OK sports fans, The Big Game is over; it?s time to get down to real life. That means OUR lives, and not the ones of the stars on the field. Got a few pounds to lose? There?s no better day than today to get to it. Why? Because Super Bowl Monday is THE day to start a diet.
Let’s be honest, the Super Bowl is no longer just a game, or even a championship game. It’s become something of a national holiday. People spend days and weeks preparing for it. There’s food, alcohol, parties, victory celebrations, and more food and alcohol.
I’m sure like me, a lot of fans are experiencing Patriots fatigue. I’m all for excellence in any endeavor, but nine Super Bowl trips and six Super Bowl championships starts to get old. And living in New England, and not being a Patriots fan, it?s more than a little bit like being an immigrant in a foreign land. The fans up here – and there are many – are rabid and uncompromising. My disdain for the Patriots is something I generally keep to myself.
What’s that saying? Oh yeah – discretion is the better part of valor. It’s usually best to hold your tongue when in the company of a hostile crowd. And that crowd is pretty big. On any given day during football season, at least one third of the population up here is either Tom Brady, Ron Gronkowski or Julian Edelman. Or at least that’s what their jerseys say.
Anyway, I?m off on a tangent here. Back to the subject at hand? Why is Super Bowl Monday is THE day to start a diet?
I can think of seven reasons:
1. You Probably Over-indulged on Food, Alcohol or Both
The Super Bowl has turned into one giant national tailgate party. That includes lots of food, often the kind you don’t usually eat. And usually the kind that isn?t particularly good for you. Pizza, Buffalo wings, baby back spareribs, barbecue, and lots and lots of junk food. All the kind of stuff that goes down easily, but doesn’t look good on the bathroom scale.
Then there’s the adult beverage side of the equation. There’s no doubt that there’s an intimate connection between sporting events and alcohol. If you doubt it, just look at all the beer commercials.
It’s not unusual to over consume alcohol on Super Bowl Sunday. Some people start drinking around lunchtime, to “limber up” for the big event. Some start the day before. And a few even start revving up on Monday before the big game.
By today, you may be dealing with a combination of a hangover and a food coma, and a diet?s looking like a pretty solid strategy right now.
2. The Long Football Season is Finally Over
With a lot of people and in many households, it isn’t just Super Bowl Sunday. Football season starts in August, and doesn’t end until early February. That’s close to six months of tailgate parties and their at-home equivalents. They may not be as elaborate as the main event, but it’s pretty much the same stuff each week.
When you throw the holiday season and the onset of the cold winter months into the mix, the “fat season” roughly parallels football season.
As of today, you have a little over six months to get into either a) work off the excesses of this past football season, or b) work on getting in shape before next football season starts.
3. Yesterday?s Brilliant Athletic Performances Should Inspire Us to Get in Better Shape
Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration with this particular Super Bowl. To my thinking, it might’ve been the most boring Super Bowl performance by two teams ever. The game was riddled with mistakes on both sides, and the kinds of plays for the history books were notoriously absent.
But we still saw the best-on-best that the NFL has to offer, and should draw some inspiration from that.
But then, maybe I’m reaching a bit too far with this one.
4. The Winter Holiday Season is Well Behind Us
This gets back to the “fat months” thing. Football starts in August, but then there’s a succession of holidays heading toward the end of the season. It starts with Thanksgiving, then Christmas and New Year’s Eve the following month. Like football games, the holidays are notorious for over-consumption of everything that’s not good for us.
In an unofficial way, Super Bowl Monday puts a period on that extended holiday season.
5. There?s No Threat of Broken New Year?s Resolutions
You’ve probably broken all of them by now anyway. Personally, I gave up setting New Year’s resolutions years ago. Just setting one creates undue pressure. That’s why most of us abandon them by early February. And here we are, so you don’t have that pressure.
Now you can simply say “I’m going on a diet”, without creating any kind of resolution. And with the lingering effects of the weekend’s over-consumption, you’re probably mentally, physically, and emotionally ready for a change anyway.
6. Bathing Suit Season is a Mere 90 Days Away
Just stroll through your favorite department store, big-box retailer, or boutique clothing store, and you’ll probably see spring and summer clothing already on the racks. My guess is you’ll see a few bathing suits in there too.
Use that for positive reinforcement, or negative depending on your outlook. The silver lining is that you have a solid three months (or four months in the Northern reaches) to lose some weight before summer hits. Use the time for all it’s worth.
7. There?s Nothing Better to do this Time of the Year!
We’re square in the middle of the notorious “dead of winter”. Unless you’re into winter sports, you’re probably mostly cocooning in the house. Starting a diet and exercise program will give you an opportunity to do something new and challenging at a time of the year when not much else is happening.
I often think it’s what we do in the quiet times of our lives that most define who we are. And you can’t get much quieter than February and March. Use it for all it’s worth. (Personal testimony: I spent the winter months of 2009 preparing to launch this blog in April of that year. It was the perfect time – light on distractions and heavy on boredom. It was empowering to do something new and different!)
So cancel the extra sports channel subscriptions, toss the left over junk food, put the beer in cold storage, sign up for Weight Watchers, take advantage of one of the many $10-a-month gym memberships and get rolling.
Can you think of a better day than TODAY?
You’re right Kevin, there is nothing better to do this time of year. This is the worst time of year for sports. Can’t wait til March Madness! =)
Yeah, can you hear the quiet! This is an excellent time to take on any project we’ve been putting off–diet, exercise plan, learning a new skill, projects with the family. The excuses are gone! (At least for a while…)
So I’m going to take this article in a totally different direction. It’s funny you mentioned the superbowl. I was going to write a whole commentary to you on it.
I used to love football. I used to love the superbowl. It has taken such a stupid direction in the past ten years. It has almost become unwatchable.
First,let me also say that football has always been my Sunday tradition. I usually watch games from 1 o’clock and end with the Sunday night game. I read all day and watch football. I have been doing this on Sunday for many years.
1- There are way to many delays and commercials. I have seen at lease 100 verizon and Chevy commercials this year.
2- It has become a political platform for all kinds of movements. Half the commercials yesterday we’re geared in that direction.
3- We have these honorary people during the coin toss. Who are nothing but eye candy to show the public how much they are compassionate toward civil rights causes. What does MLK daughter have to due with Football?
4- The only act they could get was Maroon 5. All the other acts they tried to get turned them down because of a broken down x football player ( Colin Kapernick ) who would be out of the league now anyway because he wasn’t good.
We can’t sit down anymore and just enjoy a football game now without some agenda being shoved down our throats.
Let’s not forget the joke just handing over the trophy has become. All these x players carrying the trophy through the current players who kiss the thing and bow down to it like it’s a god. The x players carrying it with white gloves.
This game has become a joke and has turned me off to the point where my Sunday Tradition is about to change.
I can no longer recongnize the game I grew up with.
Hi Tim – Yes, that was all so politicized that it was obvious. In today’s world, you must express politically correct positions in very public forums in order to be on the “inside”. It’s almost become cool, but even more I think it’s CYA. If any of these people or agencies get tagged as racists, homophobes, etc, they can fall back on these very public presentations/demonstrations.
Case in point: Harvey Weinstein. His exploits with women are too numerous to be ignored or dismissed. But while these were happening, he was a frequent and very visible supporter of women’s causes. It’s all an example of virtue signalling. Do what you’re going to do, but make sure you put up plenty of public cover in case the PC police come looking for you. Enough business leaders have been sacked over allegations that they’re all trying to cover their butts. But I don’t believe any of the cover attempts are genuine. I hope the public sees it for what it is.
But back to the commercials. Pro sports are dominated by commercial interests, but no sport more than football. But what the fans don’t always get is advertising is where the real money comes from, not fans at the stadiums. Multi-billion dollar TV contracts are why players are getting paid millions. And the heavy media coverage is the reason they fill the stadiums. Nothing makes this connection more obvious than when you’re at a game and there’s a media time out for commercials. But the games are also dragged out for four hours, to include about 1.5 hours of commercials. I also believe this is what drives the multitude of game stoppages. Pro football is now choreographed by the sponsors. I find it nauseating.
BTW, I don’t watch much pro football for all those reasons. But I also detest how personalities – players, coaches and broadcasters – have attained god-like status. Witness all the attention Brady got last night even after having subpar game. When the personalities become bigger than the sport – which is a team sport by nature – it’s no longer a sport. It’s now entertainment. Not having ever been into hero worship, I can’t relate, and see it as crystal clear.
I don’t know if you ever followed hockey, but back in the 1970s Bobby Orr of the Boston Bruins was probably the best hockey player ever. But he shunned the media. It was rare he granted interviews. Most times, he deferred to his teammates to get the limelight off himself. You don’t see that kind of humility these days. Even mediocre players have multi-million dollar salaries, and the media is often more obsessed with their off-field antics than their on field performance. That’s what I mean about it becoming less of a sport. It’s really pure entertainment more than anything else.
But we’ve both missed the diet angle of this article – shame on us. I see that as the silver lining. We can’t do anything else about the corruption of the game, so we need to extract what will benefit us. I’m starting a diet today.
Hi Kevin. Ugh! I don’t like football, never did. Yes, I’m an alien! I left a city that had a huge football following because I never fit in only to move to a place where it’s just as big. I was criticized because I didn’t wear the colors to work when there was a playoff, snubbed when I didn’t go to tailgate parties and bars, and generally just all-around ignored during football season because I didn’t have anything to offer to a one-sided conversation. Fortunately, I married a man who is as disinterested as me. We watched a movie yesterday, ate leftovers, and didn’t even talk about “the game.” The almighty game. I mean no disrespect to anyone who enjoys football, the Super Bowl, and sports in general, but I think it’s really unkind to ignore, criticize, or make jabs at people because they may have other interests. Tom Brady who??
Hi Bev – I’m guessing Patriots fever is common in your neck of the woods as well since you don’t live far from me. But I have to agree with what you’re saying. This may sound like a generalization, but I’ve found that people who aren’t deep into sports are usually more interesting to be around. It’s probably because a passion for spectator sports has you spending a disproportionate amount of time watching TV, as well as talking with others about the games, and following the stories in the media. That soaks up time and brain space that isn’t going to other pursuits. I’ve been in business meetings that were dominated by sports talk, which crowded out the purpose of the meeting. Naturally, it’s guys who are the worst offenders. It’s their hide away from the stresses of life, and we all have them in one form or another.
I’m a moderate sports fan, which is to say I watch a few games each year (hockey, college football, and a few pro football games, and take in an occasional minor league baseball game). But I frequently wonder how sports junkies, who follow all sports all the time, manage to find time for the rest of their lives. I’m thinking that’s one of life’s mysteries I’ll take to my grave.
I know. I couldn’t resist. I’m afraid my days as a fan our coming to a close.
I want to take more weekend trips anyway.
That’s part of the mystery to me – what are all these arm-chair jocks missing when they’re watching sports 24/7. If I spend a weekend watching sports, I feel as if I’ve wasted two whole days out of my life that I can never get back.
But leave it up to us to take something as much a cultural norm as the super bowl and turn it into a deeper topic with darker implications. However, that doesn’t mean I think we’re wrong. I found myself grumbling a lot during the commercials and the halftime show throughout the game. I think God creates some of us to see things differently than others, which is both a benefit and a burden. I can never look at something without seeing some hidden meaning.
At the Super Bowl party my family went to, my wife and I spent pretty much the first half playing hearts, a card game. I was looking over at the game at first, but after awhile, I wasn’t paying attention at all, probably mostly because I was trying to dig myself out of a hole 🙂
After the game was over, my kids were saying “but we want to watch the Lombardi trophy presentation”. I told them that was of zero importance, even negative importance and I filed them out of there.
I think not being obsessed with sports improves communication all around. From childhood, I still follow Cincinnati Reds baseball, but that’s about it. Watching folks who earn millions for playing a game (and getting their heads bashed in) is not something I would miss if they took it away tomorrow.
That’s an interesting perspective Kevin. It’s hard to relate when you’re watching a bunch of millionaires play what is historically a kid’s game. The money takes something out of it. My wife and I enjoyed watching high school football games in Georgia, and that was exciting. They played for pride, not money, so the whole situation was more genuine than pro football.
I like college football a lot more than pro, but there’s money involved in that too. Scholarships are just the start. But most of them are positioning themselves for the pros, which means they’ll do the “red shirt” thing if necessary, or even switch schools if they think they’ll have a better shot at the pros. Plus the coaches earn millions, and schools pad their schedules with second tier opponents to improve their records and run up scores and statistics. The last thing I want to see is Alabama playing Middle Tennessee or Clemson playing the Citadel. They’re just not honest games. But what can we do, money dominates it all.
Me either anymore, Kevin. I’m not sure when that started. Maybe since I have gotten older an more educated on things.
I turned that game off yesterday feeling kinda of sad. For me it was like I think I witnessed the death of something that has been taken a skewed into something else. I feel that way about Christmas. Like I said, I grew up watching all sports. I played all sports. Football was one of the only things I had in common with my father.
It’s just become a sickening display.
I know we are suppose to be talking about something else but I gather with the responses it hit some kind of nerve.
I feel like that with most things like this. I’m a big movie buff also. I can admire somebody good at their craft but as soon as they open their mouth and and hear all the crap that comes out of their mouths. It ruins it for me.
Movies and sports we’re always a good diversion for me. Not anymore. I’m going to start spending more time outside and doing other things.
You hit on something else Tim, about how football was one of the only things you had in common with your father. That’s often true. Sports are how men communicate and bond. Since we repel intimate relationships, especially with other men, we bridge the gap with sports. I don’t know if most women understand that. In a real way, it’s a different language. But then I’ve know a lot of men who had/have sports in common with their fathers and with other men, but still don’t get along outside of sports. So it’s a partial communication method at best. Maybe it’s talking without discussing anything that might make men uncomfortable.
I really don’t care to discuss sports with other men in any real detail. I’d rather hear about their triumphs (as long as they don’t brag too much) or their obstacles. It leads to a deeper understanding. You don’t really know someone if you don’t know those things about them.
One thing that really troubles me these days is how there’s so much concern and so many resources for women’s emotional health and self-esteem, but much less for men. We have deep emotional troubles, but our wiring and societal expectations don’t allow us to express them or deal with them (or risk exposing ourselves as weak). But it seems as if a lot of men lead very lonely lives, which is where sports and alcohol come into play. They provide a form of backdoor therapy. I like the term “self-medicating”, because that’s really what’s going on, however it may appear on the surface.
Jack LaLanne is the role model for aspiring dieters. He looked great at 95 but was gone a year later. Pneumonia. Penn, of Penn and Teller, dropped a ton of weight. He said the first two weeks he consumed nothing but potatoes, which impressed me as bizarre.
Maybe it was the absence of meat in his diet, but who knows. There was a doctor in Poland who studied cardiovascular disease during WW2. Meat was practically non-existent during the war, and he noticed a dramatic improvement in his patients health conditions as a result. Clogged arteries began to disappear. Haven’t heard any related stories, so I haven’t become a vegetarian yet.
That’s a lot to digest and I can’t sit here and say you are wrong in anyway. It forces me to think about some truths that I might ignore.
I’d talk about this more but I’ll email you if you would like to discuss further.
Hi, Kevin M. I just wanted to say I enjoyed reading your blog and the comments very much. White I agree with your idea about starting a diet after the Super Bowl, I loved your sense of humor and wisdom sprinkled throughout. However, I think the season starts with Labor Day and Halloween before Thanksgiving and the rest of the holidays come along. I mean, how much candy do we consume at Halloween alone? And how much barbecue or shrimp boils do we consume on Labor Day? LOL! I kid, but I think we begin our calorie consumption at the beginning of fall. Yes, we all need to start, not our “diets”, but our “food plans” (which is much easier for our brains to accept)!! Good luck, Everyone!!
Hi Paula – Thanks for the compliments! I love “food plans”, it’s so much easier to swallow than diet. That’s a four letter word, so it defeats us the moment we say it. I ran into a guy last week who lost 80 lbs “eating right”. I thought that was a big psychological plus, rather than saying diet. And he was saying it after losing all the weight. I think there’s something to the words we choose to describe what it is we’re planning to do, and whether or not we’ll succeed.
Mesomorph, Ectomorph, Endomorph. While much can be said for lifestyle and calories consumed vs calories burned, I am inclined to believe body types have a great deal to do with waistline destiny. In order to maintain ideal weight I always had to eat like a bird and be more active than a worker ant.
At this point in life I fully agree George. Some people have faster metabolisms, and don’t experience weight issues. But for others it’s a lifetime battle. Count me in the second group. I have to nearly starve to lose weight, and that isn’t healthy either.
Kevin, I like to think about two former co-workers who were very inspiring. One was a psychology nurse who used to weigh 300 lbs, but changed her body through exercise and “diet”. She lost a lot of weight until she reached her ideal weight at 115 lbs. She was very calorie conscious (but not obsessive). She splurged on occasion. She got into belly dancing and she ran every morning and got into marathons, etc. Another former coworker weighed over 300 lbs. She found that her husband was cheating on her which led to a divorce. She wanted revenge, so in her case, she found that she actually needed to undergo a gastric bypass surgery. Afterward, she did everything she needed to do to maintain her ideal weight at 140 lbs. She began to attend classes at the university to become a physician”s assistant (PA). One of the classes was called “Mindful Eating”. It was about being conscious of what one puts into their bodies. Kind of like, “garbage in, garbage out”. LOL! I tease, but the concept was if we put good, wholesome food into our bodies, we get good results, and if we don’t, we’ll we get fat and feel lousy. The class taught that people need to be mindful, be aware and conscious, about what we put into our mouths. Will this be good for my body, or will this not be good for my body? Will this help me maintain my ideal weight and great figure, or will this lead to extra pounds that I don’t want or need? Is this nutritious for me or not nutritious for me? The class also taught about portion control and how to just keep a balanced plate. My coworker exercised regularly, and got the revenge she wanted, a college education with a prosperous future and a svelte figure with a healthy body, while her ex-husband got a woman who was more overweight than she was (and who knows what kind of future?). The personal stories, transformations, and information that these coworkers shared have always been inspirational to me. While I’m not yet where I want to be, bodywise, I know it is possible. Maybe I’ll start my food plan today! Hahaha! (But, for real!)
I’m hearing more and more about gastric bypass in recent years. Some doctors are claiming it’s the only lasting way to lose weight. Several members of my extended family have had it and with excellent results. I’d rather do the natural way if possible, but it’s a matter of getting properly motivated. You also have to clear your schedule. I’m convinced one of the main causes of weight problems is busyness. Like everything else, getting healthy requires time and concentration, which are hard to come by when you’re busy putting out fires.
We probably need classes on how to slow down and let go of things – assuming life and the world will ever let us. Not making excuses here, but this is a real issue.
When will AMAZON offer SKINNY GUT MICROBES !!
Skinny People?s Gut Bacteria excerpt……..
according to a Harvard Medical School study, the bacteria in ?skinny? people is different than that of people who are overweight. How did they come up with this exactly? The old fashion way. Take the gut bacteria of leaner twins and the gut bacteria of obese twins and stick them in some rats. The result was the rats who received the skinny twin bacterial mix grew to be leaner and the rats who received the obese twin bacterial mix grew to be fatter.
The conspiracy theorist in me thinks maybe this is being withheld from the public. Truth be told obesity is the biggest single health problem (because its the cause of so many). If it were able to be dealt with simply, the need for all this healthcare would go away. No one on the inside wants THAT!
Correct observation by Kevin regarding preparation. Used to make sugar free jello cups with celery and shredded carrots, along with half dozen salads stored in fridge. Spaghetti squash was a mainstay. If you exercise it is less likely you will eat the wrong stuff since you equate exertion with calorie consumption, realizing it takes 10 minutes of high output cycling to burn 100 calories. Flashback to 1978 when a new, high end exercise bike hit the market. The Dynavit had users pedaling against a motor vs friction belt. $2,000. Contacted the company to be a rep primarily to get my hands on a demo unit. German company. Recall doing 100 minutes @ 10 calories/minute.
Hard to achieve market penetration at that price. Motor resistance design became the standard. $125 for a nice unit from ALDI in 2003 and it still functions perfectly.