The Zone dispelled what I thought was the one absolute of dieting to lose weight; that you have to be miserable. When I finally took Jerry’s advice and “dialed in” for two weeks the weight fell off and I actually had trouble eating all the food I was supposed to!
I have weighed 205 most of my adult life, I was 205 as a senior in high school and though my body composition has changed in the ensuing 25 years that is my mean weight. I was a svelte 180 while an avid runner in college but once I settled in to my 205 body. (After the Ranger School roller coaster, bulking up from 180 to 205, prior to, then dropping 35 pounds during the Ranger course, and then adding 45 back by eating anything that wasn’t nailed down after graduation.) I’ve never eaten poorly. (At least not since I was a teenager and would routinely eat a half-pound of hot dogs as a bedtime snack!) After a short-lived college football career, I put on the “freshman 15” and was a puffy 230 when I turned 19. I dropped 45 pounds in my second semester and became obsessed with fitness. I was a bit eccentric about my diet in college and in my early 20’s, logging caloric intake yet focusing on low fat intake as was in vogue at the time. Because of that I’ve always had an above average awareness of what I was putting into my body.
As I’ve aged the 205 looked different at 40+ than it did at 30. I hadn’t been happy with my 205 having a waist that was 3-4 inches bigger than the 30 year old 205, much less the 18 year old model. I rationalized to some extent, age, marriage, job, comfort, love of food and drink, etc. But I just didn’t want to suffer through the misery of the reduced calorie, low-fat diet that I thought it would take to “tighten up.” Enter Jerry Hill and the Zone.
I listened to those of you who were Zoning and thought, that’s nice, but seems like a lot of work. I prepped to Zone by cutting back on the processed carbs, refined sugars and beer, eating more fruits and vegetables. I lost a few pounds and began to harden up and my performance improved. I then committed to the two-week “dial in” and whoa! Coincidentally I had a PT test at the end of that two weeks, I weighed in at 194. That was in August, last week (November 7th or so) I checked my weight for the first time since August, I weighed 194!
The “dialing in” process wasn’t easy, but it was easier than I thought. I found certain meals and snacks that “blocked” easily (and were packable) and stuck with them. Crossfit fire breather Freddy Camacho’s blog http://crossfitoneworld.typepad.com/zoning_out/ was a great resource. I mirrored a lot of Freddy’s recipes and snacks since he had already gone to the trouble to measure and portion blocks. Some specifics of what I ate are; dried fruit, nuts, and jerky in my bag in two-block portions, along with Zone bars so I always have something to eat instead of relying on fast food or convenience store food. I eat a lot of pita pocket egg white sandwiches with Canadian bacon, cheese, salsa and olives. I make a very filling meal in a wok of broccoli, cauliflower, and chicken with some seasoning and olive oil. Also, strawberries or raspberries in carb-control vanilla yogurt with one tablespoon of protein powder per block and chopped walnuts make a great snack or breakfast. I could eat just the things I mentioned here for weeks and be perfectly happy.
The splurge day is a huge part of keeping your sanity. It’s something to look forward too yet after a week of good eating you don’t want to ruin the week by going crazy in one day. That mental mindset is huge, so I’ll repeat it. When you put so much effort into your diet and workouts, and actually see the increase in performance and how much better you look, you just don’t want to backslide. There’s no sense taking three steps forward only to take two steps back. FWIW, I’m doing another two-week “dial-in” between Thanksgiving and Christmas as preventative medicine.