healthy living, popular culture

healthy living lessons from pixar

Last weekend my friend Missy (of “I lost a Missy” fame) told me about The Pixar Theory. Inspired by a video he saw on, the author’s theory basically states that all Pixar feature films exist in the same universe and when put in a certain order tell the story of the end of humans as we know it and the eventual robot apocalypse.

No. Seriously.

It’s one of those things where you realize that there is no way in hell Pixar puts this much effort into their films and yet he brings up some intriguing ideas and points out some of Pixar’s famous crossover Easter Eggs I hadn’t seen before. Plus the way he brings everything together is rather clever.

Of course, ever since reading the piece I’ve been on a huge Pixar kick, watching all of the movies again. With some it was the first time in years I had seen the film and it all got me thinking. Which, of course, can mean only one thing.

All images copyright Disney Animation Studios & Pixar

I know. It’s a tall order. But just go with me on this one, okay? I mean, if I can do it with Harry Potter and Doctor Who I can certainly do it with animated films.

Toy Story” [1995]

Never stop challenging yourself. Never stop setting goals to work towards. Keep seeing each new obstacle, each new success, as an opportunity for improvement and reinvention. Always strive for new heights.

A Bug’s Life” [1998]

The beginning of a weight loss journey can be so completely overwhelming. Especially when you have a significant amount of weight to lose. But you have all the resources you need to get started right inside, you just have to be willing to dig down deep and give yourself the time and energy that this journey will require.

Finding Nemo” [2003]

Right, like there was any other line I could possibly pick from this film.

(And yes I know it appears I missed a film. Trust me on this one.)

Look, this isn’t easy. Losing weight, adopting a fitness regime, getting healthy. Whatever it is that you want to do is going to take work and there will be times where you have a bad day or a bad week and feel like you want to give up. Maybe you get injured and have to cut back on exercise. Maybe you go on vacation and completely fall off your food plan. It is going to happen but all you can do is just keep going, keep pushing through.

The Incredibles” [2004]

Edna Mode is, without a doubt, one of the best secondary characters Pixar has ever created. She also offers some pretty tough advice with this one. Tough, that is, to follow through on. While I do think it is sometimes necessary to remember where we came from, where we started, we shouldn’t dwell or concentrate on it too much. Focusing too much on the Old You can make it near impossible to appreciate the fabulous Current You.

This really hit home when I started at a different job location and realized that none of my new coworkers know me other than the me I am right now. And while most of my old coworkers forget the old me, they at least know about my journey. People I meet for the first time these days have no idea about my past unless I volunteer the information and, instead, take me and my weight at face value. To them, there is no other person than who I am right now and that, in turn, helps me see myself that way, too.

Cars” [2006]

Obviously a play on Muhammad Ali’s famous Float Like a Butterfly, Sting Like a Bee, the message nevertheless remains the same: Stay elegant and classy. Nobody likes a show-off or a braggart so be that demure butterfly who lets the beauty and results speak for themselves.

But when necessary, kick some serious fucking ass and show everyone just how far you’ve come.

Ratatouille” [2007]

I am one week into my half-marathon training. Me. The girl who walked the mile every single year in high-school. The woman who didn’t run up until about a year and a half ago. Before that, it wasn’t that I didn’t want to run (well, okay, it was partly that) but more like I couldn’t. I weighed 311 pounds and while now I’ve been in enough races to know that heavy runners do exist, I was not one of them. I could barely walk a quarter of a mile without stopping to catch my breath so the idea of running that let alone running a full mile let alone running multiple miles was so not happening. That’s where I come from but I refuse to let that stop me from getting to where I am today. Don’t let it stop you, either. Never allow your past to dictate your future.

WALL-E” [2008]

WALL-E is a film that needs no explanation about the dangers of over consumption and a sedentary lifestyle, not to mention what will happen if we don’t take care of our planet. On Friday I took my half training long run to the Cleveland Metroparks and on Saturday I was able to attend a mini yoga class led by Alicia from Poise in Parma in front of the shark tanks at the Greater Cleveland Aquarium. It’s impossible to fathom a world where green spaces and wild animals don’t exist up close and in person and while the reality seen in WALL-E is far outside of our lifetime, we still have to be conscious and aware of it so it doesn’t happen to future generations. The scene where all the obese residents of the Axiom are camped out in their hover chairs, plugged into their little television screens, blissfully sitting around the gorgeous pool totally unaware it’s even there (“We have a pool?” “We have a jogging track?”) speaks volumes. Scary, scary volumes.

UP” [2009]

Remember kids, it’s the journey not the destination.

Brave” [2012]

This film gets me every.single.time. I think it’s because when I was Merida’s age my mom and I had a relationship not unlike the one she has with Elinor. (Then again, what teenage daughter doesn’t?) Sure, I didn’t become a redhead until college but I was definitely headstrong and independent and wanted to define my own path, chart my own course, and there were many, many times when my vision for my life and my sense of self clashed with my mom’s.

Ultimately, though, it is our lives to lead and we are the ones that have to make the necessary changes if we want to alter our fate. This may mean breaking carefully agreed upon social situations. Like those friends who love to go out to eat at restaurants high on the fried food scale and having to say no. Or not going out as often or not staying out as late because you have to work out. It takes courage to stand up for our health and lifestyle and it isn’t always easy or fun. But anyone who truly loves you will support your decisions and understand. For all you know, your bravery may inspire them to make some big changes of their own.

Monsters University” [2013]

See, told you to trust me on the absence of Monsters, Inc.

Turns out, Mike and Sulley are both right. It’s a careful and delicate balance. Mike isn’t lacking in confidence and believes he can do anything he wants, which he can, but that much bravado can get you in trouble. It can blind you to potential weaknesses, mostly because you don’t think you have any. Plus, if you don’t really truly believe in what you’re doing — if you’re only doing it, say, halfheartedly without really knowing why other than because you can — you aren’t going to be successful in the long run. At the same time, though, as much as gumption and tenacity are important, if you don’t believe in yourself and have the confidence to know you are worth it, your heart might not be enough to get you through those moments of doubt. One might come easier than the other but both are equally important for any sort of lasting lifestyle change.

Do you have a favorite Pixar movie?

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

9 thoughts on “healthy living lessons from pixar”

  1. “Stay elegant and classy. Nobody likes a show-off or a braggart so be that demure butterfly who lets the beauty and results speak for themselves.”

    girrrrrrl. This spoke directly to my heart. I have a serious problem dealing with people that walk that fine line between confidence and arrogance. What you wrote above is basically my life motto. Here's to more butterfly moments! 😉


  2. How does one maintain a healthy lifestyle? At first glance, the question seems simple enough. But try asking up to 20 persons that question, and chances are the answers you'll get will depend on who you ask, especially what part of the world the person comes from.
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