Gain HP the Fitness Game
Foraging (Diet)

Changing your bad consumption habits is perhaps the most obvious thing that can help your health and better your weight, yet these habits are just the fucking hardest to break, amirite?

That’s because eating is something we do every day, constantly. It gives us comfort, it makes us feel good. It’s the easiest loop to get stuck in, and if you’ve made unhealthy choices in the past, chances are you will continue them with little to no thought. Looking for a way to dispel hunger-inducing curses once and for all? Have no fear, hero, there are brighter days ahead!

Break. Your. Habits. Do it cold turkey if you don't want to wrestle with your willpower, and remember to just keep it up. It’s much easier to kickstart your lifestyle changes if you don’t have to let go of it slowly. If cold turkey (the method, not the creature) is too hard for you or you can’t seem to function properly without your old vices, then start lowering your portions and cut the most unwise foods and beverages from your life until you can reach a level to stop your harmful intake altogether.

Soda Poplin

Your average level 5 Soda Poplin.

Your first step to healthier foraging? Cut out the sodas. The pops. The soda pops. The sodiepops. Whatever you call it in your backwards-ass region, strike it down as fast as possible! There’s absolutely no excuse to drink soda constantly as a replacement for water, and stopping pops altogether often gives immediate results. I myself drank cans upon cans of Dr. Pepper a day, for a few years in a row. Almost zero water. It was a huge mistake, and I had to turn it around. In less than three months trying to drink only one can on a rare occasion instead, I dropped twenty pounds, had less headaches, experienced more drive, and slept way better. The rest of my diet and exercise hadn’t changed during that test, it’s just that soda was pretty much literally killing me.

Did you know that soda used to be a "cure" for stomach aches and other ailments when it was first introduced in the 1760s? Then when the tastiness was valued more than the benefits about a hundred years later, people starting having one every few days or so socially. Later on in the 1930s and 40s, they maybe had one once a day with dinner or for a pick-me-up. Fast forward to the upside down world we live in today where none of us stop to think that we have partly replaced water as our leading hydrater with a liquid that has negative nutritional value, loads of pointless calories, increased diabetes risk, direct dental damage, bone weakening, and caffeine that can destroy your body’s ability to rest correctly and ruin your calcium absorption. All of this because we’d rather have a sweet tasting drink than boring, old, water.

Well, I have some good news and some bad news for you. The good news is that quitting sodas will revive the taste-reporting part of your brain to it’s original “setting,” and cold, fresh water slowly starts to become not only acceptable, but delicious. You may just have forgotten about that if you’ve been pumped full of pop since you were a child. It’s awesome when water tastes good and is refreshing, and it’s guilt-free as well. The bad news? If your body, brain, and schedule has become dictated by caffeine, some of you may experience incredibly bad headaches when you don’t get the fix you are used to anymore. I myself had about two weeks of straight-up migraines when I quit cold turkey once, but I was more prone to headaches than normal. Caffeine is a very addictive thing, and it’s going to be so hard for some of you to shake it. Just be strong, be strong. If I stopped drinking a 12 pack of soda a day and started thinking water is deliciouso, then you can too. Trust me.

An Alcoholic Burrbelly

An alcoholic Burrbellie. Just look at what it's done with it's life.

As for you boozers out there, you’ve probably heard from both sides of the fence – that alcohol either makes you gain weight, or lose weight. Everyone’s heard of the “beer belly,” and some bigtime drinkers are quick to tell others that alcohol increases your metabolism. The truth is, it’s a bit of both.

Yes, alcohol increases your metabolism a bit. However, at the same time, it suppresses your body’s ability to burn fat calories down into energy and increases your appetite, which can cause overeating. After drinking, a small portion (around 5%) is converted directly to fat, and the rest is broken down and converted to acetate by your liver. This acetate is then pumped into your blood stream and is used by your body as a fuel instead of your fat reserves, so that fat just stays where it’s at. It also weakens your testosterone levels, if that's important to you.

The short explanation is this: While alcohol itself won’t make you fat, it can halt your overall weight loss and decrease your muscle mass.

Now, on to food, of course. While foraging out in treacherous forests or attempting to find fresh, healing chicken in castle walls (WTF?!), it is important to know how different foods affect your body.

There are thousands of diets out there all claiming to be the best, but the truth is that humans come in all sorts of sizes, shapes, metabolic rates, and genetic differences. There is no true best diet for everyone. Because of that, I simply can not recommend any one diet. However, what I will suggest is that you do something universal – control your portions and ingest more natural food whenever possible.

Calories... They Give You Tentacles

Calories. They can add up. And give you nasty-ass tentacles.

First up, you’re probably wondering how many calories the average hero should try to stay under per day. It’s pretty common to hear people think that the magic number is generally 2,000 calories. This is a pretty bad assumption, seeing that things like age, height, waist size, current weight, daily activity, genetics, disorders, and other items can change this factor radically. What’s worse is a fact that not a lot of people realize – If you don’t get enough calories, your metabolism actually slows down rapidly. So what in the hell is a good template to follow?!

Decent calorie calculators are out there all over the web and in mobile apps. A very basic one can be found here at freedieting.com. After entering your age, gender, current weight, height, and daily exercise level, click on “advanced options” and set the results to the “Katch-McArdle” (lean mass) formula. Enter your body fat percentage right beside that (if you don’t know yours, you can get an estimation by clicking here as well). This will give you three important numbers. “Maintenence” means this is the amount of calories to intake if you plan on staying the same weight (no thanks, right?). “Fat Loss” means your average, run-of-the-mill dieting plan, and is a pretty safe route for you to take in order to lose 1 or 2 pounds a week. “Extreme Fat Loss” means exactly what it sounds like – you should expect to possibly lose up to 5 pounds or more per week, but it’s going to be a BIG change in your eating habits, and that won’t be easy.

Don’t forget, this is just calorie intake. Beyond this, your exercise will burn away some of these calories and help convert your food into better, cleaner energy. Just think – If you eat 250 calories of something and burn 500 calories in a 45 minute workout… You are kicking serious ass! It’s eating and then fighting back against it, and with gusto. That's like power-leveling!

Now that you have a good idea on how many calories you max out with (or a little less, of course), you’re ready to know what kind of food and eating / drinking practices are the healthiest. Again, there are different situations out there based on the individual. But here are some general goals that apply to everyone:

  • Eat more natural / organic foods rather than synthetic crap. Yes, most of it is more expensive. This is because it’s “real” food, not “really easy and cheap-to-mass-produce” food

  • Watch your calories, but you don’t have to be obsessive. Just know that a 700 calorie sandwich is better than a 5,000 calorie portion of pizza. Check the nutrition labels on food at the store and while out at fast food restaurants - You may be surprised by what’s better and what’s worse for you to eat

  • Too much fat is bad. Duh. “Low-fat” is generally a better choice

  • Sodium is also something you should avoid. It’s in damn near everything, but you want lower amounts

  • Trans fat is a fucking archdemon. The unhealthiest of the fat family. Avoid at all costs. Even after consuming small amounts, treat your character as if they have been mildly poisoned!

  • Everything that isn’t water isn’t as healthy as water

  • Protein is awesome. Not only is it good for the body, but it “fills you up” a lot faster and for a lot longer so you won't overeat as much. Try for a good amount of protein with every meal or snack and note that protein is in more than just meat

  • Vegetables and fruits are the best snacks for your body. Cupcakes and buffalo wings are not

  • “Diet” soda is bullshit. If you want to be healthier, again, just stop drinking pop altogether. Diet soda is full of not-so-natural ingredients that also aren’t good for you and can even increase your hunger!

Ewok WIth Trans Fats

This is an Ewok. With lots of trans fats inside of it. Gross, right?
Yeah, I don't know what an Ewok is doing here, either.

There are fantastic resources online about good foods and related recipes, but let me share something cool I came across years ago: “Eat This, Not That.” This started as a popular book series, which I definitely recommend picking up for ease of use, but is now an online hub of information. Eat This, Not That was originally known for was comparing two very identical food items and having you pick which you one you thought was the healthier choice, and then completely flipping your wig when you find out it’s the other one, sometimes by a lot. They get really detailed in the calories as well as the ingredients and it’s just a great source of information whether you’re eating at home, going to a restaurant, or Olde Gods forbid – having some fast food. There’s a free iPod / iPhone app they’ve made that is a simple game of guessing the healthier option with additional facts and trivia, and you can nab it by clicking here or searching for it in the app store. There was an Android version once upon a time, but it's no longer in the Play Store. If you know how to install .apk files, though, it still exists here.

Of course, there are other mobile apps out there that are awesome for keeping track of your calories, helping you set realistic goals, and listing recipes. Read up on them, and give one a try if it sounds like it's your bag.

Be in control of your actions! It should be you choosing what you eat, not your cravings, damn it! In other words, stop acting like a preprogrammed NPC. Pay attention to what you’re doing while in the presence of food – It’s easy to overeat while zoning out and watching tv, or working in an office that has donuts or other treats in plain view at all times. Just because it’s there doesn’t mean you have to eat it. Shit, take command of yourself already!

Make sure to slow down while you eat. Sadly, American school systems pretty much forced us to eat at a fast-paced rate in order to get to recess on time and then later forced us to eat quickly to make it to our high school classes on time. Don't even get me started on the quality of food there, either. Furthermore, if you ate speedily in most households, then you could leave the table earlier and head back to your videogames or dice rolling funtime. Throw that habit in the pit! Eating slower is better on your digestion and it literally takes a good 10-15 minutes for your brain to completely register the fact that you’re full. That last fact is no joke - we often overeat because of this - do a Google search, it's really interesting. Another thing you can consider is to eat on a day-by-day time schedule without much variation to help regulate your hunger, off-hours cravings, and weight change. Your body will appreciate it.

Finally, if you're going for weight loss, don't celebrate a chunk of hard work by having a pig-out meal. It can just lead back to temptation and sloth. If you must eat unhealthy once and awhile, at least do a small portion - that way, you can feed your craving and not slip too far off your path. You deserve to eat delicious food, but your body deserves not to be murdered by too much of it.

 

What else can you do to other than spend a ton of money on fast food? Do something awesome for yourself instead like grabbing a new videogame, burying yourself in a new comic, or going to see a movie with your favorite people (you know, when it's safe to do that again).

It is Watching You Eat a Cupcake

This Slobbamouf is hanging from your ceiling, watching you every time you
eat a delicious cupcake.

I’ll now leave you with some random, yet very important tips on what to eat and when to eat while you’re out there foraging for yourself:

  • Drink a good amount of water throughout the day. Sometimes you can think you’re hungry when really, all you need is some water. Before meals, drink some and see how much less you’ll have to eat to feel full. Also, it will help flush the excess stuff out of your body much quicker than other liquids

  • Salads are healthy, but only when you don’t drown them in dressing. Come on now, you know this! Try some reduced fat, reduced calorie, light, or non-fat dressings. The healthiest, clear Italian dressings have a barely noticeable taste difference compared to the more fattening versions, and some other flavors are in that same boat (but not ranch, unfortunately). Over time, you can get used to not putting on so much dressing and instead savor the flavor and freshness of the salad overall, especially if a variety of veggies have been packed on

  • There is some fast food you don’t have to feel too guilty about. Quite a few delicious 6" Subway sandwiches are 250 to 350 calories and are very low-fat, and Taco Bell / Taco Bueno’s fresco-style menus (in modest portions) are also pretty good choices if you need a quick fix. When at a fast food joint, take a quick look at the nutritional information charts. Don’t let anything surprise you later

  • Stop chowing down on potato chips and snack cakes! Instead, have some veggies with flavorful dips like mustards, fat free bean or french onion dip, salsas, or hummus. Have some apples and cheese slices or a very filling and vitamin-packed banana. When you have to snack, try not to add on unnecessary calories with no nutritional value

  • If you crave dessert every so often, go for a fudgesicle or light ice cream sandwiches / cones under 150 calories per serving – Yes, they do exist! Pretty nom-nommy, too.

  • To calm your desire for sweet stuff, instead of eating a bag of cookies or a few donuts, drop in a hard candy or sugar-free gum to calm yourself down, just don't pop 'em constantly without thinking of it - Limit yourself. If you really, really feel the need to divulge, the 100 calorie snack packs found in your grocer’s snack cake section are okay, but ONLY EAT ONE. Don’t cheat with more, or else you’re being just as bad as before. You should know, however, that these won’t give you a “full” feeling, and will leave you craving more. Go for a healthier, more filling substitute instead!

  • Try to replace one or more servings of pasta, bread, or other carbs with vegetables. A simple switch in the amount you eat of each at a meal can save you a few hundred calories alongside the mineral benefits

  • You might fare well eating several mini meals a day rather than two or three huge meals. This could help keep your appetite under control as well as your metabolism running high. Remember – snacking is totally okay, as long as it’s healthy snacking and you're exercising along with it

  • Try to avoid eating or exercising during the three hour period before you go to sleep for maximum relaxation and nighttime calorie burning (idle game style!)

Selfdoubt

It may look tiny and weak, but give this baby Selfdoubt a chance, and it will evolve into a massive Selfworthless (What is this? Pokémon?!).

  • Don’t be fooled – “Multi grain” isn’t always a good thing. In fact, it usually isn’t. Often times, it’s just a slew of refined grains made mostly with plain white flour, erasing most of the nutrients and fiber content. Instead, what you want to get is “100% whole grain,” and hopefully in the first slot of the ingredients

  • Sweetened iced tea, in several cases, is worse than a soda for you. Instead, get unsweetened. By that time, though, your grumpy non-sugar-having-ass will probably just want to stick with water

  • Yogurt, even the low-fat kind, sometimes contains a ton of junk. Don’t get the kind with chunks of sugary fruit or candy mixed in, and aim for the ones with less than 130 calories and 15 grams of sugar

  • That giant steak burrito, although heavenly and full of protein, is still the size of a Volkswagen bus and contains way too much cheese and sour cream. We’re talking well over 1,100 calories, here, people!

  • Energy bars can be good in moderation, but only if they’re under 200 calories or less (some are completely ridiculous in calorie content). Shoot for the ones with the most fiber and especially protein if you’re looking for the bar to fill you up for a decent amount of time

  • Portions. Do not shoot for "American-sized" portions. There’s an obvious reason we’re so god damned unhealthy as a country. Instead, order from the kid’s menu or simply don’t add two more items to an already "large human"-sized combo. You’re not just over-eating, you’re killing yourself. Hopefully the rest of this guide will get your appetite to a normal level. You might as well start now with eating less, because your body will soon require less food

  • “Natural” smoothies are often not actually healthy for you. You could easily get 100 grams of sugar (holy shit!), 350 or more calories, hardly any protein, and "fruit" made from concentrate at your average smoothie shop or coffeehouse

  • “Enhanced,” "Vitamin," or “Sports” water may have extra vitamins in it, but also gives you up to 150 calories or more and sugar, both of which are of course not found in regular water. Also, the vitamin content is usually too small to be beneficial when weighed against the unnecessary stuff

  • Movie theater-style popcorn is far worse than you could imagine, sometimes packing 5 or more grams of trans fat into every serving, let alone the rest of the included fat! Try to get low-fat popcorn with NO trans fat, and then mix the bowl with some low-sodium spices or parmesan cheese for flavoring, it will make a really big difference

  • When you can, spice up your more ordinary, boring food. Adding low-calorie flavor will stimulate your taste buds and satisfy your appetite

  • Cole slaw is not the healthiest choice on the sides menu. It contains lots of fat from the mayonnaise

  • Don’t eat directly out of a bag or box of food. This makes it easy to lose track of your portion and over-eat

  • Banana chips, like the kind you see in trail mix, are silent assassins. They are usually deep fried and contain hundreds of calories and can pack as much fat and saturated fat as cheeseburgers!

  • Trans fat, again, is your worst dietary enemy. Some packages can claim to have no trans fat, but check the nutrition label – Anything under a half a gram of trans fat per serving can be labeled trans fat free. And it adds up quick – Going beyond 3 total grams of trans fat a day is a travesty

  • Low-fat cheese, sour cream, and cream cheese may not always taste as good as the fattier kind, but it is better for you. If you need the classic taste, try to use less. If you’re using these ingredients to cook rather than eating it right out of the container at 3am, then no one will probably notice anyway

  • Fresh vegetables > frozen vegetables > canned vegetables in order of healthiest

  • "Meal replacements" are on the rise, and the Shaman character class really flourishes on them. However, know that this is still a very new market, and the alignment between good and evil products out there is varied. Do lots of research and talk with your doctor if you plan to consume them, and never completely replace your natural food intake with them

How to Play the Game
Fighting (Exercise)
Resting (Sleep)
Tonics (Supplements)
Choose a Class
Enjoy the Adventure!