I have always known that football season was a big deal, but I had no idea it was this big of a deal.  Similarly, I had heard of fantasy football, but I recently really learned about it. Before fantasy football perhaps you were watching at most every game your team played, which is 16 games during a 17 week period of the regular season, but now your team is comprised of players from every team, so that means you are watching every game for the entire season, which could be every Sunday afternoon, Sunday night, Monday night, and occasional games on Thursday night or Saturday. That is a lot of sedentary activity! Also, what are you doing while you are watching television? Mindless eating, perhaps? The food and beverage industry love football season— wings, chips, pizza, and are big hits, but they are also big calories. The average slice of pizza with only a cheese topping is at least 200 calories. Also, who eats without drinking something? The average lighter beverage or soda that you may drink is approximately 100 calories, but that is only one drink. Now think about sitting in front of the television with your buds, either out or at someone’s house and the food keeps showing up at the table and of course your hand keeps grabbing it. Hours later, how many calories do you think you consumed during one game and how many calories do you think you used during that one game of sitting, talking, and eating?

You may think the idea of this blog is to tell you to just not be a sports fan, but that is not the purpose and I would have many haters if that was the case. Remember, it is a healthy lifestyle, not a diet.  So, with most things in life, the key is to ask yourself how to make it healthier. The purpose of this blog is to get you to think, to get you to be more mindful, and to be creative. Here are some tips to not let that waistline expand during football season.

1. Plan ahead. If you know you will be sitting all day and eating, do physical activity the morning before the game and try to eat lighter and healthier the day before

2. Plan ahead. Don’t go out hungry– eat regularly throughout the day and have healthy snacks before going and/or bring healthier snacks with you. If you are going to a friend’s house bring something healthier to share.

3. Stay active during commercial breaks. Stand up and stretch or take walking breaks. Make a challenge with your friends and do pushups, mountain climbers, jumping jacks, planks, etc. If you are at the game, take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator. Get up and stretch or walk around the stadium periodically.

4. Choose wisely and try not to drink your calories. Opt for the lighter/lower calorie drink or diet soda. You can also have water in between each drink so you are not drinking as much, and staying hydrated.

5. Choose wisely and have healthier snacks. The ‘picking’ behavior is common for television watchers, so how about find healthier foods that will still allow you to ‘pick.’ Try edamame, celery, carrots, or grapes.

6. Have friends over and you throw the party. What guy does not like grilled food? Grill instead of ordering in pizza and wings.

7. Keep in mind your long term goals and don’t let one football season get in the way of you accomplishing them. There are always healthier choices and you are in control of the choice you make.