Over 100 million people are anticipated to watch the Philadelphia Eagles take on the New England Patriots this Super Bowl Sunday. The game is an American tradition like no other. There is another tradition that goes along with the big day: insane amounts of food and alcohol.
In fact, Super Bowl Sunday beats out Thanksgiving for the quantity of calories consumed. Researchers from Cornell found that the average viewer will eat more than 6,000 calories by the end of the day. To put that into perspective, that's around 3 days worth of calories in one day.
What it would take to burn off those 6,000 calories?
– 11 hours of competitive tennis
– A 24 hour walk
– 22 hours of yoga
– A 9 hour jog
– 13 hours on the elliptical
– 8 hours straight of jumping rope
– An 11 hour bike ride.
Let's be completely honest here, who even begins to contemplate exercise after watching the Super Bowl? Exactly.
Super Bowl Sunday could very well be the catalyst for many to start giving up on their New Year Resolutions. After consuming hot wings, cheese fries, pizza, nachos, beer, beer and more beer – the thought of going back to "more greens" or "more exercise" sounds much less appealing than it did just 24 hours before kick-off. And if you are not already living a somewhat healthy lifestyle, SBS could be just the toxic load needed to push you back over that unhealthy edge.
Realize that food and alcohol companies are banking on your overindulgence! Why do you think they spend SO much more money on advertising on the day of (and leading up to) the biggest game in sports? They know full and well that consumers will shell out up to $1.01 billion on beer alone. That number does not even include restaurants, bars, hotels or the stadium itself, according to Nielson. Also realize that these companies care nothing, nada, zero, zip about your health. In the end, you are simply feeding the beast.
I based a lot of this conversation on calories because calories are easily measured. I don't necessarily preach calorie counting in my practice, nor do I recommend that you sit around counting calories before, during and after the game. Enjoy your Super Bowl Sunday, even indulge a bit. On days such as this, a little perspective + mindful eating and drinking can go a very long way.
Have your own game-plan, coach:
1. Start your day off with a filling, nutrient-dense meal
A large vegetable omelette or bowl of oatmeal topped with your favorite berries will help you through the whole day. There is nothing worse than showing up ravenous to a party!
You are about to watch some of the most fit and agile athletes on the planet! Use that as inspiration and get in a pre-game workout. Even if it's a short jog, a little will go a long way.
3. Take a time out
Like any good coach, use commercials or time outs to assess your situation. Are you already full? How many beers or other alcoholic beverages have you had? Are you having a glass of water per alcoholic drink? It's too easy to mindlessly eat and drink while the game is happening.
4. Go for homemade
Reach for nutrient-dense, real foods. Stay away from the "as seen on tv" foods as they are almost always guaranteed to be sugar/salt/fat/grease bombs.
5. Greens and Proteins
Reach for the veggie tray and guacamole. Try to choose a protein source that hasn't been deep-fried or covered in cheese. These foods will keep you satiated longer and help with decisions as the day goes on.
Check yourself with these simple questions:
1. Do I need to overindulge on food to truly enjoy this day?
2. Do I need to drink copious amounts of alcohol to enjoy this day?
3. Am I nourishing or damaging my body?
4. How am I going to feel tomorrow?
5. Is it worth it?
Whichever team you might be rooting for, I wish you the best of luck! Enjoy the game and the festivities.
Maybe this Super Bowl Sunday we can all step up our game?