Eating at a Super Bowl Party

February 4, 2009 · 12 comments

photo credit: PinkMoose

I was hoping to get this post out a couple of days ago but this week has just been crazy. How about that Super Bowl? Damn, that was a great game. And I say that not just because my wife won the 3rd quarter numbers and I won the final score numbers! Did you attend a Super Bowl party? I did. Parties are tough for me and they are something I need to conquer on this weight loss journey of mine.

In the interest of full disclose, and hoping that I will learn something, I’m setting out here to document how the party went in terms of my eating and drinking. I did not keep track at the party and I didn’t go into the party with any specific plans to not eat anything, but I left feeling comfortably full and satisfied that I didn’t pig out. So right now as I begin this post I think I did pretty good (although not, “I am on a diet” good), but we’ll see if I feel that way at the end of it.

Before the Party

One of the things that makes losing weight tough for me is that I love to cook and I love to cook things with taste. Like anything wrapped in bacon works great for parties! I’ve never been a “let’s just bring a super bowl gift basket” or a chocolate and toffee hampers from Thorntons kind of a guy. I like to bring the love.

What I made for the party was a recipe from the Pioneer Woman Cooks that I have made before, Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeno Thingies. WARNING! Do NOT visit that site if you value your waist line. Ree is a positively evil woman who likes butter. You have been warned.

I had bought 14 Jalapenos and so I made 28 of the appetizers. Of course I had to sample one when they were done. It was so good I had to have another. That left me with 26 and it seemed like a weird number to bring so I ate two more to bring the number to an even two dozen. So here I am right before the party and I have already eaten 4 appetizers and the game hadn’t even started yet. Half a jalapeno, a couple of teaspoons of cream cheese and a third of a piece of bacon I have calculated was about 75 calories each, so I’m already in for 300 calories.

Do you see yourself doing what I did when you bring party food? I needed to plan better. I needed to know that I would react that way and make just 25 knowing I would only be able to eat one before the party then.

At the Party

The party was a buffet-style food orgy like any good Super Bowl party should be. For my first round of food I had a bowl of chili and a plate of miscellaneous stuff that included one of my stuffed jalapenos, some seven layer dip with chips, some ham and cheese, a tomato and mozzarella cheese ball and one or two other things that I have forgotten. The plate was not overstuffed. Later I had seconds of the seven layer dip and chips. Neither portion was huge but I know that the calorie count in that is high. I also had another bowl of chili. During the course of the game I nursed two beers.

One of the things I noticed in this party was that the later the game went on the less food there was. “Duh” you are probably thinking, but what it made me realize is that one strategy for attending a party like this is to eat very slowly so that your options for overindulging dwindle as the night goes on. I ate everything in the first half of the game and by the third quarter I don’t think there was any food left other than the chili.

Instead of thinking about grabbing a plateful of food as if I was having dinner I should have used a small appetizer plate and thought about my approach as sampling appetizers - which I could have done much more slowly and with smaller portions.

After the Party

The only thing sweet I had at the party was a chocolate chip cookie that my wife and I split. There was a cake at the party but it was gone by the time I thought about needing anything sweet. So after the game after we had collected our pool winnings (we only had 2 squares each so the odds of both of us winning were pretty small) we decided to stop at the gas station to get some candy. I had a Butterfinger. If I had gone in myself I would have bought a King-Sized bar but Amy went in for us and that helped me restrained to a normal-sized bar.

The scary thing about reading through this is that I felt good after the party feeling like I was not stuffed and did not overindulge. Yet I would bet I ate 1500 calories at the party, which is clearly not in the “I am on a diet” category.

I would like to say that I made up for it with plenty of exercise the next day but I did not. However as it is only Wednesday it is not too late to start making up for it for this week and that is what I plan to do.

Overall I had a good time, saw a great game and learned a few more things about myself.

How did you do at your Super Bowl party?

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Lucrecia February 4, 2009 at 9:33 am

Ack, buffet parties are the worst! I refused to go anywhere this year (and since my Boys weren’t in the big game I really couldn’t have cared less who won as long as they hit my square numbers!) I’d heard so many hot wing commercials that week though I was really craving them! My creative husband did kabobs with hot wing sauce and my craving was met with no chicken skin fat or breading! whew. LOVE Ree’s site, but alas, most of her food is fat heavy.

I’m a Vikings fan so I really didn’t care either, but since Larry Fitzgerald is a former Vikings ballboy I was rooting for the Cardinals. But in the end it was all about the squares, lol!

Tyson February 4, 2009 at 11:21 am

I stayed at home with the financee and kids. We made a nice healthy chicken nacho plate and had some wine (Us, not the kids). Sunday is our day to “cheat” so it worked out pretty good. I think I was still within my range though. As much as I love buffett style eating, they dont love me!

Sounds like you handled it well, great job!

Tom Rooney February 4, 2009 at 1:58 pm

Here’s the way to approach something as big as the super bowl. Don’t wrap yourself in guilt or you won’t have a good time. Eat when you’re hungry and use the smaller plate for your dinner. Stop counting when you go in as the only way you could go backwards is for your host to have a treadmill and shower available for all guests. Think to yourself that “it’s only one day” and get back at it on Monday (happened to be Groundhog Day as well this year). You always need to remember that it took quite a few days to put on that weight and one day is not going to double it or make it go away.

I agree Tom - and in fact I did not feel guilty at all so whether that is a sign of being strong or weak I don’t know. However it is easy to think about this as a once in a year event failign to remember that if you have too many once in a year events every month you are going to have problems.

Rob February 4, 2009 at 4:34 pm

could have done some no fat Cream cheese and turkey bacon No one would have known the difference :)

OK maybe I could have gotten by with fat-free cream cheese but I will have to argue with you on the turkey bacon - I can’t stand fake bacon and it would have made a huge difference. Third of a piece of bacon isn’t too bad and worth all the flavor and texture in my mind.

shrinkingdad February 4, 2009 at 6:16 pm

Buffets are tough. Kids parties are the worst for me because sugar is my worst problem, I have sometimes polished off 2 dozen biscuits while “helping to tidy up”.

The best thing - so easy to say and so hard to do - would be to make the flip from “live to eat” to “eat to live”. But I wold probably have done the same as you - actually I’d have probably eaten more since I don’t really understand football.

I think a mistake I’ve often made with parties is to “save myself for the party”, by eating almost nothing beforehand, thinking this will offset the binge. But what it does is make the binge worse, because you’ve already decided to overeat, plus when the time comes you are starving. Maybe it would be better to fill up on salad and fruit or even heavier carbs like porridge just before going, then we arrive not hungry and would have more resistance.

Keep up the good work John - enjoying your blog as always.

I think I just realized something about me - sugar is not my problem at buffets, fat is. However, sugar is a problem for me in between or after meals. I’d probably do OK at a candy buffet but alas I don’t attend any of those. :-)

JC February 4, 2009 at 7:48 pm

I am with Tom Rooney completely on this one. Having a day where you just forget about your diet and eat whatever you want is perfectly ok, especially at annual events.

Heck, I used to pig out every Sunday just to take a mental break from counting calories.

When I am on my plan I don’t count calories on Sunday’s either, although I do try to refrain from pigging out. I think break days are a very good idea.

Greg Hayes February 4, 2009 at 10:23 pm

Buffet is the worst for healthy eating, but you had all my favorites. Spicy and fat. I should have just given over with my plans and had what I wanted, anyway…

Mmmm, spicy and fat indeed. Washed down with a beer or two. Really need to restrain myself here…

AndrewE February 5, 2009 at 1:15 am

I just eat and don’t worry about it. The only caveat is that once every 3 months is all I allow myself (in terms of unlimited eating). If this kind of thing is happening regularly you might as well give up and not bother.

Yep, once every 2-3 months sounds about right to me. February 6, 2009 at 1:20 am

It really was a great game, way too many penalties though.

Everything the experts tell you to avoid eating, I ate. Chips, wings, beer etc.. had a great time and don’t feel guilty at all. Maybe it was the double workout on Saturday that took way the guilt.

It’s the superbowl, I don’t get much daddy time away from the family so I took advantage. Like Andrew said it a good thing it’s not a regular habit.


I still can’t believe they didn’t do a booth review at the end, I can’t believe that on the sports biggest stage they wouldn’t check it. Personally I thought it was an incomplete pass.

rob February 6, 2009 at 10:43 am

I do not know if it’s been a while since i have had regular bacon but turkey bacon is good :) I honestly do not taste a difference.. though the texture is a little different I will give you that.

jackie February 7, 2009 at 7:10 pm

keep up the good work, john! buffets are a challenge but your motivation is certainly there.

Clinton Walker February 13, 2009 at 7:03 pm

Did good for the superbowl eating. As long as you keep the portion size down one night should not ruin it for you.

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