The trailers for the newest Godzilla film have hit American shores and has spawned some significant controversy. It appears that Godzilla has come “under fire” not for his acting (which has been notably wooden in the past) but for his BMI. No we are not talking about the Bad Monster Index–where Godzilla holds the undisputed title of King of the Monsters. We are talking about the Body Mass Index. Many are currently arguing that Godzilla is just sporting too much weight on his 350-foot high frame. Using the current BMI, Godzilla could weigh about 750,000 pounds before he hit the dreaded “Obese” category. Godzilla has not been forthcoming about his weight, but many Japanese fans have calculated that the hapless lizard may have stomped out of the “ideal weight” category.
“He’s so fat I laughed,” was one particularly cutting remark found on Japanese forum 2chan. Others have referred to him as “metabozilla”, “marshmallow Godzilla” and even “pudgy and cute”. Some have speculated that Godzilla’s size is due in part to his American diet and sedentary lifestyle. “That’s what happens when all you do is eat Snickers bars,” said one commenter.
Much of this has led to speculation about Godzilla’s diet. He has never been shown on screen eating (although he has ingested a nuclear reactor and seemed to absorb energy from that). He has been seen in comic books eating raw seafood. Most people guess that he lives largely on radiation and sushi.
It seems pretty likely that Godzilla has to eat quite a bit to sustain is 350 foot high body. An African elephant weighs in at about 7,000 pounds and needs to eat about 500 lbs. of plant matter per day to sustain itself. Using that same ratio, Godzilla would need to eat about 50,000 pounds of plant per day. Now the King of Monsters might be able to absorb some of his energy via nuclear radiation. And naturally protein sources like fish are more dense in calories than say, trees. But I ask you, do we really want a creature that needs to eat 10,000 pounds or more of food per day to turn to a protein diet? So far as we know, Godzilla does not eat people, yet. But I don’t know if I want to encourage him.
But Godzilla hasn’t always been svelte. A quick look at his film debut publicity photos in 1954 show a relatively “fluffy” monster with more of a pear-shaped figure.
There is no question that Godzilla has gotten bigger over the years. Traditionally, the giant lizard has grown larger in proportion to the buildings he stomps around. The Godzilla of 1954 was a mere 50 meters tall. The newest Godzilla is over 100 meters tall and noticeably beefier:
But if you look carefully at the creature’s shape, you might notice something very interesting and somewhat familiar. It’s even clearer if you look at this picture here:
Clearly the great monster’s shape has cycled too. He appeared to have shed some pounds in the the MusoGogi period (1964) beefed up considerably in the BioGogi period (1989-91) gone through some sort of radical weight loss program in the Shodaijira period (1998) and bulked back up for his current appearances. Seem familiar to you? Seemed that way to me too. In fact, I think Godzilla is experiencing the most common outcome of trying to stay slim. I think the King of Monsters is weight cycling–probably from yo-yo dieting.
Now there is no way to know for sure. As my good friend Ragen Chastain says, the only thing you can know about a fat person (or monster) by looking at them is your own prejudices about fat people (or giant lizards). But if our good friend Godzilla is experiencing weight cycling, he would certainly be experiencing the same thing that most people who try to lose weight experience. Most people are able to keep some weight off for a while, but the vast majority of folks (90 percent or more) regain the weight they’ve lost and often a little more.
So this leads us to the question of what should be done about Tokyo’s most famous building-stomper. I think if we are seriously going to spill digital ink regarding the size of a fictitious reptile who bangs buses together for fun, we should use this as a truly teachable moment. Let’s talk about what really works in making creatures of all shapes and sizes happier and healthier. I think the first thing we should do, is to stop trying to shame the poor creature. There is ample evidence after all, that shame doesn’t help anybody lose weight. I’m sure the producers at The Biggest Loser are planning epic monster battles between Godzilla and their “Monster Trainers” as we speak. And even though the King of Monsters’ agent is probably taking calls right now from diet companies seeking his endorsement for the new “Monster Weight Loss Formula”, we should probably discourage him from falling into his old habits of dieting and weight cycling.
I recommend the same thing for Godzilla that I recommend for everybody else. He should eat a varied diet including foods that he loves (but not including people). He should engage in joyful and pleasurable physical activities (not too close to major cities). In fact, I think he should try my DVD. He should sleep well. And he should manage his stress (again, hopefully not too close to major metropolitan areas). At 60 years old, Godzilla is showing no signs of slowing. If he follows these simple recommendations, he’s likely to stay happy and healthy for many years to come. Which is good. Because I freakin’ LOVE this guy.
Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)
CEO: Every BODY Can Exercise.com