If you’ve been on a cruise, you’ve experienced it firsthand – walking off the ship several pounds heavier. I was shocked on my first one when I walked off not being able to fit into my pants. How did that happen? I’ve only been on here for four nights. It was like when I first arrived to live in London and was told by my experienced friends that I was just hit with the Heathrow Stick. Anyone making use of the UK working holiday visa was arriving for a ton of fun that included endless pints of snakebites and jugs of Pimms. It was a given that the weight would pile on and you’d start feeling sluggish and run down. Cruises are no different – it’s a time to unwind, make amazing memories and take advantage of the extraordinary amount of food and alcohol! Except on a cruise, all of this happens within a space of a week.

Academic Family Medicine (CAFM), including the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine, Association of Departments of Family Medicine, Association of Family Medicine

It means your health can go downhill very fast. We recently cruised the Western Caribbean for five nights on Carnival Vista. This was the first cruise I’ve been on where I walked off feeling great and weighing the same. In fact, my pants may have been a little looser. This time I was prepared. I proved that you can have a great family cruise vacation with a little indulgence and still walk off the ship feeling healthy and happy. Here’s how you can stay healthy on a cruise, yet still indulge and have a memorable time. On our first full day at sea on the cruise, I walked a total of 10 miles…10 miles! That was 23,679 steps. Our lives are so sedentary these days with most people commuting to work by wheels and then sitting down at a desk all day. We aren’t moving enough to keep our weight steady. If you’re not making your 10,000 steps, the weight will creep up.

I only caught the elevators once, and that was when we had to get our suitcases off the boat. It will take much longer to wait for the elevators anyway as most people are riding them. Ditching the elevators gifts you many stairs to walk up and down. Don’t be afraid. Not only will it help to keep off the weight, but it will also improve your cardio and strength. The restaurant was at the other end of the ship to our cabin and nightly shows, which meant we were walking back and forth along the length of the ship several times a day. Bear in mind, choosing to walk everywhere, and clocking up those miles, is not an excuse for you to practice gluttony. You’ll just cancel out all the work you’re doing. Every time I walked into the buffet and saw the long lines, quality and quantity of the food I questioned why on earth so many passengers chose to eat here.

I’m not a buffet person at all and being gluten free, it’s often too difficult for me to find something I can eat amongst the pasta and fried food. Here’s what’s going to happen if you go to the buffet – you’ll overeat. I’m a very conscious eater, with dietary concerns, and I still overeat at a buffet. Humans err on the side of indulgence. Take away the temptation. Not only was I horrified at the amount of food I saw people piling onto their plate for three meals a day, but I was also disgusted at the wastage of food. Your stomach can only fit in so much, despite how much your eyes want to argue against it. By eating in the restaurant, you can exercise more restraint. You pause more before ordering. Pausing is where consciousness arrives to make better choices. In the restaurant, you are served by the most beautiful humans on the boat. I LOVED my interactions with the waiters in the restaurant. We had great conversations with them and danced with them almost every night.

They do that in between service – break out into dances and celebration. The food in the restaurant is top notch. It’s like going out for a special occasion every evening. We had frog legs, salmon, lobster tails, and the most divine chocolate melting cake. We had three-course meals, but the portions were small, healthy and delicious. We could indulge with dessert every night without feeling guilty as it was one dish and one small portion. Plus, the food is cooked to order which means less chance of it sitting out in the buffet sprouting diseases. In the restaurant, you can order whatever you like from the menu and however much you want. I did hear of some people ordering four entrees. If you want to stay healthy, I recommend ordering food your stomach can manage. Your digestive system and liver work extremely hard, don’t overtax it or you will end up sick.

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If you have any dietary concerns, pre-order your meals the day before. We did this which ensured every course came out gluten free. The restaurant is also opened for breakfast and lunch on sea days. Again, I would skip the buffet and have a more enjoyable and healthy meal in the restaurant. We started our day each morning with healthy poached eggs and avocado toast. No choice like that in the buffet. You are exposed to much higher toxin levels when cruising. You have an abundance of food and alcohol to choose from. Often, you are mixing cuisines and eating foods your stomach is not used to. You’re traveling to foreign countries, which is a change your stomach and digestive system does not like. There are thousands of people on the boat, so you are exposed to many germs – God help the cruise if a virus breaks out. The number one thing you MUST NOT forget to take on the cruise with you is your bottle of probiotics.

The UP4 Ultra Probiotics with ultra-high potency is perfect for travelers is a higher potency for digestive and immune support – strengthening your gut and helping you keep those germs at bay. Make sure you take probiotics along for your children as well – The UP4 Kids Cubes come in the form of soft vanilla melts, which the kids will love. Savannah has a very sensitive stomach, and probiotics have done wonders for her. I take probiotics daily. It’s the best thing I have ever done for my health. I travel a lot and am rarely sick now. I can’t even remember the last time I caught a virus. The only issues I have are when I consume gluten, and the probiotics have helped immensely with how my body copes when I do. We have a sponsorship with Up4 Probiotics, which I arranged because I am a massive advocate for probiotics, in particular for travelers. I share it with you because it will help you stay healthy when you travel.


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