When you meet your health goal for a day, you score a TD!

When you meet your health goal for a day, you score a TD!

The Football Fan's Diet Rules


The first rule is there are no rules. Okay, there are rules, but they are very flexible rules!


The Football Fan's Diet is about following the model of an NFL season to loose weight or achieve other healthy goals.

Daily Gameday Objective (DGO)

Generally, your DGO is a personal goal of yours that you know if you achieve that day will advance you to becoming a healthier person. Optionally, you can award a field goal (FG) for achieving those extra things that advance your health goals too, such as exercising, or whatever else you feel indicates you went the extra mile.

Essentially, YOU decide what earns you a Touchdown (TD) and what earns you a Field Goal (FG) on any given day. For example: Each day I have a small breakfast, a salad with dinner, eat some raw fruits and vegetables, I score a TD. When I don't, The Fat Man scores a TD.

When you achieve your health goals for one day, you score. This is called achieving your Daily Gameday Objective (DGO). You get a Touchdown and automatic extra point (7 points total) for meeting your DGO for the day and, perhaps, a field goal (FG) for doing that little extra (3 points) that really makes it a great day. For example: I get a Field Goal anytime I exercise for more than 30 minutes during the day.

2. Each Day, your "Opponent" scores a Touchdown (TD) when you fail to do something healthy.

Optionally, your opponent can score a Field Goal (FG) if you do something really unhealthy too. Your "opponent" is the unhealthy version of you. It is the you that you are trying to change.

When you you fail to achieve that which would award you a touchdown, your opponent gets a touchdown. This is to say you give up a touchdown to your opponent, which in my case I call "The Fat Man". You determine what constitutes your opponent getting a field goal. For me, I give up a FG when I drink beer on any day of the Football Fan's Diet.

3. At The End Of The Week, You Get a "W" or a "L" if you score more points than you give up to your opponent.

This is where this diet becomes fun. Each week you tally up all the points you scored and the all the points that were scored by your opponent. If you outscored your opponent, you get a W. If you didn't outscore your opponent, you get a L. The cool thing is you know have a very interesting way to review how healthy you were during the week. Did you run up the score? Did you get killed from Thursday to Saturday, which always happens to me? How many shutout days did you have? How many times were you shutout? How many days did you kick a field goal? How many days did you give up a field goal? For me, I give up a field goal on any days I drink beer. I like beer and it is not forbidden on this diet, but I am merely acknowledging the reality that on days I drink beer I tend not to care about my health. Isn't that the whole point of drinking beer?

4. You follow a full NFL season - About 6 months!

You emulate a full NFL season of playing against the worst version of you - OTAs (number of weeks vary), preseason (5 weeks), regular season (17 weeks), and post season (5 weeks). This will take approximately 6 months. 6 months is great, because it is enough time to make giant progress no matter how fat you are. In 6 months you can look back and evaluate how it went for you and what you need to do differently next season.

I like to keep two seasons to a year, so I always begin a season on Jan. 1 and start the other one shortly thereafter in July. Therefore, for the past 5 years, I have completed 2 seasons a year. It was only on Season II in 2009 that I actually lost over 50lbs (Yeah, I know, I am on Season X now!). You don't have to follow the same schedule. You can start and finish a season anytime you like. However, I like to do it this way. If I get bounced from the playoffs early or worse yet, don't even make the playoffs - such as was the case in Season IX, then I simply do OTA weeks until I pick up on a regular season.

Another cool thing is that the season segmentation from OTAs to Preseason to Regular Season to Post Season enable you to continuously challenge yourself. For instance, you can start out in OTAs making your DGO easily attainable. In preseason, you can make it more difficult and more difficult still in Regular Season and so on. By the Super Bowl of Health you might be doing things that you were physically unable to perform (PUP) during OTAs. Now you don't have to make your DGO progressively more difficult through each phase of the season. That is completely up to you. After all, the rules do provide for the fallowing built in challenges:

  • OTAs - You can keep records if you want, but records mean nothing at this point. You can consider any wins scrimmages. 
  • Preseason - You keep wins and losses, but like preseason in the NFL, it means nothing. You automatically proceed to the regular season. Keep in mind, however, you can use OTAs and Preseason to tweak your DGO. Once in Regular Season, your DGO should be set -unless changed by your Commissioner, which is conveniently you. So yes, you can change your DGO during the season if you want, but you should write out exactly why you need to do so? Don't do it lightly.
  • Regular Season - You must go 9-7 to proceed to the Playoffs. If you don't your season is over and you are back to OTAs until you decide to start your next season.
  • Post Season - One loss and you are out. It is back to OTAs until you decide to start your next season. If you make it all the way, the Post Season caps with The Super Bowl of Health - a 2 week marathon of you kicking tail with your health.  Congratulations you will have had a championship season. After 10 seasons, I have not won the Super Bowl of Health. Even in Season II, I lost in the playoffs - yet still lost over 50lbs that year.

That is it. I hope it sounds like fun. Because, you know what, it is fun.

A Full Football Fan's Diet Season

At the most basic level, you count touchdowns instead of calories. As such, when you achieve your Daily Gameday Objective (DGO) you get a TD. If you don't achieve it, you give up a TD to your opponent, which you can give a name to if you want. For example, my opponent is often referred to as The Fat Man. So each day if I am healthy, I get a TD. If I miss my health goal for the day, I give up a TD to The Fat Man. At the end of the week, I have a score. If I outscore my opponent, I get a Win (W). Conversely, if my opponent scores more than I do, I get a Loss (L). I follow an entire full length NFL season doing this and in each phase of the season I make things progressively harder, just like in the NFL.

OTAs (Organized Team Activities)

I start off doing OTAs (organized team activities). This can last up to when I want the 5 week long preseason to begin. My health goals are more or less rooted in developing healthy habits and a foundation upon which I can leverage future health goals. In other words, when you are an extremely lazy sack of blubber, you need to take baby steps. I do that in the OTAs. After OTAs are over, I move onto the preseason phase of the FFD.

Preseason (Record Doesn't Matter)

Preseason lasts 5 weeks and during it I begin to keep daily scores to determine if I get a W or L on Sunday. However, once again, it is preseason, I am trying to figure out what works for changing and obtaining a healthy lifestyle. Just like NFL teams do, I tweak things in an attempt to arrive at my best starting lineup. After 5 weeks, no matter what my record is, I move on to the regular season.

Regular Season (Must Have Winning Record To Advance)

The regular season is 16 or 17 weeks long if you optionally choose a bye week, where your goal is to maintain your progress during a week you  need just to kind of chill out perhaps for a vacation, long holiday, or whatever. The key here is that you must have a winning record to advance to the playoff phase of the diet.

Playoffs (One loss and it is over)

In the playoffs, you make your DGO (daily gameday objective) harder to achieve. If you were staying under a certain caloric level for instance, you might make that level that much harder to get a TD. If you loose during the playoffs, you are done. Your season is over. You can then opt to do OTAs all over again until you ready to start another preseason.   

So, you might say in layman's terms, The Football Fan's Diet is simply a diet, but it is much more than that. The Football Fan's Diet attempts to make losing weight, or achieving any other positive healthy lifestyle change, fun for you. It is obviously geared to men who love football, but women can do it too. So whether your are an enormous blubber-wrapped Packers fan, a gut-busting diehard Steelers fan,  a Cowboys fanatic who lives off of tailgate food, The Football Fan's Diet is the diet for you. You learn to use the metaphor of football to change your life in a healthy and positive way. That is what the Football Fan's Diet is all about.

The Super Bowl of Health

You made it through the playoffs and now you are in the Super Bowl of Health. The trick here is to make these last 2 weeks of the season - after all you have media week - super hard to do yet fun. At the end of the Super Bowl of Health, you should have whipped The Fat Man for good. And, if you did not, there is always next season.

The Daily Gameday Objective (DGO)

The Football Fan's Diet allows for great flexibility when it comes to scoring. That flexibility is built upon establishing a Daily Gameday Objective (DGO), which is the mechanism you define for what constitutes scoring a touchdown or giving one up.  What your DGO is specifically is totally up to you? Here are some examples of DGOs:

  • I get a Touchdown each day I eat a certain amount of calories (I give up a TD when I don't)
  • I get a Touchdown each day I don't smoke (I give up a TD when I don't)
  • I get a Touchdown each day I run for 30 minutes (I give up a TD when I don't)
  • I get a Touchdown each day I do one kind act for a random strnager (I give up a TD when I don't)

You can see, you can literally make anything a DGO. The next section describes some tips and guidelines for piccking a good DGO.

How To Pick A Good DGO

Your Daily Gameday Objective should be appropriately challenging to your physical condition, yet attainable and commensurate with the results you hope to achieve.  In other words, if you kick ass and nail your DGOs for weeks on end, the end result should be a major overhaul in your health.  If, however, you meet your DGOs and you don't loose any weight over the course of a successful season, then you know your DGO is simply not challenging enough.  The following tips may help you come up with your own DGO:

  • Meaningfuly and Challeging - Accomplishing your DGO for the day should be something that fills you with pride at a job well done
  • Does Your DGO Pass The Sniff Test? - Does it seem right? If you can confidantly state at the end of the day that if you meet your DGO, you will surely become a healthier person without a doubt, chances are that is a good DGO for you.
  • Is It Focused On The Day - A DGO is a building block for success.
  • Is Your DGO Easily Portable - A DGO should be something you can do anywhere. A poor DGO would be something like "I get a touchdown everytime I run around the lake near my house..." Unless of course, you will always be able to do that no matter where you are in the world. Seems unlikely that you will always be near that lake.  Then again, who knows? A better DGO would be "I get a touchdown everytime I run for a twenty minutes" or something like that. That is a much more portable DGO.
  • Does Your DGO Enable The Big Picture - 30 DGOs in a row should be a life altering experience, or at least a lifestyle altering experience. So whtaever DGO you choose for a day, that should be a building block for the big picutre of the new slimmer, healthier you. The DGO is a building block of success. The building of success built with DGOs is your new lifestyle that should be the result of a great season on The Football Fan's Diet.

Touchdowns (TD)

This is an example of what a DGO should look like:

I will have met my DGO, and scored a TD, or 7 points (the extra point is included) on any day I achieve the following:

  • Have less than the amount of calories needed to lose 2lbs per week, which, at my current weight, is approximately 1800 calories per day.
  • Consume 1 whey protein shake for breakfast - 100 calories to control my hunger throughout the day. 
  • Limit refined carbohydrates to 1 primary meal of about 1,000 - 1,300 calories (or generally what I have left after breakfast and snacks) to minimize insulin spikes, high low energy peaks, etc. 
  • Eat raw fruits and vegetable snacks and juices for snacks and other times when I am hungry.   

On days I DO NOT live up to my DGO, I will award a TD to my Inner Fat Slob (i.e., my opponent). 

Field Goals (FG)

Field Goals are secondary rewards and punishments you can add to make the FFD even more fun. The important thing to note is that they are not an "either or" proposition. Whereas with a TD you either score 7 points for meeting your DGO or give up 7 points not meeting your DGO, FGs are bonuses.  If you fail to achieve a FG, there is no giving up a FG as punishment. For example, I will reward myself on any day in which I do the following:

  • I exercise for at least 30 minutes or complete 30 minutes of physical activity (gardening, yard work, walking, etc.)

I will award my opponent a field goal (FG) if do the following:

  • I drink at least 1 beer on any given day

Your League - Your Rules

So the idea behind the rules is that you customize them for your whatever you are really trying to battle and it does not necessarily have to be weight loss. It could be some other unhealthy problem, such as drinking excessively  smoking, or whatever. You identify your opponent and you figure out the best way to score against your opponent. 

Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs)

Be on the guard for PEDs in your league  In the context of the Football Fan's Diet, a PED is anything that helps you meet your DGO but is not necessarily healthy for you in its own right.  My own personal example is that I might smoke a cigar in lieu of having a beer while out at the local bar. Okay, in my mind, that is a PED. I using some other bad habit to support my ability to score on the FFD.  Some other examples of PEDs for me include the following:

  • Coffee
  • Diet soda
  • Cigars

Honesty is the cornerstone of a great Daily Gameday Objective (DGO)

Perhaps the most important component of The Football Fan's Diet is honesty with yourself. Generally, your DGO should be an honest to goodness attempt to do something healthy for a change. When you reflect upon your health deeply enough, you will know what is an appropriately challenging yet attainable DGO which is commensurate with the results you hope to achieve. For example, you if you want to loose over 50 lbs during the course of a full season on the FFD (by the way, half of a year), then cutting down from 5 Big Macs to 4 is not a wise DGO. You have to be honest. 

However, I have experienced an issue where my DGO delivered results for a couple months but then I sort of learned how to work my DGO to the point it was not effective any more and found myself winning days on end, but  having nothing to show for it. If this happens, you need to do some reflecting and tweak your DGO because it simply is not delivering the results you want.  Chances are you may need to make it a bit more restrictive in some sense.

For example, on one FFD Season, where I lost 29 lbs. my DGO was to have one main meal a day and do a controlled fasting for the rest  of it, according to this "Warrior's Diet" controlled fasting approach. it worked well for a few months, but slowly I gamed my DGO but having my main meal at McDonald's on occasion and drinking about 10 beers on a Friday, which though gave up a field goal, still allowed me to hit my DGO. The end result is literally the results you are after.

If you win a whole month and have nothing to show for it, then you need to dial up your DGO in terms of toughness. On the other hand  if you lose consistently and still get healthier, you may want t consider dialing it down in terms of what constitutes a score because you may get discouraged if you simply loose each week, while you are actually becoming healthier. Be honest with yourself (and reasonable) and you should be fine.