If you're a regular follower of MyDisneyBlog, you may know that I joined Weight Watchers on May 6, 2008. It was a decision I was VERY ready to make, and lost a total of 66.6 pounds. How strange, huh? For the past month or two, I have been on maintenance, and have maintained the weight loss. I was very worried about making it through Thanksgiving and Christmas, but I got the stomache flu ON Thanksgiving, and somehow survived through Christmas and New Years! I was amazed that I could do it, as I usually go on the "see food" diet during that time. I have found that I do best when I am in some kind of routine. As a shift-worker, this is no small feat, but I am able to get into a routine for a set of shifts now. This has helped me out so much! The one thing that I noticed is that I am so much better at planning out my meals. Before Weight Watchers, I often would try to throw something together just before work. Now, I think about what I can bring in - maybe even the day or two before. It has helped me to make better choices, rather than grabbing something on the way to work, or getting something out of our office's so called "freezer of death" (resold convenience items from Sam's Club that go to funding office parties). Definitely much healthier now!
When we went to Walt Disney World in August - I was a little concerned that I wouldn't be able to survive. I was nearing the "finish line" for making lifetime membership, and I didn't want anything to goof it up! On the other hand, I was determined to have a GREAT TIME, and not worry about counting points. As a result, I planned as much as I could in advance how I could accomplish both!
Here are some of my tricks and tips for being able to survive Walt Disney World on Weight Watchers!
1) I told my family that it didn't matter at all where we ate meals, but that it couldn't always be at the greasy quick serve places! NOW - with that said, Disney has gotten much better at providing better nutritional choices than my previous trip. More on that in a minute...
2) On several occasions, I ordered a Kids Meal. That's right - I ordered a KIDS MEAL! Well, in the past, if someone had suggested this, I would have laughed hysterically at them. BUT, with all the August heat, and eating smaller items throughout the day, I didn't need a huge meal. The secret, as with the new Weight Watchers program called "Momentum", is to not let your hunger get out of control. The new Momentum program teaches you how to avoid wild swings in hunger patterns, and apparently I learned how to do this on my own :) SO, I ordered the kids meal! First of all, it was cheaper, and second - I could get carrots, grapes, etc along with a smaller portion in most instances. Since the key to Weight Watchers is portion control, this was JUST PERFECT when we went to Quick Service restaurants. The QS restaurants usually serve up big portions, which is NOT what I needed.
3) The parks are very good about offering cut fruit, bananas, etc throughout the parks. You have to hunt a little to find the carts/stations, but they are there. I became a frequent customer!
4) For those in between snacks, I brought some snack bars with relatively low points. We had a car, so we were able to go to Wal Mart for some snacks at the beginning of our trip (which coincided with the night before Tropical Storm Faye!).
5) For meals, nothing was off limits! I was walking so much, that I was able to eat very well. I actually lost a little weight on the trip. Although no food was off limits - my definition of 'good food' has changed. I often ordered things that I never would have considered a year ago. More vegetable based as opposed to meat based, and tried a bit to lay off those evil but good white sauces.
6) I asked for suggestions to help me through this on the Weight Watchers message board, as well as on DisBoards (the WISH section) and Debbie's Weight Loss Zone. They were all a HUGE help in getting me through this. The overarching suggestion to me was to just have fun - to not deprave myself - but make smart choices. They all told me NOT to count points while I was there - but to make better choices. Since that is what Weight Watchers is all about - I was actually doing WW without counting points.
7) Drink PLENTY of water! This is a given in the Florida heat, but drinking more water really helped me to feel more full. We bought our water at Wal Mart and brought it into the parks, but if you don't have a car - you can have it brought to your resort/room on Disney property by Staples, Costco, or Garden Grocer. They are all highly respected and do a good job. A very inexpensive way to get water - rather than paying Disney prices. Another trick is to ask for ice water at nearly any counter service restaurant. They provide complimentary ice water if you ask for it. Don't be proud - they do this to make sure people stay hydrated - and they are quite used to it.
8) I tried to always start out with a salad. I like salads, so this was no problem for me. If I went to a place that didn't have low fat/fat free dressing, I would just get some ranch on the side. I then dip my fork into the ranch dressing, and then get a forkfull of salad. You'd be surprised how little you can get by with! Most supermarkets also sell single serve portions of low fat/fat free dressing. Throw it in a ziploc so that it doesn't burst in your purse/park bag and you're all set.
So, I guess my recommendation is to have FUN! Enjoy yourself - but make smarter choices. I have found that I seldom want french fries anymore (I swear I used to eat them for breakfast before - j/k), unless they are from Five Guys (a burger and fry chain that is just so yummy!). Order kids meals, get some fresh fruit, bring some snack bars (in your suitcase, pick some up, or have some delivered from the above delivery places), make smarter choices, and watch your portions.
Do you have any other suggestions? This worked for me, but I'm sure there are plenty of other ideas out there. Tell me how YOU survived Weight Watchers at Walt Disney World. Would love to meet others and hear some more ideas!
--- Disney Dean