By Mary Perry, Zone Director of Clinical Trials

8 Ways to get Healthier

Spring will be here before you know it. Now is the time to begin shedding that winter weight. We’d like to help get you there, and stay there.

Here are 8 things you can do right now that will result in big health gains, with the least amount of effort on your part:

  1. Get Your Zzzzzz’s: Set the DVR, put the technology aside, and aim for 7-8 hours of sleep a night.  Sleep deprivation can increase risk for numerous diseases, fuel our desire to eat, decrease our cognitive function, and lead to moodiness and negativity.
  2. Stay Hydrated: Water is critical to regulating our body temperature.  Often we confuse hunger for thirst.  Try and start each meal with a glass of water or sugar-free beverage.  Not only is this a good reminder to drink, it may curb how much you take in at that meal too.
  3. Avoid Skipping Meals: Always eat a meal or snack within an hour of waking and never go more than 4-6 hours without having something.  This is the best way to keep your hormones balanced while keeping your willpower in check. By the way, Zone Nutrition Bars can keep you satisfied for 3 hours as a morning snack, and Zone PastaRx can make a great meal that will curb hunger for 5 hours.
  4. Follow the Rule of Three: At each meal, make sure your plate contains lean protein, lots of colorful fruits and vegetables, and heart-healthy fats.
  5. Eat-Out Less Often: Eating out can easily bring with it some unwanted calories and often times we lose sight of just how much we rely on foods outside of the house for our daily routine.  By curbing some of your eating out behaviors, not only will you help your waistline, but your wallet will thank you too.
  6. Keep Sugar and Caffeinated Beverages in Check: While nationally our consumption of soft drinks may be on the decline, we are still a heavily caffeinated society.  Who can resist the flavored lattes with whipped cream, the café mochas, icy cold colas or the frozen drinks?  With every season having its signature drink, it can quickly pack on the pounds. Try and use skinnier alternatives if possible like low-fat milk, avoid the whipped toppings, or skip the flavored drinks all together.  If drinking coffee or tea, try and keep your caffeinated cup to the morning and switch to non-caffeinated versions as the day goes on.  You’ll actually find that by decreasing your caffeine and sugar intake you’ll have more energy throughout the day as you’ll minimize the highs and lows the drinks trigger.
  7. Keep Your Supplements to the Essentials: Although a multi-vitamin is a good insurance policy for a diet that is lacking, the studies aren’t quite there to support its benefits.  We suggest focusing on “The Rule of Three” (number 4 above) and then supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids and polyphenols to reap all the anti-inflammatory benefits you can from your diet and supplementation regimen.
  8. Move More: Dance, Jump, Walk…. Find something that motivates you and aim for 30 minutes a day, whether it’s all the same time or broken up through the day.

No matter your goals: weight loss, wellness or performance, we want to help you with your journey.

Have other tips that you’d like to share with Zone readers? Let us know in the comments below!


  1. Ellen McArdle

    I’m having a problem trying to get my total protein requirement number. According to this web site, I need 77 g of protein a day. My calculations, using The Zone book comes out to 58 g a day. My LBM is 96 and I am multiplying by 0.6 for light activity, which gives me 57.6. is this correct? What am I missing??….and which do I use?

  2. Gaylene den Otter

    After posting my previous comment, I searched and found an app that records Carbohydrates in a way that is much closer to Zone food blocks calculations than the previous app I had been using. As well as total Carbs, it also calculates and records net Carbs. The app is called Carb Manager.

  3. Evelyn Roanhorse

    I agree with previous comment about the need for a Zone Food Journal. I’ve tried to use other food diet journals but it has never worked for me. I called the Zone 800 # about this a couple of years ago and talked with a Paul . I seriously think true Zone followers would buy it – I know I would. Thanks you for all your guidance on healthy living.

    • Dr. Sears

      Evelyn & Gaylene – We agree that there could be benefit to a digital journal, whether an app or an online tool. In the meantime, we do have a paper journal tool that Zoners can print out and use at home. It is accessible here. In the meantime, we will examine the feasibility of digitizing this. Thanks for the input, both.


    I am wondering if you have considered creating an app for tracking food and exercise in The Zone. Right now I am using a Diet tracking app, but find that the nutritional information does not always reflect The Zone concepts. For example, Protein is included in the Vegetable nutrition information and Carbohydrate numbers are high due to grams of Fiber being included. Therefore it is difficult to determine actual Zone Blocks and to see accurate Protein, Carb and Fat counts by looking at the overall nutrition numbers for a meal or for the entire day.

  5. Sharon Jay

    Dr. Sears & Staff: Thanks for this info – it is great to hear from you more often! Please keep these very helpful messages coming. thanks. S.Jay/Atlantic Highlands NJ

  6. Betsy Buchanan

    You keep talking about inflammation. What is that, exactly? Body fat and weight gain (due I think to insulin)? I eat right most of the time and at age 83 I weigh about 10 pounds more than in my early 20’s. Clothes don’t fit and I am ashamed of my body.

    • Dr. Sears

      Think of low-level chronic inflammation to be like a computer virus. It disrupts hormonal signaling (the software) so that hardware (the body) doesn’t work very effectively. The reason we gain weight is because we are hungrier as I explained in my book Toxic Fat. The inflammation in the hypothalamus disrupts the signaling pathways so that satiety signals are attenuated resulting in greater hunger. This is compounded by insulin resistance (also caused by low-level chronic inflammation) that makes it more difficult for insulin to reduce blood glucose levels forcing the pancreas to make more insulin that drives the excess calories due to increased hunger into fat cells where they are trapped from leaving. This is the Fat Trap I described in Toxic Fat. Insulin resistance is only one of thousands of hormonal examples in which inflammation disrupts hormonal signaling.

  7. Maggie Ringsred

    About 12 weeks ago, my Creator and I had a little talk. It was in the midst of me laying down to go to sleep and feeling physically awful. I could feel the irregular heart beats, even a sluggish, swollenness all over my body and other scary things going on in the region of my heart. God just asked me, point blank, “Do you want to live, or do you want to die?” I understood what he was talking about; I understood at 5’6″ and 285, slugging down a 750-calorie Double Gulp of Coca Cola everyday from 7 Eleven was not a positive habit. I told him “Yes, I want to live.” He told me “Then knock it off.” I did. I have lost 23 pounds; I can walk the 3/4 mile to the church; my sleep is getting better; I’m not running around then crashing all the time; my anger outbursts are down to nearly nothing and I can breathe better. And it’s just the beginning.

    Now, much of the crazy food cravings are gone; now I can eat a Zone meal or snack and not keep thinking about food; now I feel clear-headed, not fuzzy-minded.

    I just can’t believe how much better I feel and I just can’t believe how much irrational eating that one behavior was causing. Yea for Barry Sears and the Zone for helping me walk away from destruction and premature death at 58. Thank you God! Thank you Dr. Sears! And his vital workers, including Dave Schreck!


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