My husband and I took our two girls to Disney World last week. Four parks, six days, 12 hours per park, per day. 95 degree heat, which in the Florida summer is the equivalent of bringing a space heater into a sauna. There was also limited gym access at the resort we were staying at. Is this the vacation I threw the healthy lifestyle out the window? Would I be lamenting about gaining 15 pounds on vacation?

Once we got to the park on day one picture my crew: Mickey Mouse ears, Cleveland Cavs sports gear (Believeland!), and a stuffed book bag full of bottled waters, crackers, fruit bars, and granola. The kids gobbled up the snacks by 10am, leaving the rest of the day for us to fend for ourselves. Really quickly we learned that the healthy lifestyle scene wasn’t successful. At first glance, the Magic Kingdom food options ranged from French-fries to chicken nuggets to fried everything. My healthy lifestyle was going to go out the window for a week, right? There had to be a better way, or so I hopefully thought.

I needed a plan, and I needed it fast. It was lunch time, and I allowed myself a few minutes of ranting about how upset I was by these dietary offerings, as it gives rise to obesity in America. Next, I settled down. Luckily the girls were not starving, so they were up for the challenge to walk around for a decent food option. We left Mickey’s greasy stand and found an indoor café that had veggie burgers on the menu and side salads we had to give this one a try. That it had air conditioning was a necessary bonus!

Uh oh. Epic fail. The veggie burger clearly came out of a frozen box and the salad was a pitiful display of sad lettuce, a few shreds of carrot, and literally one tomato. For better or worse, I started binging on sliced tomatoes and pickles found at the condiment bar. Admittedly, I munched on some of the girls fries and vowed to not beat myself up over it. I had done the best I could under these circumstances: I kept it low carb and light, while gaining confidence that all of the walking would offset some of the greasy-food intake that would be inevitable during the week. We continued on and I pondered how many steps I would take that day, hoping our dinner options would be better.

We made EPCOT dinner reservations in Germany; oh boy, another challenge. A buffet, German style, filled with sauerkraut, an array of meats, potatoes, and sauce; lots of sauce. Luckily, they did have a wonderful salad section, with lots of healthier vegetable options, and a large dessert station. Did I mention the monster size beers that were included in our dinner price? I reminded myself of the hunger scale, to stop at a +2. This would save the day. I loaded the plate with salad items, a few mystery meat selections, and a couple of potatoes. I stopped at a +2 and grabbed the girls for some polka dancing. Minor success.

And so the week went like this: hot, sweltering temperatures, inconsistent food options, a focus on portion control, creative meal adjustments, lots of walking, sweating, fluid replenishment, and fun. I didn’t settle for crappy food, but also didn’t beat myself up when I did eat the park food. See, maintenance is all about falling down, not beating yourself up, and getting right back to the mission of healthy living. I snuck laps at the pool and even visited the modest hotel gym a few times while my husband watched the girls. I didn’t freak out and catastrophize like I have with other vacations. I also don’t take breaks with healthy living when on vacation. This isn’t a diet, it’s a way of living Disney World included. Till next time, fitness buffs and Mouseketeers.






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