This diet works on the premise that your body needs to be in a certain state to burn fat at a steady, stable rate – which means you will lose weight and keep it off. This state is referred to as “The Zone”.
A favourite of many celebrities, including Demi Moore and Sandra Bullock, the Zone Diet has kept its popularity in the face of newer diets such as Atkins and The South Beach diet, and although still classed as a “fad” diet, Zoning has its advantages.
So how do I get into The Zone?
Well, you have to be organised, for starters. The theory behind the Zone Diet states that you should be eating, on a daily basis, 30% protein foods, 40% carbohydrate foods and 30% fats. But before you go off and load your plate up with butter, that’s “good” fats – the kind found in oily fish such as salmon and mackerel, unsaturated oils like olive oil, avocados and nuts. Eating these food proportions at every mealtime should keep your blood sugar at a steady level, which means your body releases less insulin. High insulin levels encourage fat storage, low levels encourage fat burning, resulting in weight loss. Elementary, my dear Watson.
Actually it isn’t. The theory is quite complicated, and working out how much you should be eating in a day is quite a challenge.
What can I eat?
Lean meat, fish, egg whites, low fat dairy and meat substitutes such as tofu and soya. Most vegetables and fruit apart from carrots, corn, bananas and raisins, and fats as mentioned above. Oatmeal and barley are the only grains allowed.
Doesn’t sound too bad. But what are the portion sizes?
For protein, a portion is the size and thickness of your palm. Vegetables, pile ’em high, add a splash of olive oil as dressing, and you have a Zone – perfect meal. And you eat 3 meals a day with 2 snacks in between, so you will never have to wait too long. In fact, you are encouraged to plan your mealtimes with military precision so that you never go more than 4 – 5 hours without food – you don’t want your blood sugar to drop too low and upset the hormonal apple cart!
Do I have to exercise?
‘Fraid so! Exercise is encouraged, which can only be a good thing.
How much weight will I lose?
Up to 5lb in the first week (don’t get too excited, this is mostly water and probably some muscle, which is why you must exercise – muscle loss bad!), then 1 -2lbs per week after that, which is perfect. Slow weight loss = permanent weight loss.
On the whole, this is a sensible fad diet, which sets it apart from some of the others out there. Leaving out the science part of the Zone Diet, you will lose weight because it is basically quite low calorie – around 1300 kcals per day. Starchy foods like wheat, rice and potatoes are discouraged, which I think is a pity, as they provide many useful vitamins and lots of fibre (essential for bowel health). I’m never too happy about cutting down on food groups drastically, which is what this does, but you could add some of the above without ruining the plan – granary bread and brown rice are low to medium GI and won’t cause spikes in your blood sugar levels, which is what this diet is trying to avoid.
If you follow the Zone Diet and exercise, you will get good results that you can maintain in the long term.
I wonder if I can get to look like Demi Moore?
I’m Carol J Bartram and I hold qualifications in Personal Training, Nutrition and Pilates.I believe that a healthy lifestyle is a balance of exercise, sensible eating and some relaxation – Work, Eat and Play! If you would like to learn how to fit all these into a hectic schedule, please visit my website Natural Weight Loss [http://tubbyornotobe.com/]
If you would like to read more about the Zone Diet then please visit [http://tubbyornotobe.com/diets/zone-diet.htm]