Have you ever played Madden on All-Madden?
I have and I hated every stupid minute of it. The computer cheats and it’s damn near impossible to win a game.
I tried playing on All-Madden a few weeks ago just to see how much my skills have taken a hit since the pinnacle of my Madden career fifteen years ago. By the end of the 1st I was down by 21 and had thrown three picks. I then hulk smashed my controller.
After I calmed down and my wife was done laughing at me about how mad I was about a “stupid video game”, it all clicked.
Playing on All-Madden is like trying to eat healthy with the opponent being the processed food industry.
Eating healthy is an uphill battle no matter who you are. I consider myself pretty disciplined, but I’m useless against the forces of a White Chip and Macadamia Nut cookie. Especially if they are warm and just a little soft in the middle. Hold on I need a minute…
OK I’m back.
With all the marketing and availability of the processed food industry, it’s damn near impossible to sail through a day without the slightest temptation or relating this back to football, without a turnover.
So how did I manage to win the game of All-Madden eating? If my little run in with the video game is any indication of how good I am, I should weigh 300 and have constant Cheeto stain on my pants.
Instead, I’ve learned how to beat the game. My cravings are far and few between, I manage to have a social life while dieting and I’m on my way to abs again while still eating ice cream, the little slice of heaven that is White Chip and Macadamia Nut cookies and washing it down with bottles of wine.
Not bad for a guy that gets mad enough to break things because of a stupid video game.
How? By scouting, game planning and the Annexation of Puerto Rico.
Suffice it to say that they cheat and at some points you are going to want to throw your fist into something in a fit of rage or in my case, snap a $60 controller like a twig. It’s not easy but here is how you can have a fighting chance against the kings of the Madden World known as the processed food industry.
SCOUT THE OPPONENT
Convenient food is all around us and we abuse it like a boy discovering his we-we for the first time. Fast food, convenience stores and restaurants all cater to this with our health at the bottom of their priority list.
Before we can formulate a game plan against the opponent, we should scout them to find what they are good at and were we can find a weakness
- Amazing marketing (I’ve had Carl’s Jr a few times and think their food is average at best, but those commercials with the girls in bikinis makes me want one of their burgers for some reason)
- It’s everywhere
- Great for when you are in a rush
- Adds to your waistline
- Makes you sluggish after
- Never looks as good as the commercial
Well looking at the scouting report (and we knew this already) our work is going to be cut out for us.
To truly beat our opponent we have to take away what they are good at and let them beat us another way. Convenience is where our opponent shines.
Our Play: Planning
Prepping a few meals ahead of time will be the best way to negate their strength. We’ll have healthy meals that we can take with us no matter where we go. This is a great option for during the week when you’re at work, but the weekend gets a little tricky.
On the weekends we could bring healthy snacks like protein bars, nuts or beef jerky. All food that travels well. It’s time to finally get some use out of your wives/girlfriends/side piece’s bag. Throw the snacks in there. They have enough crap in there they’ll never notice the added weight of a bag of beef jerky.
Now sometimes we get caught with our pants down, literally and figuratively. What happens when an hour of errands turns into a full blown day of retail hell? Your starving, motivation drops and Taco Bell looks more and more appetizing.
This is the opponent essentially pounding us with 1-2 yard runs before dropping a 50 yard play action bomb on us or lulling us into making a bad decision.
What to Do: At this point spend a few minutes to research healthy options at the place you are going to go eat. Most of the chain restaurants have the nutrition info online and a quick five minute Google search will tell you all you need to know to make the right choice.
Aim for something around 300-500 calories. This will provide us with enough energy and satiety for the next few hours. Keeping it in this range will also prevent overeating and unnecessary calories which will add to the ol’ waistline.
Stick to salads, half sandwiches or small entrees. Put your man-pride aside and skip the giant meals to prove your epic manliness. No one gives a shit how much you can eat unless your name is Joey Chestnut.
Remember in the final rap battle of 8 Mile when Eminem went off about all the things Papa Doc could use against him? When it was Papa Doc’s turn he was useless.
Lesson: Know what your opponent can use against you.
Like a the cheating computer, our opponent is going to play to insecurities and weaknesses. We are vulnerable and easy pickings this way.
- Are you constantly busy? Meal prep my friend.
- Do you get bored easy? Make more for the previous night’s dinner.
- Do you not want to be “that guy” with friends? If you don’t want to be “that guy” in the group, you could always be the guy with health problems that can’t come out to play anymore. Your decision. No one is going to reach your goal for you.
- Are you an emotional eater? Find another way to direct those emotions like maybe working out.
- Do you eat when you’re bored? Substitute the food for a lower calorie option like raw veggies or I’ve found drinking something like tea will be enough to squash this urge.
Paying attention to the times you eat is the biggest piece of the puzzle. Is it in front of the TV or while surfing the web (seriously, who says that anymore)?
The better you know yourself the better you can prepare for them exploiting it.
HAVE AN “IF THIS THEN THAT” PLAN
If they run are in a run formation are you going to sit back in a prevent defense? Not unless you want them to run all over you.
“If I get out of work late, I’ll pick up a roasted chicken on the way home.”
“If I go out with the guys I’ll get a steak and potato.”
“If I eat out at a restaurant, I will get the salad with chicken.”
“If I get hungry in the middle of the day, I will eat the healthy snack I brought rather than the vending machine.”
Simple things go a long way. Having an “if this then that” plan then you’ve rendered the opponent’s offense almost irrelevant.
THROW SOME TRICKERATION IN THERE
Who doesn’t love The Annexation of Puerto Rico?
Every once in awhile you have to throw a cheat meal in there which would be our equivalent of a trick play. It doesn’t mean that the next 3 plays you call should be reverses, flea flickers and the statue of liberty but every so often throw one in there.
This trick play is important for a few reasons.
- It’s the light at the end of a tunnel. Diets get looked at in a negative light most of the time. We focus on what we can’t have rather than what we are trying to achieve. The cheat meal at the end of a healthy week is sometimes the reward that makes the rest of the week worth it.
- Up your leptin levels. Without getting into the hairy deets, leptin tells your brain when to eat and when enough is enough. It is thought to be the reason we gain and lose weight. If you’ve been dieting for a while and have seen some weight loss chances are your leptin levels are lower as well. A cheat meal, often a high calorie meal, will help increase your leptin levels to help keep you on the straight and narrow.
- You aren’t missing out. Another stigma about dieting is having to be a hermit. A well planned cheat meal can make you feel like one of the guys and help keep your sanity on a especially hard week.
DON’T AIM FOR THE PERFECT GAME
The team you’re playing is really good. They are going to pick off a pass or cause a fumble.
Have a short memory and don’t let the rest of the game go to hell.
You will be tempted to stop at McDonald’s.
You will want to dive head first into a bacon cheeseburger and a large fry from Five Guys
…but end it there.
Don’t let it rattle you into throwing caution to the wind. Accept what happened and get better the next time.
Every day, when you have a chance to “win” a play (each time you eat), put a check in the win column. When you “lose” a play (dive head first into the aforementioned bacon cheeseburger), chalk it up in the loss column.
After a week, add up the number of wins and losses. If it’s positive, you’re winning. Negative? Time to rally the troops and win the next game.
I’d love to hear from you.
How can you leverage what you’ve learned today in this strategy to move the needle so that you’re more likely to be more Patriots and less Browns?
What’s one small change that can shift the balance?
Be VERY specific, and leave a comment in the community.