Don’t Fumble Away Your Diet During Football Season
It’s football season – the perfect time for fumbling away your diet resolve. This year keep your eye on the prize with our tips for success.
It’s a time of year when everyone’s calendar is packed with opportunities for tailgating and gatherings around food and drink. And while the premise for these events is all about good times, it can be stressful if you’re trying to trim your middle or improve your health.
Losing weight doesn’t have to entail giving up favorite foods or banning pleasure from eating. The process of shedding pounds won’t always be easy, of course, but one of the secrets of successful weight-losers is being prepared for situations that test your resolve.
One day of grazing a spread set up in a stadium parking lot won’t ruin your diet, but going hog wild on wings and other tailgating staples can loosen up that iron-clad will to succeed at weight loss and lead you off track.
Prevention is the best cure, so be prepared with these super-smart techniques and make it through those games and other fall festivities in winning style:
Not here for the beer
Always remember why you’re attending an event. Odds are it’s not so you can inhale as much fattening food as humanly possible in a four-hour time period. You’re there to watch the game – so do that.
Get in the game
While conversation with your fellow revelers can be the perfect distraction from the food, if you find your mind wandering to the potato salad when Uncle Bob is talking about his glory days on the gridiron, recruit a few people to play a game. There’s usually lots of open space where tailgates are held, so find your own area to toss a football or a Frisbee.
Sports not your thing? Hike around the parking lot and schmooze with other fans. Stow a pair of sneakers in your bag before you leave the house so you’re ready for your stroll. It’s a great way to walk off a few calories and steer clear of the feast.
Pick your poison
Never attend a tailgate party hungry. Since many of these events start early in the day, it’s a good idea to fuel up first thing with a fiber-rich breakfast, like hot oatmeal. If you don’t eat before you arrive, it’s going to be a lot harder to resist diving into the taco dip.
Scan the table for the best options. If there are baked tortilla chips and salsa, for example, make that your snack choice — just remember to fill a plastic cup with the chips and eat only those for perfect portion control, rather than digging into the nearly bottomless basket. Your game plan should call for a bite of this and a nibble of that.
You can always bring a tasty-yet-healthy dish to satisfy your hunger and please your host. Lower-fat turkey chili, crunchy veggies with black bean dip, air-popped popcorn seasoned with spices, or baked chicken tenders seasoned with Buffalo sauce and accompanied by low-fat bleu cheese dressing.
Beer, wine and booze flow freely at tailgates. Alcoholic beverages contain lots of non-nutritive, empty calories – and they lower your inhibitions, so you’re more apt to devour a king-size bag of Doritos. If you must have alcohol, alternate your drinks with sparkling water with lime or some other low-cal option like a cup of hot, mulled cider. Sip this throughout the day to stay warm and satisfied.
Live a little
You only go around once. If you’re craving a brownie or a chili and cheese loaded hot dog, have one. It won’t wipe away your weight-loss progress. You can certainly afford a treat if you’ve been following your road map to weight loss and better health. There is no need to ever feel cheated.
John McGran has been writing about health and weight loss for several national companies since 2000. He brings his knowledge of diets — and his passion for dropping pounds — to Meal Plan Map because he believes it is the future of smart, stress-free eating and improved health.