In the last issue, I presented The Zone diet and our very positive experience with it. Well, we're still on The Zone and still feeling great. But, since every time I tell someone about The Zone, I am asked the same questions, you must have them, too. So, I'll just let you interview me.
You: Isn't a diet with 30% fat, a high fat diet?
Me: Compared to some of the high-carb, low-fat diets around, it does sound like a lot, but believe me, 30% of the limited-calorie Zone diet is not a lot of fat. I can get all of my fat for a full meal from 1.3 tablespoons (about 130 calories' worth) of olive oil. Does that sound like high fat?
You: I've heard that a high protein diet is bad for your kidneys.
Me: I've heard that too. But my recent reading has convinced me that excess protein is only a problem for people who already have kidney problems. Nonetheless, The Zone is not high-protein. It is an adequate-protein diet. The basis for your whole Zone eating plan is derived from the amount of protein you need to meet your personal daily requirement. You determine your protein requirement from your lean body mass and activity level. Then your daily carbohydrate and fat quantities are based on your protein requirement. The idea is to get just enough protein, and to balance the carbs and fat from there.
You: Of course you're going to lose weight on the Zone. From what I've heard and read, it's a starvation diet!
Me: There's no doubt that The Zone, when followed correctly, is a reduced calorie diet. It's intended to be. But you don't experience the hunger or cravings caused by the hormone swings resulting from a conventional diet. I'm definitely ready for my snack when the time comes, but I never feel physically deprived.
You: Isn't it hard to stay on The Zone while you're on the road?
Me: Yes! You have me there. I've been traveling a lot lately and it is hard to stick to The Zone. I carry some of my own food to help: Balance Bars for breakfast and my afternoon snack (actually, Trader Joe's 40-30-30 bars - the same thing but cheaper), and jerky and almonds to balance out my nightcap.
But eating out all the time is the biggest challenge. I'm faced with sandwiches on huge rolls, fries, chips, breakfast pastries, pizza, tasty breads, and the latest rage: garlic-mashed potatoes. In fact, the biggest problem is that there always seems to be too much food.
Most restaurant meals are sized for splurges. That's great if you're celebrating your anniversary, but if you're out every night, you can find yourself well North of The Zone fast. I have to admit that I get a bit North myself, but as Barry Sears, the author of The Zone says, "You're only one meal away from The Zone."
So, here are some tips from the road:
- Nicer restaurants that feature local cuisine generally have smaller portions.
- Go easy on the bread.
- Ask for an extra portion of veggies to substitute for the starch course.
- Order from the appetizer menu.
- Share dessert.
- Drink lots of water.
You: So, does it really work?
Me: I would have stopped eating this way long ago if it didn't. My weight is holding steady at about 20 pounds less than my peak, my skating, skiing and biking performance has significantly improved, and I feel great! Yes, The Zone works for me.
The flight attendant just delivered my chicken Caesar salad. Let's see -- I can probably eat the cookie if I ignore the breadsticks. See 'ya on the trails.
For more information, see the original article on The Zone.
Enter The Zone presents a methodology for determining the amount of protein (and hence the amount of carbs and fat) a person should consume on The Zone. I've developed a calculator which automates the calculations.