With the rising number of health issues involving obesity, weight control programs are becoming more popular. Perhaps one of the most popular weight loss programs nowadays is the Zone Diet, popularized by the book, The Zone written by Dr. Barry Sears and released in 1995. Dr. Sears is a pioneer in biotechnology and nutritional research. According to Dr. Sears the book was written to help cardiologists in gaining knowledge on how to use food as if it were a drug to treat heart disease and diabetes. However, a lot of people perceive it as a diet book. The two diseases mentioned are tied in to the underlying hormonal disturbance that causes obesity.
Most people prefer this Zone Diet over some weight loss pills simply because it includes a meal plan that is more achievable and does not imply that you skip any meal. This diet encourages you to eat the right amount of calories from carbohydrates, protein and fat in a fixed ratio. The key to the Zone Diet is the hormonal balance you achieve while eating your carefully prepared meal. This meal consists of an accurately balanced ratio of 40% carbohydrates, 30% fat and 30% protein. Simply said, you actually get to eat a decent meal while you are on a diet. Aside from that, snacks are not prohibited while you are Zone dieting. As long as you achieve the proper ratio, all foods are weight loss foods allowing you to control your body’s insulin.
Here's how to follow the basic rules of the Zone Diet:
- Within an hour after waking up, have a Zone meal or a snack.
- Whether you are hungry or not, eat at an interval of 4 to 6 hours or 2 to 2 ½ hours after a snack.
- Evaluate your hunger level before every meal or snack. If you are not hungry and you have a clear mind, these are signs that you are staying within the Zone.
- Make sure to drink 8 8-oz glasses of water each day.
- Begin your meal or snack with a low-fat protein. Then add in some good carbohydrates with a low glycemic index, like fruits and vegetables, then add in the good fats such as olive oil, nuts, fish oil and avocado.
- For men, the usual meal protein should weigh approximately 4 ounces while for women, it is typically 3 ounces.
No food is completely banned in the Zone Diet, there is just the need to eat food in moderation. The Zone does not tell you to eat fewer calories, as in many other diets. The essence of the plan is controlling the balance of proteins, carbohydrates and fats for each meal. This means eating less with each meal but eating more frequently throughout the day.
"The Zone is not really a diet book, but a testimony to the power of food in controlling hormonal response," says Dr. Sears.
As in any other weight loss plan, there is no quick fix to your weight loss problems. Avoid falling into the yo-yo diet trap, wherein you stop whenever you get to your desired weight. It’s a lifestyle change, your meal plan coupled with fat burning exercises.