Nerd Fitness: Healthy Eating Online


The Online Toll to Your Body

We all go through those days when getting away from the computer is just out of the question.  There is always some game that has to be finished, a report that is due, or if you are like me you have to finish reviewing some product before the bossman unleashes fiery wrath.  The problem is that when we are just sitting here, like I am now, the only exercise you are getting is in your fingers and possibly your brow.  And we don’t exactly have a gourmet chef bringing us nutritious meals all day long to eat, with shots of wheat grass to chase it down.  No, we eat microwaveable meals and drink soda and energy drinks until before we know it we are so big we can’t even get out the door to reconnect with the outside world.

I’ve been there.  Hell, as of a couple months ago I was on my way there again.  Once you head down that road, whether you make it back or not, you realize that all those hours you spend hammering away at your keyboard just isn’t worth the damage it’s doing to your health.  That’s why I decided to start this article to help nerds like me stay healthy.  It’s bad enough to be found dead on a toilet, but to have a heart attack while looking at porn is a whole other story.  If you were to live, you would never live it down.

First of all.  Those energy drinks have to go. One every now and then is okay, but in moderation.  The amount of caffeine and sugar in them is unreal, and we tend to get the biggest one they have.  Monster, my favorite brew, came out with the resealable XXL version of their famous drink.  That’s 3X the sugar, caffeine and carbs of the original can.  It says right on the can not to exceed three servings per day, but I never could drink part of it and put it away.  So what do you do?  You drink every bit of it withing a couple of hours and by the time the afternoon roles around you have a sugar crash and feel the need for another.  So you buy another XXL Monster and you have just exceeded the daily recommended consumption by twice the amount.  What good is a short-lived sugar rush if you end up with erratic heart patterns and quite possibly myocardial problems from all the caffeine?  And let’s not forget the diabetes that could come from all that sugar consumption.

Stop by your local healthfood store and pick up a couple of their organic energy drinks.  Or even grab Vitamin Water’s new VitaminEnergy.  They come in lots of flavors and are loaded down with vitamins to keep you going without the obscene amounts of caffeine.  The 5 Hour Energy line is also a great choice for those long days at the monitor.  I personally have pumped so much junk through my system that they don’t work for me any longer than a couple of hours, but during those hours I feel much more awake and relaxed with plenty of productive energy.

Okay, now this the part where I can not stress enough the importance of getting rid of the crap you are consuming.  I have spent countless hours in front of my computer living on nothing but Twinkies and Hotpockets.  I’ll tell you now that you are going to be as big as a freaking house if you eat these.  First of all, the snack cakes.  Tons of sugar and carbs with no nutrition whatsoever.  You are better off never eating another snack cake for the rest of your natural life.  I was at Safeway yesterday picking up some stuff and I saw them on sale, 10 Pack boxes are 2 for $5!!  Do yourself a favor and just stop eating them.  And if Hostess or any other cake maker can prove me wrong here, I accept the challenge with open arms.

Now, the microwaved meals.  Hotpockets, Whitecastle burgers, Hungry Man meals… all of them are high calorie, high carbs, and lots of sodium.  Now, Hotpockets did make an effort at helping with the nation’s weight problem when they introduced Lean Pockets, but only a marginal one.  Even though they are considered “lean” by their producers, they offer almost no nutritional value and only a fraction fewer calories.  And depending on which meal you buy, you can end up with the same calories and carbs that the normal meals have.  I would recommend that if you feel the need to buy a “quick-to-go” meal, you would be better off buying the poultry selections that are made with a whole wheat crust.  But I can tell you that nothing can take the place of making yourself a healthy dinner from scratch.  Hey, at the very least, you know what’s in it.  Can you say that about that Hotpocket you are eating right now?

When shopping for groceries, move away from the frozen section and toward the healthfood section.  They normally have a frozen section of their own that is filled with organic, healthy goodies.  Amy’s is a company that makes nukeable enchiladas and pizzas that are the right serving with good-for-you ingredients.  You don’t have to be a vegetarian to eat better, just be more aware of what you are shoveling in your face while looking on Ebay.

And on that note, I’ll close this little rant with a few parting words.  There are several ways to take care of yourself without changing the whole world around you.  Trade in that white bread with ham and salami for some turkey on whole wheat.  Drink a bottle of water instead of that Shaq-sized Pepsi.  Get an exercise ball and sit on it while you work, they can have great benifits to your abs, legs, and back.  (I’ll get into the exercise portion with the next article.)  And any opportunity you have to get outside in the sunshine, do it.  Unless you are like me and live in Washington state where we have no freaking sunshine.  In that case, get out in the rain.

Don is an avid gamer, writer, screen writer,part time game maker, film director, and horror film fanatic. You can check out his book "How to Survive Zombies and Other Disasters" on Amazon.