So you want to cruise your heart out and come back without piling on the pounds? Well yes, it’s not a dream – you can do it.

These 10 tips from the authors of a new book – Cruise Yourself Slim – will help you avoid the fat trap that leads most people to gain at least 4lb every 10 days at sea.

What’s more, being sociable, which is such a big part of cruising, is key to some of the tips. What more could you ask!

Follow this plan (or just a few of them will help) and your clothes won’t ‘shrink in the wardrobe’ and you won’t ‘roll down the gangway’ like so many cruise comics joke………….and the one over-riding message from all the tips is ‘slow down and think’. Not least because it takes about seven seconds for food to get from your mouth to your stomach but a whopping 20 minutes for the stomach to tell the brain it’s full.

No wonder we manage to fit in so many extra forkfuls or spoonfuls of fries, desserts and other naughty stuff before the ‘STOP EATING I’M FULL’ message from the body’s hormones kicks in!

1. Choose food that’s really special to you, not just ‘oh that’ll do’….. and eat that good bit first. People who leave the best till last will by definition eat everything on the plate, whether they want it or not!

2. Chew more! …. A weight loss study showed that people chewing more thoroughly lost more weight than those chewing less! You should get into this habit so you can fully appreciate all the tasty things on the menus – which are sometimes designed by famous, award-winning chefs!

3. Not with your mouth full…. Bleugh…. But spend time enjoying your partner’s company. TALK to your table-mates. Get to know them – you might become besties. (or decide you want to move table tomorrow night!) French women are renowned for being slimmer than other nationalities and the French way is to spend long, leisurely, mealtimes. What does this do? You guessed it. Slow down the whole proceedings.

4. Sit with your back to the buffet. The further away a person sits from the food at a buffet, the less likely they are to overeat – so put as much distance as possible between you and the food and make sure you can’t see it and be tempted by going up for a second ‘dip’!

5. If no-one’s watching, use the wrong hand to hold your cutlery. Bonkers? Try it! Who’s going to know which hand you usually use (unless you drop food every time but then that would save you more calories!) This one will slow you down for sure.

6. When you’re offered chopsticks, use them. Unless you’re an expert, that’s sure to slow down your food intake. Not a good idea with spaghetti, or when out with the in-laws, but worth a thought. It’ll make you take your time over every mouthful.

7. Put your cutlery down between mouthfuls. You’d be surprised how many people just fill their face like a conveyor belt; France is among the slimmest nations, and their mealtimes are centred on sitting down around a table, with family and friends, and prioritising less food of better quality, with more and lengthier conversations.

8. Drink during your meal. If you have a glass of water (or maybe wine) then, making sure you finish a mouthful, put your cutlery down and take a sip quite frequently throughout the meal.

9. If you normally clear your plate at every meal, start making an effort to leave some food uneaten, and stop eating when you’re feeling lightly satisfied, rather than completely full!

10. Finally, beware of the buffet. Shun sauces, pass by bread rolls (would you eat one at every meal at home? Thought not) but above all PICK A SMALLER PLATE. Human nature dictates that we eat in ‘units’ so we’ll eat a small plateful and be just as content as if we pick a huge mountainous pile. It’s called Unit Bias!!

We could easily come up with 10 more, but even a couple of those 10 will help you keep the floating flab at bay. So there you have it… It’s official… Cruising should always be part of any serious diet!

These tips came to you from Martin and Marion Shirran, authors of the new cruisers’ weight maintenance handbook, ‘Cruise Yourself Slim’, which is now out on Amazon.

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