Monday, September 8, 2008

Long one

Today's Weigh-In: 200.4 lbs.
5-Day Average: 200.9 lbs.

Hi everybody. I've been meaning to make a new post for the last few days but just haven't found the time. A few people asked about the Zone diet, so I would like to give some information about it.

The Zone Diet boils down to this: 40% carbs, 30% fat, 30% protein, in this ratio at each meal. It uses a counting system called blocks: 1 block of carbs is 9g, 1 block of protein is 7g, and 1 block of fat is 1.5g (3g if the protein source is fat-free). You get a certain number of blocks to eat per day based on your lean body mass. For me, this is 17 blocks. At each meal you need to eat the same number of blocks from each macronutrient group. So, a 4 block meal would include 36g carbs, 28g protein, and 6g fat (in addition to the fat in the protein source).

The whole reasoning behind this is to maintain a balance between your insulin and glucagon to help maintain a healthy blood sugar level without ever spiking your insulin (which leads to hyperinsulinemia and, ultimately, metabolic syndrome) but while still providing a constant source of energy throughout the day. It's the diet recommended by Crossfit to maximize athletic performance and body fat, and for good reason: there is a lot of good science behind it, and also for those who have been able to stick with it, there is a huge quantity of anecdotal evidence that it just plain works (see the Crossfit forums, in particular).

That being said, it's a pain to implement correctly. You have to weigh and measure everything, and it's pretty low calorie, so you tend to be just a bit hungry. I had forgotten about these facts since the last time I used it, and now that I'm used to a higher fat, lower carb style of eating (much closer to paleo) I'm having a hard time sticking to it as prescribed. What I've found works well for me is using it as a general guideline instead of a hard-and-fast system. What I mean by that is I try to balance my meals by eating a sensible portion of meat or eggs, and add as much vegetables as I can into that (or fruit, if I'm at work, although I limit the quantity a bit more). I find that I just don't have the time to weigh and measure every portion of food that goes into my body.

Is that me being lazy? Maybe. But I want a sustainable diet, and for me, strict Zone is not it. I recommend everyone read Enter the Zone by Barry Sears, as it has a wealth of good information about hormones, and the effect that diet has on them. If anyone is interested in trying it, you should probably read Mastering the Zone as it is more practical in nature, and less theoretical.

Wow, that was more information than I had planned on writing. Let me update you guys on my status, and then I'll be done.

Bad news: I've injured my knee. And not even from exercising; I was literally walking across a room and it popped or twisted or something, and sent screaming pain through my leg. I had hoped it was just a fluke or that it would pop back in, but it hasn't and I can't even do unweighted squats without severe pain. This has caused me to have to rethink my training, as a lot of the exercises that I do involve using my legs. I'll have to come up with something else I can do while I rehab this.

Diet-wise, I've been doing well. Eating home-made meals with lots of vegetables and fruit, and some nuts. I've decided to cut out alcohol completely for a while (at least until the end of this month) as well. It's started affecting me very negatively, so it has to go.

Phew! That's it for now.


Brandon said...

That Zone diet sounds like a lot of work. I'm sure that if you were to stick to it for a while it would become easier. I think the additional idea of blocks makes it more complicated than it could be.

Sorry to hear about your knee. Have you injured it before?

Ripx180 said...

sucks about your knee man... Do what you can in the other arenas. MIght have to read up on the zone diet it sounds interesting.

Geoff said...

I've never injured my knee at all, which is why it's so surprising that I busted it so easily.

The blocks actually make the Zone a bit easier once you get used to it. You look at a protein or carb source and you automatically convert it to blocks. It's the low fat (and thus low satiety) that gets me.

Melissa said...

I have had knee trouble most of my life, so I know the pain. I hope its feeling better soon!