Monday, July 25, 2011

The Healthy Habits Game

I have hinted about this "game" a couple of times here and I thought I would go ahead and post the sheet we use to keep score.  Here is a link to the Excel file and one to a PDF version of the document. The point values are as follows:

  • Exercise: One point per minute, up to 40 points. A 10-point bonus is possible if we do a second workout.
  • Veggies: Up to 5 servings, 4 points each. 
  • Fruit: Up to 4 servings, 2 points each.
  • Bonus: 10 points for meeting a specific calorie goal 
  • Sleep: At least 7.5 hours, 10 points
  • Hydration: 2 points per 16-ounce glass, max 12 points
  • Vitamins: 10 points
  • Alcohol: 25 point penalty per drink! (One day of our choosing per week, this penalty does not apply)
Imaginary interview about the game:

How did you get the idea for the game?

In Change Anything: The New Science of Personal Success, the authors suggested finding a way to make a game of your change plans and a meaningful way to keep score.  At first, I looked to see if someone else had done this.  I found The Game On! Diet: Kick Your Friend's Butt While Shrinking Your Own, but I decided after scanning it in the Amazon preview that it would be better to create a game that had points of my own choosing. My husband designed the score sheet in Excel.

Why did you choose the things you did?

These were the things I was trying to make sure I did on a daily basis.  I have heard from several sources that nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day are ideal for good health.  I thought if I made an effort to fill up on produce, I would be less likely to eat empty calories.  I know that adequate sleep is important for weight loss.   And I wanted to make frequent exercise a priority over very long workouts.  I was not taking my supplements on a daily basis so I put that in the game.  And my husband struggles to stay hydrated because he does long runs in the heat, so I added that into the game. Only non-caffeinated, non-carbonated, nonalcoholic drinks count.  Alcohol is terrible for people trying to lose weight according to The Jillian, but I wanted to have the opportunity to indulge moderately once in a while. We both wanted to keep the game simple.

Drinking only water is so boring. How do you stand it?

I happen to like water but sometimes I want something different. I will brew herbal teas like Celestial Seasonings (I like the blueberry and peach flavors) and ice them sometimes, or I will slice up a lemon and put it in a pitcher with plenty of ice, water, and a few mint leaves.  At the end of the day when I've already met my hydration goals, I will have sparkling water.  And I always start the day with coffee with a splash of half and half.  At a restaurant I will order an iced tea -- even though it doesn't count for the game, it has no calories.  I don't like the taste of diet soda or sugary sodas that much anymore so giving them up was not a big sacrifice.

A goal of 2,000 calories for your bonus seems high! Can you lose weight on that amount?

I will have to see.  I am following the recommendations from Fat2Fit Radio to eat like the thinner person I want to become. At my goal weight of 150, their calculator indicates that I should be able to have between 1,965 calories (lightly active) and 2,215 calories (moderately active).  I am starting with a goal of under 2,000 and if I am regularly hitting that goal and still not losing, I will drop it gradually to 1,800 to try to get my weight loss going faster. On Weight Watchers, the goal was much lower and I think that is why I burned out so quickly on it.  Other people seem to be able to eat much less and be satisfied, but I know from my own experience that extremely low calorie intake for me just leads to crabbiness and an eventual calorie blowout when I get too frustrated. 

I am using LoseIt to count calories. My husband does not like to count calories so he is using a more subjective goal of not overeating.

How do you "win" this game?

The goal is for each of us to average 100 points a day each week, with the lowest score for each of us that week dropped.  We are playing for 6 weeks and get $10 of "mad money" each for every week we win.  We wanted the incentive to be something fun but not too big, since the real prize is going to be the better health and hopefully, weight loss, that will be a byproduct of this game.

I want to make my own game. Can I borrow your spreadsheet to start?

Sure, feel free to download the spreadsheet and change it however you'd like. I'd love to hear what you are doing with it.


  1. Are you setting up a challenge for this?

  2. That's such a cool idea :) And fun, too!

    Jen I only just noticed your have a domain name now! I've been reading via Google Reader and clicking through but only noticed it today. Very snazzy :)

  3. fun idea. thanks for the link to the BMR calculator.


"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07