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?