it sort of is.  And it's "free" so there's another reason to load up.  And if I went downstairs to see all the offerings, I would probably be tempted.  So I never ever go downstairs for breakfast.  James always goes to get me breakfast, and brings it back to the room.  Hotel and cruise alike.  Having said this, it's important to have a wonderful amazing husband willing to do this in the first place!  But when we travel, James usually wakes up hungry and I don't- I'm slow to want something to eat in the mornings and not very motivated to get moving towards the dining room.  And James has one simple rule that he has to follow for me- bring me ONE item only.  Not a plate filled with pastries, not three different muffins.  Just ONE thing.  Normally it's just a bagel- that and a cup of coffee and it's exactly the amount of food I need.

Although I know it's not recommended, I sometimes skip breakfast depending on what time I get going.  At home breakfast is usually just toast- breakfast meals like bacon or omelets don't interest me.  If I know we're going to be eating lunch at noon on the dot, I'm not likely to eat breakfast at 9:30 knowing I have another meal coming shortly.  For those of you who cruise, you may know about the sea day brunches, at least on our cruise line.  On those days, because the brunch is pretty spectacular, I skip breakfast and we eat brunch early.  It's a big meal and even at 11:30am, it's enough to get me through until dinner.

On cruises James and I learned long ago that the buffet food just isn't worth it.  Standing in line for a heap of glop, wandering around with your tray looking for an open table.  Yep it's a paradise of gluttony, but it's very poor quality- I would rate it mediocre at best.  There were a few afternoons where we went to the buffet for salads, or maybe to snag one slice of pizza to go.  But that's it.  No dinners there for certain.  I've posted about this before, but on cruises we go to the dining room.  It's instant portion control.  For normal people that is- we see some people ordering two entrees or two desserts, simply because there is no extra cost.  Dining room meals are already three courses- starter, entree, and dessert.  Along with that comes a bread basket and butter.  The portions in the dining room are small, and that's perfect for me, if only I can stay out of the hot rolls.  I told myself in advance, I don't have to order all three courses, and there were a few nights where I didn't.  Some nights none of the appetizers sounded good, and I even skipped dessert on a few occasions.  I was either full already, or it just didn't sound delicious enough to add on the calories.

Probably the most important thing I do on cruises is to drink only water.  Soda costs extra on the ship, and even though it's a one time fee, I know that if I "paid" to get soda I would be drinking a big Coke at every opportunity.  There are a few other free drinks on the ship- coffee, lemonade, juice.  But I have to trudge all the way up to Lido deck to get those and well, it's hard to motivate me to go that far just for a small sip of OJ.  So at every meal in the dining room, it's water water water.  Oh yes, and I don't drink alcohol at all, so that's not even something I need to think about.

I wish I could say I exercised every day.  That was going to be the plan.  I got on the treadmill the first morning, and that was it.  I think about how much better my weight would have been, had I stuck to a morning routine.  But I confess I caught a flu-like bug right away and felt more like sleeping in than jumping up out of bed to throw on my sneakers.  We do, however, always take the stairs.  We like to stay on a lower deck (closer to the water) so we're always trekking up and down to get to all the fun.  Even dressed up in heels, I made myself take the stairs to dinner, to the shows, to trivia, to the coffee shop.  Besides, at meal times, the elevators are notoriously slow and crowded.

I would like to think that all the small things I did on this trip, helped keep my weight gain to only 3.5 pounds.  Yep, that was it.  For two weeks.  I was amazed.  Normally when we go on vacation for a week, I just indulge without thought, and I almost always come back 7-10 pounds up.  I was really worried about what I would gain in two weeks if I kept to my normal vacation behavior.  So cutting back on some of my portions and trying to get in a bit of activity every day, made this trip a success as far as my weight was concerned.  And yes, I am ready to go back to Hawaii again as soon as possible!!!