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Old 03-27-2010, 03:10 PM   #1
Timothy Turner
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I need helpful advice on tips/tricks of the zone

Hi guys (I apologize in advance for the rambling),

I've been crossfitting for a year and a half now but I've always struggled with my diet. By "struggled", I mean that my diet has been the cancer to my goal of achieving a very high level of fitness.

For the majority of my crossfit history, I have been following the pizza and beer diet. I have still went from 18% BF to 13% BF, from 160lbs. to 195lbs, from 13 Cindy Rounds to 20 Cindy Rounds, etc. etc. etc. (These numbers while on pizza/beer diet prove that crossfit is an amazing fitness program).

But, 3 or 4 times I have failed at paleo and/or zone diet attempts (usually lasting 2-3 weeks at a time). The main reason is that I get discouraged by the amount of time and effort it takes to follow these plans.

What I need is for you guys to share with me all the ways humanly possible to make the Zone diet a matter of convenience, so that it's something I can stick with. What are your personal tips/tricks for making things simple?

Here is a list of questions and things I struggle with:

1. How can I eat in restaurants 3 to 4 times a week and maintain the zone diet? Would using a site like CalorieKing.com be a good idea?

2. How can I reduce the amount of time planning/cooking stuff? I work full time and I just don't have the time during the week to be cutting the yolks out of eggs, preparing avacados, determining how many blocks of each group are in a chicken salad, weighing, etc. etc.

3. Is there a larger list of food items than the one shown on the zone diet, that shows what 1 block of each is? The list provided gets shorter when you take out all the stuff that I don't eat. I wish I could take every food I want to eat (healthy or not) and generate my own list.

4. Where is the most concise and cut and dry explanation of the zone that I can find without reading the book?

For me to adapt this to my lifestyle I really need this to be as much of a convenience to me as possible, because my busy schedule is really limited.

Thanks so much for your help. I sincerely appreciate it.
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Old 03-27-2010, 03:21 PM   #2
Marcus Allen
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Re: I need helpful advice on tips/tricks of the zone

If you're looking for convenience, The Zone is NOT it.

You can go Paleo-ish and its easier to do at restaurants. Although trickier at fast food joints.

I suggest a tapered intro. Like, week one eat all your breakfasts paleo.

Week 2 add lunch, then dinner, etc. The biggest issue will be sauces at the restaurants and avoiding all the extra bread you get when you eat out.

On paleo you probably fail at around 3 weeks because that is when your body is trying to switch to fat metabolism and it SUCKS. Be aware its coming and hang in there.

If you insist on Zone, any nutrition website will give you the macro count and you can convert to zone blocks from there.
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Old 03-27-2010, 03:29 PM   #3
Matt Spooner
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Re: I need helpful advice on tips/tricks of the zone

Best thing that happened to me with the Zone-is my wife-who is a stay at home mum- made it her hobby! As she now enjoys cooking & prep-I could not do it with out her organising my food. I believe The Zone is not easy if you work long hours & or time poor & or cant cook & or too lazy. You must be able to be organised.
Saying this,we have both had amazing results with it-in energy-moods-body fat levels-and performance. Sorry cant be of more help.
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Old 03-27-2010, 03:31 PM   #4
Timothy Turner
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Re: I need helpful advice on tips/tricks of the zone

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Originally Posted by Marcus Allen View Post
If you're looking for convenience, The Zone is NOT it.

You can go Paleo-ish and its easier to do at restaurants. Although trickier at fast food joints.

I suggest a tapered intro. Like, week one eat all your breakfasts paleo.

Week 2 add lunch, then dinner, etc. The biggest issue will be sauces at the restaurants and avoiding all the extra bread you get when you eat out.

On paleo you probably fail at around 3 weeks because that is when your body is trying to switch to fat metabolism and it SUCKS. Be aware its coming and hang in there.

If you insist on Zone, any nutrition website will give you the macro count and you can convert to zone blocks from there.
I think I am choosing Zone because I am trying to be brutally honest with myself. I don't think paleo is for me. I do understand that its better, but not realistic that I would stick with it at this point in my life (if ever).

I think part of my reason for not sticking with plans in the past, is that I would cold turkey go from eating garbage all the time to super strict paleo health food. I know you said to work it in one meal at a time. But the approach I had in mind was: Go Zone but if I get a craving for ice cream, go ahead and have it but don't allow it to mess up my portions badly. I'm hoping I can stay in stride this way.

I do understand that to go Zone, that its going to take some time. I'm not opposed to making effort, but I just want to minimize it as much as possible.
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Old 03-27-2010, 03:42 PM   #5
Timothy Turner
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Re: I need helpful advice on tips/tricks of the zone

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Originally Posted by Matt Spooner View Post
Best thing that happened to me with the Zone-is my wife-who is a stay at home mum- made it her hobby! As she now enjoys cooking & prep-I could not do it with out her organising my food. I believe The Zone is not easy if you work long hours & or time poor & or cant cook & or too lazy. You must be able to be organised.
Saying this,we have both had amazing results with it-in energy-moods-body fat levels-and performance. Sorry cant be of more help.
Conveniently, I'm getting married in May! But, she is the junk food queen and is scared of crossfit (don't worry, she does have many good qualities ). She would probably still help me out some, if I can come up with good habits now!
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Old 03-27-2010, 05:21 PM   #6
Meghan Reid
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Re: I need helpful advice on tips/tricks of the zone

Unfortunately, the only way you can make any diet changes work is to decide that it's going to be your priority. Food is your fuel, and eating crap while trying to live well (especially while crossfitting) is like trying to put crap gasoline in a Ferrari, it's just not going to be pretty. At 99% of restaurants you can order meat with a side of veggies (hold the sauce, hold the potatos/fries, hold the bread). You can put in 1 or 2 hours at the beginning of the week to make staples like ground beef or ground turkey, chicken breasts, broccoli, spinach salads in tupperware, etc.

If you're already relying on your fiance to keep you on track then you are setting yourself up to fail. Sadly, the majority of your environment is still gonna run on the standard American diet. It is up to you to a)prioritize this and b) see it through. There are many many threads in which the difficulties of both of these diets are discussed with numerous suggestions on how to make them work. Students, doctors that work 15 hours shifts, moms with kids, etc have posted questions about portable snacks that don't need refrigeration, what foods are good when eating out, what foods are good for quick refueling PWO and tons more. Take a look around.

This may come off as harsh, and if it does, my apologies. But the tough love thing on these boards worked for me so I always pass it along.
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Old 03-27-2010, 06:04 PM   #7
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: I need helpful advice on tips/tricks of the zone

Let's see. You say you want to get your diet in order, but....

* You're not willing to weigh and measure or otherwise invest a lot of time in preparation. (Even though precise portion control is a central concept of the Zone diet.)
* You want to eat whatever you want, "healthy or not." (Which means a Paleo diet, which requires far less portion control is also out.)
* You're not willing to read the Zone book, even though you
* Insist that you want to follow the Zone.

Sure. Good luck with that.

Katherine

Last edited by Katherine Derbyshire : 03-27-2010 at 06:06 PM.
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Old 03-27-2010, 06:37 PM   #8
Jaime Steele
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Re: I need helpful advice on tips/tricks of the zone

I read a bit of your post and haven't read the replies so take from this what you will:

If you want to get in shape; really get in shape and I don't mean some half-assed attempt at trying to get in shape while still eating convenience food and having the odd training session when it suits you you will apply the following principles (and it is as easy as this):

1. Do not eat bread, rice, pasta, pizza of any other manufactured rubbish
2. Do not eat anything that can't be grown in the ground, without fertiliser
3. Do not pay any attention to low fat diets
4. Drink alcohol and caffeine in moderation
5. Run as fast as you can as often as you can
6. Lift as heavy as you can as often as you can

If you really want to get in shape get your mind there first.
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Old 03-28-2010, 08:56 AM   #9
Marcus Allen
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Re: I need helpful advice on tips/tricks of the zone

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Originally Posted by Timothy Turner View Post

I do understand that to go Zone, that its going to take some time. I'm not opposed to making effort, but I just want to minimize it as much as possible.


This doesn't fit. How big a priority is this to you?

The time that you spend in the drive thru can just as easily be spent in a market picking up meat and veggies.

I don't understand how the Zone is "being brutally honest" with yourself, unless you have a problem with portion control.

If you give the WODs everything you have every time you do them, and want to make the amazing progress that goes with that, why wouldn't you put that same effort into your diet?
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