Topics » Social Issues » Healthy Food Choices: Average Starter or All-Pro?
T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies

Whether you love football or not, there is a connection between this popular sport, your health and longevity. One of the many things that go hand in hand with football is delicious food. Did you know that if you sit down to watch a game while eating pizza you could be amazingly healthy? And did you know that if you are watching the same game while eating kale salad you could be very unhealthy? In fact, both of these scenarios can be true. How you might ask? Well, it’s simple, let’s look at some statistics.

Every year each NFL team:

  • Starts training camp with about 90 players
  • Starts the regular season with about 53 players
  • Each year there are about 1,700 NFL player jobs available seasonally
  • Each week only about 1,472 players are actually eligible to play
  • There are only about 760 starters across the league
  • About half of these are considered to be good players

Each year there are less than 100 players who are considered All-Pro, essentially the cream of the crop for that year.

  • Each year only 5-7 players make it to the hall of fame
  • The average length of a player’s career is 3 years

So what does this have to do with pizza and kale salad being healthy or not? It’s all about the longevity of your diet. How long do you want to be a healthy eater, and at what level? Let me explain.

  • If every month you eat 90 meals and 1 out of 90 is pizza and the rest are plant based salt, oil, sugar (SOS) free, then you are a very healthy individual, a potential ‘hall of famer.’
  • If 1 out of 90 meals you eat is kale salad and the rest of the time you eat unhealthy (or fast) food then you are likely sick and possibly overweight.

You are neither healthy or unhealthy because of one meal, it’s your entire diet over the long haul that determines how committed you are to your health.

I did not write this article for people who are either extremely healthy or extremely unhealthy. I wrote this article for the rest of us struggling to go from being an average starter to getting to an All-Pro Level. I remember a quote by hall of famer Bill Parcells, nicknamed The Tuna, “You are what your record says you are.” He did not make excuses. When his team had a winning record he had a good team. When his team had a losing record he had a bad team.

If you eat many healthy meals, but you eat just as many unhealthy ones, then you don’t have a healthy diet. It may not be bad, but don’t try to fool yourself into thinking you are healthy just because you eat a kale salad or steamed veggies a couple times a week. You either have the proper body fat, good flexibility, good muscle tone and good bowel movements or you don’t. So, as you cheer for your favorite team as they win or lose, take responsibility, like The Tuna did. Let’s be sure to acknowledge that we really are what our body says we are based on our choices. Choose wisely to go the distance.

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