The Zone Diet, first introduced by Dr. Barry Sears in his book “Enter The Zone”, is a way of eating that is designed to control the amount of insulin that your body produces. Dr. Sears, maintains that Insulin is the main culprit in making us fat and causing many of the health problems that overweight people suffer from. The Zone is a sensible plan and one that is not too difficult to follow.
The idea is pretty simple. You eat 5 meals per day (breakfast, lunch, dinner plus two snacks). Technically, each meal is divided into three sections; 40% Carbohydrates, 30% Protein and 30% Fat. However, Dr. Sears offers a very simple way to calculate those percentages; he calls it the “hand eye method”. You visually divided your plate into three sections, then put a piece of lean protein (grilled chicken, fish, even beef) that is about the size and thickness of the palm of your hand on your plate. Next, fill the rest of your plate with vegetables, finally sprinkle some olive oil on top and you’ve created a pretty good zone meal.
Dr. Sears uses what he calls the block method for determining how much a person should eat. One protein block contains 7 grams, one carb block contains 9 grams and one fat block contains 1.5 grams. The amount of food you’ll eat is based on your individual body weight/body fat calculation. Typically a man would need 14 protein blocks per day and a women 11 blocks. A proper zone meal contains an equal number of protein, carb and fat blocks.
Here’s an example of a typical zone meal for a man:
4 Ounces of Grilled Chicken (4 protein blocks)
Asparagus, 12 Spears (1 Carb Block)
1 ½ Cups of Green Beans (1 carb block)
1 apple (2 Carb Blocks)
1 teaspoon olive oil (3 Fat Blocks)
1 teaspoon slivered almonds (1 fat block)
I’m currently following the Zone plan (most days ;) ). It’s pretty simple to follow once you get past the 40%, 30%, 30% talk and start using the hand eye method. I’ve lost weight, and I feel good.
The key to The Zone is moderation! You’re not starving yourself, you’re eating well balanced meals and no food is restricted (some foods are considered better then others). I believe this is a plan anyone could stick with for a lifetime.