Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Zone Gone Bad

The Zone diet is an excellent tool for dialing in your nutrition. It has a very reasonable system for balancing macro nutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fat), and thus your hormonal response to food. But even a good system can go bad when taken too far. Melissa Byers writes about the Zone Gone Bad.

Kelly has always been a very healthy eater, with a strong self-image. She has never been one to starve herself, crash diet, or obsess about appearance. Yet after spending just a few weeks working the balanced and sensible principles of the Zone diet, Kelly found herself trapped in an unhealthy cycle—with what some might refer to as “disordered behavior” related to food. The Zone was no longer a healthy dietary lifestyle, but a set of self-imposed rules that somehow became associated with serious (if vague) consequences if not followed.

Her experience mirrored my own. When I first started with CrossFit and the Zone in December 2007, I enjoyed the precision of weighing, measuring, and tracking my intake. There was no guessing or estimating; the plan was well outlined and easy to follow. And I saw positive results quickly. My energy was better, my workouts were strong and I was continuing to build muscle. But unlike Kelly, I do have a history of unhealthy eating behaviors, and those behaviors began to rear their ugly head just a few weeks into my Zone experience. Slowly, my brain began to take the healthy activities associated with the Zone diet and twist them back into my prior disordered behaviors. I stopped eating anything unless I could measure it. I spent hours on FitDay (a free online diet and fitness journal), plugging in different food choices to arrive at the perfect balance of ratios. I began to obsess over my body composition, spending far too much time in the mirror. Food began to rule my life, and before I knew it, what had started as Zone had morphed into a Zone-inspired eating disorder.

If you find yourself in a Zone Gone Bad, cut yourself some slack. You may be trying to retrain your brain to forget about years of unhealthy behaviors in favor of new, healthy habits. It’s going to take time, and dedication, and maybe more than a few slips before you start permanently heading in the right direction.

Melissa also offers a Five-Step approach to getting back in the right zone.


  1. Julie's wed food log:
    snack1:1/2 chicken breast,10 grape tomato, 2 black coffee,1-16 oz h2o
    meal1:1 1/2 chicken breast,salad,1/2 c broccoli,1/4 peach,2-16oz h2o
    snack2:protein shake(8 oz h2o, 1 scoop pp),1/4 peach,1-16oz h2o
    meal2:1/2 turkey sausage,1/2 chicken breast, 1 apple,3-16 oz h2o
    meal3:1/4 turkey sausage,1egg+1egg white, 1/4c cottage cheese,1/2 peach,8 grape tomato, 1tbsp sunflower seeds,1 black coffee,2-16 oz h2o
    snack tonight:protein shake,1-16oz h2o

    activity:crossfit 15:01

  2. Janet's Wed.FL (better than yesterday:)
    Meal 1: Be Sure shake, coffee,cream/stevia h20
    meal 2: 2 eggs two s.bacon,handful of grapes, h20
    meal 3: cottage cheese, tomato,4 oz turkey br.,h20 1/2 peach
    snack: 3/4oz cheese, 1/2peach
    Meal 4:Steak 3oz., and eggs, h20
    Activity: crossfit..19 +min

  3. Indira - Wednesday
    Meal1- 1/2 chicken breast, vegetables, decaf W/ cream
    meal2- protein shake w/ s/berries
    meal3-4oz fish w/cucumber and handful almonds
    meal4-1/2 chicken breast with
    meal5- salad with 5-6 oz turkey
    burger (no bread)
    3-4 L water

    Danny - the protein is Isopure - zero carb
    ( I also have VPX but have not used that yet)

  4. Amy's Food Log for Wed and Thurs
    I ate the same thing both days. I need to go shopping.
    Meal 1 2 eggs 2 slices bacon apple
    Meal 2 2 cups sipinach 6 oz london broil veggies OV almonds
    Meal 3 2oz turkey strawberries
    Meal 4 6oz chicken stir fried veggies with little olive oil 1 oz cheese
    Meal 5 apple almonds

    Working on water still not enough
    wed crossfit - thurs rest