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Super Bowl Diet Survival Guide

February 2, 2011 1 Comment by Scott Isaacs MD

Super Bowl Sunday is the first big “holiday” of the year that can derail your New Year’s diet and exercise resolution.  You are feeling healthier and may have already lost a few pounds this year.  Your clothes are fitting better and you are eating healthier and exercising more consistently.  The Super Bowl party can threaten your weight loss momentum, but you don’t have to let that happen.  The key is not to go hog wild at the Super Bowl party.   If you do indulge, here are a few tips to keep your waistline lower than the game score.

Don’t Go to a Super Bowl Party Hungry

Pig out before the party. You should overeat healthy foods before any party or any possible situation you will be tempted with unhealthy foods. Enjoy the game, but not all those unhealthy calories.  The chances of eating healthy will be higher if you’re not feeling hungry.

Avoid Appetite Stimulating Foods

Foods high in refined carbohydrates or high in sugar increase your appetite. These foods push your hunger hormones into overdrive making your ravenous.   Don’t eat bread, nuts or chips before the meal. This increases appetite and you’ll be more likely to overeat. If you have to have a slice of bread, eat it during the meal instead. Eat more protein. While refined carbohydrates increase appetite, protein has the opposite effect. Start the day with protein. One study showed that people who had an egg white omelet for breakfast consumed 44% fewer calories during the day compared to those they ate instant oatmeal.

Avoid High Calorie Foods

Pizza and chicken wings are the two most popular foods on Super Bowl Sunday.  If you can just say “no” it makes the whole day go so much easier and you won’t feel guilty Monday morning.  There are so many delicious healthy foods you can eat instead.  Try adding white beans to the guacamole, load up on fat-free salsa or mix ranch dressing with fat-free yogurt for delicious dips.  Substitute hummus and mustard for mayo and cheese on sandwiches.  Try grilling chicken breasts, fish and veggies instead of hamburgers and hot dogs.  Make fish tacos with shredded lettuce or cabbage.  Turkey chili with extra lean ground meat is filling, festive and delicious alone or served over a veggie hot dog.

Skip the Alcohol

A beer or two may not sound like much, but the extra calories add to the waistline and reduce your willpower.  Try diet tonic water with lime.  It tastes like a mixed drink and the bitter flavor will help quiet your appetite.

Double Your Exercise

Although it may mean some serious preplanning, I recommend you get 1-2 hours of exercise on the Saturday before and on Super Bowl Sunday.  Really, I am referring to any type of physical activity, not just exercise.  Physical activity is loosely defined as anything that is moving your body around. So shopping, dancing, cleaning, etc. all are considered forms of physical activity. Walking is my favorite and the favorite physical activity for many of my patients. You can get your exercise in all at once or in little blocks.  The goal is to double your exercise for the entire weekend, any way you can do it. And more is better, so if you can do more physical activity, I recommend doing as much as possible.

Exercise at Halftime

Why not?  Take a 15 minute walk around the block while everyone else is downing more of those cold soggy nachos.

Don’t Eat Mindlessly

Don’t graze or snack on chips or pretzels during the game.  Do you really want to eat that or do you just want to crunch?  Try carrots and celery instead.

Think about football as a sport, not an eating and drinking event.  Think about those elite athletes on the field…you can treat your body like that of a professional athlete.  You can leave this year’s Super Bowl party feeling healthy and strong.  And, you’ll wake up Monday morning without the hangover!

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One Comment

  1. Karen Naide says:
    Monday, February 7, 2011 at 8:55am

    I attended a Super Bowl party last night, and I have to say I followed most of this advice. I ate lots of healthy foods before attending, only ate vegetables, and stayed away from alcohol. And I must say that this morning, I feel terrific!

    My husband and I were commenting on how much unhealthy food there was at the party (food that I certainly would have eaten last year at this time) and a few friends told me, “OMG, I ate too much!”

    Not me. Both me and my scale send you thanks for this advice!

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