My first day on the Zone

I refuse to call it a diet…this is more of an attempt to re-calibrate my eyes to proper portion sizes.

Over the past year I have done pretty damn good at eating Paleo. I won’t say I am 100% Paleo and I won’t try to put a percentage on it, but for most of the year – food wise…damn diet soda – I have eaten Paleo every meal of everyday except Friday or Saturday dinners the vast majority of the weeks. I would have a beer or two per week and did drink diet soda, other than that I would guess I didn’t have one slice of bread from January 1st to maybe sometime in December (I did have a roll with dinner the other day). I ate very, very little cheese and rarely drank milk. I stayed gluten free….minus the freaking beer… I did have rice with my Chipotle every-so-often, but I can’t recall ever having a tortilla.

If you read Robb Wolf or The Whole 9 they advocate eating three meals per day and eating as much as you like, or need, to keep full. Unfortunately I am not good at sticking to three meals, but the “eat until you are full” bit has kept me away from worrying about portion sizes. I haven’t concerned myself with protein to carb to fat ratios either. I just eat a lot of meat and a lot of veggies. I probably eat too much protein and not enough carbs and certainly not enough fat. I eat guac or avocados with breakfast often, but that’s about it. I guess nuts are a fat…anyway, I haven’t worried about that.

I know a lot of folks say not to worry about weight, but I have at least 10 pounds of fat to lose (probably more like 30…). Late on in 2012 I was close to 200 pounds and this morning I weighed 215 after eating awfully horribly for the past two or three weeks. I bounced between 207 and 213 most of the year. Recently I have felt slow but that is definitely the crap and sugar in my system. I am fairly confident, maybe too confident, that I can get back down to 210 (or close) by the end of the week just eating normal again. But I want to see if I can get under 200. See if I can lean out some more. I can use vanity as a reason or I can use the upcoming CrossFit Open as a reason. Both work for me.

This brings me to the Zone. Time to start weighing and measuring and understand how much meat I really should be eating…

Yesterday was my first go at making a big meal and then divvying up the portions for the week. I took PaleOMG’s bacon chili recipe and augmented it to make even meals.

From the videos I watched the first thing you do is figure out what the biggest portion is going to be. Will it be protein, fat or carbs? Once you have that figured then you match the other two macro nutrients to make even servings, if possible. This recipe calls for 1lb of ground beef, there are 16 ounces in a pound and according to the Zone charts 1 1/2 ounces of ground beef is 1 block. Therefore 1lb of ground beef is 23 blocks.

Wait. What?!

Yep, I screwed up that quickly. I was also figuring out what I would need to do to my “hamburger special” recipe I love so much to make it even blocks that I used the calculations for TWO pounds of ground beef from my hamburger special recipe on the chili recipe even though it is half of the meat.

Now I think I have 23 blocks of protein in my beef, PLUS two blocks from the bacon so I think I have 25 blocks of protein that I need to add a bunch more veggies and fat to get to 25 blocks of each. Without my notes in front of me I think I figured about five blocks of carbs with the ingredients included. Let the vegetable additions begin. I added FOUR cups of celery, FIVE sweet potatoes and an extra cup of peppers. I was going to add SIXTY cashews to get to my fat quotient, but then I added some olive oil after I added the inordinate amount of sweet potatoes into the pot, so I only added about 45 cashews.

Everything cooked really well, smells great, looks good, tastes phenomenal. I figured on six servings, each being worth four blocks = 24 block recipe. I know, it should have been 25, but I thought 4 block meals would be good (mistake #1).

As I was letting the chili simmer and cool down I started to work on my hamburger special recipe and figure out how much vegetables I would need to add. That’s when I realized I calculated my protein blocks wrong. It should have only been about 13 or 14 blocks of protein and now I have 25 blocks of carbs. I need to make up nine blocks of protein and I already had my meals broken into six servings. I need 1.5 blocks of carbs for each serving. I think.

Ah, SCREW IT! I just fried an egg for each serving. So my four block meals were bacon chili with lots of sweet potato, celery and cashews added…and an egg.

To make my post workout shake a perfectly blocked meal I took and apple and 15 cashews to the gym and had a three block meal after the gym. I also brought a can of tuna, some homemade mayo and a sh!t ton of pickles for a four block meal.

Today I have had a 3 block meal (shake+), 4 block (chili/egg), 4 block (tuna/pickles) and 4 block (more chili). I am guessing at this point, because I don’t know my body fat percentage (aka – it’s too high to calculate) and I am running with a 20-21 block day. This means I have 6 blocks left for tonight.

This is going to be tough! I need to buy a calculator!

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3 comments on “My first day on the Zone

  1. rachelaugh says:

    Whew! I’m confused…but good for you for trying to figure it all out!

  2. Sean says:

    I’m in a similar boat as you. Been on Paleo for 2 years. I’m actually pretty happy with my weight, I just want to see if I can get leaner. The zone diet has been on my radar ever since I started Paleo… but it always seemed a bit labor intensive.
    You’re post solidifies my fears… LOL.
    I’m sure, just like everything else, the more you do it the easier it gets. I’m just skeptical. Is it really worth it. Is the benefit – to- work ratio worth it?
    I look forward to your posts about this one.

    • traviseses says:

      Ha Ha!! After day 1 it does seem like quite a chore and the exact reason I haven’t went Zone earlier. However, so far, day 2 has been easier and I think as I start to understand what equals a block it will get even easier. Like I said, I want to re-calibrate my eye balls and this will do that.

      I did feel full all day yesterday and like the numerous small meals.

      I won’t be STRICT Zone as, for example, on Thursday evenings I play in a billiards league and scheduling this week will have me at the gym after work on Thursday and then straight to pool. I will need to stop at Chipotle or somewhere for dinner and who knows how many blocks a salad from there is…

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