You want to build and maintain a six pack? Eat as nature intended

If you think that in order to expose the abdominal muscles it is necessary to introduce an extremely low-calorie diet based on mung bean sprouts, rice wafers and spring water... you are wrong. In order for your body to reach for fat reserves located within your abdomen you need to take away some calories, but remember that through fasting you lose not so much fat as muscle.

If your goal is small but the flaccid belly and anemic posture, of course nothing prevents you from starving yourself. However, if you want not only to reduce the waist but also to show your abdominal muscles, you need to eat - and eat specifically.

What not to eat

The first thing you should do is to eliminate all the junk from your diet. The further your food is from its natural prototype, the less desirable it is for your diet. For example, if you buy eggs from free-range hens, you buy an unprocessed natural product. But if you buy chips, you should bear it in mind that they are light years from their from the original form, that is a potato. Sweet drinks, fruit juices, confectionery and fast food should be ultimately eliminated. Give yourself time, though, and modify the menu gradually. Within four weeks you need to clean up the diet from excessive ballast which hinders fat burning.

What to eat

So ultimately your diet should consist of fresh meat, sea fish, eggs, virgin oils such as olive oil (but never: sunflower, soybean, corn and grape seeds), nuts (preferably hazelnuts and almonds), good quality butter, vegetables and fruits. Cereal (preferably rice and cereal) and fermented milk products should be an addition to your diet. Thanks to this approach you will make your diet similar to the one of your ancestors who didn't know the problem of large belly and enjoyed incomparably better condition and health than modern people.

Fry? Bake? Boil?

Foods that can be eaten raw (dairy products, fruits, nuts, oils and butter, and some vegetables) should be eaten raw, while meat and vegetables such as potatoes, for obvious reasons need to be heat treated. However, undesirable is long-frying, and what is preferred is steam cooking, simmering, roasting and possibly grilling. However, it will be nothing wrong if you fry scrambled eggs from time to time.

How to compose a meal

Each meal should provide a portion of vegetables, proteins: for example meat or eggs, and fat in the form of olive oil, nuts, butter. Drastically reduced should be carbohydrates, and it is best to consume them only 2 hours after exercise and not more than 100 g per day, or as much as a bag of rice with a glass of plain yogurt or ¾ kg of potatoes. In other times of the day carbohydrates should only come from low-starchy vegetables.

You do not have to count calories because through the careful selection of food your craving will be significantly reduced. Try, however, never to overeat; you should leave the table only 80 per cent full.

After reading the first part of the article you already know which products to choose from, which to avoid and how to prepare and compose meals. This time I will pay more attention to how to plan meals during a day in order to support your struggle with the extra kilogrammes localised around the waist. This will regulate and support work of important hormones.

How to plan your meals during the day

First of all, I would like to suggest a regulation of a daily food intake cycle. It should be no fewer than four, but no more than six meals. If you can only have three meals a day, it's also not a big problem, although it may be more difficult for you to control the emerging appetite between meals. It is a good idea to have a permanent timing of eating: breakfast should be eaten half an hour after waking up, and dinner about two hours before bedtime. Also note that within 45 minutes after the end of your training you should have carbohydrates and protein meal.

Breakfast: an important part of your diet routine

The first meal of the day should definitely contain protein (a portion of meat or eggs, fish, dairy products), supplemented with a certain amount of fat and fibre (for example a handful of nuts and a cup of vegetables). Studies show that protein breakfasts reduce appetite later in the day. It also positively affects the level of important hormones involved in the energy management of your body (insulin and leptin) and the sensitivity of peripheral tissues to their activity. After some time this will lead to "adjusting" your metabolism.

Lunch: light and enjoyable

If your dinner falls on late afternoon then another meal before it is essential. However, if you have the opportunity to enjoy lunch earlier, at around noon, then snacking between it and breakfast may be either optional or can be reduced to just a fruit. Personally, I suggest taking a pack of walnuts or almonds to work or school and crunching about 40-50 g during a break. You can make it up with  vegetable juice or natural yoghurt. Such balanced lunch will satisfy hunger, provide a good dose of healthy fats, magnesium, calcium, B vitamins, fibre and antioxidants.

Dinner: a post-workout feast

If a dinner is a pre-training meal or eaten in days off training, it should consist primarily of good sources of protein, such as baked or steam cooked sea fish or serving of beef, pork or poultry, and occasionally also meat offal (such as liver). Dinner should be always contain at least one cup of raw or cooked vegetables and be a source of fat such as coconut oil or olive oil. If, however, the dinner is a  post-training meal, it should also include carbohydrates such as extremely healthy though sometimes forgotten: sweet potatoes, or regular ones, rice or a serving of fruits. Post-workout meal should be abundant.

Afternoon snack: if only you want

Afternoon tea is a desired position in the menu if between lunch and dinner there is a gap greater than 4-5 hours. In this case, it can be composed similarly to your lunch. If your afternoon snack is a post-workout meal, it is this one and not dinner that should contain a source of carbohydrates.

Supper: you shouldn't deny yourself one

Supper, contrary to popular opinions, is equally important as breakfast or dinner, and you should not give it up. For supper you should have something light, like a fish stew with vegetables or salad with cooked vegetables and grilled meat. Optionally, you can eat cottage cheese with chives or soft-boiled egg.

Summary

The method of composing menu I have just suggested is a kind of "back to the roots" one. It requires neither drastic reduction in calorie intake, nor use of "shock phase" or "starvation". By introducing these systematic changes to your menu you adjust your metabolism, speed up fat burning and aid the process of "carving" abdominal muscles. Most importantly, the principles of composing a diet noticeably reduce appetite and desire to snack between meals. I think that the effectiveness of the diet in the first few weeks will exceed your expectations.