This weekend is the Super Bowl, aka That Day When Everybody Breaks Out Their Favorite Fatty Appetizer Recipes And Gorges Like They’re Being Executed on Monday, Then Washes It All Down With Beer or Soda. I don’t usually participate in Super Bowl Madness, because until very recently, I didn’t watch football (that all changed when I noticed that a couple of the Green Bay Packers lads were mighty easy on the eyes, making them frankly a joy to watch); but this year, now that I’ve sorta been paying attention to football, I feel kind of obligated to watch it. If nothing else, Moon Man and I enjoy the commercials–there’s supposed to be that one with the dogs barking the Imperial March from Star Wars, and that’s just hilarious–and the excuse to eat delicious dips.
And of course, where there’s a Good Excuse for a Party, there will be 10,000 recipes bandied about–the internet and women’s magazines are going nuts right now, luring people to their various sites and pages with the promise of the best-ever queso, brownies, things-wrapped-in-crescent-rolls, sandwiches, dips, spreads, and so forth. And that’s great; I love a good recipe as much as the next guy.
What I do not love is the equal-but-opposite reaction I’m simultaneously seeing, from folks freaking out about How to Navigate the Treacherous and Perilous World of Super Bowl Gatherings Without Destroying Your Diet, Your Waistline, and Your Worth as a Human Being. “These are the foods you may eat (insert picture of celery),” they proclaim, “and these foods (insert gigantic list) will break your diet, which will make your body shape change, which will demonstrate your fundamental worthlessness, which will make your partner stop loving you and your boss think you’re lazy and all your friends abandon you, so for advice on being Utterly Alone in 2012, please turn to page 43.”
To all of those advice columnists, article-writers, etc, I say: [Bleep] you and the horse you rode in on, you sanctimonious nitwits. My self-worth is unrelated to my pants size, and while it’s true that I might absolutely lose my mind and eat everything but the television on Sunday, I’m confident that I understand “Super Bowl Day” versus “Not Super Bowl Day” and can plan my menu on Monday accordingly.
Yes, I understand that self-control is important.
Yes, I understand that in the case of addiction, people may need to be more rigorous with themselves, and if that’s your situation, that’s ok–please take whatever steps are necessary for you to live your best life; but as a favor to me, please stop before you hit self-shaming, because that’s just differently unhealthy.
However, I also understand that for many of us, it’s not so much a “food addiction” as it is just a simple case of poor impulse control, unfavorable eating habits, not particularly rigid adherence to nutritional guidelines, etc. I’m not fat because I “just can’t stop eating”–if that’s the boat you’re in, then please, by all means, continue reading these ‘Tracts as a bit of diversion, but I implore you to seek actual assistance from someone who’s actually qualified to give advice, rather than someone who just has a blog and some thoughts about the world.
But for those of us who, like me, are just here because we really like pizza and because we couldn’t judge a portion size if our lives depended on it, then my official advice for Super Bowl Sunday is “Eat, already!”.
In the same way that I am capable of discerning which clothes are appropriate for yardwork versus which clothes are appropriate for a wedding, I am also able to discern which diets are appropriate for everyday (i.e., anything that emphasizes a healthy relationship to food, with attention to reasonable portion sizes and getting good nutrition) versus which diets are appropriate for Those Rare Occasions, like the Super Bowl (i.e., if it’s not moving and is on the snack table, it is going into my mouth). I know how to stop before I explode. I know how to share nicely with others (no fair taking the last pig-in-a-blanket, at least until enough time has passed for you to be reasonably sure everyone else has had a chance to have one). I know how stop sometimes to cheer, or chat, or walk around a little bit, or help tidy the kitchen. I am a grownup. I know how to tell the difference between a Party Day and Not a Party Day. I’ve got this, thankyouverymuch.
So for all of you out there who are currently knee-deep in articles about how you cannot possibly allow even one morsel of Super Bowl Food to pass your lips without losing everything you have ever held dear, please permit me to suggest an alternative: “Eat, already!” Enjoy the day, and just go back to paying attention to the magazines on Monday. You don’t have to eat everything on the table by yourself, but you also don’t have to sit outside and listen to the game through the window lest you face Vile Wretched Cheesy Temptation on Crackers. You’re allowed to splurge. You’re allowed to indulge.
You’re allowed to eat, fer cryin’ out loud.
Just maybe have some salad on hand for Monday.
(Reminder: This weekend is also Donate Food to Your Local Food Bank Weekend! Local folks are invited to bring donations to the Buffalo Moon Ranch–and remember, we’re matching all dropped-off donations one-for-one–and everyone else should check out Feeding America to find a food bank near you!)