What can Disneyland tell us about health and wellness?

A couple days ago I went to Disneyland.
One of the first things that struck me, was that “Obesity Epidemic” might actually be an understatement.
It’s somewhat ironic that day in and day out, I am on the front lines of health and wellness, but because the people I interact with on a daily basis have committed themselves to this goal, it’s incredibly easy to lose sight of what kind of condition the American people are actually in.
Let me stop right there – if you’re a bigger person and living your best life and couldn’t be happier…I have no judgement. You do you. I don’t have some puritanical fitness mission to rob others of joy and prescribe how they ought to live their lives. You can continue scrolling, nothing to see here.
But that’s not who walks in my door. I am talking about the people who are “so sick and tired of being so sick and tired.” This isn’t about six-packs, swim suits or your skinny jeans.
This is about leveraging fitness as a tool to live your best life. So that there is more of you to go around so that your family, friends, co-workers and, of course, YOU get your very best. When someone is so big they cannot ride the rides with their kid – that doesn’t strike me as a fun way to spend the day. And the effect trickles into every corner of life. This isn’t about aesthetics – this is about simple quality of life. It slides on a continuum, it’s not “wheel chair bound or fitness perfection”…every step in either direction adds momentum. So maybe someone isn’t wheelchair bound, but can you get down and play with your kids without getting winded? Are you on blood pressure medication #2? Are you getting flagged as pre-diabetic? All of these things have unfavorable, persistent and quality-of-life-robbing outcomes.
This is about climbing that mountain. This is about conquering challenging goals. This is about rising to the occasion so that whatever you face, you have the mental and physical tools to overcome. Yes, I believe fitness has this power.
And there are 10s of 1000s of qualified fitness professionals, nutritionists, personal trainers and small gyms making their dent. Too expensive? There is endless free information online, enormous and well equipped gyms that are cheaper than your coffee spending each month.
Given all this – on a grand scale, I’m not sure we’re actually winning (as a collective industry of fitness). The tools and infrastructure are there for the using, why aren’t they being used to greater effect?
So if you made it this far – question for you:
What is the cause and what is the solution?
Easy question, right?!?!
But I want to know what the people NOT in the industry are thinking. I won’t shout you down. I won’t argue. This isn’t an invitation to go on a body-shaming tirade. I want to listen. I want to hear whatever your perspective on it might be. I want to make sure I’m not missing something obvious because I might be “too close” to the issue. We have the capacity to help – but if there is a gap in communication between those that need and those that can help…well then, we’re never setup to collectively win.

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