It all started with a mouse…

It all started with a mouse… and some pixie dust.

Growing up, I was VERY fortunate to take many vacations to Walt Disney World. I love everything about Disney – and I never stopped believing in the magic. However, as I got older and got married, had two beautiful daughters (… and a mortgage and car payments…and other responsibilities), life took precedence. Disney was one of the last things on my mind.

In 2014, my husband and I were trying to plan a beach vacation for our family. Due to the fact that it was already the end of May, and we were looking for hotels in July, the cost of some of the rooms was quite expensive. I jokingly said to my husband “we could go to Disney World for cheaper than this!” And he told me that if that was true, go ahead and book it. Challenge accepted!

In July of 2014, we headed to Walt Disney World resort in Orlando, Florida. We had the most magical vacation! My daughters were 5 and almost 2 years old. I was one happy lady!

We bought the Memory Maker package, which gave us access to all photos that were taken by Disney photographers throughout the trip. When I downloaded the images, I was shocked at what I found.

Image may contain: 4 people, people smiling, people standing Image may contain: 4 people, people smiling  Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling

(Let’s first take a moment to recognize how hot my husband is, and how adorable my girls are!!)

But – WAIT! When had I gotten so big? I mean, I had never been incredibly thin, but not THIS! How had this happened? Something HAD to change. ASAP.

In truth, weight has been something I have struggled with my whole life. I had eating disorders in High School, and had tendencies to try fad diets – and would usually lose weight to only gain more back.

After doing some research and speaking with a few friends, I decided to look into weight loss surgery. At the free seminar I attended, it seemed like they were talking to ME. Yo-yo dieting, binging, eating disorders… I had to make a change.

In short, I went through an intense program with the hospital, learning about the surgeries available, what recovery and the future could look like, nutrition, exercise, meal planning, vitamins, etc. At the recommendation of my surgeon, I chose to get Gastric Sleeve surgery. This is a surgery where they  surgically remove 80% of the stomach, but, unlike Gastric Bypass, the intestines are not involved. This surgery would certainly restrict how much I could eat. I was told that I could expect to lose 60 -70 pounds through the surgery alone… Losing more than that, and maintaining my weight loss, would depend on my commitment to the program.

I had my surgery on January 23rd, 2015. Before my surgery, I weighed in at 275 pounds. Today, I weight 134 pounds. I have lost double the amount that is expected from this surgery.

How did I do that? Meal planning. Strictly adehering to the rules put forth by the program – no soda EVER, little to no processed carbs, protein first. And RUNNING.

When I had my surgery, I made a goal to run the 2017 Disney Princess Half Marathon. It seemed like a pipe dream at first  I was never even able to run a MILE in High School – let alone THIRTEEN POINT FREAKING ONE. However, my days of excuses were OVER.

I started out barely able to walk a mile. No joke. It was awful. The first time I ran a mile in full, I cried my eyes out. And yet, here I am today – exactly one week ago, I ran the 2017 Disney Princess Half Marathon in 3 hours 52 minutes. If you would take out the 55 minutes I spent in line waiting for characters (Flynn Ryder and GASTON – I had to stop!), I would have completed in under 3 hours, with a 13.5 minute per mile average.

People often say to me “I could never run a half marathon!” My answer to them – WRONG. If I can do it, ANYONE can do it! Seriously. I have never been an athlete – but I am now. I worked my ASS off, but I did it. And I will continue to do it – to set goals, and DESTROY them.

Image may contain: 4 people, people smiling, outdoor

So, it really did start with a Mouse. My trip in 2014 showed me the truth – I needed to be healthier. 2017, more than 135 pounds lighter, Disney helped motivate me to make my dreams come true.

I can promise you this – I won’t stop running. They won’t all be RunDisney races. Let’s face it, Disney isn’t cheap. Maybe one a year? Who knows! I will continue to run, and I would love to share this journey with all of you! Join me! Run. Change your life. And let me help you do it!


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Jolie La Vie

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