Sunday, January 15, 2012


meet some of the men and women
who went on the Abs Diet—and
Patrick Austin dropped 30
pounds, half of it in just the first 2 weeks. Now he can’t
wait to take off his shirt at the beach.
John Betson turned a flabby 36-inch waist into a solid
32-incher and saw his abs for the first time in years.
And Jessica Guff stopped skipping meals—and
started wearing skimpier tops.
For Bill Stanton, the turnaround was an eye-opener:
“I’d been lifting weights all my life, but just by
changing my diet, my body got leaner and stronger

than ever. Guys at the gym even accuse me of being on steroids!”
Everyone’s body is different, and everybody who tries this plan
will have a different starting point. But based on the scientific research
I’ve outlined, you can expect an average loss of up to
20 pounds of fat on the 6-week plan and, for men, a gain of 4 to 6
pounds of muscle (about half that amount for women). For the average
man, that’s enough of a transformation to have your abs show.
One of the bigger challenges, however, is monitoring your progress
on the plan. Here’s a look at the four major measurements you can
use to see just how effectively the Abs Diet will work for you.
Weight. It’s the most straightforward. The heavier you are, the
more at risk you are for disease and the less fit you are. It’s a good
measuring stick to gauge how well you’re progressing on your diet,
but it’s incomplete in that it doesn’t take into account the amount
of muscle you’re going to develop over the course of a plan. Muscle
weighs about 20 percent more than fat so even a dramatic fat loss
may not translate into a dramatic drop in body weight.
76 T H E A B S D I E T
Name: James Schellman
Age: 26
Height: 5'8"
Starting weight: 164
Six weeks later: 156
A former professional athlete and an active guy who snowboards 60 days a
year, James Schellman didn’t feel like he needed to lose that much weight.
But then a series of nagging injuries started hampering his active lifestyle,
and he packed on an extra 10 pounds of belly flab. Schellman could have
blamed the weight gain and injuries on getting older, but that wasn’t his
style. “I didn’t want to slow down,” he says, “but I knew I needed a
change.” So he went on the Abs Diet to improve his condition and increase
Body mass index (BMI). The BMI is a formula that takes
into consideration your height and your weight, and gives you an
indication of whether you’re overweight, obese, or in good shape.
To calculate your BMI, multiply your weight in pounds by 703,
and divide the number by your height in inches squared. For example,
let’s say you are 6 feet tall (that’s 72 inches) and weigh 200
pounds. So first we multiply your weight by 703.
200 703 140,600
Next, we calculate your height in inches squared, meaning we
multiply the number by itself.
72 72 5,184
Now we divide the first number by the second.
140,600 5,184 27.1
That’s not terrible. A BMI between 25 and 30 indicates you’re
overweight. Over 30 signifies obesity.
This measurement, too, has flaws. It doesn’t take into account
A S I X - P A C K I N 6 W E E K S 77
his muscle tone. Besides, Schellman says, “I figured I need to look good for
my wife.”
During the plan, Schellman lost 8 pounds. But the most significant transformation:
He cut his body fat from 18 to 11 percent.
Schellman has always enjoyed eating healthfully, but adjusting to the Abs Diet
paid off. “Before the plan, I ate about four meals a day and counted calories.
And with this one, I ate six times a day and let calories go by the wayside,” he
says. By basing meals around the delicious Powerfoods, “I didn’t have to
worry about the calories I was taking in.”
Schellman, who is used to spending a lot of time in the gym, credits the Abs
Diet Workout and its emphasis on lower-body exercises for making him
stronger and leaner and helping him burn off that burgeoning belly. “I have
seen stomach fat decrease. I can clearly see some of the muscles [in my abdomen],”
he says. “The plan has been a huge success—I’ve seen an increase
in my overall body strength, an increase in my motivation, an increase in my
self-esteem, and an increase in my well-being.”
muscle mass, and it also leaves out another important factor—
weight distribution, that is, where most of the fat on your body resides.
But BMI can give you a pretty good idea of how serious your
weight problem is.
Waist-to-hip ratio. Researchers have begun using waist size
and its relationship to hip size as a more definitive way to determine
your health risk. This is considered more important than
BMI because of that visceral fat I talked about earlier—the fat
that pushes your waist out in front of you. Because abdominal fat
is the most dangerous fat, a lower waist-to-hip ratio means fewer
health risks. To figure out your waist-to-hip ratio, measure your
waist at your belly button and your hips at the widest point
(around your butt). Divide your waist by your hips. For example,
if your hips measure 40 inches and your waist at belly button
level measures 38 inches, your waist-to-hip ratio is 0.95.
38 40 0.95
That’s not bad, but it’s not ideal. You want a waist-to-hip ratio
of 0.92 or lower. If you were to lose just 2 inches off your waist—
something you can do in just 2 weeks with the Abs Diet—you’d
find yourself in the fit range.
36 40 0.90
Body fat percentage. Though this is the most difficult for the
average man to measure because it requires a bit of technology,
it’s the most useful in terms of gauging how well your diet plan is
working. That’s because it takes into consideration not just weight
but how much of your weight is fat. Many gyms offer body fat measurements
through such methods as body fat scales or calipers
that measure the folds of fat at several points on your body. See
your local gym for what options they offer. Or try an at-home body
fat calculator. I like the Taylor Body Fat Analyzer and Scale 5553
for its price (about $50), convenience, and accuracy. If you want a
simple low-tech test (and this isn’t as accurate as what the elec-
78 T H E A B S D I E T
tronic versions will give you), try this simple exercise: Sit in a
chair with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Using
your thumb and index finger, gently pinch the skin on top of your
right thigh. Measure the thickness of the pinched skin with a
ruler. If it’s 3⁄4 inch or less, you have about 14 percent body fat—
ideal for a guy, quite fit for a woman. It it’s 1 inch, you’re probably
closer to 18 percent fat, which is a tad high for a man but desirable
for a woman. If you pinch more than an inch, you could be at
increased risk for diabetes and heart disease.
This last measurement can be the most significant because it’ll
really help give you a sense of how well you’re sticking to a plan.
As you see your body fat percentage decrease, you’ll see an increase
in the amount of visible muscle. Experts say that in order
for your abs to show, your body fat needs to be between 8 and 12
percent. For the average slightly overweight man, that means cutting
body fat by about half.
Before you start the plan, it’s important to record some of these
measurements so that you’ll know how far you’re progressing.
Take one baseline measurement, and then remeasure as needed
for motivation. I’d recommend measuring every 2 weeks. That’ll
be enough time to see significant differences to propel you
through the next 2 weeks. (Measure body fat percentage only at
the beginning and end of the plan, unless you have easy access to
a measurement system.) Any sooner than that, and you’re focusing
too much on numbers rather than process.
As with any diet plan, it’s also important to develop some kind
of quantitative goal—your ideal weight, waist size, or percentage
of body fat. This chart will help you figure out where you are and
where you need to go.
I don’t mean to hit you with more numbers than a fantasy
baseball nerd. In fact, it might be easiest to simply focus on one
number—six—so that the others will fall into place. When you
start to see those six abdominal muscles, it’ll mean that everything
else has decreased—your weight, your BMI, your waistto-
hip ratio, and your body fat percentage. This 6-week plan
will get you there. Here’s what you can expect from going on
the diet.
1–2A significant weight loss as
your body adjusts to a new
approach to eating. Some may see losses
up to 12 pounds in the first 2 weeks (especially
if you’re walking, or otherwise active,
each day), but 5–8 pounds will be average.
“I haven’t gone shirtless on
the beach in years,” he says.
“This year, I’m going to be
shirtless.” Read more about
Patrick’s success on page 100.
3–4By integrating a modest amount
of strength training into your routine,
you’ll start to feel your body change because
your metabolism is working hard. You’ll
notice an additional drop in weight (most likely
averaging another 5–8 pounds), but you’ll also
notice significant changes in your shape.
25 POUNDS IN 6 WEEKS. “I definitely
have more energy and
a more positive outlook on
life,” he says. Read more
about Brian’s success on page
5–6After 2 weeks of exercise, your
body is primed to make a significant
push to drop more fat while also gaining
muscle mass. You’ll notice that your
upper body is more toned and that your
waist and other fatty parts of your body are
smaller. Depending on your starting point,
this is where you’ll begin to see abs.
TO 16 PERCENT. “You can see
more muscle,” he exclaims.
“You can see my abs.” Read
more about John’s success on
page 140.
A S I X - P A C K I N 6 W E E K S 81
What you’ll find so remarkable about this program is how
simple it is to follow, how often you’ll eat—each meal and each
snack is an easy, muscle-building, fat-burning treat—and how unlike
any other “diet” the Abs Diet is. Very simply, the Abs Diet is
a plan that will ask you to:
Eat three meals and three snacks each day, with each
of your meals or snacks including several of the wideranging
Powerfoods discussed in an upcoming chapter.
Keep an eye out for a handful of diet busters that you’ll
learn to easily spot and cut down on—not eliminate.
Perform a simple, 20-minute workout three times a
week to turbocharge your fat loss and muscle growth.
The Abs Diet is so simple that unlike most diets, we don’t
break it into phases, and we didn’t design a complex “maintenance”
program (just a few simple words of wisdom that you’ll
find on page 261). The weight loss and muscle gains are yours to
keep for life, and so is the eating plan. We guarantee you won’t be
waiting for your “diet” to end. You’ll enjoy this program so much—
and be so wowed by the results—that you’ll effortlessly follow this
plan for life.
Other people have done it—other people who were in worse
physical condition than you. When they talk about why it worked,
they talk of the plan’s simplicity and its ability to keep hunger in
check. The Abs Diet is going to change your shape, your health,
your life.

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