This time of year, people around the world are no doubt sending you lists of things they want through emails, blogs, tweets and old-fashioned letters. In the spirit of giving, I’d like to offer you some advice.
Let’s face it: You aren’t exactly the model of good health. Think about the example you’re setting for all those people whose faces light up when they imagine you shimmying down their chimneys. To put it bluntly, you’re obese. Since you are a role model to millions, this sends the wrong message.
We already have an epidemic of overweight kids, leading to an ever increasing number of those with type 2 diabetes at younger ages. Complicating the issue, approximately two-thirds of the U.S. population is overweight and/or obese.
Obesity has a much higher risk of shortening a person’s life span, not to mention reducing quality of life. The most dangerous type of obesity is in visceral adipose tissue, which means central belly fat. The chances of diseases such as pancreatic cancer, breast cancer, liver cancer and heart disease increase dramatically with this increased fat.
Santa, here is a chance for you to lead by example (and maybe, by summer, to fit into those skinny jeans hidden in the back of your closet). Think of the advantages to you of being trimmer. Studies show that a diet focused on fruits and vegetables can reverse atherosclerosis, or clogging of the arteries.
The importance of a good diet not only helps you lose weight but avoid strokes, heart attacks and peripheral vascular diseases. You don’t have to be vegetarian; you just have to increase your fruits, vegetables and whole grain foods significantly.
Santa, future generations need you. Losing weight will also change your center of gravity, so your belly doesn’t pull you forward. This will make it easier for you to keep your balance on those steep, icy rooftops.
Consider exercise, as well. Maybe for the first continent, you might consider walking or jogging alongside the sleigh. As you exercise, you’ll start to tighten your abs and slowly see fat disappear from your mid-section.
Your fans everywhere leave you cookies and milk when you deliver presents. It’s a tough cycle to break, but break it you must. You might let slip that the modern Santa enjoys fruits, especially berries, and veggies, with an emphasis on cruciferous veggies like broccoli florets dipped in humus, which have substantial antioxidant qualities and can help reverse disease.
As for your loyal fans, you could place fitness videos under the tree. You and your elves could make workout videos, and we could follow along as you showed us “12 Days of Workouts with Santa and Friends.” Who knows, you might become the next Shaun T!
You could gift athletic equipment, such as baseball gloves and basketballs, instead of video games. Or wearable devices that track step counts and bike routes. Or stuff gift certificates for dance lessons into people’s stockings.
By doing all this, it might make it easier for you to steal a base or two during this season’s North Pole Athletic League’s Softball season. The elves don’t even bother holding you on base anymore, do they?
As you become more active, you’ll find that you have more energy all year round, not just on Christmas Eve. If you start soon, Santa, maybe by next year you’ll find yourself parking the sleigh farther away and skipping from chimney to chimney.
The benefits of a healthier Santa will ripple across the world. Your reindeer won’t have to work so hard. You might fit extra presents in your sleigh.
And Santa, you will be sending kids and adults the world over the right message about taking control of their health through nutrition and exercise. That’s the best gift you could give!
Wishing you good health in the coming year,
P.S. I could really use a new baseball bat, if you have a little extra room in your sleigh.