When you are booking a vacation that is months – even years – away, you tend to assume that all of your goals will be complete by the time it comes around. In your perfect scenario, you’ll be fitter, stronger, slimmer, more tanned, and will have unquestionably saved more money before it is time to go. Whatever it is that you picture yourself changing, it’s hard to accept that you might not be traveling in your best physical condition.
The most classic case of this tale comes when you’re feeling a bit frumpy and convinced that you will lose weight before leaving for your trip. Maybe you are worried about fitting into attractions like Flight of Passage, or perhaps you want to look your best in those holiday snaps. Either way, with months ahead of us, it’s easy to tell yourself that things will change in that time. The problem is that life gets in the way. Especially when you are in lockdown in Sydney and can’t leave the house; just sayin’ for a friend.
“I’m definitely going to lose weight before we get there.” Most of us are guilty of thinking this at some point, and a few of us are repeat offenders. It’s me; I’m ‘a few’.
If you really want to make a change, then time starts now with a modified eating plan and exercise routine that you can sustainably practice long-term. Waiting till the last minute to starve yourself or make sudden changes will only make you feel weak, sick, and cranky while you are away. With that in mind, a better goal is often stronger, not slimmer. Dropping pounds quickly might make you feel better about your appearance, but the real trick is being fitter and healthier so that you can handle those 20,000 step days in warm weather.
The challenge is in thinking you have plenty of time and you will get started “tomorrow.” You know, that special kind of tomorrow that never turns into today, and you still end up arriving on your vacation with the same old muffin top. The good news is, you can start this new healthier routine right now with small steps to help you move in the right direction. You don’t have to go out and start running marathons to feel better in yourself before you travel.
Let’s start by ditching some those sugary drinks and replacing them with water. Anyone can tell you that staying hydrated at Walt Disney World, in particular, is one of the most important things you can do, that is, unless you want to be the girl who faints in the middle of Fantasyland… okay, fine, that was me too… get used to that continuous flow of water by starting now. Not only will your body thank you for giving up some of that sugar, but you can also increase energy and flush out toxins as you go.
Start walking; an evening stroll, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, it all counts toward the same goal. For bonus points, enjoy the extra time on your feet breaking in any new shoes that you might be thinking of taking to the parks. Yes, I am repeating it: never take new shoes that aren’t worn in. If you are planning on wearing a backpack in the park, practice taking that with you when you exercise. Many people don’t use a backpack in their everyday life these days, so when you start wearing one that’s largish and heavy, it can be challenging to adjust your body to the added pressure on your back. Start early and avoid those back spasms and pain when you arrive.
I want to mention that Disney is a very accommodating place, full of attractions to suit all shapes, sizes, and abilities. If you are working with circumstances that are out of your control, try not to worry too much; you can still have a fantastic time in the parks. But to truly make the most out of your time there, it’s helpful to feel as healthy as possible to make sure that you have lots of energy and enthusiasm to enjoy all Disney has to offer.
Some attractions are more difficult than others for certain body types, and it isn’t always related to weight. For example, some riders are turned away from Flight of Passage, not for being too large, but for being too tall. For me, when I first rode California Screamin’, back before it was rebranded to the Incredicoaster, I felt very uncomfortable as the overhead pull-down harness was tight against my chest but wouldn’t secure down to my core. Now, this didn’t matter from a safety perspective, though it sure did feel strange when my chest didn’t allow it to come down any further compared to my husband next to me, who could bring the harness right down against his body. And my muffin top had nothing to do with it!
My point is, don’t think of it as losing weight; it comes with this negative connotation that you aren’t good enough the way you are, which isn’t motivating for anyone. Reframe your thinking and consider it more an effort to improve your stamina and well-being to get the most out of every single day you spend in the parks.
*Feature Image: Photo by Amy Humphries
Zoë Wood is a travel writer from Sydney, Australia. Since her first visit to Disneyland at the age of 6, she has spent her years frequently visiting Disney Parks and traveling around the world.
Join Zoë as she lets you in on all the tips, tricks, anecdotes, and embarrassments that arise from her family adventures.