Walking On The Red Sea & Slow Food On Silversea: A Transformation Of Self Begins

Me Walking On Red Sea
Me, walking on the Red Sea, good for body and soul.

I was getting fat. Fortunately, my 6’5″ frame could carry a bit of extra weight, but my pants were becoming increasingly difficult to button. In the past three years, I had put on 20 pounds, and what was alarming to me was that the pants were still getting tighter and the scales still inching upward. Where would it end?

Like many who cruise, I blamed my excess weight on my lifestyle at sea. But if cruising were to blame, why was Paolo, Silver Spirit’s hotel director, so fit and trim? What about Captain Corsaro? He lives a life at sea, and yet he’s no chunk. Nor were the others who work on Silver Spirit. Okay, there were one or two chefs who had a tummy, but those were testaments, no doubt, to their dedication and commitment to their craft.

Yes, cruise cuisine, ever abundant and delicious, tempts tummies, but it was time for me to take charge of my life – and my waistline. So last week, upon boarding Silver Spirit, I put into practice something I had long suspected:

There are few, if any, better places to begin a lifestyle transformation than on a long, luxury cruise.

Long and luxury are the operational keywords: Long, because any radical shift in lifestyle requires time to become habit; and luxury, because the quality – and variety – of food is typically greater on small luxury cruise ships than on large cruise ships.

Where better then to start my transformation than on Silver Spirit? Cruising from Dubai to Southampton, with more than four weeks on the luxury vessel, I decided to use the resources available on the ship to make a shift in lifestyle.

I made two commitments to myself.

1) I would exercise every day. That’s not to say that I would use the fitness center daily. Rather, I would take the stairs instead of the elevators, walk and/or run on the jogging deck, do pushups and other exercises on my balcony or in my suite, and yes, hit the gym occasionally.

Today marks my eighth day on Silver Spirit, and I’ve honored my commitment every day. I’m not burning huge numbers of calories (about 400 for 30 minutes of brisk walking), but the motion does help. Truth be told, I started preparing for this new lifestyle a few weeks ago, and I am beginning to see progress. My pants no longer require a shoehorn to button. And I am using a new notch in my belt.

2) I would consume in moderation. Not one to refuse a glass of bubbly, I vowed that I would limit alcohol consumption to no more than two glasses each day – and on some days, no alcohol at all.

I do love champagne, and Silver Spirit makes available half a dozen or so complimentary brands, so on this cruise, I’ve typically had one glass before dinner and a glass of red wine with dinner.

Also, I vowed that the majority of my meals would be healthy ones. I resolved that I would have to get used to eating food with the consistency and taste of cardboard. Not so.

First, Silversea emphasizes so-called “Slow Food,” a movement that encourages healthy ingredients, preparation and consumption. With its heritage in Italy, where the Slow Food movement began, Silversea is a leader in this healthy dining trend. Slow Food is delicious, the essence of real Italian cuisine and of Silversea.

Second, Silversea offers delicious wellness (and also vegetarian) options at every meal. A couple of nights ago, the wellness options comprised all three courses of the Relais & Chateaux (chef’s) recommendations. The wellness options are delicious and nutritious.

I’ll be reporting on my progress during the course of this cruise and providing tips that will, hopefully, help others facing the same challenges I confront.

Please join in the discussion and let me know how you manage your lifestyle at sea. What’s your strategy for eating and exercising on your cruise?

Chefs
Me versus them: The chefs of Silver Spirit. Fortunately, they embrace wellness and the Slow Food philosophy, so that healthy dining on Silversea is a pleasurable experience.

Join the Conversation

Colonelretwes says:

good for you Ralph….when u do a lap on the Spirit’s jogging track consider going up/down every stairwell (if I recall there are about 128 steps at stairwells (above pool grill, port/starboard stairwells from deck 10 to deck 9, stairwell (port/starboard) by outdoor deck of panorama lounge you can go down to deck 8 and then deck 7 (La Terraza). keep up the good exericse work and when u exceed you goal, suggest a reward (vino, bubbly, desert)

Anonymous says:

Thanks Wes. I’ve got it down on the rewards part! Things are going well so far, and I’m sticking with it and not feeling as though I am depriving myself. I’ll try the steps, maybe every fifth lap or something like that. I feel better. Thanks for the encouragement!

Cruisetalkshow says:

I have a unique regiment during cruises to avoid weight gain. I take high quality supplements, particularly Omega 3 and a decent multi vitamin. Another issue with travel is the occasional gastral intestinal problems from eating such rich foods or foreign foods. To avoid illness from the foods, I take a special powder supplement that protects my intestinal system and boosts my immune system from the inside. After I started taking these supplements, I don’t get sick during my trips anymore. When we went to China, everyone in our group got some sort of head cold or congestion, except for my wife and I….we felt great the whole trip. I’m in my element when I’m on a ship at sea, so I do a lot of walking, that I might not do at home, and I often take the stairs, and of course I walk a lot in the ports. I thinks it’s possible to go on a cruise and not gain weight with the right person system in-place. Congrats to you Ralph for getting out there and losing the extra pounds and exercising! See you on the 5th of May in Taormina!

Anonymous says:

Thanks Barry. Good suggestions. I take Omega 3 on the ship also, BUT I wonder if they’re necessary with all of the seafood I am consuming. Any thoughts on that?

Charlie says:

My wife, Sue and I make it a rule never to use an elevator when we cruise. We try to walk everywhere we can, especially in large cities like Paris. If it looks somewhat close on a map, we walk. We’ll take a subway or train to maximize our time, but ultimately walking is always the best choice. http://www.LZTravel.com Charlie Shimkus

Anonymous says:

Thanks Charlie. This is the first cruise where I’ve purposely avoided every opportunity to take the elevator. And I think it makes a difference. Coincidentally, I read this article while heading to this cruise Is Sitting a Lethal Activity? – NYTimes.com

Dan I says:

Right on, Ralph. We walk a lot when onboard and take the stairs. I stopped running years ago when I got pain in the leg — but walk regularly, or lightly jog. On ships we take stairs 90% of the time. it’s often difficult to do floor exercises in one’s stateroom for lack of sufficient space, but most ships provide an area in the fitness center where you can floor stretches, sit-ups and the like. Also, on shore calls, we look for opportunities to walk, and for shore excursions that provide that. Of course, one eats and drinks more onboard usually, so it’s a never ending battle. While I’m overweight, and haven’t been very successful dropping weight much, I’ve at least maintained my weight…

Anonymous says:

Thanks Dan. Good advice. On Silver Spirit, the balconies are large enough to do floor exercises. Plus, the balcony is a great setting. I agree that inside the stateroom is not the best for that. Also, room service every few nights helps me control portions, etc. Hope I can sustain it!

Valerie says:

Bravo Ralph!!
Yes a long luxury cruise is an ideal situation to focus on creating a healthy lifestyle and does take a lot of self discipline. With my 103 World Cruise on Crystal, I did just that. Besides the exercise, I stayed away from the pasta’s, white flour and dairy but did indulge in dessert, but only a bite or 2. It’s important to make Healthy choices as a lifestyle, but please do enjoy and savor small indulgences.

I’m loving my Spa pass to the Ojai Valley Inn, it’s heaven & I go everyday for 1-3 hours and usually have a private lesson in the exercise classes. Pilates is great for learning how to use your core for breathing and moving… strengthening the stomach muscles.. I believe in variety for exercise and to have fun too without over doing it, swimming, dancing, etc…
Cheers and happy the ship made it safe through pirate territory…aaarrrrrr
Valerie

Valerie says:

Bravo Ralph!!
Yes a long luxury cruise is an ideal situation to focus on creating a healthy lifestyle and does take a lot of self discipline. With my 103 World Cruise on Crystal, I did just that. Besides the exercise, I stayed away from the pasta’s, white flour and dairy but did indulge in dessert, but only a bite or 2. It’s important to make Healthy choices as a lifestyle, but please do enjoy and savor small indulgences.

I’m loving my Spa pass to the Ojai Valley Inn, it’s heaven & I go everyday for 1-3 hours and usually have a private lesson in the exercise classes. Pilates is great for learning how to use your core for breathing and moving… strengthening the stomach muscles.. I believe in variety for exercise and to have fun too without over doing it, swimming, dancing, etc…
Cheers and happy the ship made it safe through pirate territory…aaarrrrrr
Valerie

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