The Zone Diet: Master It to Lose Weight

Mastering the Zone. Sounds very New Age, like Yoda teaching Luke Skywalker about the Force. But it's not. Instead it's very similar to the advice your grandmother gave you about eating. Eat everything in moderation, eat lots of fruits and vegetables, and have some protein at every meal. Your grandmother didn't know it, but she was teaching you the basic principles for developing a lifelong strategy of hormonal balance. If you can achieve this hormonal balance, you are well on your way to the Zone.

What is the Zone? It is the balance of hormonal responses that occurs every time you eat. A perfect equilibrium: not too high, not too low. Why should you want to get there? Simply said, if you can keep yourself in the Zone, then you will:

A. Think better, because in the Zone you are maintaining stable blood sugar levels.

B. Perform better, because being in the Zone allows you to increase oxygen transfer to your muscle cells.

C. Look better, because in the Zone you are shedding excess body fat at the fastest possible rate.

D. Never be hungry between meals, because staying in the Zone means your brain is being constantly supplied with its primary fuel: blood sugar.

All these benefits of being in the Zone will emerge within a one- to two-week period if you follow the instructions in this book. But the best reason to want to stay in the Zone on a lifelong basis is to achieve SuperHealth. For most people, health is defined as the absence of disease. SuperHealth goes beyond that. In a state of SuperHealth you will reduce the likelihood of developing chronic disease, the types of illnesses that represent the bulk of our health care costs. If you have read The Zone, you know that SuperHealth is exactly what you are aiming for. And the only way to obtain SuperHealth is to take control of your diet, and use it to keep yourself in the Zone on a continual basis. The more time you spend in the Zone, the more control you have over the ultimate quality of your life.

Level 1: What-Your-Grandmother-Told-You Rules

- Drink at least 64 ounces of water per day (eight 8-ounce glasses). Your body is composed of 70 percent water that can be easily lost.

- Eat more fruits and vegetables, and less pasta, breads, grains, and starches during the day.

- Eat more frequent meals with fewer calories.

- Eat small amounts of low-fat protein at every meal and snack.

The payoff: You will stop gaining excess body fat.

Level 2: Begin-To-Pay-Attention Rules

- Determine how much protein you require per day and consume that amount.

- Use the eyeball method to control your ratio of protein to carbohydrate at every meal.

- Add some extra monounsaturated fat to every meal.

- Drink 8 ounces of water thirty minutes before a meal.

The payoff: You are going to start losing excess body fat.

Level 3: Now-I-Have-To-Do-Some-Hormonal-Thinking Rules

- Make sure most of your carbohydrates come from fruits and vegetables, and use grains, starches, pasta, and breads as condiments. Try to keep grains, starches, pasta, and bread to no more than 25 percent of the total carbohydrates consumed at a meal.

- Never let more than five hours go by without eating a Zone meal or snack.

- Always eat a Zone breakfast within one hour of rising.

- Always have a small Zone snack before you go to bed.

- Always have a small Zone snack thirty minutes before you exercise.

The payoff: You're in the Zone, and you have done everything possible to achieve SuperHealth.

 by Barry Sears, Ph.D

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