Vice President of Research & Development at Nutrisystem
Two weeks of hype. Three hour pregame shows. Big name acts performing mini concerts at halftime. The Super Bowl is all about excess.
If you’re watching the game (or even just the $3 million dollar 30-second commercials), you’re probably doing so surrounded by plenty of food and drink. There might be some carrots and celery sticks. Maybe some diet soda. Baked chips, if you’re lucky. But for the most part, your food and beverage choices at a Super Bowl party usually are not very diet-friendly. You may as well indulge, right?
Well… maybe. (What, you expected me to say “wrong!”?)
When the teams hit the field, they’ll be following a well thought-out game plan. You should, too. Decide before you get to the party what your goals are. Then strategize. How you handle yourself at the party will follow your game plan. Here are a couple of examples.
Game Plan 1: Relax and enjoy. If this is your plan, you’re probably not going to hold back during the party. If you see something you want to eat or drink, you’re going to go for it. This is fine. There are two keys to making this a successful game plan. First, own it. At the end of the night, don’t criticize yourself for “overdoing it” if that was your plan. Beating yourself up will not burn those extra calories. Second, get back on track, ASAP. If you normally walk in the morning, make sure you do it on Super Bowl Monday. If your normal breakfast is oatmeal and a half of a grapefruit, eat that the next day. Don’t take leftovers home from the party (and if you’re hosting, send your guests home with the tempting leftovers). You had your fun. Now get back down to business.
Game Plan 2: Be strict. This is the exact opposite of the previous game plan. If this is your approach, you’ll treat the Super Bowl party like any other Sunday night on your weight control program. Maybe you’ll eat a healthy low-calorie meal at home before the game (or after, depending on your time zone), and skip all the snacks while you’re at the party. This game plan takes a great amount of focus and discipline. Before deciding that this is the approach you want to take, determine (honestly!) how likely you are to be successful.
Game Plan 3: Pick your spots. This is the middle ground between the first two approaches. You may decide that you’re not going to follow your diet to a tee, but you’re not going to throw it out the window, either. The trick here is to be specific about what you will allow yourself and what you will not. For example, “I will keep myself to two drinks” or “Rather than snacking all night, I’ll make myself a plate and not go back for seconds.” When you know your goals, ask someone you trust to help you stick to them.
If you’re going to try to control your intake to some degree (either Game Plan 2 or Game Plan 3), it can be helpful to bring your own food and drink. Your host will probably appreciate your contributing something to the party, and you’ll be sure to have something that is consistent with your lifestyle goals.