Avoid the “Danger Zone”

The popular 80’s movie, Top Gun featured a heart pumping song by Kenny Loggins: Danger Zone. “Ride into the Danger Zone;” and the image of 4 naval officers in a heated volleyball game seems to be the perfect setting for fitness. My danger zone is a bit different and focuses more on food.

I have been working on my diet and my eating habits forever; my diet is my white whale. As I battle to keep the diet from reverting back to my college days, I have observed some interesting occurences. I have several zones starting fwith my first meal in the morning.

After breakfast, an internal clock begins ticking and sometime in between 2 and 2 1/2 hours later the clock stops: I need to eat; this is my “meal zone.” If I eat, the internal clock reboots and I am fine for another 2(1/2) hours. This process repeats itself until I go to sleep at the end of the night. If everything goes correctly, I eat between 6 and 7 times a day.

The problems with my diet almost always are associated with me ignoring this “meal zone.” If I don’t eat and wait another hour, I enter a zone I refer to as the “uh oh zone.” If I am in this zone, the meal that I planned out for myself will not satiate me and I will be hungry following my meal. This leads me to eat over my calories and will cause a mild domino effect where all of my following meals are slightly off. Typically I can correct this issue by ingesting some type of protein powder, or if I am really off my calories, a MRP, (Lean Body).

If I go longer than 3 hours, and head into the 4th hour without eating, I leave the “uh oh zone” and enter the dreaded, “danger zone.” In this zone, I become a bear emerging from hibernation. I will eat ANYTHING and LOTS OF IT. All bets are off, if there are chips, they will be completely consumed, burgers? Gobbled up. Any thoughts of staying with my eating program are thrown out as I will eat whatever I can grab. When the dust crumbs settle, two things have happened: obviously the first is that I my calories are blown out completely. I can (and unfortunately have) consume(d) all my daily calories in this single “meal.” The second is that I will not be hungry for hours, which will destroy my meal plans for the entire rest of the day.

I have become a bit better at establishing a battle plan to avoid my danger zone. I eat before trips, I take snacks with me, and I pack at least 3 meals for myself for work. My advice, (for what its worth) recognize what triggers you to overeat, or cheat, and devise a plan to stay out of your danger zone.