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Melissa Martin: Fat-shaming Santa is naughty not nice

By Melissa Martin
Columnist

The jelly belly of jolly olé St. Nicholas is bothering the diet-obsessed. And they are fat-shaming Santa Claus. Fat phobia has reached the North Pole.

The Keto crowd want children to put steak instead of cookie carbs on plates for Santa. Don’t forget the bacon. And a bucket of lard.

The Paleo people want kids to leave nuts for Santa. A fitting food for a group of hunters and gatherers.

The Vegan group suggest broccoli to go, tied up in a bow for the chubby icon. And a relish plate under the tree.

The Dunkin Diet dopes are pushing unlimited high-protein foods and mandatory oat bran on holiday plates for the pudgy guy in the red suit. They want Santa in yuletide yoga pants.

The South Beach Diet fanatics want Santa to deliver gifts on a bicycle in a bikini. Ho-ho-ho. No-no-no.

The Atkins Diet clique want Santa to handout coupons for their discounted diet books. That’s scary not merry.

Serving high protein reindeer meatballs in America for Christmas dinner is just wrong. Rudolph’s nose would explode. And he may leave a smelly gift on your porch.

The Christmas candy-makers are ready for a royal rumble with the holiday fat-shaming grinches.

In a 2011 article in the HUFFPOST, Glenn Braunstein, M.D., wrote the following letter to Santa: “Dear Jolly Old St. Nick, You have a problem: You are obese. You are a role model for kids and parents, representing the ideal of goodness and kindness in the world. Yet the example you set in taking care of yourself is anything but good. Sure, you appear jolly and energetic on the outside, but that belies the fact that those extra pounds probably are going to do you in sooner or later. Obese individuals have an increased risk of diabetes, hypertension, strokes, heart attacks, some cancers, arthritis, gout and sleep apnea. Is that the model we want people to aspire to? I think not.”

Mrs. Claus stuffs Santa with food so he can fit into the velvet red suit with white fur. Then she puts him on a diet of penguin soup after the holidays. Poor Santa is a yo-yo with a ho-ho.

Losing weight is even hard for Santa. And he’s magical. I’m sure genetic factors are influencing Santa’s weight.

“To date, more than 400 different genes have been implicated in the causes of overweight or obesity, although only a handful appear to be major players. Genes contribute to the causes of obesity in many ways, by affecting appetite, satiety (the sense of fullness), metabolism, food cravings, body-fat distribution, and the tendency to use eating as a way to cope with stress…Research suggests that for some people, genes account for just 25% of the predisposition to be overweight, while for others the genetic influence is as high as 70% to 80%,” according to a 2019 article at www.health.harvard.edu.

Genetic factors are internal factors that help you gain weight and stay overweight; environmental factors are the external factors that contribute to these problems.

Santa does not need gastric bypass surgery. Or a lifetime membership to Planet Fitness. And Mrs. Clause refuses to bake a tofu turkey. Pinecone pudding is definitely a no-go.

The “health at every size” movement may come to Santa’s rescue when they see him crying on chimney tops. Check his cholesterol. Check his triglycerides. Check his blood pressure. He’s fine. Stop bullying the holiday hero!

Spoiler alert: Santa is not a real person. But, if he were, of course, we would want him to work towards a healthy lifestyle. However, fat-shaming is not a helpful motivator for Santa or anybody.

Hope you enjoyed this column on holiday humor!

Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She lives in Ohio. Contact her at melissamcolumnist@gmail.com.

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