27 July 2009

Assessment: The Game On Diet by Krista Vernoff and Az Fercuson

Yesterday was the end of my experiment on the Game On Diet. If you need a refresher on what the diet is all about, take a look at my review of the book, but here are the basic principles:

1. Eat five healthy mini-meals a day spaced 2 to 4 hours apart
2. Exercise at least 20 minutes 6 days a week
3. Sleep 7+ hours a night
4. Drink 3 liters of water a day
5. Add a healthy new habit
6. Get rid of a bad habit
7. Communicate with your team and the other players

What I Didn't Like

The hardest part of the diet for me was eating five times a day. Although two meals were supposed to be snacks, I found it disconcerting to be eating when I wasn't remotely hungry. It seemed as if I were always thinking about or dealing with food: timing my next meal, planing my next meal, eating my meal, cleaning up from my meal. I found that food really disrupted my day.

I didn't like eating dinner at a different time from my husband. Mr. BFR works a flexible schedule, and the diet is not flexible. Thus many evenings I would eat alone and then I would sit with him while he ate. Not a lot of fun.

Protein was required at every meal, and because I didn't want to eat meat five times a day, that meant a lot of dairy: yogurt and string cheese over and over. Beans were considered carbs but were allowed as protein for vegetarians. I am not a vegetarian, but I took the bean option for the last two weeks.

It was difficult to limit the amount of fruit I eat, especially because we are at the height of the season (at least where I live). I practically live on fruit in the summer.

What I Liked or What I Grew to Like

I already ate the foods recommended for the diet, and I already avoided or just didn't eat the foods banned by the diet. So that part was a great match for me.

I already exercised almost every day, so that part of the diet wasn't new.

I truly approached the water requirement kicking and screaming. I hated it, hated water, and didn't want to be forced to drink it. But funny thing: I started to like it and then I started to crave it. I found it hard to get all three liters in on some days, but not torture!

I liked having a meal off and a day off each week. That meant that nothing was forbidden forever, making it easier to stay on track.

I loved the habit part of the diet. I hope to keep on with my healthy habit and stay away from my bad habit. That was a great part of the game.

Communicating with my teammates and rivals was such fun! In fact, earning my communication points was almost too easy.

What I'll Take away with Me

The two biggest lessons for me were portion control and water. Remember that I was already eating the right foods (just too much of them) and I was already exercising.

We went out to breakfast this morning to celebrate the end of my diet, and when I looked at the amount of homefries on my plate, I was amazed. Even though the diet is over, I was happy eating just a fist-size portion and leaving the rest.

Water has become such a habit that I asked for and drank two glasses at the restaurant. So I think my body expects to have its water now.

The Future

I plan to continue my exercise, drink my water, and stay on track with my habits. I am looking forward to going back to my normal eating schedule and eating only when I'm hungry. The main thing is going to be watching my portions and avoiding seconds. I also plan to live with the idea of one meal off and one day off each week. It's a great way to keep a rein on my week-long eating trends.

And, of course, you want to know about the weight loss. I was kind of a bad candidate for this experiment because I wanted to lose only three pounds. I did that very easily and even lost a bit more. The question will be whether it stays off and how well I'll be able to live with the spirit of of the diet now that I am Game Off!


Julie P. 7/27/09, 8:31 AM  

We did it! Thanks for all of your support. It's been a lot of fun to "play" Game On! with you guys!

Anonymous,  7/27/09, 8:46 AM  

Great wrap-up! I hope I take away the lessons as successfully as you!

Anonymous,  7/27/09, 9:02 AM  

Congratulations on finishing the experiment. Sounds like it was worthwhile. I had to laugh at your weight loss goal though. Three pounds is monthly water weight :) I've been doing WW for 3 months, lost 16 pounds and am still more than 3 pounds away from where I want to be!

jessi 7/27/09, 9:17 AM  

Great job! I'm halfway through with my game, and it's been a lot of fun so far. I already exercised everyday, too, and I tend to drink a lot of water anyway, so those haven't been a big problem for me. The meal part is hard! I got frustrated at my family reunion last week because I couldn't eat at the same time as everyone else and I had to make my own meals in our hotel room.

Meghan 7/27/09, 9:48 AM  

Congratulations on finishing! I like some of the ideas behind this diet; it sounds like a great way to become healthier.

Dawn - She is Too Fond of Books 7/27/09, 10:02 AM  

We have very similar take-aways from Game On.

I'll focus on keeping up with water, exercise and portion control. Scheduling the 5 meals was a big challenge for me, too.

This was a fun experiment, and I loved the support from both team-mates and competition ... we're all winners!

Sandy Nawrot 7/27/09, 10:24 AM  

I think the eating five times a day would bother me too. I am always on the go, so that would mean I'd be eating in the car or when I am out, which isn't good! I need some kinda diet though, this summer has been rough on me. I feel like a cow. I am headed home today to stay, which will be good for my routine. The water is a good thing, though, and even though I'm not sure I want to subscribe to this diet, I am going to try to stick with more water!

Louise 7/27/09, 11:17 AM  

Well done, Beth. I kicked a lot of nasty habits some years ago (like drinking soda pops every day), and now I drink only water....and coffee. The coffee is the next habit to go, or at least coffee with milk - they say that you can save almost 20 pounds a year by skipping milk in your coffee......

Never was the big chocolate or ice cream or cake fan, but unfortunately I crave loads of crispy and salty stuff, so nothing gained (except weight) from being holier than thou concerning the candy and cakes I guess.

This sounds like a fun game :o)

Margot 7/27/09, 12:20 PM  

Congratulations on completing your four week plan. I'm glad the emphasis wasn't just on weight loss. The Diet On plan makes healthy sense. Good for you.

Stacy 7/27/09, 12:21 PM  

I like that you tried it and are taking away what works for you. I have always wanted to try the several, small meals throughout the day but it just doesn't seem conducive to our family life. Congratulations and you did a great job.

Lenore Appelhans 7/27/09, 12:27 PM  

I already drink only water and tea (and very rarely fruit juice) but I have to remember to drink LOTS of water.

Unknown 7/27/09, 2:45 PM  

Congratulations on sticking to it! I'd hate to give up fruit - I eat so much of it! We have lots of fruit tress/bushes in our garden so I am always snacking on them.

I'm not a big fan of plain water either. 3 litres sounds a massive amount for somewhere which isn't hot. Not sure I could squeeze that all in.

Well done again!

bermudaonion 7/27/09, 3:49 PM  

I knew this wouldn't be too tough for you! I think all the meal prep would get to me after a while too. Congratulations on a job well done.

Anonymous,  7/27/09, 6:57 PM  

wonderful!!! three pounds or thirty--you tried and stuck to something new. :) i'm going to work on kicking up my water intake even though i didn't participate in this challenge.

Nicole (Linus's Blanket) 7/27/09, 7:35 PM  

Congratulations! I love to read these kind of books and hear about the experiences that others have had. I often don't have that many pounds that i wan to lose either and it seems like the books that discuss healthy eating an living are usually the ones that are about weight loss.

Ana S. 7/27/09, 7:49 PM  

Well done! I pretty much live on fruit in the summer too. I'd hate to have to limit it! The water lesson is one I could really use, though.

Dorte H 7/28/09, 2:44 PM  

I think this sounds like a sensible and healthy diet.
I have not had to diet for a long time, because my husband is a diabetic so we don´t get much fat or sugar. My holiday in Scotland was not exactly good for my weight so after the school holidays I may have to do something. Annoying, as I have been doing so well for a whole year, but a full British breakfast of any kind is lethal to your waistline.

Belle 7/28/09, 6:35 PM  

Congratulations! I would love to start drinking more water - I don't think I drink enough (and I'm rather partial to Perrier and I'm not sure that actually counts) and I've heard that it's so good for you.

Dorte, I know what you mean about those full British breakfasts. I love them but oh my!

Jenners 7/30/09, 9:17 PM  

I must have missed this earlier in my rush to get out and eat junk food at the end of the game!!! HAHA!

I agree with you 100% about the water ... once you get used to it, you realize just how much your body wants it.

And you seem like you are pretty healthy already ... I admire that about you. I was not AT ALL so I needed this a lot more than you.

And I agree with you about the fruit -- it is prime time for fruit and it is a sin to miss out on the all the summer goodness. Hope you can make up for lost time now!

Unknown 3/1/13, 8:26 AM  

I was so happy to find your blog post about the Game on Diet that indicated "The Last Two Weeks I used the bean option." I stumbled upon a group of ladies that are doing this challenge, long story short, I was eliminated from the game, being Vegan, I could not consume soy protein every meal (soy overload!), and it did not indicate any other proteins that I could substitute, so I was not allowed to play with them. What is the "Bean" option? Even though I am Vegan, I do one Greek yogurt per day when doing this to vary up my proteins. Thanks!

Beth F 3/1/13, 8:41 AM  

Jennifer, it's been so long since I read the book, I don't remember. Apparently vegetarians aren't forced to eat dairy forever and ever.

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