Abs Diet Guide By Mens Health

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Let the Dinner Bell Ring
Most diets are all about what foods you'll cut out. This one is all about what you'll include. And that's good news, because if you want to emerge on the other side of this plan with a new body, you must have the flexibility and freedom to keep yourself from getting hungry, and the knowledge that you can eat well no matter what.

So let's get right to it, because eating more of the right foods more often is the basis of the Abs Diet. Remember:

MORE FOOD = MORE MUSCLE = LESS FLAB

That's why the Abs Diet isn't a diet you'll feel you "have to" stick to. It's one you'll want to stick to.

See, I've talked to lots of men who've tried diets, and many of them describe trying to stick to a strict diet plan as sort of like standing waist-deep in the ocean and being pummeled by one wave after another. Those waves come in the form of doughnuts the boss brought in, the office vending machine you're stuck with when the boss makes you work late, and the happy hour to celebrate the firing of the boss who gave you all those doughnuts and late vending machine nights.

When you're staring at a wave that's clearly bigger than you, you have three choices. You could run back to shore or try to jump over it, but those options will leave you with a suit full of sand. But if you dive through the wave head-on, you'll emerge unscathed. Same with a diet. You can try to run away by avoiding restaurants, parties, weddings, or anyplace that's likely to tempt you with nachos grande. You can also try to take the high road, but ordering a salad and water after a softball game hardly feels right. If you want a diet to work -- if you want to emerge on the other side of this plan with a new body -- your only choice is to have the flexibility and freedom to keep yourself from getting hungry and the knowledge that you can eat well no matter what.

You're about to dive into the Abs Diet.

GUIDELINE 1 - Eat Six Meals a Day
We're so used to hearing people talk about eating less food that it's become weight-loss doctrine. But as you remember from the physiology of metabolism, you have to eat more often to change your body composition. The new philosophy I want you to keep in mind is "energy balance."

Researchers at Georgia State University developed a technique to measure hourly energy balance -- that is, how many calories you're burning versus how many calories you're taking in. The researchers found that if you keep your hourly surplus or deficit within 300 to 500 calories at all times, you will best be able to change your body composition by losing fat and adding lean muscle mass. Those subjects with the largest energy imbalances (those who were over 500 calories in either ingestion or expenditure) were the fattest, while those with the most balanced energy levels were the leanest.

So if you eat only your three squares a day, you're creating terrific imbalances in your energy levels. Between meals, you're burning many more calories than you're taking in. At mealtimes, you're taking in many more than you're burning. Research shows that this kind of eating plan is great -- if your dream is to be the next John Candy. But if you want to look slimmer, feel fitter, and -- not coincidentally -- live longer, then you need to eat more often. In the same study, subjects who added three snacks a day to three regular meals balanced out their energy better, lost fat, and increased lean body mass (as well as increased their power and endurance).

In a similar study, researchers in Japan found that boxers who ate the same amount of calories a day from either two or six meals both lost an average of 11 pounds in 2 weeks. But the guys who ate six meals a day lost 3 pounds more fat and 3 pounds less muscle than the ones who ate only two meals.

There's science to support the fact that more meals work, but the plain-speak reason it works is because it does something that many diets don't do: It keeps you full and satiated, which will reduce the likelihood of a diet-destroying binge.

How it works: For scheduling purposes, alternate your larger meals with smaller snacks. Eat two of your snacks roughly 2 hours before lunch and dinner, and one snack roughly 2 hours after dinner.

Sample time schedule:

8 a.m.: breakfast

11 a.m.: snack

1 p.m.: lunch

4 p.m.: snack

6 p.m.: dinner

8 p.m.: snack

For a complete 7-day meal plan, click here. It's not something you need to stick to religiously, just a suggestion for how you can make the Abs Diet work for you. It also shows

how to incorporate the recipes into your everyday life.

GUIDELINE 2 - Make These 12 Abs Diet Powerfoods the Staples of Your Diet
The Abs Diet will teach you to focus on (not restrict yourself to) a handful of food types -- the Abs Diet Power 12 -- to fulfill your core nutritional needs. These foods are all good for you. They're so good, in fact, that they'll just about single-handedly exchange your fat for muscle (provided you've kept your receipt). Just as important, I've designed the Power 12 to include literally thousands of food combinations. There are hundreds of dairy products, fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and other choices to satisfy your tastes. Incorporating these Powerfoods into your six meals a day will satiate your tastes and cravings and keep you from feasting on the dangerous fat promoters in your diet.

For now, I just want you to remember:

Almonds and other nuts

Beans and legumes

Spinach and other green vegetables

Dairy (fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt, cheese)

Instant oatmeal (unsweetened, unflavored)

Eggs

Turkey and other lean meats

Peanut butter

Olive oil

Whole-grain breads and cereals

Extra-protein (whey) powder

Raspberries and other berries

12!

Go on to the next page to find out why you should drink smoothies regularly...

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