Your waistline was just shrinking back to normal after the holidays and now along comes the Super Bowl.
According to the Calorie Control Council and the Snack Food Association, armchair quarterbacks scarf down 30 million pounds of snacks on Super Bowl Sunday including 11.2 million potato chips, 8.2 million pounds of tortilla chips, 4.3 million pounds of pretzels, 3.8 million pounds of popcorn, and 2.5 million pounds of nuts.
Add in the beer, pizza, hot wings and anything else with calories fans can get their hands on and the average spectator consumes 1,200 calories and 50 grams of fat as part of their pigskin celebration, the Council found.
Let's put it in perspective. Say you're a 49ers fan. You decide to inhale a huge plate of chicken wings smothered with cool ranch dressing. That'll set you back somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,500 calories. To burn that off, get ready to hoof it from San Fran's Chinatown to the Golden Gate Bridge, according to the website Hopstop.com - a distance of about five miles.
If you're a Ravens fan who devours a slice of pepperoni pizza, you'll have 400 extra calories to deal with. To burn those off, you'll need to walk the equivalent of the distance between Baltimore's Fort McHenry and the Washington Monument. Actually, plan on making the trip between those land marks at least three times. Who stops at one slice?
Registered dietitian Jennifer Neily said when your eyes are glued to the game, you're often blind to what you're putting in your mouth. She finds that people are often surprised when they realize how many calories they put away in the time it takes to play four quarters, and horrified when they learn how long it takes to burn them off.
But Neily said so long as you don't eat like it's Super Bowl Sunday every day, you should be fine. She looks at it like this," It's one meal, one day. That's not going to make or break you."
To dial down the game day calorie count, Neily advised eating a small meal before the kick off so you're not ravenous as the game gets underway. Alternate alcoholic and sugary beverages with water or seltzer so you don't drown yourself in excess calories. Scan the table before filling your plate so you can eat only what you really want. And set a time to stop eating completely - half time works - and then stick with it.
If you do overdo game day calories, Neily advised getting right back on track the next day with a sensible diet and some moderate intensity exercise. That goes double if your team loses. What's the point in drowning your sorrows in a bowl of nachos? There's always next year.