The Super Bowl party -- the place where diets go to die.
But it doesn't have to be a train wreck for those trying to lose weight with a little thinking ahead, some smart choices, and perhaps a little forgiveness, Augusta dietitians said.
Super Bowl Sunday is regarded as the second-biggest day for eating, behind only Thanksgiving, and it comes at an awkward time for many who vowed to lose weight in the new year.
"They go through January with not a lot of temptation," said Sarah Neal, a registered dietitian at Medical College of Georgia Hospital and Clinics. But then comes the Super Bowl, which has become a de facto holiday.
"I think any holiday is challenging, especially the Super Bowl," Neal said.
Part of it has to do with the high-fat, high-calorie foods associated with the traditional football party -- chicken wings, pizza, rich dips and chips, said Angie Johnson, a registered dietitian with the University Hospital Weight Management Center. The average person on Super Bowl Sunday eats 1,200 calories and 50 grams of fat just in snacks, not counting any meals, according to the Calorie Control Council. Much of that is done mindlessly in front of the television, Johnson said.
"You have first of all your high-calorie, high-fat snacks in front of you while you're watching the game so you tend to just not pay attention to what you're eating because you're watching the game," she said. "It doesn't take much when you're eating the high-calorie, high-fat items to get a ton of calories in, especially if you're adding the fluid calories on top of that."
Particularly if it is alcohol, which is why Neal recommends keeping water or low-calorie drinks in hand. Sometimes it is deceptive, she said. What people think of as a healthy item, such as bean dip, can be secretly loaded with cheese and fat, Neal said. Chicken wings are also deceptive -- a single deep-fried wing can be more than 100 calories and have more than 7 grams of fat, according to CalorieKing.com.
"It is also what you are using as condiments for those items, like the high-fat dressings you are dipping the buffalo wings in, or the high-sugar sauces you are adding to those things," Johnson said. Instead, try bringing a healthier item yourself, like a vegetable tray, so there is something there you can rely on, Neal said. There are also Web sites where you can look up healthier versions of fatty favorites, Johnson said.
If the temptation is too much and you do indulge, don't let it be a lasting defeat, she said. Instead, get back on your diet and try to exercise a little more to make up for the extra calories, Johnson said.
Starting tomorrow, of course.