Compare and contrast

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Family time at Disney. Dan, Deb, Justin, Joey. My mom went the year Disney opened the park.  Disney celebrates its 60th anniversary this year!

‘Please pull the lap bar firmly down on your lap.’

Some situations lend themselves to comparisons.  You can’t help it. You have too much experience with it not to recognize in a moment of history-driven clarity, some of the changes that have occurred over your lifetime.

Disneyland is one of those situations and places for me.

I grew up in So Cal, a life-long fan of the Disney enterprises.  Some of my fondest childhood memories are of Walt’s Magic Kingdom and time with family and friends.

I was just there on a short trip with my sister, bro-in-law and nephews.  A MUCH needed vacation with my family.

I’ve been to Disneyland on and off my entire life.  This was the first time I’ve been here since I’ve been at a set, comfortable weight and also solid and happy with my eating habits.  I’m in a good spot. It was fun to be back to Disney to see how my new lifestyle meshed with my old stomping grounds.  Happy old with happy new. 🙂

I did discover that walking by corn dogs, endless candy, Dole whip or Churros is still NOT easy.

In fact…

It’s STILL damn hard.

Which isn’t really that surprising.

Those foods have very happy memories tied to them.

I realized that very little with Disney is really hunger driven (except for screaming toddlers — that could be hunger or nap!) it’s mostly driven by emotion, smell, impulse, boredom (from waiting in lines!), marketing/availability or crowd pressure.

I’ve been at Disney when I was 400 pounds and now at a healthy weight, with more established eating habits; there was a BIG difference in how I experienced Disneyland this time around…

Lot’s of comparison moments. And my family was chiming in with ‘remember when…’ comments. It wasn’t just me thinking them.

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Disney 5 years ago. My sis and I went the year my mom died. I’m probably close to 285 pounds in this picture. 

The one thing that remains the same?  The MAGIC of time, laughter and fun with your sister, bro-in-law and nephews. 🙂

Here’s the random collection of what I noticed this time around…

You can not help but recognize that food has strong emotional ties in a place like Disney. And even when you LOVE your new life, planned carefully, brought most of your own food and you KNOW you feel like crap when you eat junky foods….  You still smell a waffle cone baking or see someone eating a Mickey Mouse designed caramel apple and it’s all you can do not to go find it/eat it.  I spent a lot of time reminding myself that while the smell triggered happy thoughts, I most certainly didn’t have to actually eat anything to enjoy the moment or the memory.  Lots of brain calisthenics while standing in line for rides relating to food and hunger.  And a few accountability/reality check-in texts to a friend helped too.

My nephew Joey was riding with me on a ride. It gives the instructions that the smaller person should sit to the inside.  He innocently told me I had to get in the ride first.  I smiled HUGE and laughed.  He was totally confused.  He’s 6 feet tall. I’m like 5’7″, maybe. 🙂 However, I clearly remember when he and his brother were little dudes and I couldn’t ride on rides with a set lap bar with them — because when it touched down on my ‘lap’ — it wouldn’t have protected them at all.  My lap was too big.  The lap bar now TOUCHES my lap, it’s doesn’t land awkwardly on my belly.  Such a cool sensation to feel that lap bar touch down on the tops of my thighs. 🙂

Waiting in the ques for rides, I can walk normally through the turnstiles and size-restricted openings they use to control crowds.  I didn’t have to turn to the side or shimmy through narrow openings and hope that I and my belly would fit.  And if we (me and my belly) didn’t fit easily, I clearly remember the embarrassing gymnastics required to fit through the openings or to fit into rides desperately hoping that NO ONE NOTICED.

I rode the swings in California Adventure for the first time ever. Loved it. Knew I would. Rode next to Justin and laughed and screamed and enjoyed flying through the air the entire time.  I’ve always wanted to ride those swings, but they had a 250 pound maximum limit.

I am no longer a T2 diabetic, however, I still know where all the Sharp’s containers are located through both parks.  I noticed that at the end of the day the containers were nearly full.  Most of them look like insulin needles.  I KNOW those syringes are used for other things, but I got to wondering just how many T2’s were walking around the park with me…

Walking around and even standing for long periods of time felt GOOD.  I’m physically fit this time around.  It was not a chronic pain-fest of trying to move forward, covered in blisters and chafe and miserable from the heat and looking for a place to sit because I was totally exhausted from simply standing and walking.

Food? I packed a lot of my own stuff and carried at least a meal’s worth of snacks in my purse into the park each day.  I stuck to my plant-based eating the entire time. Was it easy? Not too bad to be honest. Disney actually has some great plant-based eating options if you look around. I rather enjoyed the challenge of trying to find healthy, plant-based options. And made several happy discoveries!


I am grateful for my family and to be able to spend time with them.  The boys are growing up so danged fast.  There will come a time when vacationing with their Auntie is not high on their list.  Thankfully, that time is not now. 🙂

I do continue to battle the daily fear and anxiety that ANY break from this carefully crafted new lifestyle will land me back welcoming my old, unhealthy ways with wide-open arms.  That didn’t happen this time.

It felt good to break from the routines of life and yet really miss them at the same time. Food, exercise, sleep. And then to be just as excited to get back into the routines seamlessly and happily. I loved Disney AND I’m excited and ready to get back to running.  How cool is that??!  🙂

I was also reminded that this new lifestyle is good, hard work, ever-evolving and not to be taken for granted for even a single day.

All of this is a CHOICE.

One bite at a time. One step at a time.

My job is to just keep making one good choice after another as often as I can.

Vacation to Disney with my family was a great choice.

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