Zone calms Crohn's symptoms
Last Updated Aug 2007
I have been following the Zone since 1997, when I stumbled upon the book "The Zone"
as a first-year undergraduate student (I am now 26 years old). At the time, I was
suffering from fairly severe Crohn's disease complications and had been for the
previous six years. Although I never had any surgeries, I spent all of adolescence
on Prednisone, immuno-suppressants, and a host of other daily prescriptions. I was
often too sick to go to school and was in pain nearly every day.
My first year of college posed a second challenge to my eating patterns and overall
health: I gained 20 pounds. Never before had I been heavy, and if anything, had
previously veered toward the "too-thin" side of the spectrum as a teenager, due to
my body's inability to absorb nutrients. Regardless, daily bowls of Lucky Charms
cereal and nightly trips to buy low-fat Hostess cupcakes from the vending machines
were not without consequence: I had increased three clothing sizes and had
noticeable cellulite for the first time of my life.
When I told my parents and doctors that I wanted to lose weight, they were very
concerned, worrying that I might be putting my health in danger by any form of
calorie restriction. They told me to simply exercise, but while exercise did
wonders for my energy levels and muscle tone, three months went by, and I hadn't
lost an ounce.
My step-mother introduced me to "The Zone" the summer after my freshman year, and I
lost weight immediately. It took a while to learn how to measure serving sizes and
read labels, but I enjoyed the challenge and embraced the proportion-calculations
like a game. I know many other people who prefer the eyeball method, but I think I
will always be a ratio calculator.
I lost 10 pounds the first summer, then stopped the diet (thinking calorie-counting
would suffice) and gained it back. The next summer, I tried the Zone again and
carried it through the next year, maintaining a 15-20 pound weight loss. I never
ate fewer than 17 blocks a day, although my protein prescription called for 14.
When I reached my goal weight, I filled in the extra calories with nuts between
meals, and ice cream every night after dinner. Every Sunday I would have a full
brunch at a restaurant, and every Monday I would continue with Zone meals, thankful
to be rid of the states of the sluggishness those Sunday feasts induced.
I have been on and off the Zone for seven years, never gaining beyond my weight
freshman year. Each time I re-embark on the Zone, I am shocked that I ever stopped
in the first place! It is such an effective plan for eating. The most miraculous
aspect of the Zone for me has been the disappearance of my Crohn's disease. By
1998, I was able to stop all my medications for Crohn's disease. By 1999, I was no
longer in daily pain. By 2000, every medical test determined that my intestines
were in great health. My daily sleep requirement went from 10 hours a night to
seven. Even my seasonal allergies went away!! Please, believe me; I am not making
this up. These changes might have been due to other factors or purely
coincidental, but I believe it was the Zone. High blood sugar seems to wreak havoc
on human bodies and immune systems.
One reason I am writing this today is to remind myself of my gratitude toward the
Zone. The last two years have been unusually difficult for me, consisting of a
death in my immediate family, beginning a demanding PhD program, moving three times
in 18 months, anxiety, depression, and living within an absurdly tight budget. The
Zone has taken back stage through all of this, even though I know its effects will
lessen my overall stress. I have gained 10 pounds, but, all things considered, I
have done quite well; my slight weight gain is nothing compared with my ability to
get through the past two years without Crohn's symptoms. (I credit this to my
adherence to low-starch ... can't say the same about the sugar department!)
Tonight, I am grocery shopping and starting the Zone in the morning, and I
encourage any/all of you to do the same! The first two-three days are tough, and
then this "click" happens. I kid you not. The hunger leaves, energy levels
stabilize, desires for caffeine dissipate ... even my mood elevates a notch or
two! Just make sure you're eating enough. And be careful, not hasty. If you
think of this as a diet and try to do it as quickly as possible, you won't be able
to stick with it in the long-haul. Good luck
to all of you!