The Zone Diet has a number of unique features that promote weight loss by altering your diet in careful ways, tweaking your exercise regimen, rebalancing your hormones, changing certain lifestyle habits, and even altering your behavior within a proper budget!
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What is Zone Diet?
The Zone Diet has become a popular health trend in the past decade, and is particularly popular with those who do Crossfit and other intense workout / lifestyle programs. Unlike many other diet fads, the Zone is a program designed to optimize the natural hormone levels in our body, because they essentially control the way that our bodies behave, store fat, burn calories, and facilitate physical and mental activity. The Zone Diet consists of three lists: the Protein (lean proteins), Carbohydrate (primarily fruits and vegetables), and Fat Lists. The meal plan is based on specific amounts and balanced intake of these types of food spread out throughout the course of a day in order to keep specific hormones balanced.
More specifically, the three targeted hormones in the Zone Diet are insulin, glucagon, and eicosanoids. These are responsible for the storage of fat in the body, stabilization of blood sugar levels, and the control of inflammation in the body, respectively. If you are able to keep these key hormones at optimal levels, then not only will you store less fat, use energy more efficiently, and be mentally and physically fit, but you may even increase your fat-burning while you sleep! This diet is ideal for people who complement it with a set exercise regimen; the improvement in lifestyle it can bring is quite impressive, as millions of people around the world attest. Now, let’s take a closer look at more details of the Zone Diet for Weight Loss.
Zone Diet for Weight Loss
An ideal zone diet should comprise the following:
As mentioned above, the main focus of the Zone Diet is rebalancing our hormonal levels. Insulin, glucagon, and eicosanoids respond to the intake of certain types of food, and their regulation benefits from a balanced intake of lean protein, low glycemic load carbohydrates, and healthy fats. The Zone Diet isn’t strict in the sense of limiting your food options, but it is very focused on limiting the amount of certain types and the frequency with which you eat. This makes the Zone Diet much more appealing for many people, as they can convert their favorite foods into “Zone Diet-approved” food blocks and sizes.
The meal structure throughout the course of a day involves six meals (the standard three meals of the day, and then three snacks in between). Each meal will consist of a set number of “food blocks”. For example, a 2-Block meal for lunch would consist of two types of food from each list (protein, carbohydrates and fats); a 3-Block Meal would include three types of food from each list. By limiting the amount of blocks to a set number each day, you can generally keep your daily intake the same, and also spread your meals out, keeping your hormones balanced all day, rather than the fluctuations, peaks, and spikes that occur when three large, unregulated meals are consumed each day.
The optimal sizes of the diet allow you to punch in your personal statistics and have an optimal diet suggested for you. You can have the freedom of being “off” a diet for all intents and purposes, in terms of personal choice, but you need to stay dedicated to the program when it comes to portion sizes and amount of times you eat per day.
If you are able to rebalance your hormonal levels, you will increase insulin sensitivity, which reduces silent inflammation and prevents the development of diabetes, as well as reducing fat storage. When you consume carbohydrates, that is essentially packets of energy, and you want your body to release that energy steadily into your body. Glucagon controls the release of those carbohydrates, which can stabilize blood sugar and energy levels. This can improve your physical and mental ability, and prevent certain health concerns like diabetes, which is closely associated with obesity.
Weight Loss Booster
By combining the Zone Diet with moderate daily exercise (cardiovascular exercise for 30 minutes each day, as well as strength/resistance training for 10 minutes), you can improve the fat-burning abilities of your body. Your energy levels will remain high and your metabolism will increase, making your workouts more efficient and even helping you burn fat in your sleep!
Final Word of Warning: The Zone Diet is appealing for many due to the freedom of foods, provided they stay within the portion size and block ratios, but this is not an overnight solution. In the first few weeks of the diet, you may only lose a pound or two. However, you should remain dedicated to the program, as changing your hormonal levels and getting your body used to new demands and intakes can take time. Over time, your body will become more responsive, and the beneficial weight loss effects of the Zone Diet will be much easier to see.