Diets come and go. Years ago, the Atkins Diet was wildly popular. After a few years, it died out, and the came South Beach, Paleo, gluten-free and dozens of other diets in its wake.
Now, a new diet is taking the reins, and it’s sweeping health and fitness circles across the world.
It’s called the ZONE diet.
The Zone diet was started in the 1990s (Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt were on it!), but in recent years, it’s been making a comeback in a big way. It is particularly popular with CrossFitters – people who are committed to the CrossFit workout routines and recommended lifestyle.
But those aren’t the only people who can benefit. At its core, the Zone diet is a very healthy one, so it can help virtually anyone who is trying to get in shape, get healthy and maybe even lose weight while they’re at it.
Interested in learning more about the Zone diet? Then keep reading.
The Basics of the Zone Diet
There are a few basic things to know about the Zone diet: First, it comes with a calorie cap. When on the Zone diet, women should keep daily caloric intake below 1,200 and men, they need to keep it below 1,500. (I know; it’s not fair, right?)
This is a steep cut from the daily recommended caloric intake for most healthy people – about 1/3 to a quarter less, actually.
On top of this calorie-cutting, you’ll also need to change your eating habits. There won’t be anymore willy-nilly snacking throughout the day. Instead, you will stick to three planned meals and two planned snacks – no more, no less. You should have breakfast within one hour of waking, and then you’ll have a snack or meal no more than every five hours after that. This keeps your blood sugar from dropping so you’re never hungry or giving into cravings.
Every meal that’s consumed needs to be carefully measured and planned out. It should be comprised of 40 percent good carbs, 30 percent protein and 30 percent healthy fat (like nuts, olive oil, fish oil, etc.) It sounds a little overwhelming, but the best thing to do is invest in some of those kiddie plates – the ones with little dividers built into them. Use the bigger one for your carb, and the two smaller ones for your fats and proteins.
A good portion size of protein is about the size of your palm – about 3 ounces for women and 4 ounces for men. The carbs should include fresh fruit, steam veggies and lots of color, and the healthy fat can be whatever you like – a slice of avocado, a handful of almonds, etc.
What about Exercise?
Suprisingly, the Zone diet doesn’t require you to exercise. It is, of course, encouraged though. If you do workout, the Zone diet says to focus on moderate-intensity exercises, along with a few sessions of strength training a week.
Remember, even thought the Zone diet doesn’t require gym time, it is certainly the quickest way to burn calories and shed those pounds. It also promotes better overall health and wards off issues like diabetes, cardiovascular disease and more.
The Science Behind the Zone
The main goal of the Zone diet’s strict eating habits is to control your hormones – to keep them in check. You see, balanced hormone levels impact your overall health and wellness – from your weight and metabolic rate to your circulation, cognitive abilities and more.
The Zone diet ensures you’re getting the proteins, carbs, fats your body needs to control your major hormones – insulin, glucagon and eicosanoids. And because each of these plays a role in your fat storage, blood sugar levels and inflammatory response, getting these hormones in check can often mean immediate weight loss.
Starting the Zone Diet
To start the Zone diet, you can join on the company’s website and buy all their pre-made foods and shakes, but ultimately, that’s going to run you a pretty penny. Your best bet is to research some good recipes, food ideas and shopping lists, and just commit to careful meal planning every day of the week. This will save you cash in the long run, and it will lead to a healthier lifestyle (and mindset) in the long run.
It’s important to note that your 40-percent carbs should be good carbs – not white bread, bagels, noodles, white potatoes, breakfast cereal or anything refined or processed. You’ll want to focus on nutritious, natural carbohydrates that fuel your body instead. In general, avoid carbs that aren’t available in nature.
Have you or someone you know ever tried the Zone diet? If so, what did you think? Did you get the results you were seeking? Was it hard to meal plan and stick to the ratios? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Remember to share this article with all your family and friend, so that they can also benefit from this helpful information.
Together we can make this world a happier, healthier world!