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Old 03-13-2010, 11:22 AM   #1
Ryan Ransom
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New to Zone Diet

I'm just starting the zone diet and I have some questions. Forgive the length:

1. If a restaurant has nutritional information for their items do I need to really measure (other than eyeballing) or can I say "Oh, the nutritional information of this meal says it has about 28g protein, 12g fat, and 36 carbs - therefore it should be close to a 4 block meal?" I don't mind measuring but I'm new at this so I'm not that great at eyeballing yet but I can't carry around a food scale or measuring utensils. Just trying to figure out the best approach.

2. Under the cooked carb section of the Block chart are the amounts before or after cooking? Example: it says 1/3 cup oatmeal. Is that 1/3c dry or is it 1/3c cooked? If it is indeed cooked, how do I know who much to measure dry (or raw with some of the other foods)? Same goes with meats or frozen veggies - meats cook down and frozen veggies amounts will change slightly once thawed. Do you I have to cook it and then remeasure? Doesn't that waste food if I used too much before?

3. Is a block of protein powder 1oz or 1 tbs? On the block chart is says 1oz but on some sample meal plans it says 1 tbs and it is clear that that 1 tbs is supposed to be one block. I know that a block of protein should be about 7 grams and I know that 1 oz of my protein powder is about 15g of protein so I think for me it should be .5oz is a block. There is still the discrepancy between and oz and a tbs though. Please advice.

4. Is a "peanut" in this case a whole peanut (two halves together) or is it a peanut half? Seems obvious as I ask it but I know some think it's the half and some the whole.

5. How does the zone diet approach "cheat days" or "cheat meals?" In my past diet (which was actually very similar to the zone, I'm finding out, but didn't have an easy way of measuring nutrients), I had a cheat day once a week (less than 20% of my diet. About 12% when all is said and done). I really like cheat days because it allows me one day to stop thinking about what I eat and eat what I want when I want. However, I don't know how the Zone approaches that. I have not seen any negative results from this way of eating so I would think that would continue even on the zone. Just curious what some thoughts on it are.

I'm sure there will be more questions to follow but it's a start. Thanks!
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Old 03-13-2010, 07:06 PM   #2
matthew maclaren lawson
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Re: New to Zone Diet

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan Ransom View Post
I'm just starting the zone diet and I have some questions. Forgive the length:

1. If a restaurant has nutritional information for their items do I need to really measure (other than eyeballing) or can I say "Oh, the nutritional information of this meal says it has about 28g protein, 12g fat, and 36 carbs - therefore it should be close to a 4 block meal?" I don't mind measuring but I'm new at this so I'm not that great at eyeballing yet but I can't carry around a food scale or measuring utensils. Just trying to figure out the best approach.

Nutritional labels are generally a good measurement system. The meal described above looks like a solid 4 blocker.

2. Under the cooked carb section of the Block chart are the amounts before or after cooking? Example: it says 1/3 cup oatmeal. Is that 1/3c dry or is it 1/3c cooked? If it is indeed cooked, how do I know who much to measure dry (or raw with some of the other foods)? Same goes with meats or frozen veggies - meats cook down and frozen veggies amounts will change slightly once thawed. Do you I have to cook it and then remeasure? Doesn't that waste food if I used too much before?

For the most part, a given food's nutritional label is stating the uncooked nutritional information. See fitday.com, nutritiondata.com, or caloriecount.com for cooked nutritional information. However, as long as your not breading and frying stuff, the nutritional information may not change by leaps and bounds.

3. Is a block of protein powder 1oz or 1 tbs? On the block chart is says 1oz but on some sample meal plans it says 1 tbs and it is clear that that 1 tbs is supposed to be one block. I know that a block of protein should be about 7 grams and I know that 1 oz of my protein powder is about 15g of protein so I think for me it should be .5oz is a block. There is still the discrepancy between and oz and a tbs though. Please advice.

Not all protein powders are created equally. My best advice here is to either use a whole scoop and count it accordingly. If it has 24g protein, call that 3 blocks of protein. You could weigh it out with a digital scale or divide it by CC (looking the scoop will sometimes yield its measurement size). Better yet, scrap the powder and eat whole foods.

4. Is a "peanut" in this case a whole peanut (two halves together) or is it a peanut half? Seems obvious as I ask it but I know some think it's the half and some the whole.

Just eat the whole peanut man! You're making me feel flippant in my food measurements. I'll say everything that's in the shell.

5. How does the zone diet approach "cheat days" or "cheat meals?" In my past diet (which was actually very similar to the zone, I'm finding out, but didn't have an easy way of measuring nutrients), I had a cheat day once a week (less than 20% of my diet. About 12% when all is said and done). I really like cheat days because it allows me one day to stop thinking about what I eat and eat what I want when I want. However, I don't know how the Zone approaches that. I have not seen any negative results from this way of eating so I would think that would continue even on the zone. Just curious what some thoughts on it are.

As much weighing and measuring your doing here, you will go full on bat sh*t crazy if you don't take a cheat meal. Do it for your health. I believe the zone doc says something along the lines of not freaking out if you have a cheat meal or two, that you can always hop right back into the swing of things. In my opinion, it is never to late, nor is it ever too soon to eat well and healthy.

I'm sure there will be more questions to follow but it's a start. Thanks!
As a side note, you may want to check into some of the nutrition videos in the Xfit Journal to decide improving food qualities as well as food quantities would be another effective angle for your health.

Hope that helps!
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Old 03-14-2010, 12:24 AM   #3
Ryan Ransom
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Re: New to Zone Diet

Thanks for the help. You answered my questions quite well. I had to laugh at your comments about how much I'm weighing and measuring. Trust me, I'm only doing it because they say to measure the first week so that you can be accurate and begin to develop your "eye-balling" skills. As soon as I get better at that, I'll stop. You should have seen me before though. I literally wrote down everything that I ate and the approximate macro-nutrient amount and added them up to get the amounts that I wanted. That was driving me (as well as my wife) crazy. This block thing is a life saver for me! Plus, I'm excited about getting more fresh fruits and vegetables, which were probably lacking in my old diet.

Thanks again
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Old 03-15-2010, 08:36 AM   #4
David Joseph Danaher
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Re: New to Zone Diet

Keep in mind that, when you're out, you will probably not be served enough fruit and veggies to cover the carb blocks that would normally be consumed with your 6 blocks worth of steak. When I'm out, I'm less concerned with measuring, more just concerned with making sure my carbs are not too high. I'll order a meat entree and ask for only veggies and fruit, knowing that I'm probably only at 2-3 blocks for carbs. But that's better than getting the fries and being at 6 or 8 blocks carbs. Here and there if the place is crap an no fruit is available, I will just eat like 3 or 4 fries with my meal and give the rest away. (I'm not yet a Paleo-ologist)

I'm still learning the ropes myself, but I would agree that a cheat day is important. When I tried to cut that out, I gained weight because I would just lose focus and eat worse. I eat more cleanly knowing that Sunday night I can have some pizza.

Also, measuring gets easier once you have some memorized as well. I don't look at the chart for most meals. I just weigh the meat and put the berries in a cup and grab some tablespoons of almond butter, and I have it all memorized so it's pretty hassle free. In fact, it's only marginally more time consuming that just scooping things on the plate. The benefit here is that it makes you consider how much you're going to eat, and how much of each you need. Before the Zone, I'd rationalize bad food because it had some protein in it. Now I know how much of each I need for a good balance and what foods are the prime sources for such things. We may both someday graduate into a more paleo diet, or at least an adjusted Zone, but I credit the Zone with helping me begin to fix my eating.

Best of luck!
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