Barbells, Food and Jojo

Join me as I navigate through my love for Olympic Weightlifting, Flexible Dieting and Life

March 26, 2013

My Paleo Zone Experience: One Month In

I’ve been living in the Zone since February 25th and I can safely say I am mostly used to eating in blocks and eye-balling measurements. The beginning was rough having to measure EVERYTHING. I’ve noticed there isn’t that much support on us in the Paleo Zone community (tons for regular Paleo and regular Zone), so i thought I’d weigh in on my experience so far in hopes that it’ll help someone on their journey.

The Stupid Scale

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I am not one to get crazed over the scale numbers because I am fully aware about lean muscle mass versus fat mass, and when us ladies are on our period and how the scale can simply go up and down up to about 3lbs give or take throughout the day. BUT that doesn’t make it any less annoying when things don’t go your way when you’re doing things right. You’re supposed to weigh and measure yourself but I am lame and don’t have a tape measure at home, so just the scale it was for me, and with the help of my coach, we decided on my blocks:

5’4”

High activity level of 4-5x CrossFit per week

Starting weight: 156lbs

Lowest weight: 149.8lbs

Total loss to date: 6.2lbs

Blocks: 11 blocks per day

There it is, folks. Roughly between 1-2lbs loss per week, which I know is ideal in keeping weight off in the long run- I have previously lost about 45lbs in the past if you check my Progress page. Yes, I realize I am up about 6lbs from my lowest weight at the time – I never finished this journey and plan to finish now. Okay, back to my Zoning life now. Taking into account my activity levels, I SHOULD be having more blocks but I simply can’t fit that much into my belly. It’s a lot of food.

Results of Living in the Zone

Clearly, the weight loss has been slow and I’m trying to come to terms with that even though I can get so frustrated. Specially because I’m also dealing with medical issues (very low Vitamin D, possible allergies to we don’t know what, and low immunity because of these things) that aren’t clear yet if they’re causing a slower weight loss than it would be if I was completely healthy.

I still wake up fatigued (highly due to medical woes it seems), but not as much as before. Which again, hard to tell if it’s the high dosage of Vitamin D doing its work, or if the change to Paleo Zone did it. Maybe both.

Few things I’ve learned so far:

  • Sugary fruits and starchy vegetables (aka “unfavorable” carbs in Zone) mostly satisfy the appetite for a moment before hunger rears its ugly head again. I’ve cut my fruit intake by a LOT since starting zone. I usually only have fruits in the “favorable” list such as berries, apples or oranges.
  • The portions per block for “favorable” vegetable carbs are RIDICULOUS. At first, I was FLOORED at how much food it is. For example: 4c fresh spinach = 1 carb block. 1 whole 9in cucumber = 1 carb block. But I now kind of understand why. These are “favorable” for good reason. They keep you full longer and never hungry in between meals.

Coming from a primal/paleo background, I was used to eating far more protein and fat per meal than Paleo Zone allows. But perhaps that was part of my problem. And on the other hand, I feel like I am literally STUFFING my face with vegetable carbs. I’d say I was a decent veg eater before this but I have never eaten this much per meal. Oinker status. Or dinosaur status.

Diving In

This is how my 11 block day is spread out:

3 block breakfast

3 block lunch

1 block snack

3 block dinner

1 block snack

I’ve been considering switching my blocks for days that I CrossFit to:

1 block snack (so that I actually have something in my belly by 6 am)

3 block breakfast

3 block lunch

1 block snack

3 block dinner

And if you take a look through my blog you’ll see the typical kind of 3-block meals I eat regularly. As far as snacks go, my usual go-to’s are 1 egg, 3 almonds, ½ apple or ½ sausage link, 3 almonds, 1c cherry tomatoes or 1oz chicken deli meat, ¼ avocado, 1 cucumber. There are days when i feel it’s almost too much food but on the bright side, I am never hungry.

If you’re thinking of going Zoleo (another term for Paleo Zone), here are a few tips to remember:

  • Wait it out. The first week or so are pretty tough with all the measuring and planning of meals. It’s an adjustment period but you learn to eyeball it.
  • Plan your meals if you can ahead of time. It can be tedious but it will only help you to have a plan of what you’re going to eat (like packing your lunch for work) than not having enough blocks to eat or eating too many of one zone category without realizing. I’m one month in and still have to make sure I count out all my blocks in my head when packing my lunch for work.
  • In planning your meals, be careful at the grocery store when buying produce. Considering how many veggie carbs are required eating this way, it’s easy to get out of control and buying A LOT of veggies all at once. But veggies also go bad fairly quick. Don’t make my mistake by going crazy and buying all the cucumber, kale and spinach in the world. If not used within few days, most veggies go bad.

That’s all I’ve got right now folks, I hope it helped someone out there for I know the info out there on Zoleo is either rather outdated (pssst….I hear that there have been updates to the CF Journal Paleo Zone block counts on some of the blocks listed) or not very useful. Once you nail the measuring and block counts then you’re golden. And you’re ahead of the curve if you already eat Paleo/Primal as I was.

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