Is Your Sports Team Killing You?
A couple of cases of beer, pizza, hot wings, a big screen tv and a group of your close friends.
I'll bet all of us can guess what I'm describing. Same day, same place a few hours later its fourth down with only a couple seconds left on the clock, your behind by one point and your kicker comes out on the field. Its been raining all day so the field is wet, not ideal kicking conditions but he's hit three short field goals already so your feeling pretty good. He lines up for the 52 yard attempt, the coach of the other team calls for a time out, a strategy you've seen a million times but it never works, it seems like a total waste of time. A commercial comes on but there is no way your getting up and taking a chance of missing the end. The game comes back on, the long snap is a little off but controlled and set, the kick is up.......its good!! You look and the officials are waving it wide, your furious, screaming at the tv with your friends. After another look at the replay you see now that it was wide right by inches and your team loses the game. You feel sick as your friends say their good byes and leave. You lay on the couch and get on your social media to see what other people are saying about the game, you feel a little bit depressed, you'll probably just lay here for the rest of the day. Tomorrow you'll feel a little better and by Wednesday you'll have moved on and prepared for the next week so its really no big deal right?
You wake up, Monday morning the game still in your head. The haters are going to be out in full force today. You kind of expect it because you were talking a lot of trash Friday, and you owe the boss twenty bucks. Again you start feeling a little sick, that little feeling in your gut you get when things aren't going the way you hoped. You finish getting ready and get ready to leave, you walk outside and there is a foot of snow on your car. "I don't have time for this!" You only live a few minutes from work so you don't usually leave until until ten til. Today mother nature threw you a curve ball though. So you start your car cursing the cold and snow as you scrape ice and push just enough snow off your car so you can see. Again you feel that feeling in your stomach and you get in and drive to work. You walk in a couple minutes late apologize to the boss blaming the cold and snow and get to work.
The situations I described are just things that happen in daily life. We've all been there so no big deal, right? Well kind of. These are all examples of stress. When we have stress our bodies are programmed to release stress hormones including adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones are to help us deal with the threat or danger. This response is great when Tuc and your other ancestors saw a saber tooth tiger. Your body pumps out some adrenaline and you can run, jump, and climb like a champion and you live another day. This response can be good for us now even, it helps us stay focused on the task at hand. The problem is, in the situations I described above your body goes into fight or flight mode because of the stress and there is no release. Your not sprinting for your life or climbing a tree to escape being eaten.
We all know stress is bad. It has been linked to diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease, Alzheimer's, IBS, Heartburn and even cancer. The release of cortisol in our bodies suppresses your immune system and leaves your body open to infection and chronic inflammatory conditions. Over a long enough period of time if the stress isn't managed you are leaving your body opened to a host of problems down the road. I hear and read a lot of diet and weight loss opinions and one of the "facts" I hear is "If you want to lose weight all you have to do is burn more calories than you consume" Well here's the thing, yes that's true but....no. Again, the missing link here is stress/cortisol. When a lot of people are stressed the response is to reach for some comfort food, chocolate cake maybe? So you just bombed your body with a huge amount of empty calories and on top of that you have a hormone imbalance caused by the constant release of cortisol in your body from stress, but here's the kicker, fat cells in your belly have more than twice the amount of cortisol receptors compared to the other fat cells in your body so where do you think all those calories went? If you go back to the story of the guy watching the football game. Hes been eating pizza and wings and drinking all day, the thing about alcohol most people don't know is when you drink alcohol, your liver changes the ethanol into acetate and burns it as fuel first. Guess what happens to the pizza and wings? Well not only are you dealing with the rise in cortisol from screaming at the ref all day but your body has plenty of fuel from the alcohol so it goes it to storage mode, and so begins the beer belly.
I did a marketing study this week on twitter, and I do this a lot, I post random tweets about things on my mind at the time and watch to see what gets the biggest response. The title of this blog is a result of that study because of this, sex sells but sports is where the big money is at. I got very angry results from a comment I made generalizing sports fans. I know all about being a die hard fan, and team loyalty and the weekend games, and I know that a blogger isn't going to change the minds of all the sports fans out there. You are most likely the most dedicated to your tradition people on the planet, I get that but I'm going to offer a few ideas, small changes, that might help you live a little longer and maybe even see the Lions win a superbowl (I've been a Lions fan my entire life, so don't talk to me about die hard)
If we were all honest with each other we could probably agree that the diet during weekend football parties aren't doing you any favors so I'll just leave that alone for now. This post was more geared towards stress. So what can we do to help control stress when our team loses the big game, again I'm a Lions fan so i'm an expert on this subject. Stress and the stress response have gotten man kind to were we are so it isn't always a bad thing, it becomes bad when it isn't controlled. If you think about it logically when our ancestors were put in fight or flight what did they do, throw hands or run like hell, so when your stressed the logical response for you would be go for a run, exercise, do something physical to release that burst of hormones. After a loss, or ever after a win make a new tradition, go in a quiet place by yourself and clear your head, meditate, make that your fifteen or twenty minutes of time that you give to that game, and then move on with your life. Your response to the game will have no effect on the rest of the world so why let it consume you? I know you don't want to hear it but it is just a game and tomorrow will come regardless of the outcome. Sports are fun to watch, its a great chance to get together with friends and family and make memories but at the end of the day the memories should be more important than the outcome. Your happiness depends on you and your decisions are yours to make but "Is Your Sports Team Killing You? "
Have a great weekend and I hope all your teams win, until next time Have a Happy Hippie life.