The Balance Method
If you’ve taken a look at the two methods described above and you’re still on the fence about which one to choose to get started on your quest to a healthier you, take a look at The Balance Method. This method is a mixture of concepts from the Paleo and The Zone Diet ® methods and it just may be the choice for you. The major focus of this meal plan is portioning and timing. The Balance Method is an ideal way to eat for those of you who plan to exercise regularly. This method incorporates some measuring, pre-preparation of meals, flexibility in food options and some commitment.
For starters, The Balance Method breaks down your foods into the following categories:
You may be wondering why there are both carbohydrate sources and vegetable sources. Aren’t vegetables considered to be carbohydrates? Yes, they are. But in this method we separate vegetable sources from dense, complex carbohydrate sources such as rice, breads, pasta and the like. So rejoice! You actually get to eat grain products when using this method. Here’s how the Balance Method works.
Your day’s food intake will be broken down into Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner with a snack period after each meal. So your rotation would be: Breakfast, Snack, Lunch, Snack, Dinner, Snack. Pretty simple, right? Each meal (breakfast, lunch and dinner) will be comprised of 1 part protein, 1 part vegetable and 1 part carbohydrate. Each snack will be comprised of 1 protein and 1 vegetable. Here is what a sample day would look like.
BREAKFAST (7 AM):
1 cup egg whites
3 cups of a bell pepper/onion/mushroom mixture
¾ cup of oat meal
SNACK 1 (10 AM):
½ cup of Nonfat Cottage Cheese
1 sliced cucumber
1 cup of canned tuna with lemon juice and 1 tsp of olive oil
2-3 cups of chopped celery, carrots, pickles, onions, kale, lettuce
1 slice of sprouted grain whole wheat bread
SNACK 2 (3 PM):
Protein shake with carrots, kale, 1 cup of almond milk
DINNER (6 PM):
6-8 ounces of lean ground turkey
Sauteed mixture of onions, zucchini, spinach, asparagus
½ medium-sized baked potato with 1 tsp of grass fed butter, sea salt and pepper
SNACK 3 (9 PM):
½ cup of nonfat Greek yogurt
1 cup of sliced strawberries
Not too bad, right? You don’t have to stick to my example times above. Work this plan into your own schedule. Just remember to eat every 2-3 hours. By eating smaller meals more often throughout the day, your body has a chance to absorb only what it needs. It won’t store as much (if any) as excess fat. This plan, like the others, will jump-start your metabolism and transform your body from a fat-builder to a fat-burner! Your machine will learn to run smoothly and efficiently, just how it was designed.
PORTIONING WITH THE BALANCE METHOD:
Portioning with this method will be slightly different than the other methods. Because you are being more regimented and eating every 2-3 hours, your portions will be a bit smaller (excluding vegetables).
- PORTIONING PROTEINS: Sizes will be about 6-8 ounces.
- PORTIONING VEGETABLES: No worries here, eat as much as you’d like.
- PORTIONING CARBOHYDRATES: Be careful here! Breads are no more than 1 slice. Wheat pasta, brown rice, quinoa, couscous, oatmeal, etc. are no more than ¾ cup. Fruits, which are also in this category are 1 – 1 ½ cup. Sweet or Red potatoes are only 4-6 ounces.
IF YOU ARE STILL HUNGRY AFTER A MEAL: If you find yourself hungry after any meal, fill the void with vegetables. Any choices from the vegetable list are considered “free” in any of these plans. So if you are hungry after lunch (before your snack), add leftover veggies to your plate and eat until you are no longer hungry.
WHAT IF YOU STAY UP LATE? If you are like me, you wait for the kids to go to bed and then you start a gaming session. If you stay up late into the night and you get hungry well past your last snack period, just repeat another snack period. But be sure to avoid any complex carbohydrates right before bed.
PRO-TIP: Invest in a large, reusable container for your water. The more you carry your water source around, the more accustomed you will get to drinking it!
The key to this plan is to not miss any meals. Remember, you are eating less portions per meal/snack as compared to the other plans, so if you miss a meal, you will definitely feel it quickly. You risk developing a case of the “hangries” which is a combination of hunger and anger. Those around you may need to defend themselves. So be prepared for that next meal!
A Closing Note on Choosing Your Method:
I sincerely hope that one of these three plans will strike a chord with you. I wish I could give you 10 more choices, but these are the plans that I have succeeded with over the years. They really do work! You just have to flip that switch in your mind. You must make the conscious choice to COMMIT to a plan and be CONSISTENT in its execution. As I said earlier in the guide, if you don’t like one of these plans, go find one that works for you! You may not agree with the concepts of a diet without grains or dairy. It’s perfectly fine! I want you to make the choice on your own. In no way are these plans the only ones out there. But I will say this, don’t stray too far from the basic concepts I’ve tried to teach you with these plans. Here are some Easter eggs to remember when it comes to finding a food plan that works for you.
Commit to whatever plan you choose.