Friday, January 21, 2011

The "Zig-zag" Diet Plan

This isn't a new diet "per say" but it is new to me.  It goes by other names as well -----  

I first heard about it being referred to as  the "Calorie Shifting" diet plan.  Then I found it referred to as the "Calorie Cycling" diet plan... but I prefer the last reference I found it labeled under:  "The Zig-Zag Diet".  This diet plan interests me for many reasons:

1.  It recommends you eat many small meals a day, which is becoming a very popular and scientifically supported and productive dieting tip.

2.  It gives you "cheat days" where you can indulge, within reason, so you don't feel deprived.

3.  It is balanced, no food is banned, but common sense is stressed, so you can eat the foods you want, you just need to factor them in at the right time, and on the right days.

Here are the basics:

The 1-2-3 rule, when following the diet plan:

In each of your meals, approximately 1 part of the calories should come from fats, 2 parts from protein and 3 parts from carbohydrates. 

This is a guideline, not a hard-and-fast law. Just keep your fat intake down to a low level but do not eliminate fat completely, as some fat is essential for maintaining good health, but make wise choices like olive oil; sesame oil; or coconut oil.

Consume enough protein and carbohydrates in comparison to your energy output.  Carbs are your body's preferred energy fuel source.  Remember that protein and carbohydrates both have 4 calories per gram, while fat has 9 calories per gram.  Choose smart carbs like whole grains and try to limit your white flour/white sugar intake. 

Next, you will  need to discover how many calories you will need to consume each day, times that number by 7 (your weekly caloric intake number) and chart out your eating plan.
Here is a link to a BMI calculator, that will help you determine how many calories you need to consume each day:  Calorie Calculator

On a busy day, I could eat 1900 calories to maintain the weight I'm at now.  On a relaxed day, I should only eat around 1750 calories, to maintain the weight I'm at now.  But, I want to lose weight (a lot of weight!)  And since 1 pound of body fat is equal to approximately 500 calories, I will need to shave 2000 calories out of my weekly menu to lose 2 lbs. of weight each week.  

So, by "shifting" or "cycling" my calories in a "Zig-zag" pattern, my body is not able to predict how many calories I'm going to be eating on any given day or week, thus, the theory is, it won't go into starvation mode, nor will it become stalled out on a plateau of normalcy.  

A Zig-zag week for me might look something like this:

I calculated how many calories I can eat a day to be 1850 calories; times that by 7 =  13,000

So my week might look like this:

Monday:  1750
Tuesday:  2000
Wednesday: 1750
Thursday:  1750
Friday:  1800

Which leaves me with 3800 calories to split; and because it's a weekend, I can choose to go a bit heavy on Saturday, if I have a date night planned with my husband.  Or, if I have a pot-luck after church on Sunday scheduled on my calendar, I would probably choose to use my heavy calorie day there instead.

So, you can be flexible, and here is what my weekend might look like:

Saturday:  1800
Sunday:  2150

The key is to keep your metabolism "guessing" and don't let it get complacent in it's expectations of how many calories you will be eating on any given day --- switch it up!

Don't allow your weeks to remain the same either, little switches is all it takes!

Zig and then zag!

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