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Take Me Out to the--Burp!--Ball Game...

By , John “Mr. Bad Food” McGran
Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd;
Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack,
I don't care if I never get back... on my healthy eating regimen!!!
Last month, 99 of my closest friends and I boarded a couple of buses and headed to Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia to see the home town Phillies play the Florida Marlins. This week, I am recounting--and regretting--how such a fun recreational outing morphed into a diet-busting melee!
Strike 1!
I packed my cooler with way more beer than water--and I tapped into it way too soon. Sure, beer can be part of a healthy diet. But only when you drink it now and then... and you exercise moderation when drinking it.
Strike 2!
I didn't bother taking healthy snacks on the bus. Then, what normally should have been a two-hour trip turned into a 3.5-hour adventure because of a run-in with a car on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
With little to do to keep occupied while we waited for the police to finish their paperwork, I imbibed with the boys on the back of the bus--and I helped myself to some extra pizza brought aboard by a friend.
Strike 3--You're Out!
I dined at the stadium. Not that there aren't any healthier choices available, but with my head-start of beer--and my complete lack of dieting resolve--I went straight for the fried foods and oversize boxes of Cracker Jacks.
As I said earlier, drinking does not have to be a no-no for the person following a healthy lifestyle. The calories in a few drinks can easily be overcome with a little extra exercise.
It's when you drink to the point that you lose your inhibitions that trouble arises.
Suddenly, those “bad” foods smell oh, so good and your brain tells you that you MUST have them... and you must have them now and often!
Truth is if I had used a little common sense and a bit of restraint, I could have enjoyed the outing without abandoning my diet or suffering so much next-day guilt.
For starters, I should have packed a few healthy snacks like fruit, string cheese and maybe a salad. I should definitely have refrained from drinking alcohol until at the ballpark or maybe on the bus trip home.
I threw caution to the wind and drink on the way, at the game, and on the way home. No need to berate me. I've already beaten myself up for such behavior!
Hindsight is 20-20, but I could have burned off a few calories and kept busy by walking around the stadium a time or two--or maybe 10--and spent more time mulling over souvenirs rather than my next meal! 
At the stadium in Philly I should have sought out healthier food options like a Southwestern veggie burger, vegan chicken sandwich, or a Vedura Salad, which is roasted eggplant, broccoli rabe, roasted red peppers and sharp provolone cheese.
Most ballparks--if not all--offer foods that won't run up your calorie count. Do a little online investigating before your next trip to the ballpark.
Here's something else to chew on: Outings like bus trips to a ballgame are a great way to catch up with friends and fellow fans. In other words, you don't have to eat or drink to excess just because you can. Instead, pass the hours using your mouth for chatting rather than chewing.
That's a lesson I am still trying to master after 51 years. Hopefully, you'll catch on a lot sooner!
And, for the record, the Phillies beat the Marlins 3-0 behind the two-hit pitching of Cliff Lee.
Turns out the Marlins weren't the only losers that day. My diet was easily the biggest loser of all!
What advice do you have for Mr. Bad Food the next time he goes to the ballpark?

John McGran has been a writer and editor for three national diet/weight loss companies since January 2000. And yet, at age 51, the man known as "Mr. Bad Food" is still trying to master the art of eating sensibly and living a healthy lifestyle. Follow John's blog and you just might learn how to ward off the bad habits that derail many diets. He blogs twice a month on