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The Game On! Diet: Kick Your Friend's Butt While Shrinking Your Own by Krista Vernoff
The Game On! Diet: Kick Your Friend's Butt While Shrinking Your Own

TooFondOfBooks, July 18, 2009

I'm in Week 3 of the 4-week Game On competition, and having a blast! We have a great lively group of people playing - teammates and competitors alike offer advice, encouragement, and the occasional taunt :)

The Game On Diet book had me hooked in the introduction, Az Ferguson (co-author with Krista Vernoff, and a Body-for-Life champion) sums up the philosophy of the plan with this metaphor:

""Optimum health is actually our natural state of being; our bodies naturally gravitate to what they need. Think of a baby in her first year of life. She eats on a regular basis, lots of small meals. She gets most of her meals from fluids, which keep her fully hydrated. She sleeps for large portions of the day to aid her growth and recovery. And when she wakes up, she’s raring to go!""

I want to be “raring to go”, so I continued reading to find out exactly what is involved in getting my Game On! It’s a healthy competition, which is truly a health competition. Players earn daily points for:

* eating 5 small meals
* exercising 20 minutes
* sleeping 7 hours
* drinking 3 liters of water
* maintaining a new healthy habit
* dropping a not-so-healthy habit
* communicating daily with both team-mates and opposition

Points maybe deducted for a variety of reasons, including snacking outside sanctioned meals/snacks and colluding (”let’s both cheat and call it even”).

Scores are tallied, averaged per team, and at the end of four weeks … the team with the highest score wins! That’s right, not the team with the greatest weight loss, but the team with the most points! What really appeals to me about Game On! are both the team aspect (support, celebrating victories, troubleshooting), but also that the plan takes into account the whole person - the physical and mental well-being of the players.

As I mentioned above, Az is a Body-for-Life champion; he knows health and fitness. Krista is a writer and executive producer for Grey’s Anatomy (and, no, you don’t lose points if you’re not a regular viewer of the show!) Krista’s tone is funny, blunt, a bit flippant, and very encouraging … she’s like the friend who dares to tell you that, no, that dress doesn’t look good on you, but then she stays by your side as you keep trying on clothes and finally find the perfect outfit.

Here’s how she addresses one of the questions in the Exercise Q&A (note that players earn bonus points for losing 1.0% of their weight in a week; that’s 1.5 pounds for a person weighing 150 at the beginning of The Game). It’s a cut and dried answer, but not cutting:

""Q. Can I get some of my points if I lost .99 percent of my weight?

A. No. Sorry. We gotta keep the rule clean and clear. But if you lost .99 percent of your weight, you rock and you know it. That’s your reward.""

The Game On! Diet covers all aspects of the various point-earning categories. The chapter on Food includes a shopping list, sample recipes, and explanations of why certain foods are penalty-invoking. Exercise gives ideas on how to add 20 minutes of exercise to your day, and outlines a nicely illustrated example of a High Intensity Interval Training routine. Sleep explains the rationale behind the 7-hour rule, defines “sleep debt”, and discusses sleep strategies. Transformation talks about selecting the habit you will drop during The Game, Healthy Habits encourages you to maintain a new positive action for 28 days; it may become a routine part of your lifestyle.

Each of the 18 chapters delivers information about a serious subject with Krista’s frank wit, Az’s viewpoint as a trainer, and opinions of various outside experts (yogis, dietitians, physicians, etc.).

The plan is solid, fun, and do-able! My only quibble with the book is the title; I’m not crazy about the word diet. We have a 13-year-old daughter, and I’m very aware of the messages we send to our girls (and boys!) about body image. I’m participating in the Game On! Lifestyle Challenge, which doesn’t quite roll off the tongue, but the phrase works better for my family (hmm, maybe there’ll be an online addendum to address the vocabulary hang-ups of people like me! I’m sure Krista would address my concerns and have me laughing!)

So far, 2+ weeks in, I've lost over 5 pounds, have more energy, and even a healthy "glow" to my skin. I didn't take body measurements at the start, but I know my clothes fit more comfortably. This is a friendly competition, designed to safely improve many aspects of your life; highly recommended for the fun and physical benefits.
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