Genuine Curiosity

Author Dwayne Melancon is always on the lookout for new things to learn. An ecclectic collection of postings on personal productivity, travel, good books, gadgets, leadership & management, and many other things.


Update: 30+ Weeks in the Zone (and counting...)

From a traffic perspective, the post below is one of the most popular posts on this blog. I had to get new "head shot" pictures taken for work today, and thought I'd share the "before" and "after" photos with you. A bit less hair, a lot less weight.

Before (2001): After (2005):

I'm now almost a year into The Zone diet, down about 60 pounds from where I started (now at 206 lbs), and still loving the diet. And it's still true that I made no changes to my exercise habits during this period - in fact, I was working out more in 2001 when the "before" picture was taken.

You can do it, too. See below for my recommended steps.

[March 14, 2005] This is a departure from my normal range of topics but one I want to share, nonetheless. Last July or so, I decided it was time to start eating better. In the past, I've had bouts with "Eat To Live," "Protein Power," and spent a while as a disciple of the Atkins lifestyle. None of them really felt sustainable over the long haul (at least for me), and they were hard to maintain while traveling.

Last year, I read up on The Zone Diet (Dr. Barry Sears) and decided to give it a try. It seemed like a sensible diet (in terms of what you eat) and, like other diets that have been raging of late, helps control your insulin levels to prevent blood sugar spikes. The basic design of a "Zone compliant meal" is that it consists of 40% carb calories, 30% protein calories, and 30% fat calories.

I started out following the plan by reading what's unofficially known as "The Zone for Dummies," officially known as "A Week In The Zone." I've been with it ever since, and have gone from about 265 lbs. to about 215 lbs. in that time (I'm 6'4"). According to the body mass index calculators in the book (and on, my body has gone from 29% fat to about 17% during that time.

I've had to donate a couple of sizes of clothing to Goodwill along the way, and seem to have hit a stable weight that I can maintain.

Pointers for anyone considering this diet:

  • Start with "A Week In The Zone."
  • Stick with it for at least a month and you'll see results, as well as begin to recognize what a "Zone meal" looks like
  • Follow the eating schedule (and all the snacks, especially the snack just before bedtime) as closely as you can so you won't get hungry
  • Invest in Zone Perfect bars, and make sure you bring some along when you travel. They kill hunger pangs, can serve as breakfast, and are great for the snacks between meals.

There is one aspect of the Zone that (in my opinion) is the key: At the beginning of the diet, you follow instructions in the book to figure out what you should be eating each day. Then, you start eating that way from day one. Your body eventually catches up and you maintain that amount of food going forward. This is different from others where you get to some target weight and start changing your diet - the changes are what made me stray from the path in other diets.

I now feel better and fitter than I've felt in probably 25 years, and am a big believer in the Zone as a sustainable way of eating. Let me know if you have any questions - I'd be glad to share what I've learned.