I had a friend of mine just ask me for a little advice that I thought I might share. As a fellow football fan and a BIG fan of pub-style food, we were just talking about how to stay on target when you’re about to head to the local sports bar with your significant other or head somewhere where every cheating food you love is about to be on display.
First of all, don’t panic. Here’s how to survive your temptations on game day:
Work out in advance. I don’t care if Sunday is your off day. If you’re planning on heading into the Land of Chicken Wings and Beer, even a light workout will remind you of your goals. Push-ups, tricep dips, jogging, walking your dog, running around the yard with your kids (if you have them,) a workout DVD, and/or hanging out in plank pose for 30 seconds will not only kick start your metabolism to help you burn more calories, but your core will be tight, which will remind you not to eat a lot.
Go to the bar stuffed with healthy food. The ultimate lesson in life as well as dieting is really simple: never go into a situation where you’re faced with your weaknesses in a weakened state. Eat healthy and regularly throughout game day, then about an hour to 30 minutes before you depart, I want you to literally stuff yourself with water-filled vegetables and lean protein. They’ll keep you filled for hours and you’ll be so full you won’t have enough room to really gorge yourself on fattening food. Chug down a bottle of water on top of that and it will help you avoid diving face-first into the nachos.
Don’t deprive yourself. If you’re on a point program of some kind, you know that the salad you just ate will provide some wiggle room, so you have to count your alcohol calories as your top expenditure. Two light beers, one glass of great wine (which is never served at a sports bar, so why bother?) or a “skinny” mixed drink (vodka and seltzer with lime) – all of these are great options. Just be sure to add a non-alcoholic beverage for each one you’re drinking. But trust me – as full as you’ll be while arriving and as long as it will take to use the bathroom, you’ll make that one beer or glass of whatever last.
But don’t rationalize cheating. Ok, so this is the most important thing of all: just because you worked out all week doesn’t give you a license to blow a whole week of calories in one sitting. I LOVE chicken wings, chicken strips, fried everything and all things related to bacon and potatoes (potato skins, I’m looking at you) but before you mindlessly check out and start eating, think about what it’s going to take to get that off again. The math is really simple. A pound is 3500 calories. If you can torch 500 in a workout, but eat 1700 in one sitting and then keep eating for a grand total around 2500, you’ve just negated your workout. Life is long and potato skins aren’t going anywhere. One won’t kill you but – here’s the trick – if you can’t stop at just one, DON’T EAT THEM AT ALL.
My favorite non-cheating drink– Since I stopped drinking, I have to replace those fat and sugar cravings somehow. A giant glass of seltzer with a TON of citrus fruit and a shot of ginger syrup is delicious and a fun alternative to cocktails. Try it instead of your regular cocktail and see what I mean.
Hope these help! Enjoy the game and your post-game victory dance for maintaining your diet today!