Amy After

Tips, motivation & advice for a gluten-free lifestyle

Posts Tagged ‘the zone’

Here a Diet, There a Diet, Everywhere a Darned Diet!


Will somebody please tell me the truth?!?!?!?

The Atkins Diet – Protein & fat w/ low carb veggies.

The Dukan Diet – Protein & NO fat/low carb veggies on alternating days.

The Mediterranean Diet – Plenty of veggies, fruits, whole grains & fish.

Vegan – Vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains and soy.

The Zone – Combining an exact ratio of protein, fat and carbs at every single meal to control blood sugar.

Vegetarian – Everything except animal protein.

Pescatarian – A vegetarian who eats fish.

Weight Watchers – Anything and everything in reasonable amounts – budgeted as an allowance type of system.

Meal Delivery Systems – Highly processed in very small portions, usually extremely high in sodium.

You are probably familiar with most or all of these. I have fully committed to each and every one of these over the years with results that were all over the map. Some made me sick, some made me feel a whole lot better but didn’t help me lose weight, but taking certain parts from each and every one of them helped me lose 175lbs.

Each approach has devout followers. Each one has many success stories.  But what about you? Which one is the one for you?

What is your own personal largest obstacle to achieving weight loss?

If it’s blood sugar related – which is extremely common – then I highly suggest reading The Zone, by Dr. Barry Sears. I’ve kept the principles of that book with me for over the last 10 years and know that no matter what plan I’m following, I use those tools to keep my blood sugar rock solid. Because of that book I kept my hypoglycemia (pre-diabetes) from actually becoming diabetes.  The Zone  principals are worth their weight in gold.

If it’s portion control related –  I would suggest something like Weight Watchers, where you have to pay really close attention to the volume of your food. You learn to take note of calories and serving sizes and what an appropriate amount of food really looks like. There are also all of the pre measured plans that take away all the work on your part, such as Jenny Craig. This feature is nice but you have to be very careful as the more processed the food the less nutrients you are getting. Yes you’ll lose weight, but you may also become a bit malnourished too. If your food has a shelf life of a Twinkie – it’s really not good.  Ideal Protein is a plan which originated in France and is a mostly pre measured plan but I think it’s one of the healthiest ones out there if you want to get serious and get those extra lbs off.

After having lived spans of my life on every one of these – I’ve learned how to take the parts from each and customize a plan that works for me (keeping each of them gluten-free, of course).  You will learn what makes your body thrive; which types of foods give you energy while making you lean and healthy.  You’ll also learn that different parts of your life call for different plans. That’s a good thing! It’s fun to keep fine-tuning your foods to keep reaching better and better levels of health and well-being.


Are You In the Zone?

For as long as we keep ourselves physically healthy our bodies are able to process sweets and carbohydrates easily. Eating a hefty portion of pasta or slice (or two) of pie causes us no noticeable trouble. However, once we abuse that privilege for long enough, we can lose it forever.

While in my early twenties I noticed that after eating those kinds of things my blood sugar would plummet. That made me feel anxious, angry, shaky, dizzy and confused. I would panic and grab any kind of food I could just to make that awful feeling go away. When someone has hypoglycemia their insulin levels fluctuate wildly in response to sugar or simple carbs. First it soars and then drops dangerously low. Each time we eat sugar (in whatever form) our system is flooded with insulin. If we eat sugar too often then our bodies release insulin in huge quantities and we become insulin resistant, meaning our bodies don’t recognize that the insulin is there anymore. So it sends out signals that it needs more and more. The pancreas then tries to comply and makes as much as it can. If this continues long enough the pancreas wears out and just can’t make insulin any longer and we become a type 2 (adult onset) diabetic. This explains why many diabetics must give themselves insulin injections.

This process is extraordinarily complex but the basic principles are really quite simple. Just because someone has hypoglycemia doesn’t mean they’re destined to become diabetic – if the correct changes are made. The body is an amazing creation – better, smarter and more powerful than anything that could ever be created in a lab. If we give our bodies even some of what it needs, it can correct many imbalances on it’s own. Your body’s natural state is good health. That is what it will naturally gravitate toward. Only when we abuse ourselves does the body become unable to cope and begins to break down.

Thankfully I stumbled across Dr. Barry Sears’ Zone books. His books taught me how to eat so that I could completely avoid the blood sugar roller coaster. To keep blood sugar steady, make sure each meal or snack consists of protein, carbohydrates and fat. Back in the days when my blood sugar would tank regularly I found that grabbing a sandwich normalized me the best. If you think about it, a sandwich usually consists of meat (protein), bread (carbs) and mayo (fat).

I began making it a point to eat in the zone at each meal. Now I never eat fruit by itself, for instance. Mixing fruit with yogurt is okay though because protein and fat are introduced. Once you do this enough, it becomes second nature. The other major key in keeping blood sugar stable is eating regularly. Don’t try to go seven hours between breakfast and lunch, for example. Even a zone meal can only hold you for so long.

The best part of keeping your blood sugar in “the zone” is that you feel a difference immediately. You have the power to stop blood sugar fluctuations and all of the eventual disease that develops as a result in it’s tracks. Now that is exciting!