Changing Your Life With the Game On Diet

ACTUAL FOOD THAT WAS IN MY FRIDGE. Because of this book!

ACTUAL FOOD THAT WAS IN MY FRIDGE. Because of this book!

Guys, the Game On Diet is a gamechanger.

I know I said that about the South Beach Diet too--until it gave me IBS.

I also said that about Tony Horton after about a month of P90X--but I never finished the three months (like by the book, with the diet and everything).

And I was also super-psyched about Shaun T and his Insanity (got bored), calorie-counting with the MyFitnessPal app (WAY too much typing on my iPhone), spin class (no parking), and that juice cleanse (got food poisoning).

But this time...it's for real.

Because the Game On Diet takes everything that works about all those other methods, shows you how you can make it all a part of your daily life, adds an element of group-accountability and competition, AND ONLY LASTS A MONTH. "Diet" is a bit of a misnomer here--it's really more of a lifestyle-overhaul.

Let me explain.

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Buy the Book

First of all, I just want to say that this post does not substitute for buying the book. Don't be the asshole in your game who doesn't buy the book. It's only like $12 on Amazon, and it was co-written by one of the writers of "Grey's Anatomy" so it's quick, fun, and full of jokes. And, if you still need more convincing, go read the comments section on Amazon. A lot of people are REALLY UPSET ABOUT ALL THE SWEARS and it's hilarious. And since you're already on Amazon, go ahead and click Buy Now.

Then once you've purchased it--PLEASE READ IT. THE WHOLE THING. IT GOES FAST.

Look, I also thought I could probably get by just be reading what I could find online. And until you read the whole book you'll think you're doing just fine. But this game is all about teamwork, and your teammates will be able to tell IMMEDIATELY if you have not read the thing. So don't put them in the awkward position of having to gently tell you it's really annoying that you didn't read the book.

So--what exactly does the Game On Diet entail?

The Players

Find some friends who are looking to lose weight or get in shape or generally improve their lives. Trust me, if you just start asking around, you'll be shocked to find out how many friends you have who were just waiting for a reason to get healthy. You can gather up the most competitive people you know if you love ruthlessness, or you can recruit supportive empaths. I don't care. Just posse up and meet me in the vegetable aisle below.

The Diet

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I'm not going to lay out ALL the rules here, just giving an overview to help you decide if this is right for you.

Basically, the diet focuses on portion-control and healthy eating. That's it. It's what I imagine hiring a nutritionist is like. You have to eat 5 meals per day, spaced 2-4 hours apart. Each meal must have a lean protein, a healthy carb, and a healthy fat. You must have two servings of veggies every day, but then you can also have as much leafy green veggies as you want during your other meals. In between meals, you can eat as much cucumber and celery as you can shove in your face (appealing, amirite). There are rules about some foods that are (mostly) off-limits, and also rules about what counts as a carb vs. a protein, etc. But essentially, that's what you're supposed to eat.

After my first round, I realized that a huge part of the reason I don't eat fresh fruits and vegetables as much as I should is because I don't go grocery shopping often enough. So I actually just started getting fresh, organic, locally-grown produce from Farm Fresh to You delivered to my door every other Friday (you can read all about it in this post)! It's only $26/week for the small box, and you can customize your box so you get EXACTLY what you want (or you can let them pick if you like surprises). If you are interested in trying it out, you can get $10 off YOUR first box by using code CARZ4157! (Also, if you use that code, I get a discount on MY next box TOO, so please help me eat more vegetables!)

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OK, back to the diet. You get 100 free calories each day. Every week you get one "free meal" and one "day off." During your free meal, you can have ONE drink of alcohol. During your day off, you eat and drink whatever you like, however much you like. Other than those two times--no alcohol, not even for your 100 free calories.

The Water

This part is gonna seem like straight-up crazy talk. You're supposed to drink THREE LITERS OF WATER every day. Yeah. You thought 8 glasses was bad. As a girl, this was also very counterintuitive to me--you hear so much about "bloating" and "retaining water" and "water weight" that the last thing you want to do is guzzle the stuff till you're bursting. Which, by the way, is the hardest part of Game On--having to pee constantly. But, turns out, drinking a ton of water ACTUALLY MAKES YOU LOSE WEIGHT by helping your body stop retaining water. I dropped two pounds in the first week. It was incredible.

The Exercise

My favorite meme of all time. You'll get it if you do Insanity. I unironically love Shaun T.

My favorite meme of all time. You'll get it if you do Insanity. I unironically love Shaun T.

Yes, there is an exercise component. Know why? YOU NEED TO EXERCISE. The great thing here is you don't have to exercise like Tony or Shaun T. You don't need to end your workout feeling like you're about to die.

You just need to get your heart rate up for 20 minutes.

SEE??? Not so bad!!!

If you're already in pretty good shape and don't have a lot of weight to lose, you're encouraged to do higher-intensity interval workouts, but if you have a rockier relationship to health and fitness, literally just taking a walk is enough for the Game.

The Habits

This is the part I wasn't expecting to be so effective. You have to pick one old bad habit to drop, and one new good habit to pick up. There is something about being accountable to teammates that made a really old habit I've been trying to drop MY WHOLE LIFE suddenly stoppable. I chose to stop picking at my fingers, and it hasn't been easy, of course--but every time I absent-mindedly started worrying at my cuticles, I would catch myself and think "NO!! POINTS!!!!!!"

The Communication

You are required to be in touch with one of your teammates and one of your opponents every day. This could be a text, an email, a phone call, or a good old-fashioned get-together. It's designed to prevent players from drifting into a bubble of isolation/non-accountability, and it WORKS. I really realized that the reason trainers and nutritionists exist is just to have someone else who is as invested in your progress as you are. Of course, they're invested because you're paying them, so what's a girl to do when she doesn't have the discretionary income to convince other people to care about her problems? ENLIST THEM IN A GAME AND MAKE THEIR VICTORY DEPENDENT ON YOUR PROGRESS. IT'S GENIUS.

Game On, betches!

This is just a broad overview, so don't try to substitute this post for buying the book YOUR TEAMMATES WILL BE VERY UPSET. There is an elaborate point system that you must follow, and you'll only figure out what counts by reading the book. But if you still need more details before committing, you can download a scoresheet here to see exactly what you need to keep track of.

I think the real power of the Game On Diet is that it uses competitiveness and accountability to force you to realize that a healthy lifestyle is COMPLETELY doable. It made me see that even when I would try to eat healthy foods, HOW I was eating (schedule and portions) was sabotaging any potential benefits. I had about five pounds I wanted to lose--my month is over tomorrow and I've lost four. So I'm gearing up for Round 2, and I'm gonna up my fitness intensity with some P90X. If you've been searching in vain for a diet that works, I definitely think you should give it a shot--even if just for one month!!

Have you tried the Game On Diet? I'd love to hear about whether it worked for you in the comments below! And if you're trying to get a round going, why not head over to the Taking Fountain Community Facebook group to recruit some players?