The Pound Patch

I once asked a woman how her cruise was. “OK,” she said, “but the food was awful.” She continued, “I gained five pounds!”

That’s still a tough one for me to understand, unless she was just eating, and eating and eating until she tasted something good.

On my first cruise, back in the days when ships had portholes that could be opened, I saw a pair of pants go flying out the porthole and into the sea. That I understood. No sense having a pair of pants around that have obviously shrunk in the Caribbean humidity.

Gaining weight is probably the one thing, even more than seasickness, that one fears when getting on a cruise ship. More so than Norovirus? You bet. With Norovirus you might be down for a few days, but hey, you’ll lose a pound.

The way one’s subconscious wrestles with weight can pop up in strange ways. At one table, grouper was on the menu.

“What is Grouper?” a woman asked.

I explained that it was a white fish that sometimes got as big as 300 pounds.

“Oh”, she exclaimed, “I’m really not that hungry.”

Another woman, after demolishing a huge plate of pasta, got angry with her waiter.

“I told you I wanted a small portion,” she whined.

“There was a small portion in there,” I said.


And this, my friends, is the crux of the whole gaining weight thing.

I’d be willing to bet a chocolate mousse that your parents were constantly telling you to clean your plate. Mine were fixated on the plight of starving Chinese children, as if my eating everything on my plate somehow helped their proletarian predicament.

Well, we are all grown up now, and telling our children the same thing. Since we are wearing clothes to the dinner table that were made in China, it’s kind of hard to conjure up the antique oriental image. Perhaps now, it’s the hungry in New Orleans. Whatever, your kids and mine will all gain weight on cruises.

Based on this shaky rationale, and as removed as we may be from China, New Orleans, and our parents; we “need” to eat every scrap on our plates, and on cruises they put a lot of scraps on the plate. And at the buffet, if they don’t, you do.

So what to do? Let’s deal with the buffet first. Do not fill your plate with food as you go down the line. A bit of this, and a bit of that, kind of a poor man’s tasting menu will work just fine. Then, if you are still hungry after eating the smaller portion, why, you can get up and go back for more. The walk will do you good. The chances are, however, if you follow rule #3, you will be satisfied and even be able to reward yourself with dessert. And take two bites only.

As far as the waiter-served meals, never, never, never clean your plate. Remember how wrong your parents were about (fill in the name) in High School, Well, they were wrong about how cleaning your plate would be of any benefit to the starving Chinese too, that is if there actually were any. There are two ways to waste food. One is to put it down the garbage disposal, and one is to put it in a non-hungry stomach. Don’t forget, the more food that goes down the disposal, the fewer new belts you’ll have to buy.

But, you say, I didn’t feel full. You are not supposed to be full!!! On a cruise ship you can eat the very second you feel the tiniest hunger pang. Remember that. The second you are not hungry, stop eating.

And until they come up with a Pound Patch that works like the seasickness patch, you must follow rule #3. Finish chewing and swallowing a forkful of food before you fill the fork again. Take stock, and you’ll see most people will still be chewing as they put the next mound in their mouth. Follow this simple rule and you’ll give your stomach a chance to display the occupied sign. And, contrary to the TV commercials warning, do try this at home.

I am leaving on October 27th on the Azamara Journey, and the food is heralded as outstanding. I am betting I’ll lose three pounds. I’ll blog and include my weight fluctuation every day. If you are on this trip with me, see if you can beat me. Oh, one thing, no hours and hours in the gym. I don’t go there.

If you equal my -3 pounds, I’ll see you at the midnight buffet. My treat!

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