How to Step up Your Game This Super Bowl Sunday

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.

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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.

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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!

2. Sweat

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?

Be well.

 

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Beware the Devil in the Details

I meditate. I eat an extremely healthy diet. I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I don’t do drugs. I help others. I exercise. I try to be a great partner. I try to be the best dad in the world. I try to be a good son. I try to be a good brother. I try to be a trusted friend. I try to apologize when I’m wrong. I recycle. I conserve. I vote. I spend nights thinking about how I could be better at all of these things.

But sometimes….

Meditation just doesn’t work. I want to devour pizza and/or cake. I want to slam a shot of whiskey. I want to buy a pack of camels. I want to rip a monstrous bong hit. I want to tell that same homeless guy asking for change to just f*ck off. I want to sit on the couch in my boxers all day. I want to start an argument for no reason. I just want some peace and quiet. I don’t feel like explaining myself. I want to only talk about myself and my problems. I don’t want to pick up the phone or return a text. I want to blame others and leave it at that. I want to throw it all in one can to save a trip. I want to take an hour-long shower. I want to give up on politics completely. I want to take the easy way out. I want to return to my old motto of “F__k It!”.

It’s especially hard to stay on track when the feng shui of life gets altered. We are all creatures of habit and things like sickness, financial insecurity and death can spin us like a top. It’s in those times we are tested at our core. It’s at those times we truly get in touch with the fabric of our being. It’s at those times that the decisions that we make are the most important.

I’m creeping out of one of those times now. I was jarred after losing a family member last week and that midnight-black shadow of sadness landed hard. In turn, I instantly felt the need for those toxic comforts that I used to associate with personal healing. Being solid in my resolve, I just ended up exercising less, watching a million episodes of Friday Night Lights and ordering pizza one night. Not so bad, considering the alternatives. Keep in mind that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the occasional comforts to help soften the blow of life’s harsh realities. But one must beware the deep black hole of indulgence… It can be addictive, literally. Most importantly for me, I made it a point to be there for my family, even if distance only allows “being there” in the way of phone calls and video chats. Right and good decisions have a way of offsetting the not-so-good ones.

Unfortunately for many, those toxic choices are made daily as a way to deal with the common stress triggers of everyday life. Those choices might be derailing your existing healthy, fit lifestyle, or even holding you back from finally taking the step towards a better life. What seems like an ordinary and commonplace decision is often the devil in the details. Habits become lifestyles and those details eventually mesh with all the other colors of existence.

Things like having to have a scotch right after work, sleeping past noon on weekends, wearing pajamas all day, frequent conversations with friends involving judgement or making fun of others, regularly grabbing takeout food because of a long day at work, skipping opportunities to exercise, spending an hour on Facebook instead of taking care of responsibilities, etc.

These types of actions, which are admittedly common amongst so many of us, are many times just what is needed to begin or continue down the unhealthy path. Some hold larger red flags than others but all can wreak havoc on our lives.

Be well and beware the devil in the details.

 

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Christopher Hostetler is an Integrative Health & Nutrition Coach, proud father, gunshot survivor, musician, writer and Muay Thai enthusiast residing in Los Angeles. He has made self evolution through nutrition, lifestyle, and mental and physical wellness his life’s work.

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Find Your Reason

In the last 5 years, my life has taken a complete 180 degree turn for the better. Hell, it’s taken a turn for the magical! The main catalyst to those drastic changes that have taken place can be pegged to one sentence that was uttered by my fiancé over the phone while I was visiting family in Ohio. Those words were “Chris, I’m pregnant”.

While there were personal realizations and small changes in motion before I heard those words, finding out that I was going to be a Father CHANGED EVERYTHING. I sobbed tears of joy, confusion and worry. I was a complete mess. I clearly remember looking in the mirror and begging myself to please, please pull it together. I’ve not cried in that fashion since a young age. I feel that those tears, that moment, will forever be tattooed on my history as the catalyst for emotional and spiritual upheaval. It was time.

Coming from a world of over indulgence in everything from unhealthy food to alcohol made that shift a mighty challenge, to say the least. If you are raised by wolves you become accustomed to howling or growling to get your point across. Learning a new language and style of hunting can be, well, tough. We become a product of our environment. This change needs to start all the way down in our bone marrow.

How does one go about making those changes when the time presents itself? That’s the million dollar question…or is it?

I’ve found that the road to sustainable change is paved with patience, mistakes and some of the hardest work imaginable. Aren’t those the exact reasons that turning things around is so commonly avoided for so long to begin with? Let’s be honest, living an unhealthy lifestyle is pretty easy. How hard is to not care about what you ingest? How hard is it to not care if you exercise? How hard is it to not take personal inventory and work on sharpening your mind?

The thing is that the formation of habits eventually become a lifestyle.
If you’re used to lounging most hours of the day and can’t imagine anything different from a sedentary lifestyle, the thought of one day enjoying intense exercise probably seems like an impossibility. Or if the idea of watching what you eat seems like it would equal a life less enjoyable, the thought of one day eating to nourish your mind and body probably sounds like hippy BS, etc.

From someone who has been there, let me tell you that you couldn’t be more wrong! When those changes start to take place, extraordinary things start to happen. Some of which are clarity, strength, weight loss, less pain, less depression, a more positive outlook, joy, happiness, freedom, younger looking skin, more stamina, a leaner body, better sex, less cravings, less fear, better sleep. Simply put, it feels good to feel good. Not to mention that you’re adding healthy and vibrant years to your life!

The new year is now marching forward. Millions of people are taking part in personal resolutions, challenges and programs to change their lives for the better in some shape or form. Others are continuing in their old ways, be it good or bad. Of course, a date on a calendar is not necessary to seek change, but for many it helps. Whatever your view on resolutions, they work for some and don’t for others. And in my opinion, anything that promotes even one thought of positive self evolution is a good thing.

There are three major contributors to someone not only seeking change but taking the steps to make the shift (and stick to it).

1. They have learned enough to know that change is a must
2. They are finally fed up with the repetitive and unhealthy way of life
3. They have suffered enough

The common theme that all 3 of these share? Finding a Reason.

Take a moment to review some of the important changes that you’ve made throughout your life, those that persist over time, what do you see? You’ll probably find that many of them (if not all) involved a high level of emotional arousal. You might even be going through one of those moments now. Maybe it’s your time. Maybe you’re searching for your reason? Wherever you are in your journey, remember that it’s never too late and never too early to make it happen.

You’re worth it.

“Give all of us gathered here tonight the strength to remember that life is so very fragile. We are all vulnerable, and we will all, at some point in our lives… fall. We will all fall. We must carry this in our hearts… that what we have is special. That it can be taken from us, and when it is taken from us, we will be tested. We will be tested to our very souls. We will now all be tested. It is these times, it is this pain, that allows us to look inside ourselves.” -Coach Taylor

2015: A new New Year

Not too long ago I’d be spending most of today nursing an apocalyptic hangover, sleeping past noon, eating greasy, cheesy, fried foods and starting my day off with a little “hair of the dog” to combat said hangover. I’d have unanswered messages on my phone, an ashtray filled with last nights regrets and my tongue would hold the power to bring a match to flame. I was unhealthy, overweight and depressed.

Sounds like a perfect way to ring in a new year, right?

This January 1, I’ll be enjoying quality time with my family, I woke up at 8:30 (which is sleeping in these days), I’ll be eating some homemade, fermented sour dough pizza with a salad and a green smoothie at some point, I made sure to call my family in other parts of the country to wish them a happy new year last night. I have a firm grasp of my MBS (Mind Body Spirit) connection today, I’m Healthy, lean and optimistic.

Those two paragraphs stand in stark contrast to one another. I didn’t change anything overnight… I’m still evolving. Self evolution is a fun thing to witness in one’s self. Comparing and contrasting improvements and accomplishments can be a fantastic tool towards ongoing change. The key is to choose what is healthy, sustainable and RIGHT for you. By implementing small, meaningful changes each day, week or month to your life – your goals can become LIMITLESS! It takes readiness, determination and discipline. Keep in mind that nutrition and fitness are merely a small part of a truly healthy life. Also, keep in mind that it’s not a race! Below are the 10 accomplishments (in no particular order) I’m most proud of in 2014.

1. Starting Do Not Die Young – Integrative Health & Nutrition Coaching

2. Looked fear in the face and started training in Muay Thai

3. Used my life experiences to help others through some well respected podcasts

4. Strived every single day to be the best Dad that I could be

5. Parted ways with toxic acquaintances

6. Lost 36 pounds and got lean

7. Didn’t have a drink or a drug of any kind

8. Got myself off of prescription pain meds through diet, exercise and meditation

9. Created sensible, sustainable programs and challenges to support others

10. Made being my best the number 1 priority in my life, and watching how that one decision caused a ripple effect among my family and friends

I’m proud of my accomplishments and hope that my list can inspire others to change their lives.

What are some of your proudest moments of 2014? What are your goals for 2015?

Honestly, I’m just getting started! Never have I looked forward to a year with so much enthusiasm and hope.

I’m digging my self evolution and the monumental change I’ve seen in others!

Now, grab your pickaxe and join me! 2015 will only be as good as you’re willing to make it.

 

Be well and prosper.

Happy New Year.