Monday, July 27, 2009

Review: The Game On! Diet

Summary: The Game On! Diet is not a diet. It's a bold new approach to fitness that turns the latest, smartest, most successful health science into a fun, fierce, and exhilarating game. Developed by Az Ferguson, to help Grey's Anatomy writer Krista Vernoff shed forty pounds of postpregnancy weight, it is the ideal program for busy people who should be working out but have a thousand good excuses not to.

Az keeps you motivated and Krista keeps you laughing as they show you how to organize opposing teams, set goals, and compete to earn points for daily exercise, healthy meal plans, and positive lifestyle changes. With The Game On! Diet, the process of losing weight, for the first time ever, is actually fun. After all, what's better than a bikini body . . . and bragging rights?

Get out there and lose . . . to win! Game on! -- Harper

THE GAME ON! DIET: KICK YOUR FRIEND'S BUTT WHILE SHRINKING YOUR OWN by Az Ferguson and Krista Vernoff is a new diet plan that I just tested for four weeks. The idea of this diet plan definitely appealed to me because there are lots of rules. I am a major rule follower so I knew that having these rules would help ensure that I would stick with this diet -- I hate not doing things "right." In addition, there is a nifty little checklist (I get very excited about lists) where I could track my progress each and every day.

What I can most assuredly say after participating in this diet is that there is going to be something in it that appeals to everyone. If you are like me (Major Type A personality), then you might like the rules and the checklist. There is also a game element involved that will appeal to those of you who are competitive. I really liked that aspect too because I love to win! And if you are a people pleaser, then I think the team aspect will help you stick to the diet because you will be concerned about letting down your team when or if you have any lapses.

I have to admit that I'm glad to be done with this first round of The Game On! Diet. I don't regret doing it one bit, but I do need a break from all the rules. Plus, I have three family birthday celebrations coming up in the next month, and I don't think I can get through that many parties without eating any sugar! (Although I did have two mini vacations during the past four weeks that I did survive with only one lapse.)

If you'd like to learn more about my 4 week diet, you can read my prior posts:
Week 1 Recap
Week 2 Recap
Note: I didn't do a Week 3 Recap because I was on vacation and didn't have computer access.

Here's a brief summary of the basic idea behind the program:

Rather than focus on losing weight, you get to focus on winning points. You can earn a maximum of 100 points a day for doing the following:

1) 30 Meal Points - 6 points per meal -no snacks
2) 20 Exercise Points - 20 minutes of exercise per day
3) 10 Water Points - 3 liters a day
4) 15 Sleep Points - at least 7 hours a night
5) 20 Transformation Points - 10 points for a healthy new habit and 10 points for dropping an old unhealthy one
6) 5 Communication Points - being in contact with your team members every day

You can also lose points if you:
1) 10 Points - snack between meals
2) 20 Points - if you collude with another player
3) 25 Points - alcohol penalty per portion

The diet does cut you some slack:
1) One day off a week when you don't have to follow any of the rules
2) One meal off a week when you can eat what you want and have one unit of alcohol
3) Each day you can have 100 calories of anything as a bonus treat

Overall, I think The Game On! Diet is a terrific program. And while I didn't lose as much weight as I had hoped, I think I developed some really good habits like eating smaller portions, drinking more water, eating more veggies, and doing five sun salutations every day. I do feel like I'm eating a lot healthier because everything I've consumed is fresh rather than packaged. I also like the idea of exercising six days a week, but in reality I was almost doing this anyway prior to the diet.

The thing I liked the most about the program was the team aspect. I loved being able to talk/complain about this diet and my lack of weight loss with others in the same boat. I enjoyed all the good-natured teasing that went along with the diet; and I especially liked how there were always lots of people to encourage me when I was frustrated!

And I realize that no diet is perfect, but I have to vent about the things I didn't find ideal about this plan. Keep in mind that these are my complaints and my complaints only.

- Eating five small meals a day - I understand the reasons for this rule, especially since it's supposed to increase your metabolism. On one hand, I liked that I always knew I could eat again in two to four hours; so if I was a little hungry after a meal, no problem - I knew I could make it a few hours until the next one. My main problem with this rule was when I was forcing myself to eat the fifth meal when I wasn't even hungry. My dieting mentality is one that says I shouldn't eat just to eat -- I felt like they were wasted calories. And one day last week, I binged on a lunch. I absolutely wasn't hungry and didn't "need" to eat the rest of the day, but I would have had to take not only the six point penalty for my lunch, but also another 18 penalty points if I didn't eat the rest of the day. As a result, I forced down two more mini meals so I'd only end up taking 12 penalty points for the day.

- Frustration with weight loss - Last year, I did Weight Watchers and felt like I had a little more luck losing weight. I ended up losing around six pounds with The Game On! Diet which isn't too bad, but I was hoping for a little more . While I did take my day off each week, I didn't take my extra meal off until week 4. I felt as if I ate that extra meal, I would have never reached my 1% weight loss goal each week -- I found that quite annoying! And to top it off, I was running almost three miles every day when only 20 minutes of activity was required. Upon further assessment of the meal plan, I think I might have been consuming too many calories even without that "free meal." The book does warn against this problem for some people (in fact, Ms. Vernoff herself counts calories for her meal plan.) If/when I try this diet again, I will definitely count calories or use the Weight Watcher point system.

- Punishment for not reaching goal weight - Since I had only a little weight to lose, I felt like it wasn't always realistic to lost 1% of my body weight each and every week. Next time, I think I'll set a different goal so I feel like I'm not failing! Since I am one that likes to follow rules, I only had one meal the entire four weeks where I slipped. Fortunately, I reached my goal weight the first three weeks, so I didn't have to take any of the penalties (like losing alcohol for the remainder of the diet.) I guess I was just really frustrated that even if I followed all the rules and scored a perfect 850 points, it was still a very realistic possibility that I couldn't lose 1% of my weight.

I am definitely planning on keeping with some elements of this game. I love the girls (and guy) that I competed with/against, and I hope to continue communicating with them regularly. I also plan on eating a lot healthier and especially taking in more veggies and water on a regular basis. I think everyone who participated agrees that there are some wonderful things to take away from this diet plan!

Overall, I do recommend The Game On! Diet if you are want to make some major lifestyle changes. It is a great way to eat better, increase your physical activity and implement some new habits in your life. Plus, it's a great way to get healthier along with your friends!

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy of THE GAME ON! DIET.


Nicole (Linus's Blanket) said...

It's definitely been interesting to see all of the Game On posts and the different elements that are a little problematic for some people. I think with each diet you have to try it out and make adjustments according to what feels right for you just as you did. I find when I eat smaller meals I am more satisfied with having less knowing that I can have more in short while, but I am working on not eating just to eat; which I am very good at since I just adore food.

bermudaonion said...

I'm with Nicole - I've had fun watching everyone talk about this on Twitter. It seems like the competition aspect really helped a lot of people.

Beth F said...

Great summary -- I agree completely. The game was fun and I loved being part of the group, but I'm happy to be off the point system for now.

Libby's Library said...

Wow - I'd be willing to give this one a try - feel free to pass the book on to me:-D

I'm going to go back and read your other posts now!

Meghan said...

After reading so many of the posts about this diet, I definitely think that there are good and bad aspects to it. I guess that's true for any diet though!

Anonymous said...

Great wrapup! I think that for people who are already not that much overweight and already exercise, the diet doesn't do as much, because there isn't that much of a change! I still think it's a good plan, and like you, I love the group interaction. It definitely helps keep you going!

Amy said...

You did a fantastic job! WEll done.

The group interaction made it all bearable. ;)

Ti said...

Great wrap-up! I recommend this diet to anyone that needs to jolt their system and lose a few lbs. It's a good way to detox. That first week was rough. I never thought I ate that badly before but when you are forced to give up so much, you realize how much you rely on those types of food.

Jenners said...

I think you did a great wrap-up. I think part of my problem was not counting calories. I'm going to try and add that element in and keep some of the other habits (water, exercise).

Anonymous said...

I was really worried about last week, when I was on vacation and at the mercy of other cooks. But I still ended up losing 2 pounds...I was very conscious of what I was eating, which helped.

This week I'm back to following the Game On guidelines a little more closely (avoiding FLABB foods and caffeine and drinking my water), but I'm not stressing over it. It's nice to know I won't be penalized for not eating my veggies. :-)

I had a great time doing the challenge...and my teammates were awesome! :-D