Getting in the Zone

Published August 6, 2013 by coachkatriel

I like to shy away from the word “Diet”

Diet implies “I’m going to do this until X happens, and then I’m going back to eating whatever I want to.” Diet implies an end date. Diets aren’t sustainable. Diets lead to eventual weight regain.

I prefer the idea of making lifestyle changes that work for you that you can keep up always.

That being said, I love The Zone.

If you haven’t heard of The Zone before, it’s all about using “blocks” to balance your proteins, carbs, and fats at every single meal. Having balance at meal times is ideal for health because your body needs each of those different energy sources for different purposes in the body.

So what are blocks then?

7 grams of protein = 1 block of protein
9 grams of carbohydrate = 1 block of carbohydrate
1.5 grams of fat = 1 block of fat (there is an assumption that there are about 1.5 grams of fat in each block of protein, so the total amount of fat needed per 1 block meal is 3 grams)

So how many blocks does a person need?

Depends on your goals. For myself, I’m trying to drop body fat but enough to support my athletic performance. Following the zone, I would want to start out with 1 complete block (a block of protein, a block of carbohydrate, and a block of fat) for every 10 pounds of lean body mass (Body weight-Body fat). That number isn’t necessarily fool proof, so I would want to keep track of my weight and body fat percentage loss weekly over a month and pay attention to how well I’m performing and feeling at the gym and alter my blocks accordingly.

Quality of food is also important. Optimal success would come from choosing off of the most favorable lists most regularly, only having the moderately favorable foods a couple times a week at most, and saving the least favorable foods for cheat meals.

Here is a list that I pulled from CrossFit Santa Cruz’s website that lists 1 block serving size. For myself, I have about 130 pounds of LBM, so I would want 13 total blocks a day. I would have a 3 block breakfast, 3 block lunch, 2 block snack, and 5 block dinner, since I workout in the evening.

Zone Blocks

Most Favorable: 
Bass, fresh water 1 oz
Bass, sea 1 1/2 oz
Beef (range fed/game) 1oz
Bluefish 1 1/2 oz
Calamari 1 1/2 oz
Catfish 2 oz
Chicken Breast, deli-style 1 1/2oz
Chicken Breast, skinless 1oz
Clams 1 1/2 oz
Cod 1 1/2 oz
Cottage cheese 1/4 cup
Crabmeat 1 1/2 oz
Deli Meat 1 ½ oz
Egg Whites 2
Haddock 1 1/2 oz
Halibut 1 1/2 oz
Lobster 1 1/2 oz
Mackerel 1 1/2 oz
Protein Powder 1 oz (check label)
Salmon 1 1/2 oz
Sardines 1 oz
Scallops 1 1/2 oz
Shrimp 2 oz
Snapper 1 1/2 oz
Soy burgers* 1/2 patty
Soy hot-dog* 1 link
Soy sausage links* 2 links
Soy sausage* 1 patty
Swordfish 1 1/2 oz
Tofu, firm + extra firm* 3 oz
Trout 1 oz
Tuna Steak 1 oz
Tuna, canned in water 1 oz
Turkey Breast, skinless 1 oz
Turkey, ground 1 1/2 oz

Moderately Favorable: 
Beef, ground 1 1/2 oz
Beef, lean cuts 1oz
Canadian bacon, lean 1 oz
Cheese, reduced fat 1 oz
Chicken, skinless dark meat 1 oz
Corned beef, lean 1 oz
Duck 1 1/2 oz
Ham, deli-style 1 1/2 oz
Ham, lean 1oz
Lamb, lean 1 oz
Mozzarella cheese, skim 1 oz
Pork chop 1 oz
Pork, lean 1 oz
Ricotta cheese, skim 2 oz
Turkey bacon 3 1/2 oz
Turkey, skinless dark meat 1 oz
Veal 1 oz
Whole egg 1

Least Favorable: 
Bacon, pork 3 1/2 slices
Beef, fatty cuts 1 oz
Beef, ground (10-15% fat) 1 1/2 oz
Hard Cheese 1 oz
Hot dog (pork, beef, turkey or chicken)* 1 link
Kielbasa* 2 oz
Liver, beef or chicken 1 oz
Pepperoni 1 oz
Salami 1 oz
Sausage, link or patty* 1 oz
Most Favorable:
Alfalfa sprouts 11 cups
Apple 1/2
Applesauce (unsweetened) 1/3 cup
Apricots 3
Artichoke 1 med
Artichoke hearts 1 1/2 cups
Asparagus (12 spears) 1 cup
Bamboo Shoots, cut 4 cups
Barley, dry 1/2 Tbsp
Bean Sprouts 3 cups
Beans, black 1/4 cup
Beans, green or wax 1 cup
Blackberries 3/4 cup
Blueberries 1/2 cup
Bok Choy 3 cups
Boysenberries 1/2 cup
Broccoli, raw 4 cups
Broccoli, cooked 3 cups
Brussel Sprouts 1 1/2 cups
Cabbage shredded, boiled 3 cups
Cabbage, shredded 4 cups
Cauliflower raw or cooked 3 cups
Cauliflower, pieces 3 cups
Celery, sliced 2 1/2 cups
Cherries 8 or 3/4 cup
Chickpeas 1/4 cup
Collard greens, chopped 2 cups
Cucumber 1.5
Cucumber, sliced 4 cups
Eggplant 1 1/2 cups
Endive, chopped 10 cups
Escarole, chopped 10 cups
Fruit Cocktail 1/3 cup
Grapefruit 1/2
Grapes 1/2 cup
Green or red peppers 2
Green pepper, chopped 2 cups
Honeydew melon, cubed 2/3 cup
Hummus 1/4 cup
Kale 2 cups
Kidney Beans 1/4 cup
Kiwi 1
Leeks 1 cup
Lemon 1
Lentils 1/4 cup
Lettuce, iceberg (6″ diameter) 2 heads
Lettuce, romaine chopped 10 cups
Lime 1
Mushrooms, boiled 2 cups
Mushrooms, chopped 4 cups
Nectarine, medium 1/2
Okra, sliced 1 cup
Onion, chopped 1 1/2 cup
Onions, chopped & boiled 1/2 cup
Orange 1/2
Orange, mandarin, canned 1/4 cup
Peach 1
Peach, canned 1/2 cup
Pear 1/2
Plum 1
Radishes, sliced 2 1/2 cups
Raspberries 1 cup
Salsa 1/2 cup
Sauerkraut 1 cup
Slow cooking oatmeal, cooked ** 1/3 cup
Slow cooking oatmeal, dry ** 1/2 oz
Snow peas 1 1/2 cups
Spinach chopped, cooked 3 1/2 cups
Spinach, chopped 20 cups
Strawberries 1 cup
Swiss chard, chopped 2 cups
Tangerine 1
Tomato 2
Tossed Salad 1
Turnip Greens, chopped 4 cups
Turnip mashed 1 1/2 cups
Yellow squash 2 cups
Zucchini, sliced 2 cups

Moderately Favorable:
Acorn squash 1 med
Beets, sliced 1 cup
Banana 1/3 banana
Butternut squash 1 cup
Butternut Squash, cooked 3/4 cup
Cantaloupe 1/4 melon
Cantaloupe, cubed 3/4 cup
Carrot 1 cup
Carrot, shredded 1 cup
Carrot, sliced 1 cup
Corn 1/4 cup
Lima beans 1/4 cup
Parsnips 1/4 cup
Peas 1/2 cup
Pineapple, cubed 1/2 cup
Sweet potato, baked 1/3
Sweet potato, mashed 1/5 cup
Watermelon, cubed 3/4 cup

Least Favorable: 
Apple cider 1/3 cup
Apple juice 1/3 cup
Barbecue sauce 2 tbsp.
Beer (light) 6 oz.
Beer (regular) 4 oz
Cake 1/3 slice
Candy bar 1/4
Cocktail sauce 2 Tbsp.
Cookie (small) 1
Cracker (graham) 1 1/2
Cranberry juice 1/4 cup
Distilled Spirits 1 oz
Fruit punch 1/4 cup
Grape juice 1/4 cup
Grapefruit juice 1/3 cup
Honey 1/2 Tbsp
Ice cream, regular * 1/4 cup
Jam or Jelly 2 tsp
Ketchup 2 Tbsp.
Lemonade 1/3 cup
Melba toast 1/2 oz
Millet 1/2 oz
Molasses, light 2 Tbsp
Muffin, blueberry 1/4
Noodles, egg (cooked) 1/4 cup
Orange juice 1/3 cup
Pancakes (4″) 1
Pasta, cooked 1/4 cup
Pineapple juice 1/4 cup
Pinto Beans 1/4 cup
Pita Bread Pocket 1/4
Pita bread, mini pocket 1/2
Plum sauce 1 1/2 Tbsp
Popcorn, popped 2 cups
Potato chips * 1/2 oz
Potato, baked 1/3 cup
Potato, boiled 1/3 cup
Potato, mashed 1/5 cup
Pretzels 1/2 oz
Refried beans 1/4 cup
Relish, sweet pickle 2 tsp
Rice cake 1
Rice, brown/white cooked 1/5 cup
Roll, bulky 1/4 Roll,
Hamburger 1/2 Roll,
Small dinner 1/2
Sugar, brown 2 tsp
Sugar, confectionery 1 Tbsp
Sugar, granulated 2 tsp
Syrup, pancake or maple 2 tsp
Taco shell 1
Teriyaki sauce 1 Tbsp
Tomato juice 1 cup
Tortilla chips 1/2 oz
Tortilla, corn (6″) 1
Tortilla, flour (8″) 1/2
V-8 Juice 3/4 cup
Waffle 1/2
Wine 4 oz

Most Favorable: 
Almond Butter 1/3 tsp
Almonds, slivered 1 1/2 tsp
Almonds, whole 3
Avocado 1 tbsp
Canola Oil 1/3 tsp
Guacamole 1 tbsp
Macadamia Nuts 1 nut
Olive oil 1/3 tsp
Olive oil/Vinegar dressing (1 part/2 parts) 1 Tbsp
Olives 3
Peanut butter, natural 1/2 tsp
Peanut Oil 1/3 tsp
Peanuts 6
Tahini 1/2 tsp

Moderately Favorable
Mayonnaise, light 1 tsp
Mayonnaise, regular 1/3 tsp
Sesame oil 1/2 tsp
Soybean oil 1/3 tsp
Walnuts, shelled & chopped 1 tsp

Least Favorable: 
Bacon bits (imitation) 1/3 tsp
Butter 1/3 tsp
Cream (half & half) 1/2 tsp
Cream cheese 1/3 tsp
Cream cheese, light 1 tsp
Lard 1/3 tsp
Sour cream 1/2 tsp
Sour cream, light 1 tbsp
Vegetable shortening 1/3 tsp

– See more at:

So what do you think? Do you like the Zone? Would you want to try it out? If you did, do you think you would be able to live it as a lifestyle, or do you think you’d only be able to do it as a diet?


2 comments on “Getting in the Zone

  • Very interesting! Thinking of getting my body fat retested at the BODPOD in the next few weeks. Sure wish we could make it a double date! 🙂 I am curious how many blocks I would be able to eat.. Lydia is now interested (again) in eating healthy too. I am trying really hard to have good choices around. Protein is the hardest one to provide in kid friendly ways. Carbs is the hardest one to keep OUT because so many of the choices are so quick and easy especially for kiddos. If you have any tips on making quality kid friendly proteins readily available, let me know.

    Love you!!!

    On Tue, Aug 6, 2013 at 10:07 AM, coachkatriel

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