Thoughts from our Monthly Challenge Zoners

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Your “Red Pill, Blue Pill” came right in time.  I'm starting to look at things the same way
the characters in The Road looked at the boy and his father, and thinking that
cannibalizing a side of pancakes topped with ice cream and sprinkled with
cereal is a GREAT idea. I know it’s not, but what is sometimes hard about this
(The Zone, The Kick the Sugar Challenge) is that it IS totally against the norm,
rebellious almost.  And to reference The
Matrix as well, it is like living in a separate world and knowing that I have
knowledge that others CHOOSE not to have. 
I feel horrible socially sometime though, even though everyone has been
so supportive outside of the gym. My co-workers and classmates ask about how I
feel and how it is going all the time—yet when they are sharing home-made cake,
deserts, buying coffee, or going out to lunch together…I become the one left
behind.  I'm that guy that isn't fun to
"break bread with".  Luckily I’m
entertained by my experiences at the hospital when I eat.  The "check out lady" and I have a
great game going of: look how little my meat and vegetables cost in comparison
to others "special with bread". I go to the cafeteria with nearly the
same people every day from all around the hospital, and they watch me measure
things in cups, pour things into tiny spoons, ask to have it measured, and then
cross my fingers that the weight I picked is right.  Then with a mass of food, I pay something
like $2.98.  The “Lunch Lady” says
something like “you did well again today, huh?” and the guy who just spent
$7.98 whips his head around because he hears my price and had seen the hog load
I was carrying of spinach and beef, and his facial expression is one of my
favorites: WHAT THE F$%K!!!  Sometimes
the amount of food on the Zone is unbearable to choke down, and sometimes I get
caught counting nuts and people think that my quirks have elevated to a degree
that is going to need serious therapy.  I
think the ups are how I feel, the accountability and commitment, the fight to
stay the course, and the knowledge I’ve acquired about food.  The down side is that to be the only person
in my daily life kicking it Zone style is alienating, and lonely.  It’s been over a month that I’ve drank
anything but black coffee or water, and snack time with friends has turned into
a count down for me to rejoin the “normal society”. I know I can’t go all the way back with out feeling like
crap, but damn a crunch of cake and a spoon of candy may just convince others
that I’m weird again, and not crazy.

1 more week to a cheat day, Cullen!  1 more week!

Good Morning:

So, I'm still working on this whole zone thing! But, since I'm putting
the time/effort in I just wanna make sure I'm doing this correctly!
Last night and this morning I just felt I had way too much food on my
plate, but maybe I'm just picking the right food!

This Morning my plan was to have:
Protein:  2 egg whites and 2 eggs
Carbs: 3 cups strawberry
Fat: 9 almonds

When I started cutting up the strawberries and putting them in the
measuring cup, I realized that it was going to be way too many
strawberries! So, I decided to have 2 cups strawberries and 1 cup
tomato. I don't have a scale, so I do what I can do measure produce at
the grocery store, but I also try to measure using a measuring cup as

For like a cup of tomato's is it ok to dice the tomato's and throw them in the measuring cup to measure out a cup?

You are doing great! Yes, chopping them up is how to measure that kind
of quantity. Choosing the good quality foods will definitely look like
a lot of food.

I would emcourage you to get a scale just to make things a little easier. Target should have some for not too much.
Nice work, Amanda!


The inner snake and I are ONE.  And it feels awful.
I was able to hold out for this


And this


But not for this.

And now I feel like this

Last night, after being as good as it gets while visiting family, the peanut-butter + freshly-baked-choco-chip-cookies won.  I had read the blogs about burpees before cookies (I haven’t exercised one muscle except my ass on the chair this week), read Lisa’s post about how badly she felt after indulging, and was pretty durn proud of the extent to which I HAD held out.  Not perfect by any stretch, but enough to feel good about.
It’s physical.  The smell, the sight of those cookies were too much to overcome.  I had about half of the bag smothered with chunky Jif peanut butter.  And IT TASTED GREAT!
But it’s 3am, only hours after the snarf, and I already the nastiness starting to creep in.  Now it’s the next day. It’s extremely yuck.  Emotionally I’m fine.  This is purely physical yuck.
Maybe one binge day a month is a good thing.  Maybe there is a way to get a balance where it’s not “all or nothing”.  I don’t’ know.  But when I land tonight back in AZ, it’s on to phase two.  Correct food combinations, purchasing the food scale, focused shopping, and remembering why I don’t keep any of the goodies in the house.
 I’m a recovering sugar addict.
Eileen, you HAVE won.  You fought well and made great gains this past month in your efforts, discovering how you feel off the sugar and when you actually eat it again.  That was a really good lesson and good to know how yucky it makes you feel.  It IS a drug!  Now just get back on the wagon, come home, and hit it hard again!  No, it isn't all or nothing, but the effort of trying for that is a good place to start, and then a cheat day here and there rewards you, allows you to relax mentally, and helps you reset your goals.  You have done great!  Really stick with 2 weeks now with being diligent in balancing good quality foods, and know you can have a cheat day after 2 weeks.


Hi Lisa!
Here's a couple recipes I found that are easy and taste great. I ate
whatever I wanted on that ski trip-MISTAKE!! After being so diligent
last month I have to admit I felt like I was churning glass in my
stomach, my head was going to explode and I was going to blow chunks on
the ski hill. I was getting plenty of exercise too. I think a little
treat once in a while is great and it keeps you going with a smile but
I way over did it and am glad to be back on track!!
I had to cut and paste these; I hope that works okay for you. Ali.


  • 2 cups plain, nonfat yogurt (2C, 2P)
  • 2 cups nonfat cottage cheese (8P)
  • 4 oz. old fashion oats, uncooked (8C)
  • 4 tablespoons silvered almonds (4F)


  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Allspice to taste


·         Blend together, refrigerate overnight (this softens the oats).

Remark: 4 servings, 3 blocks each (serving size is 1 cup)

Veggie pancakes

  • 2 cups cooked spaghetti squash or 3 grated and peeled raw broccoli stems [2C]
  • 1/4 cup onion, minced [1/4C]
  • 4 large egg whites, beaten [2P]
  • 1 tsp. salt (optional)
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon oat bran [3/4C]
  • 6 medium pecan halves; chopped [3F]
  • 2 strips vegetarian bacon or 3-1/2 oz turkey bacon [1P]


·         Beat egg whites. Add remaining ingredients except bacon.

·         Spray skillet with cooking spray and place over medium heat.

·         Add batter to skillet with large spoon, shaping into patties. Fry bacon separately.

·         Serve pancakes topped with 0 calorie maple flavored syrup with bacon on the side.

·         To make a 4-block meal add 2 pecan halves, 2 more strips of bacon, and top pancakes with 1/3 cup applesauce.

This is GOOD you guys!  I think it is positive reinforcement that you all went so hard on cutting out the sugar, and then you had a binge and felt terrible.  Now you are ready to commit to the next step.  Thank you for the recipes, Ali.  It helps to know what others are going through, that you aren't alone in your victories and struggles, and the struggles aren't defeats.  It's when you don't get back up, dust yourself off, and get back to it that it's a defeat.  You're only ever one meal away from doing better again.

Sharing recipes helps break up the feeling of stagnant meals.  Share more, everyone!!


  1. Cullen, I completely understand you’re thought of living in a different world! I try to go to social gatherings and only drink water and count how many nuts I grabbed and people look at me like what the hell is her problem! It’s actually pretty amusing! My biggest challenge will come this Thursday when I go see a movie at Harkins! This will be the first time ever I will not have popcorn or a large Pepsi to wash down the buttery, salty, fantastic popcorn!! Wish me luck, I will need lots of will power!! 🙂

  2. Thanks for the love, Flagstaff! For those of you in the middle of a Zone Challenge, congratulations and keep up the hard work. And I saw Tucker with one of your t-shirts last weekend… bad-ass. where do I get me one of those? 😉

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