Tuesday, April 6, 2010


I have recently switched dieting strategies.

I have come full-circle, as it were (not only a pun because it's the CSA I subscribe to). 

Back in high school, when I did gymnastics twice a week and had marching band practice, but was otherwise sedentary, I managed to lose about 20 or 30 lb one summer by doing the Zone diet.  It's basic premise is that you have a low, sustained insulin response, and they encourage foods that do not promote an insulin burst (vegetables, fruits).

Since then, I've tried multiple things - heck, I even recently went through a few months of dicking around with some naturopaths who meant well, but proved useless to me (and wanted to stick me on some horrid-sounding "nutrtional shake elimination diet" thing based on rice flour. Horrors!)

At the advice of my trainer, I tried going ultra low-carb Paleo.  The end result was it just made me angry if I sustained it for any period of time without "falling off the wagon". (A phrase which I think should really be "choosing to step off the wagon for a bit", because you are making a choice to ingest certain things). I was eating ~150 g of protein a day, and aiming for < 60 g carbs.  Often, over 50% of my daily calories were from fat (nuts, oils, meat-fat).  Interestingly, I didn't gain weight on this diet, but I didn't lose any, either. My acne was surprisingly clear (except when I went off the wagon).

Another trainer at the gym suggested  "OK, maybe a little more carbs, and a little less fat", after I told her the low-carb thing was difficult to sustain.  Tried that, and then it hit me that I was basically doing Paleo-Zone, but a little lower-carb.

I used this handy Zone block calculator to figure out how much I got to eat.  According to them, at 155 lb, 30% body fat, and medium-to-hard activity 4-5x / week, I get 14 blocks.per day.  A Zone 'block' has the following:

- 9 g carbohydrates
- 7 g protein
- 1.5 g fat (assuming a low-fat protein source)

That means I get to eat a total of 126 g of carb, 98 g of protein, and 21 g of fat per day.

To be honest, it was also very difficult for me to actually commit to ingesting 150 g of protein a day - at approximately 7 g protein per ounce of meat, that comes out to 21 oz, or 1.3 lb of meat per day! (Or more if you are eating certain seafood).

Time will tell if this new diet works; I think it will, as it has worked before on me.  This isn't to say that low-carb doesn't work - it does! I've seen it work on several people, and I think with the right foods and attitude, it is sustainable.  It is just a pain in the ass for me.  (And I was noticing I was starting to get that acetone smell in my breath that tells you ketosis is acting... I have had a couple of friends with the most God-awful breath in the world, who were on Atkins and drank coffee... ech, makes me cringe just thinking about it!)

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