I have been doing a lot of on-line researching and reading of these reviews regarding the Zone "diet" plan. I have only spent a couple weeks in and out of the Zone (I love pasta, so I'm getting the rest of it out of the house so I can do a real "sample" after it and the temptation is gone). But during the day, at work and school, I've never felt better. It's at night I crash after eating my pasta and very little protien.
I don't know how much of the cravings for food at that point is psychological, which the Zone books never mention. They say that you control your hormones, you control your cravings. It's not as simple as that...there are lots of people who are body dismorphic and eat for reasons other than their brain pinging them because they're hungry. Perhaps I'll make my millions writing a follow-up book, but I digress...
However, after reading every review for "Enter the Zone" (which I believe is just the same as "Mastering the Zone", the latter of which I did buy, which I believe has more practical advice on how to make things work than the theory in "Enter...") I am fairly convinced that all but two of the negative reviews are from people who either didn't read the book, didn't get what was written, or they were simply stating that they didn't want to live this way. Two reviews make me wonder. One speaks to the shoddiness of his research reporting -- which I agree upon, but maybe it's glossed because the reading public can't handle reading that boring stuff. The other is about the Zone being a low-calorie diet and that being the only reason you lose weight on it, makes me wonder. It wasn't the "a calorie is a calorie is a calorie" review...sure, a calorie is a calorie, but insulin, different macronutrients and so forth are not the same, so I disagree with that reviewer. But the idea that this only works as a low-calorie diet...I'm not sure....I am eating more bulk with not a lot less calories than I was before. So I'm still willing to give it a shot.
Basically, this is a nutritional plan for a lifelong change that includes food in moderation. I also don't see in the Zone books that they are so facist that they don't recognize that "stuff happens" and people will get off the Zone with some meals, but you can always go back with the next. Unfortunately people are too often "all or nothing" fanatics who don't realize that we aren't perfect machines and sometimes our psyche requires something our body doesn't. They look at the Zone and think that if you're not fanatical, it won't happen at all. After thinking about it, the Zone is really rather stress-free and forgiving...it's really how much discipline to be conscious about your food and activity that should be watched out for. You mess up, you can always be conscious the next meal. And with time comes the habit, in my opinion.
I will remain skeptical, but that's me. I can't be otherwise until I've given it a shot. I used to be 350# grossly obese, and after a year of getting more active and eating in moderation before, I came down to 225#. I still have oversized love handles, and I want to tighten that up and lose the rest of the pounds, but the last year or so has been stressful and I have only been hovering and gained a couple pounds back. So we'll see if the Zone leaves me with more energy I had before and convinces ME to be more conscious of my food choice.
I would recommend, finally, not to buy more than one of the books (probably "Mastering") as they all appear to be saying the same thing. It's just not money conscious. Or if you do, buy them used. Barry Sears has turned into a marketing empire, and I think the message gets lost somewhere in there. Most of the information is on his website, as well, so buy one book and just look at the website.