|Image courtesy of arkorn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net|
Welcome to the second post of "We're Not Perfect (and that's OK!) Wednesdays" because come on, cooking every meal from scratch and eating like a healthy robot just isn't reality! On Wednesdays, we learn more about how to handle real life situations and the imperfect choices and feelings that accompany them. Instead of stressing about making the wrong decision, let's strategize in advance so we can make the best choices for the situation we're in :)
Today, we're talking about sports. Do you tend to reach for chips and candy when your team loses the game? How about when they lose after they were so close to winning?! If you do, you're not alone - not by a long shot.
Researchers at INSEAD Business School looked at what 726 Sunday National Football League (NFL) fans ate on the Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday following the game in over two dozen cities. Their study, published in Psychological SCIENCE found that fans:
- Ate about 16% more saturated fat when their football team LOST a game versus what they normally ate on Mondays. [Fans who lived in cities with the most devoted fans ate 28% more sat fat!]
- Ate 9% LESS saturated fat when their football team WON a game versus what they normally ate on Mondays. [Fans who lived in cities with the most devoted fans ate 16% less sat fat]
Even people watching the game who weren't fans got swept up in the eating pattern!
Why? The authors cite research that fans tend to perceive a team's successes and failures as their own (Hirt et al., 1992). That may be why football and soccer defeats have also been linked to increased alcohol-related criminal activity, traffic fatalities, domestic violence, and cardiac incidents.
Your New Strategy: Fans who wrote down what's really important to them (their core values) after a defeat ate significantly fewer calories from added sugar. And, in a separate study of 157 French soccer fans watching game highlights, people who watched a defeat and then recorded their core values showed a preference for healthy foods - just like those who watched a victory.
While writing down your core values won't magically eliminate all desires to eat junk food after a defeat, it's a step in a healthy direction.
Here are 3 More Easy Tips to Eat Healthy During & After Sports Games:
- Be mindful of your snacking during and after games. It's easy to snack mindlessly while watching television so take small portions of snacks and go back for another small portion if you're still hungry. Don't sit next to the giant bowl of chips.
- If you know you'll be watching a big game on the weekend, stock your fridge with healthy snacks like precut veggies, fruit, lemon-infused water, whole grain pretzels, hummus, and low fat yogurt. Keep them in see-through containers at the front of the fridge so you see them when you open the door. When Sunday night and Monday comes, hopefully the tempting, nutritious snacks you have waiting will crowd out the junk.
- Plan a wholesome dinner for the night after the game in advance.
Good luck and Go Team! :)
Note: These researchers did not conduct studies that can link a cause-and-effect, just associations.
Cornil Y and Chandon P. From Fan to Fat? Vicarious Losing Increases Unhealthy Eating, but Self-Affirmation Is an Effective Remedy. Psychological SCIENCE, August 7, 2013. http://pss.sagepub.com/content/early/2013/08/07/0956797613481232.abstract
Medical News Today: Honor Whiteman, "Disappointed sports fans more likely to eat junk food," 23 August 2013: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/265145.php
Full text of article draft here: http://www.cerog.org/lalondeCB/CB/2013_lalonde_seminar/program/papers/corn1.pdf