Today was the final weigh-in for my Game On! diet, and all I can say is, "Thank God!" I enjoyed playing this game. It was definitely a challenge, and definitely different from every other diet I've tried. I only ended up losing about 5 pounds, but I hope I've made some lifestyle changes that will enable me to lose more.
Things I liked about the challenge:
* Drinking lots of water. This was an easy part of the challenge; I normally drink unsweetened tea or water anyway. I never felt bloated or thirsty (except maybe after exercising) and my skin has really improved over the past month. I don't know if that's because of the water or not, but it certainly didn't hurt.
* Eating smaller meals throughout the day. I wasn't hungry all the time, because I felt like I was constantly eating! But I also ate less at each meal, so I didn't end up feeling full and lazy for a few hours.
* The good habit/bad habit changes. The good habits I decided to pick up were flossing every day and taking my vitamins. I did two, because these were things I really knew I needed to do. I don't eat red meat, so I took an iron supplement in addition to my women's multi-vitamin. Hopefully this has helped with my anemia. And for the bad habit, I stopped going to fast food restaurants. I have no idea how much money this saved me, but I can bet it's a lot!
* Doing the challenge with a friend. Having Brandi around really helped - we walked together in the mornings and commiserated over our wonky food plans daily. I probably didn't need the excuse to talk to her, but it was nice to have someone to talk to about the diet and my frustrations.
Things I didn't like:
* Drinking lots of water. Yeah, it's a double-edged sword. Drinking all the water also meant that I had to, um, get rid of it as well. I can't tell you how many times I woke up in the middle of the night to stumble to the bathroom.
* Eating smaller meals throughout the day. This was another good/bad aspect - I felt like I was constantly eating, which meant that I sometimes had to eat even when I wasn't really hungry. Plus, it was kind of a pain to plan my life around food.
* Eating protein at every meal. I'm a vegetarian, so this meant I was eating a lot of soy, cheese, and fish. Not terrible, but sometimes I just wanted a little variety. I did discover a love for Greek yogurt, though, which counted as a protein and served as a base for many a smoothie. So this wasn't all bad.
* Fresh fruits and vegetables. Let me explain: I have nothing against them, per se. I love fresh fruits and vegetables! But buying them all the time got really expensive (and probably canceled out whatever money I was saving by not eating fast food). Plus, they went bad really fast. I bought a couple of peaches one week and had finished all but one when I went to Atlanta for a few days. I put it in one of those Debbie Meyers Green Bags (which usually work), but when I came home it had molded and I was suffering from an infestation of fruit flies. Gross.* Not entirely the diet's fault, but it's something I associate with it nonetheless.
* The alcohol penalty. Oh, man. This one was huge for me. If you didn't lose 1% of your weight one week, you lost alcohol privileges for the rest of the game. I lost them after the first week, and it really sucked. I'm not an alcoholic or anything, but I do spend a far amount of time socializing in bars with my friends and I enjoy an occasional glass of wine with my dinner. This penalty made me miserable, and I really don't think it helped that much because after that first week with no alcohol I didn't have any significant weight loss. Le sigh.
So, will I be doing this again? Eh, we'll see. I'm definitely going to keep up with the daily exercise (Brandi and I walk three miles almost every morning!) and the good habits. I've learned to read my body a bit better, so I'll probably continue to eat smaller meals throughout the day to keep myself from feeling hungry and deprived. I have a permanent place in my fridge for Greek yogurt (those smoothies make a great quick, easy meal!). I think the biggest thing I learned is moderation. Today, for instance, I know I'm going to be having a big dinner (with beer!), so I'm going to eat less for the rest of the day. Brandi and I talked about recruiting some more teachers into our next challenge, but I'm going to wait and see what our schedules are like when the school year starts.
Oh, and I totally kicked Brandi's ass at this thing. :) We had a lot riding on it - a car wash, morning duty (teachers are assigned an area of the school to patrol every month), balloons, a trophy, flowers, and a haiku written in the winner's honor - so I'm super-psyched. I would've enjoyed a bit more weight loss, but now that I've started I'm pretty sure I can continue losing even without the challenge. :)
* If you ever have to deal with these annoying little pests, here's what you do: roll a piece of paper into a cone shape, tape it together, and snip off the tip so you have a funnel. Put some cider or balsamic vinegar in a glass, and tape the funnel (cone side down) onto the rim. Make sure the tip of the funnel doesn't touch the vinegar, and make sure there are no gaps between the rim of the glass and the paper. The fruit flies will fly down the funnel to get to the vinegar, but they won't be able to fly out again! When I first read this (after Googling "getting rid of fruit flies"), I was like, "Yeah, right! How stupid are fruit flies? Do they not know how to fly back out through the hole in the funnel?" The answers are: "Very, apparently," and "Nope!" You have to make sure you toss the vinegar and paper funnel daily, though, because they will lay eggs and you don't want to have to deal with even more of the little suckers. The good news is, fruit flies only have a ten day lifespan, so you shouldn't have to deal with them for too long. *Cue "The More You Know" music*