Except for half time, I don’t much like Super Bowl Sunday. OK, I’m a girl and I’ve never been into competitive sports, much less the contact variety. But it’s bigger than that.
It’s the junky nibble food you always find at Super Parties. I’ve learned how to maneuver the other holidays. They’re just gussied up meals, and as long as I’ve got a plate I’m not bad at portion control.
Super Bowl’s different. It’s a junk food feed lot. A day when the rules are suspended and calories don’t count. It’s OK to gulp and graze from mid-afternoon on—everybody’s doin’ it! Except, of course, it’s not true. Calories—like money—are always real. There are consequences.
It’s a proven fact we eat more watching TV. Throw boredom into the mix and my well –documented weakness for crunchy, salty, fatty things increases. To get my head into the reality of Super Party, I need to remember that fourteen tortilla chips (excluding 7-layer dip, and they’re hardly worth eating without it) are 140 calories. I can scarf that during the National Anthem. At that rate, it’s gonna be a long night.
I guess I’m not alone. The average 2009 Super Bowl viewer consumed 1300 calories. Even that number seems low until you realize (a) it’s the average, and (b) it doesn’t include beverages. Last year Super fans guzzled 11.8 million worth of beer alone.
But here’s the flip side. When you realize you need to consume an extra 3500 calories to gain a pound (or pare back 3500 to lose one), it takes more than one witless night to permanently affect the scales. I used to think running a marathon would lose me at least five pounds (actually, I still haven’t come to terms with how that can not be!). The simple fact is, we gain weight by consistently eating just a little more than we need to—day after week after month; and we lose weight by consistently easting a little less.
So: do I think I’ll gain a pound by eating Super Bowl junk food? No, but that’s idiot thinking. If I’m not in control, I could easily gain an eighth of a pound or a quarter pound. And day after day it all adds up.
So I’ve decided I’m going to eat like it’s just another holiday—a light breakfast and lunch, stick with teatime at 4:00. Around kick-off, I’ll allow myself a little junky pre-dinner nibble, followed shortly by a plate (note: plate) of real food—some chicken wings, raw veges and dip. Then I’ll enjoy some post-dinner cheese. All this and a little wine to make my heart glad. Because that, a couple of days of normal eating along with my Sunday and Monday morning runs, should eventually balance out the scales again.