Gamers Health: The Journey
It may seem strange that a fat guy like me is giving advice on being a healthy gamer, but considering I used to be twice the size I am now I believe I can help some of my fellow gamers nonetheless. Regardless of stereotype, recent data has shown that many gamers are overweight, out of shape and have a bad diet, but one does not have to give up gaming to get in better health.
One thing I learned is never try to do something you do not think you can keep up forever. What this means is if you start running 7 days a week and get fit that’s great, but if you cannot kept it up chances are you may give it up totally and revert back to the way you were.
A constant improvement is better than a roller-coaster and in the end even if you do not end up with a hard body you will be in better health which means you will live longer for more game time, win, win.
Now everyone is different and you should always talk with your doctor and if you are young, your parents as well, but these are some small steps you can take to be a bit more healthy.
I could tell you to always stop gaming when you eat, but that is not realistic for some. Again, the key is trying to fit health into what you know you will do anyway. There is no need to crash so low and hit rock bottom and then need to give up gaming altogether. Small steps can mean a lot and in many cases once you start you will want to continue and expand.
If you play games with people you will at one time or another need to eat and the first thing I would recommend is to eat smaller portions during gaming and reserve your bigger meal for when you are not gaming.
For example, when playing a game eat something small and quick like almonds or a breakfast bar instead of a value meal or pizza. Often when gaming you will just keep grabbing food until you are full which can lead to overeating where as it is a little less likely if you are actually concentrating on your meal. Portion control is key.
Second, replace the foods you eat when gaming. Sure, I could say give up the burger and fries or the pizza or the hot pocket, but honestly if you are not ready to say goodbye to the fast-food it’s not going to happen. However, you can train yourself to eat healthy while gaming and then if you must, have the greasy stuff when out or with friends.
One of the main reasons we don’t eat healthy is because it is forced on us or it’s completely not available. To remedy this discover healthy foods you do like and then surround yourself with them. For instance if you have a sweet tooth while gaming sample different fruits and then pick an assortment of those and try eating them while gaming.
What happens is your mind will accept the new foods because you are still focused on the game. If you thought to yourself “I’m eating an apple instead of skittles” then you might stop, but if you are playing and into the game and just naturally grab some grapes your mind will get used to it and you won’t even think about needing to grab candy anymore.
The same goes for what you drink. You might hate diet soda, juice and water, but when gaming and if you are thirsty you will accept almost anything. I began by switching to diet cola and then seltzer water and went from drinking 6 litters a day of soda to drinking water 90 percent of the time.
It’s all about setting the mood. If you know you are sitting down for that World of Warcraft raid, surround yourself with fruits and veggies and water and when it’s time to grab something that will be what you grab. After a few weeks it will become second nature and believe me once you start eating the good stuff you will want less of the bad stuff.
The younger you are the harder this may be to do since you may not notice yet what a bad diet can do to you, but over time small changes can add up to a lot leading to a better you.
Next time we will talk about adding exercise to your gaming life. Until then, if you have healthy foods that you eat during gaming we’d love to hear about them.