For those of us that are trying to watch our waistlines, we know how gratifying it can be when we rhythmically begin to nail those healthy habits of eating right, exercising, and making smart choices.

However, it can cause a bit of anxiety when something unexpected gets thrown into the mix and you’re taken out of your daily routine. For example, you are invited to your friend’s for dinner, the family is making plans to go to the cabin for the weekend, or your neighbor brings over goodie plates for the holidays. But what about those traditional feast days; those special annual gatherings built around food?

You know what I’m talking about. One of the biggest, non-holiday feast days is right around the corner.  That’s right, Super Bowl Sunday! And with that, comes the Holy Grail of traditional Super Bowl food that you annually feast on all day long.

So let’s address the elephant in the room. Can healthy eating and Super Bowl Sunday co-exist?

Let’s start with a fun fact

Contrary to popular beliefs, a social event is not all about the food, or at least it shouldn’t be. It’s about spending time with people you like and care about. Decide to turn your events into more about making memories and developing relationships. Don’t get lazy and forget about all of the hard work you’ve done so far. Remember to keep YOU and your health goals a priority, always.

Know what to expect

I’m positive the team you’re rooting for has taken much time to analyze what they’re up against come Sunday and you should do the same. Let’s be honest, Super Bowl is usually a food fest: wings, pigs in a blanket, sliders, pizza, chips, and 7-layer dip. It is most likely accompanied by a variety of sodas and usually beer. Then followed by football cookies, brownies, and any other sugary, fat-laden, yummies that have been pinned online by all genders and football fans alike.

Have a game plan: go prepared

You know that the offense, defense, and special teams alike will all have their own specific playbook; complete with a set of plays that can be called in each situation. They have analyzed their opposing team and have strategies put into place way before Game Day. You should do the same. Before you go to this kind of event, restaurant, or party, make up your mind about how you are going to deal with all that extra temptation. Role-play the situations in your head. Be smart and go prepared! Find out what’s on the menu. If it’s a casual event, consider taking a healthy dish or two as an offering (Pinterest has hundreds of healthy scrumptious Super Bowl ideas and recipe hacks). If you know that there will be drinks, decide how you’re going to handle that too. That’s right; take away your excuses so you can set yourself up to be successful.

Gather support

Pick a close friend or two you will be with, and let them know in advance that you are trying to stay healthy and could use their support. This takes away the possibility of careless sabotage and bantering from your buddies and will probably make your friend feel trusted and special.

Embrace the obstacle

Learn to become a problem solver. Get used to assessing the obstacle or situation at hand and figure out how you’re going to get around it or through it: set a plan, prepare and ask for support. In other words, be smart and take the time to set yourself up for success. Why not start with this Super Bowl Sunday?

Feel the Victory

It just wouldn’t be fair to challenge you, without describing to you what victory feels like the morning after. Imagine if you will…

Monday morning you undoubtedly wake up feeling leaner. You lay there reflecting about how fun yesterday was and yet how different you handled it from last year. A surge of healthy pride and a feeling of empowerment come over you. It’s like you’ve scored your own personal touchdown!

By going prepared, gathering support, and following your game plan, you will be sure to come out of this weekend a winner! Still don’t believe me? Try it, and see!