Friday, June 25, 2010

Thank you all so much!

I just want to thank everyone who is supporting me through this! I am amazed and touched by all the positive feedback I have gotten from the Yahoo article! As much as all of you are saying that I am inspiring you, at the same time you all are inspiring me. I will not let you or myself down, I will ride Forbidden Journey by the end of the year!

An update on what's been going on. I just got hired to work at M&M's World in the Florida Mall as a character/character buddy! And really, what a great place to work while on this diet, lol! Really though, I am very grateful for this job opportunity, and I will post on here my schedule once everything is finalized so that you may come and visit me if you'd like!

Continuing walking everyday, always around the parks. I find that is the best way to motivate me to keep walking. I get to enjoy being in the parks and taking in the sights, while at the same time getting lots of walking done. At the end of the month I will weigh myself and post it here as an update, and will post new weight updates at the end of every month.

Again, thank you all for all the love and support! I truly appreciate all of the kind words and encouragements. Question of the day: Out of all of the theme parks in the Orlando area, what is your favorite attraction?

250 comments:

  1. Hey, I just read about you on Yahoo and was so happy to hear that someone is taking matters into their own hands instead of blaming other people. I wish you the best of luck with your inspiring self challenge.

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  2. Hi Banks,
    I just read about your experience and blog in a Yahoo feature article, and wanted to tell you that I'm rooting for you. I imagine it was a difficult experience when you visited the Harry Potter attraction and were not able to ride it -- but I'm glad it has put you on such a healthy path. You seem like a great guy, with a great attitude. I have no doubt that you'll meet the goal you've set for yourself, and I bet it will make the ride experience that much sweeter.

    You just got yourself another follower.

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  3. I will be checking in to see if you met your goal! Keep up the good work!

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  4. Hi, I just read the yahoo article, and my immediate thought was - People should use this as a motivator to improve their health vs. looking for continual accommodations. As I continued to read your story came up. Great to hear and that you are doing this sensibly! Hope you inspire others, and remember, it's learning healthier habits for the rest of your life, not just to get on the ride.

    Jennifer, RD in Ann Arbor, MI

    PS - Never been to the Parks. Might be interesting one day.

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  5. I am intrigued and hopeful that you will attain all your goals in life as well as the immediate goal of riding HP. I will be checking in on you and wishing you the best. Good luck!

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  6. Hey, I just found this through another article and I think it's pretty awesome.

    I wouldn't worry too much about M&Ms World-- after a couple weeks you'll be so sick of M&Ms it will work in your favor!

    One thing I was wondering, and I don't know if you'd be comfortable with this, but do we get proper before and after and progress pictures? I think it would be helpful for a lot of people who feel like not fitting on the ride is like being called a "fatty"-- people would get a good sense of the proportions of somebody who doesn't fit, and I think it would encourage people who feel like losing weight and getting in shape is hopeless for them. Looking at a forty or fifty pound weight loss is really daunting and I think seeing more normal people with normal big bodies who are trying to lose weight would make it less discouraging for everyone!

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  7. I have never been to Florida, so I am not able to answer but I do enjoy Disneyland in California.

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  8. I just read the article on Yahoo and KUDOS to you! I wish you all the best and I know things will work out for you! It makes me feel good to see someone determined to get in shape and take control of their health. Can't wait to see how it turns out for you.

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  9. Hey! Just wanted to say I am excited to hear about your first ride on the Forbidden Journey! What a fun way to motivate yourself to reach your fitness goals! Stay motivated!

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  10. YOU GO LEE!!! I just want to say, it is nice to see a peer who decides to overcome an obstacle!

    To answer your question of the day: I can't! I have never been to Orlando, but it is the next vacation on the list for my family (especially now that Harry Potter has opened!)

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  11. Walking is a great place to start. Just keep moving and you'll get there.

    I'll be checking back to see how the weigh-in goes.

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  12. You can do it! I love that you're doing something about it instead of just complaining. It's inspiring to me.

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  13. I want to thank you for posting this blog. I live on the "left coast" and I have been unable to ride most of the rides at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk and I fit very tightly on most rides at Marine World. Last summer I decided that I was going to lose weight and save money to go to Florida. Well, my motivation waned and I gave up but your blog has left me re-motivated.

    Just be careful on your diet. I lost over 40 pounds by removing fat in my diet. I went from high fat to almost non fat too quickly and as a result I messed up my gallbladder. After a very painful year of not knowing what was going on, I finally had the gallbladder and a couple of handfuls of gallstones removed. The upside is no more pain but the downside? I gained all my weight back plus more.

    Thanks for the kick in the pants to get me going again. Hope to see you on that enchanted bench one day. I'll be the one behind you going for that third click and yipping with joy.

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  14. I am so excited to keep up with your blog and I think it will motivate me as well. Would you ever think of posting what food you're eating. I know you are doing Slim Fast, but maybe occasionally discussing your food for the day would give us ideas.

    While I love Universal Islands of Adventure, I'm a Disney girl through and through. I would have to say my favorite park is Animal Kingdom because it is just such a beautiful park. Plus, Expedition Everest is just about the coolest ride I've ever been on!

    --Jenny

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  15. Hey there! Good Luck man! : )

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  16. I'm really inspired by your motivation and will to keep going. :) Keep up the good work!

    I really like Space Mountain in Magic Kingdom, really fun. I also like a lot of the water rides at Wet 'N Wild.

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  17. GO BANKS GO!!! I want to send all my support to you from Central Illinois! My husband and I worked at Universal Orlando in the summer of '03 on the ET ride and we hope to go back for a visit to experience Harry Potter. My husband has the same height and weight measurements as you so you are an encouragement to us both! Keep up the good work- way to use this as a body challenge rather than an opportunity to complain. My favorite attraction would have to be Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Magic Kingdom. Good luck to you!!

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  18. fave attraction: wet'n'wild! i used to live in orlando, cleaning at the delta resort and everyday after work, i'd hit the slides!
    good luck banks with the diet and workout. post a pic of you in the m&m outfit! lol

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  19. Just heard about your quest and want to wish you the very best. When I first started to read your story, I said to myself - "oh noo, he's not going to sue the ride because he's to big' - and not only did you not do that , you turn it into a motivational thing.
    Kudos' and the very best to you!!

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  20. You honestly bring a tear to my eye.
    :')

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  21. I just saw a reference to your blog on a Yahoo webreport, so I bet you'll get lots more visitors to your blog now! I'm very impressed by your determination to do this! It will be great for your health and overall future. I am also on a journey to get my BMI down from the "bad" categories into the "normal weight" category, so I totally sympathize.

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  22. Yay! Resist those M&Ms. Keep walking. And don't weigh yourself too frequently; if you wait 4-6 weeks in between, you'll be extra motivated by the bigger jump than 4- or 8-ounce increments each day.

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  23. Just read a comment about your blog on an article on yahoo (http://movies.yahoo.com/feature/movie-talk-harry-potter-fans-deemed-too-heavy-for-wizarding-world-ride.html).Just wanted to take my "hat" off to you for taking something most American's would feel entitled to turn into something negative, like a lawsuit, and use it to do something good! I hope everyone you encounter is challenged to stop complaining and do something positive either for themselves, like you are doing . . . Or for others. So encouraged by the example you have set!

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  24. Wishing you good luck in your diet journey. Everyday I make that choice myself. 2 years ago I was 157 lbs to the north. I know the challenge I know the struggle I know the rewards. It is worth it. Just do it even when u falter, do it again. Get on that bench! Three clicks are yours for the asking! reader in Tn

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  25. Lee, I haven't gone yet. My family is going to Universal (and WDW) from July 8-13. I don't know where the Florida Mall is, but it would be cool to say 'hi' to you! I'm also trying to lose weight. I admire you for putting this blog up and going public. I'll let you know which park is my favorite, after the trip is done!! Good luck with your diet, and remember this: When you hit a plateau (those SUCK), push through it. It will end. :)

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  26. Mr. Lee, you are a brave young man and I will be cheering on your progress! Forgive me, but I have a medical question: have you ever had your thyroid checked? It is a simple test at the doctor's office and may truly help your metabolism. Forgive my bluntness... I only ask because I wish someone had told *me* about it many years before I heard about it myself.

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  27. I don't mean to be the bearer of bad news, but you are wrong about something. In your first post you wrote, "...I'm a big guy. Not obese, but still big. I'm 6'2" and weigh roughly around 310 lbs." Actually, you are obese. A 6'2" man weighing 310 pounds has a BMI of 39.9. A BMI over 30 is considered obese. In fact, you are only one tenth of a point away from being considered EXTREMELY OBESE. Now I don't say this to bring you down, but to make you realize you have more at steak then just an amusement park ride. Your life is in jeopardy at your present weight. Good luck in your quest and I hope you take it seriously!

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  28. Great to hear your story - great motivation!!!

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  29. Hey Banks, I was just reading about what you're doing. Might I say that's one of the coolest things I've ever seen. I'm heading to the Wizarding World June 1st, I'd be crushed if I couldn't ride Journey. Good luck with your efforts! As for my favorite park, while I haven't been there yet, something tells me the wizarding world will take the cake. :)

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  30. It's weird that I have read that people who fit in at Disney can't fit into certain rides at Universal. Kind of odd if you ask me.

    I live in California so I probably will never make it over to FL to check this out but I have had a problem with the clicking deal myself. Even if you don't have a large waist, if you have a large upper body (trying to remain PC I guess), it's hard to get the thing to click over you fully. I have never been turned away but been close just bc they didn't want to hurt me by squishing down too hard on the twins. Ha.

    I love that you're updating as you go and truly wish you the best! I hope you get on the ride by the end of the month! :) Keep it up!

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  31. I'm cheering you on! My husband is diabetic, so I understand how important support can be when you are in the process of losing weight.

    By the way, I'm from Pewaukee, Wisconsin....which is just west of Milwaukee. I don't have a favorite Orlando area theme park yet. I need to make a few more visits to your beautiful area before I decide!

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  32. My whole family can't wait for your review of the ride! We started living and eating based on The Primal Blueprint 3 months ago. Check out Mark's Daily Apple blog for details. The 3 of us have lost over 100 lbs combined! We have no connection to the site...just have loved the program!

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  33. I just found your blog through the Yahoo article, and I have to say good for you! You've turned a disappointing event into a life-affirming goal. I too am trying to lose weight, and I'll use your story as an inspiration to keep at it. Good luck!

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  34. When I started reading the Yahoo article, my first thought was "here come the lawsuits, the whining, and the `it's not my fault`." But lo and behold, how refreshing to see someone turning this into a motivation to improve his life! Maybe the world isn't doomed. Keep up the good work, BL.

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  35. Just took my first walk in eight years. I didn't go far, but came back feeling great. Thank you for such inspiration!

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  36. so motivating! good luck man!

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  37. Hi! I just found your blog today, so I had a little catching up to do. I really think it is great that you're trying to live a healthier life. We live in a 'now' world which isn't always the best. The main thing you need to keep in mind is to slowly lose the weight. If you lose it by 'starving' your body, you'll put it back on even eating healthy foods. Giving up the soda I know was hard. What helped me when I gave soda up, was to substitute it with soda water. There is nothing in it. 0 sodium, 0 sugar, etc. and it's water that's good for you! I discovered that I missed the carbonation of soda, and the soda water satisfies that. Hang in there Banks! I'll be following you from SC!

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  38. i just read the yahoo article and it mentioned your quest and blog. i found it such a positive thing that instead of complaining you are making it a goal and im sure will benefit yourself as well as touch others tremendously while doing so. you're an inspiration to many and i am rooting for you!! i wish you nothing but the BEST!!!

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  39. Hello! Just caught this on yahoo, and good for you!

    Regarding your desire for soda... has anyone mentioned water kefir grains to you? They make a fizzy drink that some people like to use to make healthy drinks that resemble soda...you can also use them with coconut water (from a young coconut) to get a different flavor.

    I'm transitioning to a high raw diet, which is great for health! It definitely has a learning curve, but it's nice to know that I am putting better things into my body than I used to. :)

    Anyway, congrats on the decision you've made and I wish you success!

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  40. Just saw the Yahoo article....good for you for taking a positive approach to this and getting healthy. I lost 70 pounds a few years ago, doing sensible things like eating less and exercising more. Be careful with the SlimFast approach [I tried that too along with many other things] because you'll want to remember the changes you make are for life. I never thought of myself on a diet, instead, it was a lifestyle change. And that's why I've been able to maintain my loss for 4 years.

    Anyways, I wrote because last year I went with a friend to Six Flags, New Jersey, and sadly he only was able to fit on one roller coaster. I hoped it would motivate him to lose and he said he would try, but has only gained weight since then. I'd help him as much as possible, but a person has to really want it for themselves, and won't make a change until they're ready.

    BYW, my favorite ride ever is the Rip Ride Rockit at Universal! When you get to ride in the front seat, be sure to buy the dvd and post your video here so everyone can celebrate with you! Keep going, be healthy and nice work motivating others!

    Tara

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  41. Mr Lee...you and I are on similar journeys. :-) I started my own weight loss journey in April, as a challenge with my brother (he's in California, I'm in Texas)...and I'm writing a blog about our experience. In total, I have to lose 231 pounds. I've lost 28 so far. I am looking forward to reading your blog along the way...and if you'd like to read about my "Battle of the Butt", I would be honored for you to visit/follow/subscribe here:

    http://battleofthebutt.blogspot.com

    I know you will be successful in reaching your goal and I offer my support & congratulations! Let's kick some butt!!!!

    - Dianne

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  42. I just clicked over from the Yahoo article...I have to say that you have an awesome attitude. Most things that you read these days are about larger people complaining about the world not being big enough for them. It's refreshing to see someone use this experience as a wake-up call to get healthy. I myself had this wake-up call in February (from the doctor though!). I'm down 30 pounds now and my blood pressure/sugars are normal again! I feel so much better these days - and so will you. If you need help, www.sparkpeople.com is an awesome resource. There are food trackers, exercise trackers, thousands of healthy and delicious recipes, and even better...thousands of fellow members there to support you along the way! Good luck in your journey...I'll be following your blog! :-)

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  43. We just returned home to Cincinnati, OH from Orlando last week! So far we have been to Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, Sea World, Busch Gardens and Gator Land. As it stands now, we LOVED Sea World, and Gator Land ranks second! We drove 2 hrs to Busch Gardens and it was OK but reminded me a lot of Kings Island about 20 yrs ago, only with more animals ;) Anyway, I teach Zumba and wanted to let u know about that, if you like to dance! Its a great workout and tons of fun. There are a lot of classes in Orlando, on every day of the week. Also, I quit drinking sodas in January... the biggest help to me is drinking a large bottle of water twice a day, and I squeeze fresh lemon juice into it each time I refill it. Helps with the blandness of water if you want flavor. I want to say I am very proud of you, and keep up the good work.. keep us posted with your progress!

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  44. Your honesty, positive attitude and determination made me happy. I was happy to know that you turned an awkward moment into a world of hope for others. Now that is worth taking note of. I guess since I am nearly old enough to be your mom I can say this: as you start dropping the weight, you will start dropping the ladies' jaws. I think hidden under the polar insulation is one heck of a good looking man! Will check in on you from time to time. Keep up the great spirit and down with the weight! I'll keep you in my prayers. Cheers and Kudos!!!
    Frances in CALIF

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  45. I just read about you in an article on Yahoo and I think what you're doing is awesome. Instead of making this a negative experience, you turned it into a positive goal for yourself. I know you will reach your goal and congrats on the new job.
    I'm from Deltona and go home to see my parents around May. When I go, we do one of the parks. This year we did Epcot. My mom wants to do Universal next year because she wants to do the whole Harry Potter thing. I'm a bit overweight and now know that there is a chance I might not get my 3 clicks. So I also have made a goal for myself for next May.
    Thank you very much for doing what you're doing and I can't wait to hear your experience when you are able to take your first ride!

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  46. My favorite attraction I'd Tower of Terror because the ride is different everytime you ride it. Good luck on your weight loss you are so inspiring and you are dedicated so you can do it!!!
    Jesse B

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  47. I just love what you are doing! Where others are getting bitter and angry you chose instead to do something about it! You have turned it into a positive change for yourself instead of complaining about it. Your story is inspiring and I hope others learn from your positive story. God Bless!

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  48. Keep up the good work! You are an inspiration for many and I commend you for taking on this challenge. We'll be at Universal the first week in August. I hope you meet your goal and get to ride before I do.

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  49. Josh in CasselberryJune 25, 2010 at 6:31 PM

    Hey. I just found this and I think it's fantastic that you are taking the initiative to lose weight (and what better reason, really?). I may have to visit you and get some M&Ms. Don't be tempted, though. I worked at Krispy Kreme back when I was on my way to losing about 60 pounds and luckily I got sick of donuts rather than becoming addicted lol.

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  50. Tough question....Test Track, Finding Nemo (The Seas at Epcot), Pirates of the Carribean, Star Tours...can't decide.

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  51. Good luck, Banks! You are very brave to share your journey with the world. I saw your story on Yahoo today and found your blog. Congrats on the job - do you know what color M&M you will be? I'm in MA, and our family is headed to Orlando this August to see the mouse. My daughter is a huge Harry Potter fan, so we're planning to go to Universal to at least see the Wizarding World. Keep up the good work!

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  52. Just read the Yahoo! article and wanted to come here and wish you well! I think it's so great to see someone take responsibility and making an effort to change an unhealthy lifestyle rather than complain or file lawsuits. I know it's far from the easiest thing in the world to eat less of something that's so good or make yourself get off your butt exercise every day when you're tired or would rather relax in front of the tv, but it's so great that you're trying and that you found some motivation. I've been trying to cut back my eating and be more active every day, so maybe what you're doing can motivate me. Good luck to you!

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  53. Hey, I just read about what you're doing on yahoo movies and I want to say I think it's pretty awesome! Keep up the good work and more power to you!

    "Successful is built with the bricks of many defeats..."

    Brian Wright
    (look me up on facebook if you like)

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  54. Wow, you went from 129 followers when I read the article on Yahoo less than 2 hours ago, to 169 followers now! That's a LOT!

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  55. Keep gong Banks! I just lost over 100 pounds and went to an amusement park (Michigan Adventure) to ride all the rides I couldn't fit on before. It felt amazing to get in and have room to move (well not always leg room cause I'm 6 feet tall)but room to fit with other people and comfortably strap in. Roller Coasters are great and I road one that your feet are left free for the first time. It was my favorite. Keep us updated:-)

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  56. Kudos buddy. Just saw the article on Yahoo. I am most pleased with your positive attitude -- not being mad at the world, but taking the opportunity to do something good for yourself.

    Chris
    Canton, GA

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  57. Good luck!! It's really nice to see that someone is taking a positive initiative from this size-restrictions thing. It's becoming a significant part of American life, whether on an airplane or at an amusement park. Hopefully others will draw from your example rather than chastise institutions for not accomodating them - after all, 99.9% of the time, WE are the ones in control of our own size!

    Thanks again, you're an inspiration!


    Answer to your question: I haven't been to Orlando since my senior trip last March (when they were still building Potter world - aka I'm jealous that you got to see it open!), but I love Epcot =)

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  58. Hey, just read the article about the ride & the weight limit. I can see why in terms of the enigineering of certain rides that people want to take precautions; it's a physics issue...the muggle world does have its limitations!

    But that said, it's wonderful that you took this restriction and turned it into 'fuel for the fire.' You will certainly achieve your weight loss goals. You are such a positive person to look at this as a challenge to live a healthier lifestyle...I wish more people had your attitude toward 'setbacks.' You're already a winner with that can-do attitude!

    My sister and I will be going to the theme park maybe sometime this summer and on subsequent trips in future years. I'd love to shake your hand congratulating you on your achievement on one of those trips! Good Luck!!

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  59. Good for you, man. Instead of asking the world to change for you, you decide to change yourself. That is awesome. Good luck!

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  60. Keep up the good work!
    Constant Vigilance!!

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  61. Banks, Give P90X a try. I started it (after much thought and investigation) and less than 30 days later people have been asking me what I'm doing. I'm 40 and weighed over 260. Now my size 40 pants don't fit any more. And all my shirts fit better. I'm even starting to were some of my old XL shirts again instead of the XXL. Give it a try. It's hard, but you'll love the results

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  62. YOU CAN DO IT!!!! I am so proud of what you are doing for yourself. I know you will reach your goal and ride Forbidden Journey, and more importantly, reach a healthy weight so you can be more likely to ride it for years to come!!!

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  63. Well im a teenager so i would have to say the Dueling Dragons ride at Universal (i live in orlando)and your journey to ride the Forbidden Journey is truly inspiring!

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  64. Like many others have said, i think you are doing a great job with your goal! I'm also one of the many that are really glad that you didnt just make this blog about hating on universal and how they don't accomadate people of larger sizes on FJ. Also here's a tip, it woould also help you reach your weight loss goal if you tried eating a square of dark chocolate per day, studies show that it's good for your heart. Just make sure it has no added milk or dairy and it has more coco then sugar.I would really like to see you reach your goal! :)

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  65. I more admire your not fussing about Universal, but then I also admire your determination to take your health on and that is what you are really doing.Congratulations for having the good sense to take yourself on and at 24 you have a lot of years in front of you to be healthy and know that you have done something to keep heart problems and diabetes at bay.
    Good luck.

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  66. Banks, I just wanted to say "thank you" and wish you good luck in your efforts to make it on the ride. I found your blog through a Yahoo! news story while researching data for a blog I may start. Being a middle aged man well over his prime size, it is always a struggle to bring myself back to my fighting-weight, so to speak. I have never once blamed my gains on anyone or anything else though. Seeing that you took a negative in life to help turn things around for yourself made me feel a lot better and more confident in mankind's ability to take responsibility for ourselves again someday. Thanks for not being a victim. Enjoy life and don't forget to live a little while making this journey. You have my utmost respect and support.

    Brandon

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  67. Wow - just read your story online. You are going to be a great inspiration to many.. in fact, I'm sure you already ARE!

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  68. Good for you! I really gota start walking to. I've missed some rides cause I'm to big 6'3 260. I gota lose 30lbs. I will join you on your journey.

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  69. I think you are off to a fantastic start!! :) I recently decided to get healthier myself and every friday on my blog (http://runningthemarathonoflife.blogspot.com/) I have started posting my weight and a few fitness/healthy goals for the week. It's great to know others are out there too! I look forward to seeing your progress - and riding Forbiden Journey too!

    I live in Cocoa...not too far from Orlando. Right now my favorite ride is The Mummy, but I'm a HUGE Harry Potter fan and can't wait to go see WWoHP :) My sister has already been and loved it.

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  70. Banks! It's your old roommate Craig Reed from the Disney College program. You can check out Lindsey and I's blog as well, as we are on a similar journey to yours. Are you still working for Disney? (is your new job under the Disney umbrella?) We are planning a trip back to Orlando, and we really miss everything down there. Please shoot me a message at www.facebook/craigthomasreed so we can catch up!

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  71. Gnarly brah! You are and will continue to inspire many people. I recommend staying away from dairy, processed foods and artificial sweeteners and you'd be on your way soon. Stay positive and keep going! :D

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  72. Banks I vow to not ride that ride until i hear about you riding:D

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  73. I read an article on Yahoo that mentioned you and your blog. I just wanted to tell you how much I admire you for turning what happened into a positive experience. I really admire your attitude and wish you the best on meeting your goal.

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  74. I am really impressed by your motivation and your positive attitude! I think it says a lot about you as a person to not rant about Universal Studios but to turn this into a personal challenge. I love that you are using this as the motivation to get yourself into a healthier place to prevent future health problems. Good for you! I wish you ALL the best on your quest! : )

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  75. I am truly impressed with anyone seeking a healthier lifestyle. Good luck, and keep us updated.

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  76. you are an incredible person! You can do this, you have so much love and support and we all want to see you succeed!! here are a few tips I am aware of as far as weight loss goes

    instead of "portioning" yourself the way you have been, try eating about 6 small meals a day instead of 3 larger ones with snacks in between. When you only eat 3 meals a day, say around 9am, 1pm, and 6-7pm, your body thinks "oh gosh, its only 9am.. I'm not going to get more food for another 4 hours.. I need to store all of these calories and fat right now so I don't starve!" BUT, if you eat smaller meals say every 2 hours, your body knows that it will get more nutrition in less time so it will simply burn off the calories you just ate a lot faster!

    if you ever watched the show on TV "the 650lb virgin" he tries this method, and in the first week alone drops about 28lbs!

    GOOD LUCK and i hope this helped!

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  77. Thanks for the heads up on the rides. I have been on a losing and exercise plan too. Not just for the purpose of fitting in the ride, to be healthier.
    I am planning on coming to Florida next summer, so we will see if I lose enough to fit, Great job on your journey so far. Keep up the great work!

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  78. If you want to lose weight there's just one word...
    RUN!

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  79. Hi"Just saw you blog and wanted to applaud you on taking up this challnge.

    Well done!

    To help you along your journey, there is a magnificent website where you can keep track of your meals and get added incentive by connecting with others that have created weight loss challenges for themselves. It's FREE and AMAZING!

    www.sparkpeople.com

    There you can "meet" many many like-minded persons that set and met their goals...

    And the very best of luck to you! You are an inspiration!

    S

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  80. Hello from Rhode Island. I am impressed with your attitude; instead of blaming the park, you took ownership of the problem and are working to fix it. This will have great benefits to you in many ways beyond the initial goal.

    I recently lost 20 lbs and have kept it off for a year - for what it's worth the key is to not do anything drastic, incremental changes can make a big difference and are easier to maintain in the long term. A crash diet is likely to fail because it is too much of a shock to the system.

    Simply giving up soda (allowing yourself to drink one or two a week will help you stay with it) and exercising will start to melt off the weight. Again, start slowly, it is very easy to get injured when starting a new exercise program.

    Good luck!

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  81. Lee-I LOVE that you're turning this into a positive thing. In the day and age of pointing fingers and the blame game, you will be one of the few who will be able to go back to the ride and actually ride it because you are taking control of the situation. I hope it will be even more enjoyable because of what you will have accomplished to get there. I wish you all the best!

    Your fellow Harry Potter lover,
    Rachel

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  82. Thank you thank you thank you, I'm so tired of people accepting and expecting everyone to accommodate them for their unhealthy choices. People should love their bodies, and by love I mean they should treat their bodies like the temples they are by feeding it well and exercising. I think you are a perfect example of that and I hope your next visit to the park is fulfilling.

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  83. Hey Banks!

    Just wanted to add my voice to the chorus and wish you the best of luck with all your efforts! I, too, reached a breaking point of sorts about a year ago, and I took it upon myself to start eating right and working out. I wound up losing 60 pounds, and I've been able to keep it off! As awesome as the ride probably is, don't ever lose sight of the fact that it's minor compared to the phenomenal decision you've made to invest in what's really important - YOURSELF!

    Stick with it, keep your chin up, and you will reach all your goals!

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  84. DUDE YOU ROCK!

    You are doing a very good thing for your life. I had a very similar experience last December on the "Maliboomer" ride at Disney's California Adventure Park. I was kicked off the ride in fromt of my whole family. Since then I have gone form 325 to now 255 and dropping. You will be amazed how good you feel as time goes on. Feel free to check out my blog at http://finallyairborne.blogspot.com and if you ever want to chat about a frustrating moment or your sucess, I would be happy to lend an ear.

    I was 300+ for a long time and getting kicked off the ride and then blogging about the work to change that has really helped me make a perminant change in my life. Congrats on making the commitment and I know you will succeed in your endeavors. What is more, you are an inspiration to all of us 300+ big guys out there.

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  85. Banks! My husband and I just read your story on Yahoo! and absolutely loved it! We think it's amazing that instead of complaining, you just set a goal and say if that's the way it's gonna be, then you're going to do what it takes to get there! Good luck and we will definitely check up on you to see how things are going! You're an inspiration to everyone!

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  86. Wishing you the best of luck!!!

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  87. Awesome, Banks! Good for you! Let us all know how the ride is. Unfortunately, I won't be getting to Florida anytime soon.

    My favorite amusement park is probably the original WDW Magic Kingdom. It transforms me into a kid again. It really is magical.

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  88. I like you. :) You're a very positive person, and with such a driving spirit I know you'll be able to experience the Forbidden Journey before your target date! And you seem to have a large support group to help you along the way, which always feels great!

    If by attractions you mean rides, I have to say that Space and Splash Mountain are always just as exciting as the first time I went on them. :) Space was closed the two times I visited last year, though! It left me feeling empty, haha. I'm sure I'm going to love Potter even more, though, once I go in August. I'm very, very excited for that!

    Good luck with your goal! I'm rootin' for ya from Jax!

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  89. Banks, I just want to say that I'm impressed with your positive attitude. Way to take matters into your own hands, take some positive steps, and work toward your goal. You should be proud of yourself!!

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  90. I think it is great that you are doing something unlike most people who choose a certain lifestyle. I have sympathy for folks who have a disease or are taking medication and are overweight as a result. Otherwise stop whining and do sometihing about it. Walk everyday, choose healthy foods, look at Wayne on the biggest loser the special guest from Wisconsin. You are the only one who can do something about it. You have and stopped complaining! Now if everyone would follow your example.....

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  91. Just read the article on Yahoo and love what you are doing and the name of your blog ! (enchanted bench..love it!) It is so great to see someone be positive instead of whining.(although I am known to do that from time to time :o) Best wishes on your journey !

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  92. I just heard about your undertaking on Yahoo! You are doing a great thing! You are taking a setback and turning it into something postive.

    Instead of demanding Universal Orlando accomedate you, you decide to accomodate their rules. Because 9 times out of 10, rules are made for a reason. And in this case, it's the safety of everyone aboard the ride.

    I wish you the best and may the ride be everything you expect and more.

    GRYFFINDOR!!!!!

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  93. So, I found your blog from Yahoo and I just need to say kudos. You are doing something that so many people aim to but never accomplish. Good luck!
    Also, have you ever heard of Planet Fitness? It's this gym that's self-titled the "Judgement Free Zone". I joined about a month ago and it's amazing seeing people like me (overweight) working out in a friendly environment. They help you formulate a plan of action and accomplish your goals (they give you an appointment with their specialist for free. I love it. It's amazing. It would probably be very beneficial and isn't expensive!
    (Wow, that sounded like a paid add :P)
    Anyway, good luck on your journey!

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  94. I think what makes me proudest of you -- someone I haven't even met -- is that you took a moment that doubtless fills many with shame, and changed it into something positive. Please send me an owl when you get in! Cuz you're gonna. I will be vicariously cheering from 3000 miles away! You da man!

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  95. I wish you good luck on your quest! I hope keep a blog helps you be motivated to reach your goal! :)

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  96. Another Yahoo visitor...what a fun story! Thanks for sharing your journey with us. I look forward to your updates. Hey, maybe you'll become famous like that Jared guy...

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  97. Nothing like a little motivation to jump-start a new you! I'm with you, Banks! Let's show that Enchanted Bench who the big man is in September! I'll be down to visit once the hype wears down. perzephyne@gmail.com (P.S. Dinner on me, and we won't eat salad! Salad=what food eats.)

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  98. THANK YOU!! As a critical care I see what obesity does to people, thank you for combating this disease head on and with such a great attitude, what an inspiration! I live in Ohio and will be journeying to Disney this Oct as an anniversary gift and will be spending a day at Harry Potter World!! I am so excited, maybe by than you will be able to ride it as well! Best of luck to you! Slim Fast is a great plan, I lost my freshman 30 using it and still drink it to this day for breakfast! Keep up the great work!!

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  99. Hello from South East Asia!Read about your blog from a Yahoo News link.I must say i'm very impressed with your positive attitude to the challenge. Keep up the good work!

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  100. I'm routing for you. I'm the same height and weigh about 12 more pounds. It will be off by the time I get there in October.
    Hang in there you can do it.
    Bruce Murray Ky

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  101. I love how you are turning lemons into lemonade instead of just complaining about the situation! My daughter just came back from a trip to Orlando & rode the coaster...she didn't have much time so she passed on the shops in Hogsmeade & raced through the single rider lines to make it! Wishing you much success : )

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  102. Good for you! I also like the title of your blog. :) Impressed that you are turning an experience into a positive and getting healthier in the process. I wish you all the luck in the world. You CAN do it!
    -Amber H

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  103. Hi Banks,

    Greetings from San Francisco! Like so many other strangers, I've clicked over from the Yahoo article. I was so impressed with your positive attitude that I wanted to stop by and wish you well. Keep up the great work and the great attitude. I am sure you will obtain your goal!

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  104. Truly inspiring! Keep up the good work! "Master Your Metabolism" by Jillian Michaels completely changed the way I think about food. Check it out if you're interested. :) I LOVE Tower of Terror!
    -Natalie in Los Angeles

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  105. Was glad to see your blog. My family and I have just spent 2 days at Universal's Island of Adventure specifically for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I "just barely" made it onto the Forbidden Journey ride. After reading other articles about this ride and how people couldn't fit, I got concerned. So, first, let me tell you that it is definitely worth it! I have a goal to lose weight and come back so I will be more comfortable in the seats. I did the "Dragon Challenge" ride by sitting in one of their "modified" seats (the regular seats were too small.) So, again, good for you and I hope to keep up with your blog and progress.

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  106. This is awesome! Best wishes.

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  107. I'm glad you are turning this into a positive experience. When I first started reading the Yahoo! article I was afraid people were going to complain instead of doing something positive for their own health. I'm glad to see you took the positive route.

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  108. Hey, Another one here arriving from the Yahoo article :)

    Good for you doing this. Instead of bitching about why they wouldn't let you on the ride, you're turning a negative into a positive and doing something about it. Good luck with it. I know you can do it!!! And won't that Harry Potter ride feel good when you get on it, LOL.

    BTW, you should put Google AdSense on your blog - you could make some money from this too, (to help you buy new clothes when you're thinner, LOL), as I think you're going to be getting a lot of visits to your site.

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  109. You go Banks! I just read the yahoo article with your blog mention. I'm here in California walking my tukus off so I don't have to pay for two airline seats when I leave for vacation next month. I also want to easily click into the ride seats when I visit the Santa Cruz Boardwalk this summer. You're not alone. Your blog is motivation for the rest of us!! Keep walking! :)

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  110. Banks,

    Next time you're at Wal-Mart, pick up a bottle of flaxseed oil capsules. The omega-3 helps prevent heart disease, and I find flaxseed oil helps me recover from exercise.

    Also, slim-fast and other products like it have a lot of sugar, so you may be better off with fruit and cottage cheese instead.

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  111. I am amazed at your positive attitude, someone else might have done differently! I was so amazed at the article that I even came here to comment which is probably my first comment on any blog or website in years. Thank You.,PS: just an Idea.... I ride a bike to work every day, but maybe just try walking 30 min before going to bed every night, you will be amazed at how good it is for stress relief and to put your thoughts in order, nevermind healthwise.

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  112. I'm glad to hear that you're turning this into a positive. A lot of people will complain, but you're doing something about it. Good for you! The benefits will be a lot greater than just riding this Harry Potter attraction.

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  113. Hey Banks, What a great quest !!!!!! Couple of suggestions for you . . .I lost about 40 pounds 5 years ago, and have kept it off no problem. As others have mentioned it's all about lifestyle change. Don't look for quick fixes, make the changes to your life, and then stick with them. Kill the soda for sure !!!!! I know it's tough, but you have to get rid of it. If you can't do it cold turkey, start slow and ween yourself off it. Switch to lower calorie fizzy drinks to start, then go to juice, then water. Eventually soda just starts to taste bad !!! Also, I look at the scale every morning. It kind of gives me a barometer for where I'm at. Do I need to have a strict day or can I afford a treat ? Another great trick I see others doing is a cheat day. 6 days of hardcore nutrition consciousness, and then on day 7 they allow themselves dessert or their favorite meal. It's ok reward yourself when you're working hard. And finally, the hardest thing - you're going to need to do more than walking. Start slowly of course, and consult a doctor before undertaking any strenuous exercise. I walked 850 miles last fall on a pilgrimage (up and down mountains), and only lost about 15 pounds over a 40 day period. The weight really didn't seem to come off until the very end. All the treadmills, and walking are a decent warmup, and a way for you to get started, but look into something a little more hardcore. Good luck !!!!!

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  114. I have to say that I admire you trying to get back into shape, that's kind of rough. But the fact that you're doing it so you can ride a fantasy harry potter ride at universal studios shows that you have no real drive to be in shape or thin. It's pathetic that it has come down to people wanting to ride a crappy ride at a theme park to give them the motivation to lose weight and get in shape rather than wanting to do it so they don't, you know, DIE! Come on man, this whole thing is a travesty just so you can get your fifteen minutes of fame and be on camera and yay i lost weight to go on a 15 minute ride. What then? just eat crappy food and get fat again cause your life is complete? dude...seriously, reevaluate your life. You need it

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  115. Hi Banks! Read your story from the Yahoo news and i'm really inspired by your positive attitude. I wish there were more people like you. Just letting you know that there's a couple ( my GF and I) from the Philippines rooting for you! Good Luck! I know you can do it. :)

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  116. I read about you in the Yahoo! article and I think it's so encouraging that instead of getting defensive about not being able to go on the ride, you are doing something good for yourself!! The world (and maybe especially this country :-p) need more people like you! The fact that you just went ahead and decided to do it, is great motivation for many of us, in all areas of out lives. Best of luck to you!

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  117. Just read the Yahoo article and wanted to wish you good luck on your journey! :D You can do it!

    Some quick healthy tips I've noticed a lot of people don't know, but are very helpful when dieting and maintaining your weight:
    1) Eat apples. Your body has to burn more calories than it can consume from this yummy fruit. (Same with raw potatoes but they're not as tasty.)
    2) Drink cold water. Your body has to burn calories to warm the water before it can absorb it.
    3) After eating something tart/sour don't eat something sweet. Doing so will make you hungry like you won't believe. (Doing this to make yourself eat when you're not feeling well is useful though.)

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  118. Good luck on this journey... supporting you all the way from Venezuela... hope to see your pictures on the ride... hugs and kisses

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  119. Hey, you are doing a great thing here! There are so many others out there in your situation who would be upset instead of looking at this as an opportunity! I wish you well on your journey!

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  120. I want to thank you. I am a carnie. As a carnival ride operator, I occasionally have to turn away potential riders who are just too fat to fit safely on my ride. And as a ride operator, I want you to know that it just feels horrible everytime I have to do it. It's not a good feeling at all to say "You're too fat, you can't ride" Of course I say it a bit more politely than that; but the message is pretty much the same either way. The only feeling I can think of that would be more awful, would be seeing somebody get hurt because I was afraid to hurt their feelings instead. I know the experience of being turned away from a ride because of weight problems is probably not much fun either, but you've taken it as a wake up call, to change and better yourself, rather than complain that our rides should be more accommodating to "special needs" or whatever. Hey, some people think that way; it's just harder to admit that they have a problem that they need to fix, than it is to blame others because their feelings are hurt. The next time I have to decide wether to let somebody over 250 lbs (the weight limit on my ride) get on, I will think of you, and I will remember that maybe, just maybe I can help make a difference in someone's life, the way this event did in yours. Your experience will help me do my job just a little bit better in the future, and I thank you for it.

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  121. me, the carnie again. I just want to let you know that I am passing this url on to my fellow carnival workers, (one of whom just lost quite a lot of weight last year) so that they can have the same inspiration that I got from it.

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  122. Way to go. I love that instead of complaining about this you turned this into a positive-way to go you!!!

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  123. Very impressed that you are taking matters into your own hands rather than simply complaining about the situation.. Major kudos to you! I rode the ride on Wednesday and I can tell you that it is amazing and will be the perfect reward for you reaching your goal! Congrats on making the decision to become a healthier person all the way around! Keep it up!

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  124. Jen from Indianapolis, InJune 26, 2010 at 1:07 AM

    Hello!

    Just found this through yahoo!news, and I have just got to say, I understand! The same thing happened to my friend and I when we went opening day. While we very much enjoyed the park (and managed to ride both Flight and Dragons), we were quite sadden that we couldn't ride Forbidden Journey!!! Almost immediately we decided to go on the 'Forbidden Journey' diet. We hope to be able to fit on the ride next year.

    So, in all, I just want to wish you all the determination in the world! Hope to year you gain much success with this endeavor.

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  125. Hey, I got the link to your blog on yahoo. I just wanted you to know that you are taking the right approach! Losing weight will help you have a longer, happier life. A side benefit is riding the ride. :) I'm also trying working on losing some weight so I can empathize. It isn't easy and does not happen fast, but it is WORTH it! Best wishes on your journey.

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  126. Dear Banks,
    I just found out today that you are doing this and I just wanted to say keep up the good work love! It is amazing what you are doing and is not only an inspiration to be healthy, but to truly go through life positively!
    Good luck!

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  127. Keep working bro! Whatever motivation one employs to improve their life is great in my opinion. Good luck in accomplishing you goal!

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  128. Just read the Yahoo! article. I admire your determination and how you look at things in a positive way. Wishing you the best of luck!!! =D

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  129. Best of luck to you! It helps to have a goal in mind.

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  130. This is an amazing thing that you are doing! keep up the good work, you are inspiring so many people!!

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  131. Banks,

    I just read the article and wanted to let you know that it is inspiring to see someone take a potentially negative experience and turn it into something great like this. I've been working with a national organization that is focused on healthy living in America as a creative consultant and I've already sent the article over to my contacts there. They've been looking for a story like this for a while to inspire the nation. Best of luck on your journey and I'll see you on the ride soon enough.

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  132. Tonight I watched Julie and Julia - the movie - and as soon as it was over, I hoped onto yahoo to get in my email when I saw this inspiring article. I think it amazing what you are doing and it really reminded me of the movie Julie and Julia. Good luck and I'm sure I'll be reading this frequently :]

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  133. This is winner stuff.

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  134. I wouldn't worry to much about the M&M job. I used to be nuts about specialty coffee drinks. Then I worked at a coffee shop and got tired of them. Quickly.
    Though, don't deprive yourself, indulging every once and a while is just as important to a healthy lifestyle. It's all about balance.

    Walking is my favorite exercise. Hands down. There is little better than taking a long walk with an ipod:)

    Best,
    -Bethany

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  135. Hi Banks, I think you've got a very good goal of getting into better shape and improving your health -- I know you'll achieve it and be able to ride the ride. My only concern is that you be careful with any one diet method or another. You'll get lots of advice from people about what worked for them and what didn't, but you should probably check with your doctor about what's best for you. Nothing against SlimFast or any other diet product, but you might consider mixing it up a bit with a small breakfast (orange or tomato juice with a bowl of cereal or a yogurt) and a moderate lunch (salad with a splash of dressing and some protein such as chicken breast or tuna) a few times a week. Reducing calories is one way to lose weight, but you want to be sure your body is getting the nutrition you need. Walking is good exercise, but again, check with your doctor to find out how much you should do safely. Perhaps, your first few weeks should be lighter than your next few (to give your body and heart time to adjust). You have a lot of people supporting you -- just please get to your goal safely!

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  136. My entire household heard about you!

    We all say Good luck! You can do it!

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  137. Thank you for being such a inspiration !! I'm also on a weightloss journey and this ride is included in my goals.

    keep up the great work,we'll be cheering you on!!

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  138. Hi! Just passing by :> I saw your blog from the Yahoo article and all I could say was you're amazing! my jaw literally dropped when i saw how large an effort one could do when he sets his mind to it. i was smiling the whole time i was searching for your blog and i wanted to drop by and tell you what you did was really inspiring -- id probably remember you when i lose my motivation sometime in the future -- and i support you! im not from the usa and when i found out about the harry potter theme park i was excited -- and disappointed at the same time, cos ill never be able to ride it in my whole life xD so instead of sulking over it ill be one of your fans cheering you on so you could ride it by the end of your goal :>

    good luck, really and i hope you'd have a great time in your new work! :>

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  139. just read about you on yahoo!
    sounds great and keep it up! :)

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  140. I Myself Have NEVER Been To ANY Theme Parks,
    Just State Fairs And County Carnivals, But
    This Whole Fobidden Journey Sounds Like Bull!
    I Once Had A Dream Of Going To Bush Gardens,
    But If These Parks Wanna Play That Crap
    They Can Shove It Where The Sun Don't Shine!
    You Sound Very Awesome For Allowing Those Tards
    To Bully You Out Of Your Hard Earned Pay Day-By-Day, But I Guess I'm Not So Tolerant Of Ignorant Thieves! Loose The Weight, Then Sue Them For Infringed Rights, False Advertising And Last But Certainly Not Least...Slander! Your Amazing Bud...Auksryte!

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  141. Just found your blog through the yahoo article and I have to add my voice to the many before complimenting you on turning a disappointment into a positive goal!
    Makes a nice difference from the whining indeed :D
    You go! Your body will thank you in later life too ;)

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  142. Way to go Banks!!! You are an inspiration to all. I'm pulling for you, man. Dumbledore would be proud, just kidding! But really, its a really cool thing yr doing. We know thru yr hard work and preserverance you will succeed.

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  143. Hi! I found the article about your quest on yahoo news, and I know that so many people have already said this, but thank you for turning this negative experience into such a positive one. So many people would have cried discrimination and threatened to sue, but you've turned it into a chance to better yourself, and through the wonders of the internet, others as well! I to am trying to lose weight, and have been struggling for a while, so I intend to follow your blog pretty closely. Hopefully you'll help me to stay on track! Thank you for being so positive!

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  144. Commenting on someone's (anyone's!) blog is not something I've EVER done, as I never read them, yet I felt so impressed when I read about you in the Yahoo article... I wish everyone in the world could respond to disappointment as well as you have, and take responsibilty rather than pushing it on someone else. You just keep working your magic. You are AWESOME, and I feel so excited for you. Enjoy that ride when you get on it!!!

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  145. Banks,

    Your positive attitude will lead to success in everything you do. You are an inspiration, and it's been a pleasure reading about you.

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  146. Wishing you all the best in your weight loss journey! We're heading to FL and Universal this summer to check out the WW of HP. I have 4 boys and we're crazy for all things Harry. :)

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  147. Nice job taking this challenge and handling it exactly the right way - by taking personally ownership and responsibility for the solution rather than blame or point the finger. We need people like you in Congress, the White House and State Gov. positions frankly. Keep it up and thanks for getting that inspiration of personal ownership and accountability out to others!

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  148. This is such an inspirational blog! I adore how you turned a negative into a positive situation. I live in Orlando too and have yet to go onto the Forbidden Journey (tried to go for the soft opening, but the day I was there, so was the cast - yikes!), but I hear it's brilliant. Hopefully I'll see you around the park one day. :)

    Congrats on your job at the M&M store, by the way! And my favorite ride? Hm. Probably Big Thunder Mountain or Dueling Dragons (err - Dragon Challenge?). Although, since I'm a lit dork, my favorite section is by far Tom Sawyers Island. Yep, dork.

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  149. The whole family is rooting you on, Banks.

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  150. With all the troubles in the world today, it is truly inspiring to see an individual committed to turning a negative into a positive. I wish you all the best in your quest and looking forward to hearing about your journey.

    My favorite theme park is Epcot especially during the Wine & Food Festival.

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  151. You can absolutely do it! I reversed my Diabetic status in 9 months. Remeber to change up your exercise so that your metabolism will stay "boosted".

    look forward to hearing how you enjoyed the ride!!!

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  152. What you are doing is wonderful - you are turning what could have been a negative experience into a beautiful one. You will succeed in everything you do with a beautiful soul like that. I would wish you luck but I know you don't need it - you have all the grace, courage, and integrity to achieve all of your goals.

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  153. Awesome! Hey love the attitude, in a society where most people would have blamed or even sued the theme park for not accommodating them for being overweight you've gone the positive route and decided to do something personally to fix the issue instead of blaming other people.
    I think you're a wonderful person for doing it and I'm glad there are people like you out there still. Keep up the hard work I know you can do it! It'll be a great day when you can go back and get on that ride, it'll be a huge sense of accomplishment.

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  154. I think it is great that you took this experience as a challenget to lose weight and make yourself healthier. Most people would file a complaint or a lawsuit but I commend your positive attitude and dedication and wish you all the luck in the world reaching your goals! I know you will feel better both physically and mentally after you have finished this journey. I wish there were more people out there like you!! Best wishes! ~ Michelle from Minnesota

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  155. Banks, like alot of these other folks, I found your blog via the article on yahoo. Its so refreshing to see somebody take an experience like this and turn it into something positive and healthy instead of finding someone to point a finger at. I think its wonderful that instead of walking away from the situation and letting it go, you're using it to motivate yourself to take steps towards becoming healthier. Seriously, you're an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your story with the rest of us!

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  156. I am also a resident of Orlando, I am a huge fan of Harry, but I am trying to wait a few months before I even brave the lines for Universal. I gained alot of weight while I was pregnant over 70lbs, and I started walking in January 2010, 5 miles every day 6 days a week. I have now been able to increase to 10 mile walks on a daily basis. I have lost 45lbs so far, so I know you can loose the weight as well. Just think positive, wish you luck.

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  157. I just read about you in the Yahoo article and I had to chuckle to myself just a bit. I too made a decision to shed pounds based on the fact I found out I was diabetic. For you not being able to ride an attraction at an amusement park was a good thing, cause now you can inspire others to do things that they may not have had the push to do on their own. I too started by walking. I got motivated to walk after I did a 5 mile walk for the March of Dimes in April. OMG, that was the longest walk in the world I thought at the time, but I promised myself I would continue to walk each week, as many days as I could. I also got my co-workers involve and we are doing a mini "biggest loser"..:-). I walk about 6+ miles at least about 5 days a week. We started walking a bike trail in the local metro park system. We have now graduated to walking on this crazy horse trail that has different types of ground texture; gravel, sandy, hilly, grassy. The new trail has put our bodies into a new peak. I am not liking the fact that my booty has shrank a bit..lol, but I have gotten into clothes I haven't worn in like forever. That is the greatest feeling to me and the fact that I can actually see that changes in my body. Walking is the easiest way to loose weight. So far I have lost 29 pounds since April, I have a total goal of about 70 pounds. My beginning weight was 244, I am now at 215 after about 2 months of solid life style changes. I have lowered my blood pressure which has eliminated my need for medication, and my blood sugar levels are great because I have cut sugar out my diet due to me being diabetic. I drink water all day long, no chips, candy. I have limited my intake of bread and pasta, my ultimate FAVORITE food, lol. So I say all this to say, great job on deciding to make the decision that you did. You may say you are doing it so you can experience a ride, but you are actually doing yourself a huge favor by just getting in shape and you will experience energy that you thought you had lost, and you will start looking good and feeling good....and oh yeah, you will get in that ride..lol. Good Luck to you Banks, I will be shaking my pom poms for you dude and following your journey...God bless.

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  158. Hi Banks! What a wonderful way to start my Saturday morning! The Yahoo article looked like it was going to be a whiny spin on the issue, but thanks to your positive outlook, it became a pleasant read. And to think, "I knew you when ..." LOL Seriously, I bet everyone in TXK is going to be following your blog. And you've got a couple of Day's up here in DC who will be doing the same. You're a gem! We'll see you when we come down for a visit - hoping for Sept.
    ((( hugs ))) ~ Vicki ~

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  159. I was about to stop reading the Yahoo article because I was sick about how people complain all the time about how it's not their fault, and how they can never seem to blame themselves. Good thing I scrolled down! Your response to what had happened to you is inexplicably refreshing! THAT is how it's done. I sincerely pray that more people who are in the same situation as you would follow your steps! YOU'LL REACH YOUR GOAL! FIGHT FOR THAT ENCHANTED BENCH!

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  160. Good luck! Great to hear about your story!

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  161. I tried to comment earlier but something messed up so if this is a repeat, I appologize! Congrats on making the step to be healthier! I'm in the battle myself. A few weeks ago I too decided that soemthing needed to be done about my unhealthy way and started adding my weight and healthy goals to my blog as well. I am excited to follow you and watch your progress! Good Luck!

    I'm in Cocoa so I'm not too far from Orlando! I love all the parks. As a Social Studies/Geography nerd I think Epcot is my favorite park. HOwever, I'm also an adriniline junkie so I love the rides and Epcot doesn't have too many that I really enjoy. Busch Gardens is my fave for rides, but that isn't in Orlando now is it? I think my favorite Orlando ride is The Mummy! :)

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  162. After gaining 30 pounds, I looked in the mirror last month and said "How did this happen and I didn't even realize it?" I've been slowly increasing the duration and intensity of my exercise and I feel really accomplished! Thank you for letting me know I'm not alon in my quest for better health!

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  163. Banks, I just read the article on yahoo about your determined journey to change your lifestyle to a healthier one. It seems quite amazing that you have chosen this goal of changing yourself instead of changing the dimensions of the ride through judicial process. I applaud your decision to change YOU for the better. I work in surgery and have seen how our patients have grown larger and larger resulting in healthcare problems due to increased weight. You are an inspiration for others. Good luck, Banks...you can do it!! Lynn Johnson, Tucker, GA

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  164. The way you have taken initiative in turning a possible negative thing and turning it in to a life changing and inspiring self enforced challenge is one of the most impressive things I have read about in a while more power to you bro.

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  165. What a wonderful thing you are doing youi will inspire kids to do the same! best of wishes! will check back on your progress, as long as your heart is in it you will be unstoppable!

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  166. Hey Banks, I think you are doing a great job with your goal. I was on a similar goal last year, we went to universal and I got on the line to ride the Hulk and my son wanted to ride in the front. So of course I was like great and we went in the line for the front ( Never thinking I would not fit ) In my mind I was not that big. So anyway we got to the front and the operator could not get the seat to buckle so I had to move to the other seats. None were open so they told me to wait on the side for the next ride. Very embarrassing. But the hardest part was looking at my son crying sitting next to his father in the front and saying but mommy I wanted to ride with you. So when the ride left I walked away to wait for them outside. When he came out he was still crying and that was my moment of no way this is not happening again. So my goal was to ride in the front of the Hulk. Well when Harry Potter opened we went back to the park and tried the Hulk ride. I FIT in the front. So keep it up. My son was so happy it was all worth the struggle.

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  167. I would like to commend you for actively doing something to address your health. I have gone from being thin and active to big and not very active. I have thyroid issues, a car accident, pregnancies and an auto immune disease to blame for my weight gain and inactivity and for 12 years I allowed that excuse to keep me from doing anything about my weight. It didn't help that I am not a person who is appearance oriented and I had good self-esteem. I loved myself big, so I just stayed big. My wake up call came from my doctor who said I am now pre-diabetic. My great-grandmother lost both of her legs and then her life to diabetes. Now, I am walking as much as possible and really trying to eat healthier. I drink diet soda, but I am trying to cut back on that so that I drink more water. I agree that giving up my fizzy refreshment has been the hardest thing. I think I would live on celery if I could just have the soda. Haha, but life doesn't work that way. Good luck in your journey. I am rooting for you and I intend to watch your story.

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  168. Love your attitude!

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  169. I just want to say walking everywhere really helps. I live in Boston, which is a big walking city. I walk everyone and I don't work out much. The walking really helps keeping me in shape. After walking you should try jogging and build up to running. It sucks that you can't ride, but I think it is a good thing that you are trying to be healthy and fit.

    Good Luck. I am a follower so I will be reading your posts!

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  170. Hello There!!!I'm from Puerto Rico and I know that if I seat on that chair right now it will not even give me half click!(^_^)That is why starting today, I will stop drinking soda, I will be eating healthier and walking around the neightborhood..maybe running!!!Hopefully when I get there in October and seat on that chair I will hear..click!!cliCK!!CLICK!! Good luck to all of us..who are struggling with this illness!!

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  171. Hey man, good for you! I'm sure you will complete your goal. Awesome person that turns a negative into a positive!

    Rooting for you!!!

    Tom B.

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  172. Let me personally congradulate you on your decision to lose weight. If you can successfully do it, it will be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. I should know. Over the last 3 years I have lost 89 pounds and maintained the loss.

    I am 5' 11" and was at a maximum weight of 277 lbs at age 31. I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, which forced me to reevaluate my attitute towards food and physical activity. My weight had gradually rises over the years in my 20's due to my bad eating habbits. My biggest mistake was eating too many calories at dinner and skipping breakfast. Moreover, I played videogames incessently which gave me almost zero physical activity.

    Knowing the complications that Diabetes can bring and the shock of developing it at such an early age, I found the motivation to lose weight. And just like you I started with the simplest and most basic exercise of all: walking. I gradually began to add more exercises, obtaining various equipment over a period of two years. But the treadmill remained my "workhorse" for losing weight, especially during the first year.

    Today I am a pleasant 188 lbs and the strongest I've ever been in my life. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made. You can add me to your contact list if you want @ http://www.facebook.com/deron.baker

    Now, allow me to "preach" a little here. When it comes to the subject of weight loss, many people will attempt weight loss at least at some point in their life. Most will fail or will gain the weight back after a short period. Why is this? There is a lot of talk about "diets don't work", or "this diet is the right diet for you", or "this particular exercise is the key", etc. No. The REAL reason that most people fail to lose weight is that they fail to recognize the difference between motivation and discipline. When you truly understand the difference, you will then lose the weight and keep it off. It is discipline, not motivation, that causes weight loss.

    Motivation comes and goes. My motivation was to get rid of my Diabetes. Another motivation was to look better. However, there were days I did not feel like exercising and I temporarily lost my motivation. However, I FORCED myself to exercise 7 days a week, whether I felt like it or not. I subordinated my feelings to my principles. I made daily exercise a necessity and did it even if I felt sore or unmotivated.

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  173. Banks - What a wonderful thing you're doing. Instead of turning this into a lawsuit and dancing with the civil liberties people, you're making a positive statement. I hope more and more people who can't do the three clicks (whether they've been to the park or not) will follow your lead!

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  174. I read about you and your blog on yahoo and wanted to tell you that i'm so proud of you making the decision to better your heath and life. Even if your reason is a ride. Think of the good your doing for your heart. do you have a pedometer? They are great for tracking your walking through the day. Be sure to drink lots of water and don't let anything get in the way of your goals. Congratulations for finding the motivation to do something most people wont even try.

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  175. Yeah when I started reading the article I figured it would just be about how everyone is blaming Disney and them not making the seats big enough, but you took a great attitude about it and I wish you the best! Good luck man and hopefully once you are able to get on the ride you continue to keep the weight off and stay healthy!

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  176. good luck to you on your journey. I think its brilliant that you took a negative experience and turned it into to something that will give others hope. This year has been difficult for me, as this is the first time in my life that I am large. It really is hard work turning bad habits around.
    Cheers to you Banks, as I find myself needing motivation your blog will be but a click away. May I suggest clean eating magazine. I have found it very helpful in making food choices.

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  177. Hey there! I know you have 39 comments already, and I do not blame you one bit if you don't get to reading mine... but I just wanted to congratulate you for making this change, and encourage you to think of it not so much as a diet but as a change in how you're living life... PERIOD! :)

    I've been working on weight loss for a year and a half now, and was 365 at my heaviest. I'm a girl of 5'10", and it was really hard for me to realize that I basically wouldn't be able to ride any rides at all.

    When I started my weight loss journey, one of my mini-goals along the way was to lose enough so that I could ride a roller coaster again. I'm currently 57 lbs down, and getting closer every day to that mini-goal!

    Hang in there, and keep up that awesome walking. Also, if you want some healthy (and easy!) recipes, I've collected a few as I've attempted to teach myself how to cook. Would be happy to share! :)

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  178. I have to say, it's absolutely refreshing to see someone accept responsibility rather than saying "It's not my fault". Keep posting your results here, everyone is cheering you on, and that positive feedback will help you a lot. I know for myself, sugar was my biggest problem. Once I got rid of the soft drinks, and my "3:00pm bag of Skittles", everything else seemed to come easier. There are a lot of different weight-loss scams out there, but let me tell you what helped me most- Tom Venuto's "Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle" (google it, it's easy to find). It was life-changing for me. Keep up the good work, fight the fight, and find a weight-loss plan that works for you. Good luck!!

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  179. Rock on dude! Best of luck to ya. I wish ya nothing but the best.

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  180. I just want to add my good wishes to your quest! I love the name you came up with for you blog - it sounds magical. I can't wait to see how the story ends...

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  181. I read about you on yahoo news and wanted to take a moment to give kudos! I have struggled with my weight in the past and think it's wonderful that instead of complaining about Universal being unfair you are taking this opportunity to make a few changes in your life. I wish you the best of luck on what is sure to be an amazing personal journey!

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  182. Hi, I just saw your blog featured in the yahoo article and wanted to wish you luck on your goal! I admire you for taking a healthy, slow and steady approach to losing weight and I look forward to seeing a post announcing that you have successfully made 3 clicks!

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  183. I just wanted to say that I read the yahoo article today and I think that what you are doing is fantastic. I'm an avid potter fan and I can imagine that if I didn't get on the ride I'd probably go on a diet too just so that I could fit. Kudos to you and keep up the good work!!!

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  184. I *love* Epcot. Everything about it. It's more laid back than MK or DHS, with plenty of stuff to see and do even if you're not on a "ride" per se. I'll be down in December and CAN'T WAIT! Hope you get to ride by then ;) Good luck!

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  185. Hi Banks!! its so funny that I find your blog RIGHT after I tell my husband I need to cut my carbs more so I can ride this ride in October!! Love reading your blog thus far! I would love to share a little information I have gathered so it might help you as well as others, as it has started to help me:) I have been overweight most of my life and have tried every diet under the moon, in doing so ive tried to get to the root of "whats healthy?"! and it wasnt until my husband was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes this year that I started really learning what nutrition was. Something major Ive learned along the way and one that is getting much more press, and thankfully companies are taking it out of their products is that High Fructose Corn Syrup may be at the root of all of our struggles with weight, along with diabetes and liver disease! Slim fast has this listed as well as maltodextrin (another form of corn syrup) and sugar:( Im not saying this in any way to discourage you but to help, in turn help with an alternative!! I used to drink atkins shakes regularly, sadly that also has HFCS, which makes it hard for the on the go types of meals! I have found I love the odwalla protein monster shakes in chocolate, the calories are good for a meal and although a bit high in carbs the protein equals it out and again is easy for the on the go meals (or when your dying for a chocolate fix, lol):)

    I hope this helps you on your journey to getting on this ride and getting healthier!!! I cant wait to read more and who knows maybe one day see you at the parks! my goal is to ride that ride in october, not sure I can do it but darnit im gonna try!!!:D

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  186. I just have to say how proud I am to see someone who rather than blame others for something, taking control and fixing the situation for yourself! You are motivated, positive, and I think truly an inspiration to so many people! I'm going to be at the Wizarding World next spring so I'll make sure to Click a click in your honor! You keep at it and ENJOY the ride! (both the real one and the journey to get there)

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  187. You so rock. :) Your positive attitude and graciousness in this situation are an absolute breath of fresh air!
    We're cheering you on here in Georgia!

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  188. Banks, I just saw the story on Yahoo! I wanted to say that I think it's amazing what you are doing. People seem to be so apathetic to change, whether personal or social, so it's inspiring to see someone turn lemons into lemonade. Best of luck on your journey! Also, congrats on the new job.

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  189. Dear Banks, I first heard of your journey on yahoo and I have to say I commend you! You certainly are inspiring many people to eat healthy and exercise-it isn't easy, but I know you will make it and you have so many people supporting you on the way! Take care and keep up the great work!

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  190. You can do it! :) I'm a college student and I can't afford to go to WWoHP until at least next year so you HAVE to go and tell me how it is! I believe in you.

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  191. Banks... my family & I were just discussing the article on Yahoo. My husband is not a tiny man & he said that he was quite uncomfortable on the ride with the restraint as it was. I can imagine there are plenty of people larger than him who are turned away. I sympathize... I myself have lost 100 lbs. over the course of a couple of years, so I totally understand. BUT.. I admire you & we all agree you are a GREAT example. Whereas so many people are probably yelling & screaming at the underpaid Universal staff, YOU are taking responsibility & making a change in your life. This may have been your motivator, but most people are using it as a complaint. You're an inspiration in our society where many are just looking to pass the blame &/or sue for their own poor choices & lifestyles. I applaud you for setting this example!! I am so very proud to know there are still people like you out there. I am an Orlando resident & Universal pass holder. I truly hope to be there to witness your goal when the time comes. If you make the announcement on here, I WILL BE! Best of luck to you, Banks!!!

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  192. Lee, best of luck on your journey. Stay positive, keep walking and know there are many thousands of us supporting each step you take. I am sure when J.K. started writing, she had NO idea that Harry would not only inspire kids to read, he would also inspire people to live healthy and extend their lives. Thank you for being a beacon of hope!

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  193. I would like to suggest something better than Slim-Fast. Muscle Milk makes tubs of powdered protein drink in many more appetizing flavors. Plus, it has way more protein than SlimFast. You can put some of the powder in a tupperware and make a fresh shake at work with just water. You can put in half water and half ice and blend it and it's a heavenly concoction. The large tub is pricey, but if you divide it by how many shakes you get, you're saving money compared to slim fast. I buy mine at GNC, but any of the big health food stores should have it. Good luck!

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  194. Banks! This is fantastic. I was logging into my yahoo account and saw the article on the Harry Potter ride. I bypass most news stories on the Yahoo homepage but this one intrigued me because of my recent weight issues. Back in September of 2009 (Yes, 9 months ago) I was 295 lbs (5'11"). After a visit to my doctor because of noticable water retention it was discovered that my kidney function was depleting and my blood pressure was through the roof at 240/120. Further, a respirologist deemed me as having sleep apnea. After a week in the hospital to get my levels down to keep me from having a stroke. I vowed that I would exercise and lose weight and get my health back. It all takes something for us to get motivated - to push us in the right direction with a little steam behind us doesn't it? Well, that was my motivator and this is yours and I applaud you for it.
    I know you and I both have heard people say, "If I can do it, you can do it!" Seriously, Banks, I scoffed at those cliches. Now I don't because I was the epitome of a couch potatoe, I did not have enough motivation to get up and walk to the nearby corner store or the track directly beside my house. I went kicking and screaming if I gave in to my wife and went.
    Banks, I have lost 101 lbs since Sept all thanks to a little extra motivation, a change in diet and exercise. I will send you before and after pics if you want, and it all started with walking then gradually building endurance to the point where this former 300 lb lard is running 6.5 miles 5 days per week. I went to a few nutrition seminars to teach me healthy eating habits. Dealing with portion control and what and when I consume food is part of the regiment.
    Here is what I learnt Banks, as you begin and continue to lose weight you will get addicted to the healthy habits. As you exercise your body will produce more endorphines thus crave the routine, the cardio. This was all something I learned in the quiet of my own life with no audience save for the family and friends around me. I know you can do it too - esp. if I could ;). I am now 194lbs, kidneys are functioning well and do not have sleep apnea anymore.

    GO FOR IT BANKS. I will be following you from way up here in Vancouver, Canada!!!!!! my email is david@dynamicstory.com or hit me up on facebook: Dave Rempel (says I am in Los Angeles but I now live in Vancouver)

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  195. Hello! I'm a new follower! Great to see a positive light being put on this whole dealio! I wish I had motivation such as this to get me into my dieting regimen! Good luck with working around temptation. I actually work at Lenscrafters in the FL Mall. So I'll be sure to come say hello! Used to work at Universal in Mel's Drive In. Have yet to go to IOA for the Wizarding World but am waiting for it to die down. And my seasonal Disney passes are on blackout dates so. My summer is NOT Nightastic :(
    Enough about me! Your motivation is an inspiration!! Good luck to you man!

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  196. Congratulations! You are (maybe unknowingly) a champion of personal responsibility. Every one of us humans needs to grow and change in one way or another and it is not someone else responsibility. Thank you for not expecting Disney to change for you and thank you for sharing your personal experience. YOU ROCK AND I WISH YOU THE BEST. YOU CAN DO IT, ONE DAY AT A TIME! BLESSINGS FROM ALABAMA.

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