This Disney diet helped one man realize his dreams and lose 150 pounds.
Disneyland is a place where dreams come true, and Mark Gautier just proved it. After being diagnosed with diabetes and diverticulitis, he was given another chance at life when he took part in his own special “Disney diet.”
In 2013, Gautier had been brought back to life three times when his doctor said, “You really need to do something or you’re not going to last much longer.”
At this time in his life, Gautier weighed 400 pounds, and his kidneys were shutting down. A blood clot in his head was causing vision problems, and he had just come out of a two-week diabetic shock-induced coma. Essentially, he needed to do something about his health, and he needed to do it fast.
Doctors told Gautier he needed to start walking and exercising, so his then-girlfriend-now-wife, Vanessa, came up with a brilliant idea. She decided to mix exercise with fun and bought Gautier and herself an annual pass to Disneyland. Together, they started going to Disneyland on a daily basis and walked throughout the park. They got Fitbits, tracked their progress, and worked their way from one mile a day to seven miles a day within a year.
“The first two times that I came to Disney to just to walk around it was tough because I wasn’t used to walking," Gautier said. "Then after about two weeks, I fell in love with the place.”
During each visit, they set a goal for themselves, such as ride their favorite ride or see a new show. More importantly, whenever they went to the park, they partook in the “Disney diet”—eating whatever they wanted. They ate everything from turkey legs to the iconic Dole whip ice cream, and enjoyed all the delicious food in the park. Nothing was off-limits.
The trick though was portion control.
“It wasn’t so much that we changed what we ate, it was the portions that we ate. We cut down on everything,” said Gautier. “We never got our own thing. It was always, ‘Let’s share.’”
After five years of Disney exercise and diet, Gautier lost 150 pounds.
However, Gautier wasn’t done with Disney quite yet. One day he went to the park and realized he wanted to spend more time in the park. He said, “We were walking down Main Street and I told [Vanessa] that ‘I want to work here.’”
Now, Gautier works at the Disneyland Hotel assisting room attendants. Every day, he walks 13 miles across four floors of the hotel and continues to embrace the Disney magic. In the future he plans to finish his bachelor’s degree in graphic design, get his master's through the Disney free tuition program, and eventually become a Walt Disney Imagineer.
Gautier’s story is a true Disney miracle. He was brought back from the brink of death to get healthy and pursue his dreams.
Are you inspired by his story and would you be willing to take part in the Disney diet? Tell us in the comments!