Book: The Game On Diet by Krista Vernoff and Az Ferguson
Publication date: 2009
Source: Purchased as an ebook
Summary: The Game On Diet is a diet presented as a game for two or more teams of players to coax themselves and each other into healthier habits, while engaging in a four-week competition for fun, prizes, and bragging rights. Players earn points for following the meal plan, exercising, sleeping, drinking water, banishing bad habits, and establishing new good ones. A score sheet and rules all make it clear exactly how the game is to be played. Weight loss is one reason to play, as is obvious from the title, but players can participate who don’t need to lose weight but want to meet other fitness goals.
Thoughts: I’ve come to believe that healthy eating in the modern food environment requires some sort of structure for many people, a counterweight to the “eat more” culture that we’re living through. The Game On Diet provides a structure that is healthy, practical, and fun.
I heard about The Game On Diet from someone who organized a Facebook page for playing the game. We are a small group and decided to play the game cooperatively rather than competitively — this suited our personalities better, I think, but we have a very high drop-out rate so I’m sure it’s not the best way to play if you want to see success. I’m guessing that The Game On Diet is not nearly as effective to play with virtual friends as it would be to play with co-workers, family members, and other people that you see day-to-day or talk to on the phone.
The meal plan took some getting used to, but it’s simple enough — 5 meals a day, each consisting of a healthy carb, a lean protein, and a healthy fat. At least 2 meals must have vegetables, too. Once I wrote out a list of meals that qualified, it became painless to pull them together. I find that I’m less likely to want to make substitutes at the last moment because these meals don’t come to me naturally so it’s just easier to eat what I planned. There’s more repetition of foods than in my previous way of eating because I wasn’t willing to increase my meat intake very much so I had to settle for the non-meat proteins and rotate them through the day. I’m nearing the end of the second week and I’m not bored yet, so I guess I’m varying things enough.
I’ve been surprised how switching from 3 meals and 2 snacks to 5 more equally-sized small meals has helped alleviate hunger most of the time. I’m eating somewhat more protein than before and somewhat less fat. I was at the top of my maintenance range when I started. This meal plan is making it easier for me to stay more comfortably in the middle of my range.
The four-week aspect is probably the perfect timing for a game like this. I was a bit worried about a diet that lasted only four weeks. That’s not exactly a lifestyle change. But the plan itself could certainly be followed as a lifestyle change and it’s apparent that many players do stick to a number of the habits that they develop during the game and that they often look forward to playing the game again, so that it becomes a recurring event in their lives — a kind of reset to healthy habits whenever things get out of whack.
Appeal: The tone of The Game On Diet is brash and casual, reading more like email between trash-talking friends than a book. In general, the writing style and the game are going to appeal to younger, more extroverted types, who don’t object to seeing the f-bomb in print — sometimes several times on one page. Grey’s Anatomy fans will enjoy the glimpses of what it’s like to be a writer for that show.
Challenges: The Game On Diet is my third of 14 books I intend to read for the Foodies Read 2013 Challenge.
Other Reviews: Searching the Book Blogs Search Engine, I see that book bloggers have played this game at least twice among themselves. Our own Beth Fish Reads, host of Weekend Cooking, participated in one round: Assessment: The Game On Diet by Krista Vernoff and Az Ferguson. Check out today’s post at Beth Fish Reads for more Weekend Cooking fun.