ALASKA - cruise to lose is a winner
By Pamela Irving

Many of us return from vacation packing a few extra pounds and feeling a bit drained. I came home from the ‘cruise to lose’ to Alaska feeling lighter in body and fresher in spirit.

While orcas breached the surface to feed in the wake of the ship each evening, I kept my blubber down by eating delicious foods on the Fat Flush Plan.

Every year Ann Louise Gittleman, nutritionist and author of the Fat Flush Plan, takes a group of eighty ‘fat flushers’ on a cruise to lose. Gittleman believes that if you learn to eat well on vacation, when temptation surrounds you and desserts are available 24 hours per day, you can eat well any where.

The cruise to lose creates a real sense of camaraderie and support. Though I sailed solo, I never felt alone. My tummy and agenda are kept full by Fat Flush foods, working out with group trainer Linda Mitchell, attending nutrition seminars and revelling in the wildness of Alaska’s onshore excursions.

The Fat Flush plan of protein, veggies and fruit is made especially yummy by on the Norwegian Star food services staff. The stir-fries are spicy and made to order. The salad bar is crunchy and diverse, no iceberg lettuce to be seen anywhere. The seafood tastes like it is caught fresh off the deck- scallops, halibut, crab… it is Alaska after all!

The power of the Fat Flush plan is ramped up by drinking cleansing ‘cran-water’-pure organic cranberry juice and water, taking appropriate supplements and eating ‘good fats’ like flaxseed oil.

The morning workouts with Linda Mitchell are motivating and geared to all levels of fitness combining Pilates, yoga and even a little line dancing. The onshore excursions also keep the adrenalin revving high.

I float in the bubble of a helicopter over the blue ice of the Taku glacier near Juneau. We land on the glacier teetering on the edge of crevasses slicing down to the sea below.

Alaska’s history is laced with gold. In the 1800s, miners and packhorses died trying to scale mountains to get to the Klondike gold. I took the easy, if somewhat vertiginous, route on the White Pass railroad via tunnels through steep mountainsides and trestle bridges over gaping canyons and waterfalls.

Skagway has all the charm of a gold rush town. Gold still figures strongly here. Over a century later, local goldsmiths create unique sculptural jewelry.

In Ketchikan I went amphibious on a ‘duck’ amid fishing boats moored in the harbour and puttered along the boardwalk to Dolly’s House, a brothel museum from the gold rush days. Dolly’s House had dolls on the wall that looked like the ‘girls’ upstairs. Men chose which doll they wanted and were matched up with the girl it most resembled. Thus the saying ‘real live doll.’

Onboard we glided through Glacier Bay with sun dazzling, seals bobbing and dolphins guiding the ship. I took time out for a back massage at the ship’s Spa Barong but learned more about my back care from a massage therapist in the cruise to lose group. The secret: tennis balls. I will never leave home without them again.

Cruise to lose guest Dr. Denise Lamothe, author of Taming the Chew, taught us how to avoid emotional eating, to be mindful of what we eat and not to beat ourselves up about the odd indulgence.

I was very mindful of the chocoholic buffet the last night on board. The massive chocolate sculptures of the ship and tiny tasty treats begged to be sampled. I did not beat myself up about it. Honest.

Ann Louise Gittleman is the most gracious and knowledgeable host, available to answer countless questions from the group. She says that this was the best cruise to lose ever because the cruisers demonstrated a commitment to Fat Flush as a way of life, not just another "fad" to lose weight.

While the sun set over snowcapped mountains and shimmered off the glass calm waters of the Inner Passage, I soaked in the hot tub on the prow of the ship to reflect on my journey. I learned a lot about food choices and myself, taking time to unravel the layers that create unmindful eating habits. I lost a little weight and gained insights providing me with food for thought and permanent lifestyle changes and memories wrapped in the deep wild imagery of Alaska.

Photos - from top : Linda Shapiro , Pamela Irving

Pamela Irving is a lifestyle journalist and communications consultant. You can find out more at:

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