What Disney Can Teach You About Nutrition And Fitness And Stuff

Who doesn’t love a good old fashioned, grab you by the feels, we heart princesses and villains, Disney film?

Who doesn’t like reading about fitness and nutrition and stuff?

Yeah, exactly.

Put them both together and you manage to procure a mastermind of an article that makes a few interesting, yet admittedly sometimes incredibly tenuous, links between Disney films in years gone by and the lessons, messages and morals these wonderful films can teach us.

Enter Neverland at your peril here:

Captain Hook Wasn’t So Bad After All

The Disney universe is ripe with villains of all kinds, but it’s important to remember that its own anti-hero’s are not so much evil villains as they are victims of circumstance.

Let’s take Captain Hook from Peter Pan for example.

The surly sea captain got his hand chopped off and fed to a crocodile by the much eulogised Peter and is mercilessly terrorised by the capricious kid who ultimately is the baddy, kidnapping children from their bedrooms. I think we’d all be pretty pissed if that was us.

All the old amputee wants is to do, is stop the kidnapping ‘protagonist’ from causing mayhem and to preach the clear distinctions between good and bad form. Hook is the one with the most consistent moral compass; and clearly not so much of a villain as we’re all led to believe.

It’s a bit like the media and poorly-educated nutritionists thrusting the good guy/bad guy dichotomy onto us in an attempt to describe why people put on weight. There’s always a villain - something that’s ‘bad’.

It used to be carbohydrates. Then it was fat. Now it’s sugar.

And a bit like our own Disney crooks, these food groups are not so much evil villains as they are victims of circumstance. When people cut out carbs they lose weight. When they cut out fat they lose weight. Whey they cut out sugar they lose weight.

The real reason they lost weight?

They simply ended up eating less.

These specific foods groups don’t individually lead to fat gain (don’t worry an overall calorie surplus will take care of that); they’re merely thrust into the public eye as damaging and wicked, and exposed as the supposed sole reason why people put on weight.

Analogous to our supposed Disney baddy Captain Hook, certain food groups’ motivations are for the most part purely misunderstood.

Don’t be so quick to blame something specifically for being ‘bad’ or the primary cause of someone’s fat gain.

It usually isn’t the case.

Never Ever Tell Rapunzel She Can't Have Something

Tangled, the politically correct title for the classic story of Rapunzel, teaches us that not only is great hair a must, but oppression and deprivation are a sure-fire way of failing your mind and ultimately overall chances of success.

Forbidden from leaving Mother Gothel’s hidden tower owing to her hair’s magical healing powers, all Rapunzel and her 70-foot give-it-a-rest-already hairstyle want to do, is obviously leave the tower. As oppressed girls do when they reach an age of certain maturity, Rapunzel falls for the first man she meets and teams up with her new gentleman to rebel against her mother.

The lesson?

Being told you can’t do something, or have something for that matter, will inevitably lead to you constantly crave that particular something.

The first thing people do when they ‘go on a diet’ is cut out the supposed ‘bad’ things from their daily intake. Chocolate, biscuits, alcohol, carbs, gluten, anything with the letter ‘a’ in it, is all thrown out in an attempt to avoid overeating these allegedly harmful foods.

Problem being, once we’re told we can’t consume something, it’s all we can think about. Like all the time. Not only do these people become very miserable (miserable enough to incessantly remind you about it), but as soon as they impose a restriction on themselves, they are constantly having to challenge their psyche and willpower.

Deprivation diets don’t work for three reasons:

1) Our body fights against them;

2) Our brain fights against them;

3) Our day-to-day environment fights against them.

Any diet that is based on denying yourself the foods you really like is inevitably going to be temporary. When the diet ends – either because of frustration, temporary success or because the appeal of that chocolate cake is too much – you’re back wolfing down your comfort foods with a hungry vengeance. With all that sacrificing you’ve been doing, there’s a lot of catching up to do.

The key is to eat a little less than you need and therefore not feel deprived.

If you don’t feel denied, unlike poor Rapunzel, you’re less likely to backslide and find yourself overeating to compensate for everything you’ve forgone. 

Pocahontas And Her Unhappy Ending

Pocahontas recycles the classic Disney romantic storyline: young maiden leaves family and culture behind to be swept into the arms of a handsome stranger. Only this daughter of a Native American tribe leader is caught in the throes of an intense battle between her newfound lover, Smith, a settler and rival on her people’s land, and her family.

A confrontation culminating in the death of Pocahontas’ already pre-determined husband and the capture of her newfound lover leads to difficult decisions to being made. Smith attempts to persuade Pocahontas to join him back in London upon his inevitable departure, but the American-Indian champion decides her place is back home, with her own people and not with her new paramour.

Everyone is left slightly bemused at the seemingly forlorn and doomed conclusion to the film.

Not quite the happy ending for our heroine Pocahontas.

I suppose it’s a bit like that ‘fitness journey’ (it has to be a ‘journey’ remember) we’re all undertaking. The desire for that one elusive moment where we look down at ourselves and we’re like ‘hey, I’ve finally got that six pack I’ve been wanting for ages – I’m so happy’.

Unfortunately Pocahontas was right all along; there is no happy ending.

Not only is there actually no ending (yep, that damn journey keeps going on and on forever) but if you do eventually reach your end ‘goal’, you aren’t suddenly overridden with that intangible happiness you’ve been craving for an eternity.

Be aware that if you do reach your coveted end goal, your life or feelings will hardly change at all. 

No amount of visible abs, smaller dress sizes or Facebook likes at your before and after photo will increase your chances of happiness.

It’s important to always have this in the back of your head when you feel as if your training, nutrition and motivation are going terribly; you’ll still experience these same feelings if you do end up in the dress size or scale weight you really really want.

So relish the exercise programme you’re undertaking. Learn to revel in trying to change your eating habits. Enjoy the challenges of setting and beating personal bests. Appreciate learning and teaching yourself new things. Savour trying to make yourself a healthier and better person.

Inside Out and the Ins and Outs of Mindfulness

A Disney movie about the complexities of emotions and how they can affect relationships, decisions and experiences?

Jeez, I need a drink.

While younger members of the viewing audience of Inside Out are captivated by characters (Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust) submerged in peril and reverse-serendipitous cases of bad timing, the parallels between the narrative and the role emotions can play in our eating habits is uncanny.

Like all of us, Riley is guided by her emotions, who live in Headquarters, the control centre inside the young girl’s mind.

Falling prey to the dangerous emotions we all encounter through our stressful, chaotic lives can lead to emotional, mindless and progress-thwarting eating.

You know, when you’re super angry at someone from work and find yourself devouring a whole bag of Doritos when you get home just to soothe those infuriating feelings at Dave from IT that have gradually built up throughout the day.

This form of eating seldom manages to appease these initial demanding emotions and you’re no better off than when you first started ploughing through that bag of crisps.

Controlling and personifying emotions, like Inside Out’s Riley and her five troublesome emotional characters, can often be the key to practicing mindful eating.

Exercising the art of actually feeling when you’re hungry or craving something, rather than relying on motivation, willpower and any other dastardly emotions playing around in your head, will prevent you from rapidly rushing to any food demons you have.

Corralling your consciousness and learning to understand what emotion is in the driving seat of your brain at that particular moment in time will allow yourself a bit more time to formulate a strategic plan to combat it.

Learn to explore the different emotions you possess and how to utilise them to the best of your ability, rather than reach for the biscuit tin every time you feel a tad emotional.

Hercules and His God-Like Work Ethic

From scrawny to brawny, simpleton to superstar, zero to hero, Hercules and his free-floating mischief follows the shoehorned journey every Disney conqueror must encounter to achieve celebrity status.

Hercules, a prepubescent teenager nicknamed Jerkules by other boys, struggles with the self-doubt any young teenager must overcome. Hero status must be obtained, but as with any overpowering and seemingly unrealistic goal must come hard work.

Hercules adopts the help of satyr and tritagonist Phil who grooms his protégé for stardom. It’s with this that the film Hercules provide its most invaluable lesson.

Goals, dreams, and visions of six-packs and nice bottoms, don’t come without hard work and sacrifice.

Hercules displays inexperience and naivety as he embarks on his newfound training programme. He fails almost all the challenges his half-man-half-goat-looking trainer sets him, and despite experiencing that feeling we all encounter when trying to achieve our goals of throwing the towel in and packing up and going home, he keeps on going. And going. Right up until the scraggy young lad is lauded as the hero he yearns to be.

Remember, nobody ever got lean or changed their body shape from sauntering through life; hoping changes would come at the click of a finger. They had to work extremely hard and put in a lot of effort.

Unfortunately though, most people fear working hard. The demands of undertaking something new and gruelling is off putting and frightening.

When they fail at lifting a new weight, or look in the mirror to despairingly see no change, their first thought is ‘sod this, nothings working, I’m stopping’.

Unfortunately, that attitude doesn’t get you anywhere.

**Overused, overrated, incredibly annoying, yet very important, fitness cliché coming up**

Keep going. When the chips are down, when that belt isn’t loosening and when the dreams of you waltzing down the beach looking super-sexy are more of a figment of your imagination, knuckle down and know that if you continue to put in the effort and hard work, the results will come.

 

This Article Was Too Long and I Didn't Read It - Can You Summarise It Please

  • Specific food groups aren't actually 'bad' for you, nor do they specifically contribute to fat gain. 
  • Don't ever deny or deprive yourself of foods you enjoy; it's a recipe for disaster
  • There's no happy ending if you actually reach your goal - enjoy the journey
  • Don't let emotions dictate your eating habits - master the art of mindfulness
  • Hard work is imperative - don't give up

 

 

What's that? You loved this article and want more?

I got you.

Experience more wisdom, charm and incredibly tenuous links between fitness and other stuff I can think of HERE.

Oh, and you'll receive a new, shiny free eBook as well. *Excited Emoji*

Name *
Name