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Advanced Nutritions and Nommings

Page history last edited by Indigo 6 years, 10 months ago Saved with comment


The Importance of Nutrition

Man ya gotta eat. Sometimes after a long day of DragonConnery, the only thing to satisfy your manly hunger (which women get too) is a pound of dead cow smothered in a pound of melted cheese. But is that really the way to go? Sure, it's quick and easy, but you also want to make sure you're staying healthy.


Now we all know that Dragon*Con's attendees are the slimmest, healthiest, most fit convention attendees in the world. I'm sure you're out there right now lifting a weight with one hand and reading this on a stand-up desk just to keep that metabolism up. You can glance at the nearby mirror and take a moment to appreciate your sculpted abs (which are, of course, displayed frequently for all the world to appreciate), rippling shoulders, and perfect posture, there in your entirely uncluttered office in your impeccably neat home. Vices like soda or cigarettes have never been a problem for you, have they? I bet you can jog around all five host hotels a dozen times and barely be winded, rather than walk down the habitrails wheezing and blocking traffic with massive girth. And yet, despite your painstaking efforts to be in such incredible shape, sometimes it can be easy to give in and have some fatty, convenient food. To be honest, Dragon*Con is something of a maze of pitfalls into the dark, terrifying realms of cholesterol, calories, and fat. Who could blame you for slipping up now and then?


Well, you'd have to blame yourself, because if you don't, you'll end up slipping into that greasy, cheese-and-ranch-dressing-covered downward spiral into obesity. It's not as hard as it may seem to go to D*C and eat healthily, and those healthy eatings coupled with all the walking exercise you're going to get is the right way to maintain that already remarkably fit ass you've got. And if you're one of the one-tenth of one percent that attend Dragon*Con and aren't a living Adonis, then perhaps this guide is your first step towards taking charge of your health and joining the rest of us who only need to buy one plane ticket to get anywhere.



The Bad Habits

Before getting into what you should and shouldn't eat, let's take a moment to cover the most basic items, those bad habits you fall into as soon as you're past the hotel lobby. If you don't pick up anything else from this guide, please try to accomplish these at the least. As we sculpted, oiled gods know, the road to a body this sexy isn't a quick or simple one. The first lesson to learn about the road, however, is that you take it one step at a time (though eventually you can hop into that BMW of yours and tear up the roads while those other losers just watch, wishing they had wheels like that, am I right?).


These few should be easy enough if you have a modicum of self-restraint. If not then let's be honest with ourselves: this isn't the guide for you.

  • No more soda. At all. Period. Not even diet, which is a lie anyway. It's certainly easy to grab a bottle or a can, and then another, and then another, or to ask for one at a restaurant. Switching to water or tea (preferably unsweetened) will probably save you several hundred calories a day.
  • No fancy coffee. We all love caffeine, and some of us need its unholy magic to appease the demons we've summoned and bound to our life force to grant us these delicious bodies. But that trendy latte you get from Starbucks can run into the 400 calorie range. If you need coffee, you'll probably have a coffee machine in your room that will make you a cup that's A) free, and B) probably no more than 50 calories even once you've put in the sugar.
  • Limit the alcohol. It's a sinful thing to say, I know, but there are a lot of calories in there. If you do want to drink yourself into incoherence, at the least try to account for those calories before you're unable to count to 10.
  • Look carefully at the calories on those bags of snacks. You know those tiny bags of Doritos? It may only say 100 calories per serving, but look closely: it's two or three servings per bag. If you can cut them out, do so. If you must snack all day, try to find something healthier.
  • When at one of the restaurants, skip appetizers. Why do you need food to make you hungrier before you eat? Some are tasty, sure, but if you're about to eat anyway, what's the point? It's useless, generally fried empty calories.



The Four Food Groups


Everyone reading this should be damn well familiar with these, and for the record they are not "meat, cheese, more meat, and fries." Hundreds of thousands of man hours have been wasted in an attempt to define the perfect proportions of these four groups but as with all things in life, it all comes down to you and that sexy, muscular body of yours. That puts the responsibility on you to make sure you're eating what you need.



Bread, starches (potatoes that AREN'T fried), pastas, oatmeal, that's the stuff. If you're one of those that believes carbs makes you fat then this is what you'll want to avoid. Meanwhile, the rest of the world realizes that carbs are easily digested and provide a lot of energy: they won't make you fat as long as you make use of that energy, and if you're doing enough walking around at, oh, I don't know, say, a SciFi/Fantasy convention, then you should be burning it off nicely. That is, if you're eating them in moderation.



Milk, cheese, egg, and anything created from these ingredients. It is good for you and it is fatty. In general you're ok as long as you know when to say when to the fried cheese wheel burger.



Now technically speaking this group should be called "Proteins" and include beans and crap, but screw that. It's meat. Nobody doesn't like meat, except for those weakling hippies that get all doe-eyed every time they see a baby seal or a dolphin. But ignore them, they're inferior. Meat is good for you. It provides a lot of proteins but the energy can be slower to get through to you than the carbs up there.


Fruit and Veg

Repeat after me: french fries do not count as vegetables. Now say it again. And one more time. Good. It can be trickier to get decent produce into your diet than it is to get the other three, but not impossible. A good way to shore it up is with a hearty salad at lunch. If you're desperate for a burger but are pushing for healthy eating, you can also have a veggie burger. Yes, it's shameful, but they can be tasty and are at least marginally healthier than eating four one-pound burgers in a day. Just try not to let anyone overhear you ordering.


Junk Food: The Lost Food Group of the Aztecs

Some foods that might once have fallen under other headings don't really belong anymore, due largely to preparation or being mixed with in with other less healthy foods. They've gone over to the dark side and are more fat than food, now, twisted and fattening. These tend to end up labeled as fatty foods or junk foods, and let's be fair, in moderation they're just fine (and quite tasty). The key word there is moderation, however. Here you'll find things like french fries, mayonnaise, mozerella sticks, chips, most forms of candy, etc. If you want to avoid putting weight on that Jacked body of yours, skip them when you're able. If not, then just don't overdo it. If your meal comes with fries or onion rings, don't eat all of them, or offer them to one of your loser friends without your Herculean willpower. At the food court? Just get the sandwich or main item, skip the generally junky side orders.



Acquiring Food

"Yes, the food groups are all well and good, but where should you get the food? What should you order to be healthy?" I hear you, my friends. I hear your tiny little pleas, and I recognize you can't make decisions for yourselves. It's good that you come to a superior specimen like myself, an alpha male go-getter, to tell you what you need. I shall enlighten you. For a list of the local food dispensaries, you can check out the Food and Restaurants article.



There are plenty of sit-down-and-let-inferiors-serve-you places to eat around the convention. You can get good, hot food, really expensively. In generally it CAN be healthier than the fast food stuff, but only if you order right. Want a burger? Try a healthier chicken sandwich or something (at a few of them you can get an awesome Reuben which is surprisingly healthy, relatively speaking). If you want a salad, best to avoid the fried chicken salads and the steak salads, as the calorie count on those can run into the 4 digit range. A Caesar salad with grilled chicken is a good way to go, and you honor the memory of Rome's greatest alpha male in the process.


Food Court/Fast Food

Here's a cheaper option for hot food, but you have to be careful with what you eat. These foods will be prepared in less-healthy but faster methods, like frying, all to let the obese public get to the food more rapidly and ram it down their abyssal gullet. If you can temper your willpower enough to eat this stuff in moderation then yes, you can survive with a reasonable amount of "healthiness". Skip the side orders, try to avoid places that have no method of cooking that doesn't involve submersion in three-year-old boiling grease, and avoid the 50oz ChugBuckets of soda.


Bringing Your Own

This? This takes balls, my friend. Huge balls. Massive, swinging cojones, the fury of which your feeble pants can barely contain. That is to say, it takes huevos to do this and manage to do it in a healthy manner. You have to have testicular fortitude to fill your cooler with fresh fruits and veggies, healthy snacks, healthily prepared sandwiches, and to suffer the inevitable mockery of the porcine masses before you when they see you nibbling baby carrots like a hamster. But if you've got the grapes to do it and to stick to it, then you deserve a spot just below me on the Badass-O-Meter. Yeah! Alpha males, all the way, superior specimens baby!



Food and Weight Gain

There are loads of diets and exercise plans that would have you believe that eating specific foods, or using specific exercises in a particular pattern, are a guaranteed way to stay thin (or for the portly among us, to get thin). Most of them are a lie in one form or another, not so much in that they won't work at all, but because they don't tell the whole story. And interestingly enough, the whole story is exceptionally simple. If you intend to lose weight, or gain wait, or maintain weight, there is exactly one thing to know.


If you consume more calories than you burn, you will get fat. If you burn more calories than you consume, you will get skinny.


There is nothing more complex about it than that, for able-bodied people in good health. The average 200 pound, 6 foot tall male needs around 2000 calories a day to maintain weight if they're idle all day (this will vary dramatically per person based on gender, age, weight, personal habits, metabolism, etc., but that's a good starting point). If you're 200 pounds, six feet tall, male, sedentary, and want to lose weight? Either burn more calories by exercising, and/or take in fewer calories, perhaps 17-1800. That's the only way in the end.


For most men, if you're desperate to lose weight, try not to get below 1500 calories a day at the least. Eating less than you burn is good, but you can consume so little that your body goes into starvation mode and won't burn calories as quickly. If you're not certain where to target your calorie loss, consult your doctor, assuming you have insurance. If you don't have insurance, sucks to be you.


A Note About Exercise

While being physically fit isn't the primary purpose of this guide, it is related to the overall tone. A huge number of people are under the misconception that if you are overweight, you can "tone" certain areas of your body with specific exercises, IE you can get a flat stomach by doing situps and/or crunches. This is another lie. Yes, those exercises will build muscle there, but if you're overweight, the muscle will just be hidden under fat. You cannot target fat loss: you lose fat or gain fat, period. Fat does convert to muscle, yes, but the fat doesn't automatically come from the same area you're exercising. Your body will consume fat as it needs extra energy. Exercise is certainly good, but killing yourself with just one exercise with a narrow goal like having a six-pack is pointless. You have to lose the weight before you can start working out to look like the dudes in 300. The more you know.

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