|Morning Zumba on the deck with Cabo San Lucas in the background|
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Another Healthy Vacation
Last year I posted How to take a healthy cruise and have fun without the weight gain. Feeling pretty confident that I could do this again, Doug and I jumped at the chance when we got a great deal on a 10 day "Mind, Body & Spirit" cruise to the Mexican Riviera on the Crystal Symphony. But besides just focusing on the healthy food options, this time I focused on the full agenda of healthy lectures and activities.
Cruises and other types of "all inclusive" vacations can be dangerous if you slip into the mode of trying to "eat and drink your money's worth". But try to remember that the lovely memory of that last chocolate dessert fades long before the fat it put on your thighs! There are always wonderful food choices to make, especially on cruises where they bend over backwards to please you.
|Lots of wonderful ingredients for a salad. |
My favorites were beets, artichoke hearts, garbanzo beans and hearts of palm!
|Healthy fruit options for dessert but even the "decadent" desserts were presented in small, bite-sized servings|
Zumba - What a Surprise!
I adore Zumba. My mother was a great dancer and taught me and my brother how to dance as soon as we could walk. She especially liked Latin dance. So when I was introduced to Zumba, which is just doing fun dance-like exercises to Latin music, it was love at first sight. And although my mom passed away 7 years ago, I feel her dancing beside be in every Zumba class.
Even though I knew this was a "Mind, Body & Spirit" cruise, I didn't know that there were going to be Zumba classes! But not only were there classes (7 classes in 10 days!!), they had the best Zumba instructor that I've EVER had! Diane Hedrick has been a professional dancer all her life so Zumba was a good fit for her. Diane's energy was infectious and she managed to pick all my favorites tunes for her playlist. If you live in the greater Los Angeles area, you will really enjoy her classes. Even with 10 days of cruising, I managed not to gain any weight and my body fat actually went down a percent!
|Diane's energy is infectious. |
She inspired students from 20 to 80!
Besides Zumba, there were even more options for me to work off the wonderful food. Doug and I enjoyed taking ballroom dance classes and were lucky enough to have instructors that danced and looked like they just walked off Dancing with the Stars! We took our first dance classes on our honeymoon cruise and every time we take a lesson, we wonder why we don't do this more often!
|Ballroom dancing lessons with Latin Dance champions Mark Sasnovksi & Lizl Jooste|
|Yoga class with instructor Melanie Camp|
Posture Analysis and Stretch Exercises
By now you must have figured out that we found a deal with lots of "on board credit" so we took advantage of everything we would normally be too frugal to do. One of them was to have our posture analyzed by their fitness director, Rob.
After analyzing our posture, Rob gave us special exercises to do that would strengthen certain muscles. Then he gave us both a really good stretch. It was one of those things that "hurt so good".
|Rob stretched muscles I didn't know I had.|
I didn't know my leg could go back that far. Ouch!
Massage and Reflexology
I love getting massages but I rarely ever do it. When I asked the therapist how often I should get a massage, she said once a week! I'm lucky if I go once a year. But she's right, I definitely need to go more often. So to make up for lost time, I had two deep tissue massages and also some reflexology work. Reflexology is where they massage different zones of your feet that correspond to areas of your body. My girlfriend's reflexologist once insisted that she get a lung x-ray after massaging her foot and finding something unusual in the zone that corresponded to her lungs. After finally agreeing to get the lung x-ray, she was shocked to find that it revealed a large tumor! Thank goodness it was benign.
|Chantelle giving me a wonderful deep tissue massage|
Just a Walk around the Deck
One of my favorite things to do a cruise ship is to walk around the deck. On the last morning of the cruise, I popped out of bed at 6:00 AM to have one last walk. We were already docked in LA and I watched the sun rise as I walked a few miles. I met Joe, a 71 year old gentleman from Chicago, who joined me. As we walked, he told me how he had a heart bypass operation 20 years ago. Having heart disease at 50 certainly made him a true believer in exercise and healthy eating!
In between all these activities, there were some wonderful lectures - the best of which were given by nutritionist Keri Glassman. I took copious notes on her presentations and will summarize them in a separate post.
Vacation at Home
All this was great but we shouldn't wait until we can go on vacation to take care of ourselves. I realized that the most wonderful part of the vacation were things I can do at home. So if you can't get away right now, try one or more of these:
* Eat healthy meals - try some of the 200+ recipes on this blog.
* Find a zumba class near you at this class location website. If you are lucky enough to live in LA, sign up with Diane Hedrick!
* Find a yoga class at YogaFinder.
* Schedule a massage at a local spa or search the massage therapists directory.
* Put on a record and dance with your significant other or find a place to learn and practice ballroom dancing.
* Start your day with a long walk.
* End your day with a good stretch.