It’s 3 o’clock in the afternoon on a mid-autumn Sunday and you’re double dipping a chip as your favorite team scores the go-ahead touchdown. Can life get any better? you ask yourself as you contemplate which pizza to order at halftime.
While it’s important to treat yourself from time to time, football season is long—17 weeks of regular season followed by playoffs and the Super Bowl. And if you’re like millions of Americans, you may have picked up some less than stellar game day traditions when it comes to your diet.
But before retiring from football more prematurely than Brett Favre, read on to see if any of these three signs pertain to you. If so, we’ve got some simple solutions.
1) Your jersey has gotten increasingly tighter
WebMD cites a revealing study that illustrates the difference between the average person’s weekday diet and weekend diet. The study, from Obesity Research, found that “Americans 19 to 50 years old take in 115 more calories per day on the weekend than on the other days of the week. Over the course of a year, that adds up to 17,940 extra calories — or about 5 pounds.”
Being mindful of any major differences between your weekday and weekend eating habits is half the battle. If the data tells us that we’re a bit “Jekyll and Hyde” when it comes to our diet (i.e. more likely to eat unhealthy on the weekends versus Monday-Thursday) we can take preventative action while still in weekday mode. The solution? Try meal prepping for game day midweek when you’ve got healthier eating on your mind.
And if you do catch yourself having one chicken wing too many during the next Sunday Night Football game, don’t beat yourself up about it. This CNN article explains why there’s no need to freak out.
2) You drink anything and everything besides water
75% of Americans may suffer from chronic dehydration, according to doctors. While dehydration is one of the easiest conditions to reverse, it’s also one of the most commonly overlooked. Even moderate dehydration can contribute to a long list of medical conditions: from respiratory and circulation problems to headaches, ulcers, high blood pressure and kidney disease.
Considering over half your body is composed of water, think of it as like oil to a machine. The more mildly dehydrating substances you consume—alcohol and soda for example— the more “oil” you’ll need to keep everything running smoothly.
PERCENTAGE COMPOSED OF WATER
So go ahead and toast to your team’s next big win, but be sure to offset it with plenty of water.
3) You’re too tired to get out of bed on Monday
Who doesn’t have a hard time getting out of bed on Mondays, right? Well the psychological affect of a new workweek starting might not be the only cause of your lethargy. While it’s no secret that typical game day snacks don’t provide many (if any) vital nutrients, we tend to underestimate the toll this takes on us.
Common warning signs of poor nutritional intake are represented by energy, memory, and/or concentration problems and can be manifested in the body almost immediately. As Kristin Kirkpatrick, Manager of Wellness Nutrition Services at Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute notes, “the human brain depends on good nutrition, specifically an adequate intake of omega-3 fatty acids, to be healthy and function properly.” Most people’s football-induced binges aren’t rich in these nutrients but you can break the mold by incorporating foods high in omega-3s such as walnuts, flax seed, and salmon. The Monday morning version of you will be grateful.
If any of these signs sound all too familiar to you, remember that just a few small actions–meal prepping, drinking plenty of water, and incorporating omega-3 rich foods–can make a world of difference. And if you’d rather not make any game day adjustments, that’s cool too. Maybe just consider giving yourself a bye week at some point.
1) Avoid Weekend Weight Gain, WebMD
2) Chronic Dehydration More Common Than You Think, CBS Miami
3) 9 Ways Your Body Is Trying to Tell You That Your Diet Stinks, Huffington Post