Mickey Mouse as Motivation: Losing Weight with Disneyby Kymm Wells, PassPorter Guest Contributor
Last modified 09-13-2012
Each person has their own individual goals to work towards. Mine happen to be losing weight and getting fit.
I am using Walt Disney World as the motivation to get me there. I use podcasts, message boards, the Disney planning DVD, and of course pictures and memories of past trips.
Myself in 2009 with Belle at Toon Town Meet and Greet area.
Now don't think Disney is a magical weight loss tool. Losing weight is a lot of hard work and takes a lot of dedication. I track everything I eat every day and I walk and jog as much as I can.
To keep me company when I’m active I take my trusty iPod and listen to Disney podcasts. I am lucky to live very close to walking trails, so I take advantage of them. I pop my ear buds in, and when listening to a Disney-themed podcast I can pretend I’m in the Disney bubble. Sometimes I pretend I’m walking in Animal Kingdom but mostly I pretend I’m walking down Main Street towards the castle. When I’m jogging I pretend I’m on my way to get FASTPASSes for Toy Story Midway Mania, or that I’m late for a dining reservation. How could that not motivate me to keep moving? Just thinking that I could actually be doing these things keeps me moving, literally!
Walking is a great way to lose weight and get fit, not to mention an awesome way to train for that Disney vacation! On our 2009 trip, we logged over 37 miles in one week! You can’t go from zero to 37 in a day, it will leave your muscles aching and your body too tired to enjoy your vacation properly. Each day that I walk and get further down the trail or jog for a longer period of time, I feel great about it, and my confidence grows. Improving my training time gives me the same feeling I get when I walk through the tunnel at the Magic Kingdom. I feel like I'm on top of the world!
I will never forget the time I jogged for over 8 minutes straight. I haven’t been able to do that since high school! I bottled up that feeling inside and I release it when I’m feeling down on myself. I went from couch potato to jogging over 8 minutes, without stopping! Try it and tell me that doesn’t feel the same as walking through the gates of a Disney park.
I also "step" to the Disney Planning DVD. I pop the DVD in the player, lace up my shoes, and step up and down, all the while watching and planning my visit. In my bedroom is a countdown chart with the number of pounds I have to lose and photos of me at Walt Disney World, both at my heaviest and after I’ve lost some weight. I may cry when I look at the number of pounds to go, but when I get to tear a number off and throw it away, I hold a party in my head.
Sunday is my weigh-in day, and that’s also the day I spend visiting message boards. I love reading trip reports, because they make me want to go back to The World. Each Sunday I collect that motivation, to keep moving forward.
Support is also a necessary part of any lifestyle change. It’s important that the people closest to you are with you on your journey. There are a lot of online communities that are supportive as well.
I happen to be planning a reward trip for when I reach my goal. This is a fun way to keep myself motivated. I keep a notebook in my purse and on one page is a list of everything I’d like to see, attractions I’d like to visit, and restaurants I’d like to eat at. Because my goal is so far away, I have plenty of time to plan and save for my reward trip.
Along the way to my distant weight-loss goal I have Disney-themed rewards as well. For instance, when I hit my next 10-pound goal, I will buy a touringplans.com membership. When I’m just 5 pounds away from my goal I will purchase a brand new PassPorter book and really start planning my reward trip. These rewards are meant to keep me motivated and help keep me moving on my way. Each day is a challenge, and there is nothing harder than making a lifestyle change, but it's much more manageable and enjoyable if you have something to look forward to.
So far on this journey I’ve lost about 12 pounds. Now, I’ve got a lot more to go, but these 12 pounds equals a whole dress size! I’ve gone from a size 16 at my heaviest in 2009, to a 14 after my divorce, and with this journey I’ve reached a size 12. I may fluctuate a few pounds up or down, but that is my own fault. I like to eat so it’s hard to stick to a diet, but with a lifestyle change comes forgiveness and acceptance. I will forgive myself for having a second piece of pie and I will accept that there will be future second pieces of pie. In this life journey, I will work hard to burn off those extra calories and accept that I am human and forgive myself for being human.
It is hard to lose weight, I struggle every day. I overeat and feel badly about it. Life gets in the way and I am just too tired to cook, so I hit the drive-thru (and we all know how unhealthy that is). So it is time to stop beating myself up and get back to reality. That reality is no one is perfect, but I get to have a new beginning at each meal. Find your motivation and go with it. Thoughts of that Walt Disney World vacation will keep me motivated until I board that plane to Orlando!
Myself in 2011 with Winnie-the-Pooh at Crystal Palace breakfast buffet.
About the Author: Kymm Wells is a mom to a wonderful 9-year-old boy who loves Disney as much as she. She is looking forward to getting fit and traveling the world.
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