Nerd Caliber
Nerd Lifestyle Magazine

Cosplay & Style

September 3, 2012

What’s Inside the Costume Counts Too: Food to Feel Your Best on Con-Day

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Written by: Shauna Leva
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So you’ve been good for months; eating healthy, going to the gym, doing your crunches all in preparation for that new costume. Then convention day rolls around and what do you do? You grab a donut on your way out the door for breakfast, eat food court pizza for lunch, hardly drink anything all day, and go out for ramen for dinner. Or worse, maybe in all the excitement you forget to eat or drink entirely! Fasting is not the way to look slimmer in your costume. It is a good way, however, to cause bloating and over-eating later on in the day.

The most important part of any costume is the body that wears it. You spent countless hours making your garment the best it can be; now here are some tips on how to keep you looking your best during the convention weekend.

First and foremost, you need to get a good night’s sleep. No one looks good when sleep deprived, and coffee and sugar are not going to erase those dark circles. Instead, prevent those dark circles by getting eight hours a night all week leading up to the convention, and during the convention itself. I know that you are going to want to stay out late on convention nights partying with your friends, so maybe you’ll have to get a few extra hours in the morning. Do whatever it takes to get the sleep your body needs. Getting enough sleep all week may mean that you will need to get your cosplay done a little sooner than you normally do. Lots of cosplayers pull a lot of late-nights leading up to a con in order to have their costume ready on time. Don’t abuse your body for the sake of your cosplay; you will regret it later. Instead, make yourself a schedule at least a month before the con with deadlines for when you need to finish each part of your costume. Stay on top of your work so that you won’t be losing sleep when you need it the most.

The second most important thing to do during the convention is to drink plenty of water. Nothing brings out your skin’s flaws like dehydration. Staying hydrated will keep your energy up during the day, and make you more flexible for those extreme poses. Water will keep your skin looking brighter and smoother (amazing, I know), and help prevent headaches, body aches, indigestion, irregularity and bloating. Water is amazing. Lots of people think that drinking too much water will make their stomach bloat but the opposite is actually true. Eight glasses of water, sipped slowly throughout the day will actually reduce bloating. If you drink several glasses of water very quickly, then yes your stomach will fill up, distend, and look bigger. Instead, keep a water bottle with you at all times, and drink it slowly all throughout the day. But one water bottle isn’t enough to last you all day. You should be drinking two or three water bottles a day, not including the water you consume with meals.

What foods should you eat to look your best? Well, if inflammation is getting you down (such as bloating or puffiness in the face) try watermelon and cucumbers as a morning snack. Watermelon, helps reduce bloating and cucumbers reduce inflammation making your look thinner, younger, and more awake. You can also put cucumbers directly on an inflamed area, such as under-eye bags, for thirty minutes before the con to quickly and dramatically reduce swelling. Other good foods to pack for the convention are foods that will give you lots of energy and keep you full for a long time. Foods like apples, nuts, beans, and blueberries will give you long-term energy and curb your appetite without causing bloating or affecting the look of your skin. Use common sense and look for foods with a lot of color (added dyes don’t count). Generally speaking, if a food is naturally colorful (red, green, orange, blue, purple) then it is good for you. Brown foods are generally not good for you.

What foods should you avoid? There are several foods out there that negatively impact the look of your skin. Avoid eating foods with a lot of oil or grease in them. This includes fast food, chinese food, fried food and pizza. This oil may go in your mouth, but it shortly exits through your pores! You can bet that only an hour or so after eating a greasy meal, you will be looking mighty shiny. Also avoid chocolate (so hard, I know) because this will also make your skin look oily and may cause breakouts. Avoid soda and fatty meats at all costs. These cause stomach bloating and sluggishness like you wouldn’t believe! They totally ruin muscle tone for several hours after consumption, and you are very likely to experience a sugar crash.

Instead of getting the fried, fast food options, which are expensive at a food court  and won’t make you look any better, start the day off with a well balanced breakfast at home or in the hotel. Save more money by  packing a sandwich for lunch, and order a salad or fish for dinner at a real restaurant. You don’t have to totally change the way you eat for a convention. In fact, I do not recommend making any huge dietary changes just before or during a con, because your stomach may react poorly to the shock. All I am suggesting is that you make an effort to maintain your usual (hopefully healthy) diet throughout the convention, and to not let yourself slip into the fast food indulgences because they are convenient. Conventions can be exhausting and your body needs the right fuel to make it through such a long weekend; so remember to give your body something good next convention, and it will be good to you.

Thanks for reading!

About the Author

Shauna Leva
I am a freelance artist & illustrator working in the Boston Metro Area. I have been attending conventions since 2003, and working with Nerd Caliber since 2011.


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