Do you often feel that your tummy is bloated even though you are eating a low calorie meal plan and working out? What if I told you that you can eat lots of yummy food and cut out the hours of crunches and cardio yet still obtain the best set of tight abs you've ever owned? You can!
The Secret to Owning a Nice Flat Tummy!
Have you heard the saying "Abs are made in the kitchen"? Most likely you have. Guess what - It's true! Changing what you eat to clean, fresh, and whole foods will give you that tight tummy you've been dreaming of!
Processed foods are full of toxins and chemicals that make us feel bloated and keep us from reaching our fitness goals. I won't go into the details of this here. Odds are, you already know this - you just need the motivation to make a change!
Obtaining a beautiful tight tummy is 80% food and 20% workout. It really is that simple. Cut the garbage out of your meal plans, eat fresh whole foods in their most pure forms, and you will finally obtain that perfect belly you've been striving for!
This challenge is not hard. It just takes a little planning. You'll journal what you eat, you'll eat lots of fresh foods, you'll stick to a reasonable amount of calories per day, you'll be allowed treats, and you can eat any time of day you want!
- You can start this Challenge at any time! There's no better time than the present so why not get started now?
- Go take a picture of yourself! Take a picture of yourself in a sports bra and shorts (guys - just shorts will do :->).
- Figure out how many calories you need per day. Use this calorie calculator. The number you get is the number of calories you need to MAINTAIN your current weight. To lose weight you need to reduce your daily intake by 250 - 500 calories per day. Never go below 1200 calories per day! Especially if you are working out!
- Stick to a meal plan that consists of 1/2 veggies & fruits, 1/4 lean protein, and 1/4 grains. I'll provide a weekly meal plan to guide you. Here's the first week's meal and workout plan. Don't feel that you must stick to the meal plan I provide. There is info on building your own meal plan at the end of this post. The gist of this challenge is to eat lots of fruits, veggies, and lean protein from meat and beans. Get your carbs from fruits, veggies, beans, and treats you bake at home without added sugar or flour (I'll make suggestions and provide recipes in the meal plan). Be very aware of the amount of calories you are getting from non-fruit, veggie, and lean protein foods. You do not want more than 10-20% of your daily calories to come from treats...even if they are healthy treats. Remember...FRUITS, VEGGIES, LEAN PROTEIN!
- Track your meals. Here's the tracking template.
- Timing of meals does not matter! It doesn't matter what time you eat or how often you eat as long as you stick to your daily calorie allowance. I know, I know, everywhere you look you are being told to eat breakfast, eat every 2-3 hours, and not eat after 7pm. Then everywhere else you look you are being told to skip breakfast, fast all day, and eat all of your calories within an 8 hour period. I have done almost every variation of every meal planning/timing out there and I'm here to tell you - it doesn't matter! Eat the right foods whenever you want...whatever works for your schedule and forget about the rest of it.
- Workout. The weekly meal plan also includes a list of ab exercises to do each day. For a demo of the ab exercises click here. If you are currently working out please continue your workouts and add these ab exercises. If you are not currently working out please check out the Newbie's Workout Suggestions and do them plus the ab exercises I provide each week.
- A word about TREATS - I do believe all things are OK in moderation. For this challenge I want you to eat clean, unprocessed foods 90% of the time. The other 10% of the time can be treats of your choice. You can use those calories however you want but you do have to count those calories so use them wisely! Here's an example:
- Daily allowance = 1500 calories
- 10% of one day's calories = 150 calories
- So, if you choose to have a 300 calorie piece of cake that is 2 day's worth of your 10% of treat calories. Go ahead and write down 150 calories on two days of your meal plan as if you have already had those calories. I don't encourage doing this because you are reducing your allowed calories on days that you haven't even gotten to yet. In my experience this is a recipe for disaster. However, you may be different - it may work perfectly for you. Try it. If you are miserable on the days that you have reduced calories then don't do it again.
- Only 4 Weeks! Remember - this challenge is for only 4 weeks! You can do it!
- Water - Drink at least 8-8oz glasses of water per day.
- Cut fried foods.
- Cut all processed/packaged foods such as energy bars, cereal, chips, crackers, etc.
- Cut white flour.
- Cut sugar.
- Cut most alcohol. The challenge will be most effective if you cut all alcohol but if you must have a drink only allow yourself a couple of drinks per week. When you do have a drink you MUST count those calories toward your daily calorie allowance. Alcohol is a major contributor to bloating so you can see how it would be counter productive to drink while doing the challenge.
- Eat Fresh! Try to eat as many fresh, non-canned & unfrozen fruits & veggies as possible. I know life can get in the way and occasionally a can or a frozen bag of beans will just have to do. That's ok! Don't stress over the little things :->
If you Want to Build Your Own Meal Plans:
- If you want to make your own meal plans print this planning template and this actual template for planning and tracking your meals.
- Click here for a list of foods to focus on.
- Here's also a quick link to my recipes. Remember to pick items that are as unprocessed as possible. You'll notice there are processed items on the lists. That's because I believe things are OK in moderation. For this challenge however, try not to pick processed items.
Some of my FAVs:
Will you try this challenge? Tell me what you think of it! Let me know how it worked for you! Comment, comment, comment!