What is the Zone?
The zone is a real metabolic state, where the body works at peak efficiency, which can be reached by everyone and maintained indefinitely on a lifelong basis. The zone gives freedom from hunger, greater energy, and physical performance, as well as improved mental focus and productivity.
How do I reach the zone?
Through the food you eat. In this program, food is used to maintain a favorable hormonal balance among insulin, glucagon, and the super hormones eicosanoids.
What do hormones have to do with my diet?
Every time you eat, the macronutrients protein and carbohydrate generate complex hormonal responses in your body. These responses ultimately determine how much body fat you will store. Knowing how to control these responses is the real power of nutrition and the gateway to the zone.
What are the hormones generate by the diet?
Insulin – a storage hormone. Excess insulin makes you fat and keeps you fat and it accelerates silent inflammation
Glucagon – a mobilization hormone that tells the body to release stored carbs at a steady rate, leading to stabilized blood sugar levels. This is key for optimal mental and physical performance
Eicosanoids – hormones that ultimately control silent inflammation. They are also master hormones that indirectly orchestrate a vast array of other hormonal systems in your body
What about fat? Isn’t fat the enemy?
Fat does not make you fat!!! Fat has a neutral hormone response – it is the biochemical key that ultimately prevents the accumulation of excess body fat. You have to eat fat to loose fat and NO… it is not the enemy!!
What exactly are macronutrients?
Macronutrients are nutritional components that are required by the body in relatively large quantities in order to function properly. More specifically: protein, carbohydrate, and fat
What is a carbohydrate? Protein? Fat?
Carbohydrates are merely different forms of simple sugars linked together in polymers. The body requires a continual intake of carb to feed the brain (glucose is it’s primary energy source). A carbohydrate is essentially any bread, pasta, vegetable, or fruit.
Proteins are the basis of all life, the main structural ingredient of our cells and the enzymes that keep them running. Protein is essentially any animal product – chicken, fish, beef, pork, and eggs
Dietary Fat supplies the building blocks for eicosanoids, slow the entry rate of carbs into the bloodstream, make food taste better, and causes the release of a hormone (CCK) that tells the brain you are satisfied and have eaten enough. Fats are essentially any nut, nut butter, oil, or butter product
Should I be concerned about such a seemingly low daily caloric intake?
If you have excess body fat (> 15% for males, >22% for females), then all the calories you need are already stored in your body. The typical male or female in this country carries about 100,000 calories of stored fat al all times. This represents approximately 1,700 pancakes. If you are balancing your hormones with the food you eat, you don’t have to consume as many external calories to meet your body’s energy requirements. On the zone, you eat as if you are already your ideal percentage of body fat because you are using a combination of your stored body fat and incoming calories to meet your total caloric requirements.
How long before I can expect to see results on the zone diet?
Within two to three days you should see a noticeable reduction in your carbohydrate cravings and increased mental focus. Within five days you will notice a significant increase in your lack of hunger throughout the day, coupled with better physical performance. Within two weeks, although you will not have lost much weight, you will notice that your clothes are fitting much better. Keep in mind the maximum fat loss you can expect is 1 – 1.5 pounds of fat per week. It is simply impossible to reduce excess body fat any faster.
Do I eat my meal of snack even if I’m not hungry??
Yes. This is the best time to eat in order to maintain hormonal equilibrium from one meal to the next.
Will this diet heal the damage done to my body over the years?
The body has a remarkable ability to repair itself, given the appropriate tools. The best of those tools is the diet, especially one that orchestrates the appropriate hormonal responses that accelerate the repair process
Why don’t I count all the protein, carb, and fat in everything I eat?
You would probably need a mini-computer to make all the calculations. This is why the block method was devised, it takes into account fat content and protein digestibility, the fat content in low-fat protein, and the insulin-sensitive carb content of carbs, making your calculations for preparing each meal exceptionally simple.
Why do I need extra fat? What does it do?
Paradoxically it takes fat to burn fat, if that fat is monounsaturated fat. This is not an excuse for fat gluttony, but the need to add back reasonable amounts of fat to each meal. Fat acts to control the rate of entry of carbs into the bloodstream, thereby reducing the insulin response. Fat releases a hormone (CCK) from the stomach that tells the brain to stop eating. Fat supplies the building blocks for eicosanoids. Most of your fat intake should be in the form of monounsaturated fat, and the amount of fat you consume is dictated by the amount of protein you consume at each meal.
How do I make a zone meal?
Start with protein, balance with carbs, and add fat
Make sure you have an adequate serving of low-fat protein (3oz for females, 4oz for males). Never consume any more low-fat protein at a meal than you can fit on the palm of your hand, that amount also means the thickness of your hand.
As you balance the protein on your plate with carbs, do so with a lot of vegetables, some fruits, and just a small amount of grains and starches.
Finally, add some monounsaturated fat and you will have a zone meal. They types of fat you want to include are olive oil, nuts, and avocados
How many times a day should I be eating? How often?
Meal timing is critically important for staying in the zone, just like taking a drug. Try to eat five times per day (three meals and two snacks). This will take some planning, at the end of the day it is worth it. A typical day in the zone would be a follows:
Breakfast within 1 hour after waking 7 AM
Lunch within 5 hours after breakfast 12 PM
Snack within 5 hours after lunch 5 PM
Dinner within 2-3 hours after snack 7 PM
Snack before bed 11 PM