This is not one of those "researchers at the University of the Pig's Arse have found that gamer's burn more calories than professional wrestlers" posts. This is just the simple observation that when I am watching TV, I tend to snack and when I am playing games I mostly don't. I reckon that just by playing from 6 'til midnight every evening, I can save myself at least 500 calories a day.

But not just any game. Single-player games don't work because there is a pause button or a break between levels during which I remember the fridge. What I need is constant, complex, pressing demands on my attention, and - more importantly - my fingers. World of Warcraft mostly does this job very nicely provided that I structure my play sessions in a particular way. Solo questing is mostly ineffective in curbing my appetite, because you can always park yourself for a mo and go and make some toast. Instances are much better; there's nothing like 4 or 9 or 24 other people simultaneously tapping their virtual feet to dissuade me from holding up proceedings to fill my face. For maximum effectiveness there are a few other rules you need to follow if you want to stick to the WoW diet.

  1. Don't eat in-game food, especially food with a delicious-looking icon. Use bandages, healing, potions or gross-sounding foods instead.
  2. Beware of all the odd bits of down-time. Use Bejewelled to keep you busy while flying, grind while you wait for a summon to the instance, don't wait to be rezzed after a wipe - run back to your corpse. And don't use /follow; the busier your fingers are, the less you'll think of the fridge.
  3. After a guild run, immediately hearth to the city to repair and restock for the next run. Then advertise your availability simultaneously in guild chat and using the /LFG tool. If a PUG invites you right before a guildie suggests a run, take the PUG anyway. Guild runs always take ages to form up, while everyone finishes up their quests and buys reagents. If you are in a good PUG, it will have finished by then anyway. And if it is a bad PUG, loot drama will probably have caused it to break up, right around the time your guild-mates are summoning.
  4. Don't take enchanting or jewelcrafting as professions. These both involve large amounts of time standing around in the capital cities spamming the trade channel. That's hungry work. Instead head into the countryside for some invigorating exercise picking herbs or mining ore. Fishing, despite being monumentally tedious, is actually a good appetite suppressant because you can't leave your bobber alone for more than a few seconds at a time. But don't use a fishing bot.
  5. Play till you cannot keep your eyes open. This is probably the most important rule. If you play till you are merely exhausted, you will probably find yourself constructing a massive Ginsters and Pringles sandwich afterwards and watching Police Camera Action! for half an hour. This is fatal. You need to play until you are literally too tired to eat. And then immediately go to bed.

Of course, the WoW diet will not be for everyone. It certainly isn't easy and many of you may be tempted to give up and go back to swimming a mile before breakfast every morning. But if you have the willpower and the determination, you will find yourself not just with a six-pack, but also full Tier 7.