Tuesday, May 8, 2012

How to Deal with Disneyland & Other Potential Disasters

My husband and I have season passes to Disneyland. We love it. We got them as a reward to ourselves when we lost our first 50 pounds. When we started going, we went with the intention of getting a lot of getting exercise - we will walk for at least 5 or 6 hours each time we go. The trick is NOT to counteract all of the benefit of all that walking with junk food calories. Junk food abounds at Disneyland, and you can smell the salty, greasy deliciousness all over the parks. (I could swear that they pump the aroma into the air). We went again last weekend and so I thought I would share how we deal with it. Here is what we do when we go to Disneyland, and I think these little tips and tricks will probably work for other theme parks and the like as well - some of these may work for you, some may not - just take what is useful :-)

  1. We have a good breakfast. We keep breakfast low-calorie, but it is a bit higher in calories than what we would have, say, during our regular work week. We make sure to have some protein with it because protein will help us to feel full longer. Generally a couple pieces of toast (whole wheat) with a Tablespoon of Peanut Butter, a banana and a water or a Crystal Lite or coffee...NOT Starbuck's.  This may sound like a small breakfast, but it will usually keep us feeling full for a while.
  2. We pack snacks / lunch for the park. We have a cooler that is a backpack, and it works perfectly for this. We usually cut up a couple of apples, pack a couple of pineapple spears (double bagged because they get sticky and can leak juice all over the bag and make a mess), take along some of our muffins - about 2 for each of us (see my recipes) and we will take a couple bags of Cheerios (measured out - 2 cups / bag). These snacks plus 4 bottles of water are more than enough to keep us going while we are in the park.  We generally put our backpack in a locker for the day, and can come back to it when we get hungry. However, if you are a person who impulse eats at these places, either take the cooler with you, or take a bag with at least one of the snacks along with you and refill as needed.
  3. If you find yourself hungry without a low-cal snack you brought with you, Disneyland (and I think some other theme parks may do this too) has fresh fruit around the park. Pineapple, apples, watermelon, bananas...find a snack stand that sells fruit and get some - it's pretty good!
  4. We have learned to enjoy the smell of the food as a part of the experience of being in the park. The food generally does not taste as good as it smells anyway, and I always feel lethargic after eating greasy salty food. But it does smell wonderful - and there is nothing wrong with enjoying that smell...like the scenery - it is a sensory experience to enjoy. However, there is no need to follow the experience of enjoying the aroma with eating the food you are smelling. I know, it sounds weird and counter-intuitive - but it works for me.
  5. We make sure to walk a lot. We make a point of doing a "lap" around each of the parks and then around Downtown Disney and the hotels. It's a lot of fun, and you discover "hidden" things in / around the parks that you didn't know were there.
  6. We generally go out to eat after we go to the park. So, we make sure we know what restaurants are in the area when we go out. At Disneyland, we know that there is a Cheesecake Factory a nice walk from the park (about a mile) - we walk to that restaurant and order from their "skinny-licious" menu. (note that if the restaurant is a chain, you can likely find their menu and calorie information online if you want to plan- and you should- but if you don't, chain restaurants will have the calorie information available for you and if it is not included on the menu, ask for it)  Now, the meal is NOT going to be low-calorie compared to what we normally eat for dinner - but it It ends up being about 600 - 800 calories. We don't eat the bread, and we order diet soda and / or water. This works out nicely, the food is good and we can enjoy it without worrying about totally going over our calorie budget. We have done it a few times, and we always end the day netting around 800-1000 calories. We eat more than usual, but the walking really does the trick - even just giving ourselves credit for burning 3 calories a minute - because of the slow pace and frequent stops - walking for 6 hours will burn over 1000 calories.  That said, theme park junk food will eat that 1000 calories up in a heartbeat so make sure to stay hydrated (and limit caffeine) and take low-cal snacks. And have fun 
So, those are my little theme part tips, enjoy!

We went to Disneyland again over the weekend, and I was down 2 pounds this morning... so this method works pretty well for me. And I am officially NOT obese (according to the BMI) anymore!!!! I never thought I would be so happy to be overweight!  38 pounds to go!!

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