November is for football rivalries. Friends become frenemies. Pranks among coworkers increase. Peaceful neighbors turn into the Hatfields and the McCoys.
Whether your team is undefeated or perpetual underdog, multi-year Super Bowl champs, or D-1 darlings, tailgating before the Big Game is a fall tradition for many American families and groups of friends.
But tailgating in midlife is a little different from your college days. Here’s how to survive a day of fun and football, hot flashes and all.
Pizza, wings, nachos, cheese dip, little football-shaped cookies: all are delicious tailgating foods. All are loaded with calories.
While tailgating can be a fun way to indulge (and we would never food shame you), it’s not ideal if you’re worried about weight gain in menopause.
Tailgating doesn’t have to throw you off track: try some of these healthy game day alternatives to your favorite dishes.
Spicy foods can trigger hot flashes, so be careful with chili, jalapeno poppers, or buffalo wings.
Drinking enough water becomes extra important in and after menopause because declining estrogen levels lead to decreases in overall body moisture. If you’re losing a lot of fluid through sweat during hot flashes, you need to be even more vigilant about your water intake.
And yes, while you can get away with a soda or two at the game, two-thirds of the fluids you drink each day should be good ol’ H2O. [Learn more about staying hydrated in midlife.]
Grilled, barbequed, or smoked beef, pork, lamb, or chicken may increase your risk of breast cancer (and other cancers) and impact survival after breast cancer, especially if you prefer your meat well-done.
Those coveted char marks on your burger are filled with compounds called heterocyclic amines (HCAs), which form when muscle protein is cooked at high temperatures. The longer your meat cooks, the more HCAs you ingest.
Animal fat dripping onto the coals or grill turns into carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), which coat everything you’re cooking along with the meat and get into your lungs when you inhale the smoke.
And always practice basic grill safety.
Beer and tailgating are almost synonymous but perimenopausal, menopausal, and post-menopausal women have a few reasons to limit drinking alcoholic beverages.
If you do need a little something to get into the gameday spirit, stick to one serving of alcohol.
Just maybe not a glass of pinot noir: red wine has a chemical that’s been known to trigger hot flashes.
Bonus: you’ll actually remember that game-winning Hail Mary pass.
Changes in menopause can lead to all sorts of aches and pains, including in your feet.
In college, you could squat on a 30-pack of beer all afternoon, but present-day... You deserve better than a Bud Light throne.
Bring enough folding chairs to sit in comfort when your dogs start barking. You might even find your favorite team’s colors in a home shop or online.
Temperatures are dropping, but your body has other plans.
30-40% of women experience midlife incontinence. Even if you aren’t currently experiencing urgency or leaks, when you gotta go, you gotta go: holding your urine stresses your bladder and can lead to future incontinence. Don’t wait to pee!
Put together a bathroom plan ahead of time so you know where your closest bathroom is located, both in the stadium and outside, even if it’s just a parking lot port-a-potty.
Vitamin D from the sun keeps your bones (among other body parts) healthy in midlife, but you probably aren’t going to absorb much if you’re bundled up against the November chill.
You can, however, get a sunburn on any exposed parts, even if it’s a cloudy day. Wear sunscreen on your face and any other skin that isn’t covered. Choose a sunscreen that’s free of parabens and other potentially estrogen-disrupting chemicals.
This one isn’t specific to menopause: all NFL and many college stadiums have limitations on what you can bring in to the stadium. We just don’t want you to forget: where else are you going to keep your folding fan?
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