Fall is the time for tailgating. Whether you’re a Duck, a Beaver or a Viking, the allure of ingesting greasy food and cheap beer to prepare for the big game is tough to resist. College football and tailgating are a time-honored tradition, but the combination of fatty foods and alcohol is also a recipe for you packing on unhealthy pounds in a hurry.
Fall can be a particularly dangerous time for gaining weight. The changing weather drives us inside, we’re no longer wearing bathing suits so we lose that motivation to stay trim, and the holiday food extravaganzas are essentially a guaranteed extra couple pounds.
And on top of this, add the majesty of college football and all its inherent health risks (concussions for the players, massive weight gain for the fans, etc.)
For a point of reference, to burn off the calories from eating a single tortilla chip with seven-layer-dip on top, you would have to climb the stairs at Autzen Stadium for ten minutes. I always try to keep that in mind when I’m tempted to eat 40.
Luckily, your friends at Flow Natural Health Care have some suggestions on how you can have all the fun of a tailgate without all the unhealthy contributing factors. Here are some tips to help you have the healthiest tailgate experience possible:
Monitor your alcohol intake. OK, maybe not all the fun of a classic tailgating experience. Most beers have about 150 calories, and an average mix drink has about 100. So if you’re in the habit of crushing so many beers before the game that the Ducks’ offense looks like an actual blur, your body will start to feel and show the aftereffects.
Drinking also increases the odds of overeating. That last rum and coke could result in you inadvertently doubling-down on your calorie intake.
Have a plan. Studies have shown that if you write down everything you eat, you’re far less likely to overindulge because you’re acting with much more intention. This goes double for tailgates. With so many great snackable foods available at tailgates, you can unknowingly ingest so much more food than you think.
This also combats the “What the Heck?” effect. “WtH” effect happens when people are calorie-counting with an unspecified calorie goal. Days are grouped into either “Good” or “Bad” days, and once a day has been deemed “Bad,” the “WtH?” effect occurs. Since the day is already shot, you might as well really go for it in the unhealthy eating department. If you write down your eating plan for the tailgate, you are much more likely to avoid this potential setback.
Stay active. While tailgating, don’t just sit, eat and drink. Toss the football back and forth or go explore other tailgates at the far end of the parking lot. You could even be like the guy in the tailgating picture below and just do continuous flips. I’m not entirely sure how many calories that would burn, but I’m guessing a lot.
Eat your veggies. Most tailgates have a veggie platter, and I suggest that you stand next to that for the healthiest snacking. If you’re looking for healthy dishes that are still in keeping with the general vibe of tailgates, check out this great list from Daily Burn.
Park far away. This doesn’t really apply if you’re the one hosting the tailgate, but if you are visiting a friend’s tailgate, consider parking far away from the stadium. You’ll save money, you’ll get to see campus more as you walk to the stadium, you’ll bond with other fans as you walk to the game, and the act of walking will jumpstart your metabolism so fewer of that day’s carbs will stick with you.
We hope this article helps you enjoy fun and healthy tailgates for your favorite football teams this fall. If you have any further questions or would like to schedule a consultation, please give us a call at Flow Natural Health Care today! (503) 974-9283