Dirk and I have started the Zone eating plan this week and all week long I’ve wanted to tell you all about it, so let me start at the beginning…
Saturday – Day -1:
Dirk wakes up and says he has been thinking about something and wants to talk. Oh goody. We have both been feeling icky lately and know that our eating is the root cause. We’ve been working out, and you can’t out work a crappy diet. So true. Let’s try the Zone eating plan since it’s what CrossFit recommends. Also, let’s give up alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and gluten all at once. Yes – let’s do all that!
Sunday – Day 0:
Figure out how many blocks we are going to start with and then meal plan. The Zone eating plan is based on eating “blocks” of food.
From the CrossFit Journal:
“In the Zone scheme, all of humanity calculates to either 2-, 3-, 4-, or 5-block meals at breakfast, lunch and dinner, with either 1- or 2-block snacks between lunch and dinner and again between dinner and bedtime.
We have simplified the process for determining which of the four meal sizes and two snack sizes best suits your needs. We assume that you are CrossFit athletes; i.e., active. Being a “4-blocker,” for instance, means that you eat three meals each day, where each meal is composed of 4 blocks of protein, 4 blocks of carbohydrate and 4 blocks of fat.
Whether you are a “smallish” medium-sized guy or a “largish” medium-sized guy would determine whether you will need snacks of 1 or 2 blocks twice a day.
A block is a unit of measure used to simplify the process of making balanced meals.
• 7 g of protein = 1 block of protein
• 9 g of carbohydrate = 1 block of carbohydrate
• 1.5 g of fat = 1 block of fat
(This assumes that there is about 1.5 g of fat in each block of protein, so the total amount of fat needed per 1 block meal is 3 g.)
When a meal is composed of equal blocks of protein, carbohydrate and fat, 40 percent of its calories are from carbohydrate, 30 percent from protein and 30 percent from fat.”
Admittedly, at this point I am overwhelmed.
Looking at some charts and using some on-line calculators Dirk decides to eat 21 blocks and I am going to do 19.
So, we each grab a computer and are tasked with planning meals and snacks for just 1 day. Then we make a grocery list. Then off to the store we go to buy the food we need.
We get home and start prepping food. It looks like a lot of food to eat…
Monday – Day 1:
Wake up and am ready to go – I can do this! First breakfast was 5 blocks which included a lot of honeydew, cottage cheese, and some almonds. It is a LOT of food. I struggle to eat it all.
I am not hungry for a snack, but eat lunch – which is also a lot of food. To make is simple we have planned a couple of items of food. I can’t eat it all, so I make some substitutions. 1/4 biscuit is equal to 2 cups of broccoli carb-wise. I want to eliminate the gluten completely, but for today I need to get through the food.
Didn’t eat one of the snacks.
Tuesday – Day 2:
The migraine has started. I knew it would. It always does when I stop caffeine or gluten. Once I get through the week though, it is the gluten that will cause the migraines. Would really like a coffee drink. Not coffee. Something rich and creamy with mocha and whipped cream on top.
Dropped down to 17 blocks for today.
I have also decided I need to drop the number of blocks per day in order to eat all of the food. If you are eating gluten and 1/2 of a slice of bread is 1 block of carbs, you can probably eat that much, but when using alternate carb sources, the volume gets to be pretty big. Most people I talk to that have tried the Zone and have quit have done so because it is so much food. You also have to find a variety of things to eat each meal. Maybe you don’t get all your carbs from oranges (2-1/2 oranges for 5 blocks) but from several different foods.
I am super tired today as well. Exhausted. Worked out with the evening class and it felt really bad. This also happens when we switch to Paleo eating. It will pass in a few days…I hope.
Still didn’t eat one of the snacks.
Wednesday – Day 3:
Migraine again today. I expect a few more days of this. The meal prep time each night is a little overwhelming. It takes a lot of time to pick and prepare all the food for the next day. But, the up side is that eating the next day is easy. Everything is portioned out and ready to go when it’s time to eat.
Too tired to workout today. Dropped down to 4 block meals and 2-1 block snacks for a total of 14 blocks.
Thursday – Day 4:
Woke up with a headache for the third day in a row. I really want a coconut mocha. That is really the only craving I have. There is plenty of food and a variety of it. I am not hungry, quite the opposite. Still struggling to eat all the food even after dropping to 14 blocks. But did eat all the food today.
Friday – Day 5:
Woke up without a headache for the first day. Still craving a hot, delicious, creamy coconut mocha…
Nervous about the weekend. It seems weekday healthy eating is do-able, but becomes more of a challenge on the weekends.
I do finally feel pretty good today!
I am excited to see what some good, healthy eating and some regular, consistent exercise will do for my body!