The weather is warming up. That means your abs don't need that layer of fat insulation. Get rid of it, quick!

I'm sure you have heard there is a limit to the number of pounds you can lose in one week. Most docs will tell you that shedding 1-2 pounds per week is healthy weight loss.

Well, I have good news for you.

That is a lie.

My good friend and expert trainer Alwyn Cosgrove told me years ago that he saw fat loss as a thermostat: if you want to lose fat faster, turn up the dial and turn up the heat. In order to make your abs pop, your thermostat needs to be pegged in the red zone.

When you start talking about breaking the imaginary 2-pound-per-week weight-loss boundary, you'll hear a lot of people wondering if it's healthy. Unlike many diet gurus, I spent 5 years of my life studying the impact of nutrition on heart health in order to earn my Ph.D. in nutrition.

I place your health as a major priority. That's why, on this diet, you eat more vegetables and nutrient-rich foods than 80-to-90% of Americans.

Scientists have not discovered a physiological limit for pounds of fat lost in a 7- or 30-day period. No data or evidence shows that losing 2 pounds per week is any healthier than losing 4 pounds.

Four pounds lighter is healthier than just 2 pounds lighter. How you lose the weight is what makes your weight loss healthy or unhealthy.

Big Effort, Big Results

I'll show you how to take advantage of hard-wired biochemical pathways in your body to drip-feed stored body fat into your blood stream.

That way, you have a 24-hour continuous supply of energy, as well as a full day of fat burning. After four weeks, 15 pounds and newly-shredded abs, I'll say you were smart about your weight loss, not unhealthy.

These kinds of results are within your grasp, but it takes work. Ray Lewis once said that at the end of the day, a champion should be judged by effort. Effort doesn't care whether you have bad genetics or not.

Effort doesn't care if you don't have access to the best equipment at your gym. Big effort gets big results. You have all the diet and nutrition information you need in this article, you just need to provide the effort.

The Calorie Conundrum

Weight-loss is much more complex than calories in, calories out. Scientific research shows us that lowering the amount of carbs you consume changes your metabolism.

By eating fewer carbs, you can eat more calories and lose more weight than by following a traditional low-fat, higher-carb diet.

This phenomenon was highlighted in a recent study from the University of Connecticut. Study participants were separated into low-carb and high-carb groups.

The low-carb group was given instruction on how to eat a low-carb diet, but they weren't told to restrict their calorie intake.

The high-carb group was told to eat a high-carb/low-fat diet and to restrict its calorie intake by counting calories. At the end of the study, the low-carb group lost more weight, although it ate more calories. This finding is common in low-carb diet research.

Because the ab-etching diet program is design to help you lose maximum weight in a short period of time, you cut fat with a double-edged sword that's low carb AND low calorie.

Your daily caloric intake is set at 11 calories per pound of body weight.

In other words, if you currently weigh 200 pounds, you'll start at 2,200 calories per day.

Don't worry too much if your daily calorie intake is slightly above or below your target. It will all even out.

As the weeks progress, and you get leaner, you may need to drop your calories down to 10 calories per pound of body weight in order to strong-arm your body into using the remaining fat coating your midsection for energy instead of insulation.

Protein Powered

Your daily protein intake will be at about 1 gram per pound of body weight, or at least 30% of your total calories. Don't be concerned about losing lean body mass.

If you follow the diet and training program exactly, your muscles will be well protected.

Your body frequently functions from an evolutionary/survival perspective. Historically, we would build muscle for survival reasons: moving stones, carrying trees, building huts, and hunting and gathering food.

If the human body needed muscle to survive, then it wouldn't break them down for fuel.

In order to mimic that "caveman" experience, do some heavy lifting. Sets of 8, 12, 15 or even 20 reps are good for stimulating your metabolism. But heavier sets of 4-6 reps give your body the message that if it doesn't keep the muscle, it'll be crushed.

Protein "costs" your body more energy just to digest it.

So it boosts your daily total calorie burn. The high protein intake in this diet will preserve your muscle and increase your metabolism.

Protein is also a hormonal fat-loss rock star. Eating protein causes the release of fat loss hormones CCK and glucagon.

CCK tells your brain to signal that you're full and satisfied, even if you're eating fewer calories.

Glucagon is a catabolic hormone that breaks down stored energy so it can be poured into your blood stream and used to fuel you throughout your day.

The Carbohydrate Factor

To maximize fat loss, you need to fuel your body during training sessions and also give it energy from stored body fat throughout the day. Giving your body easy access to burn stored body fat as fuel will also protect your muscle while you diet.

Carbohydrates are your body's preferred fuel source. By cutting them, your body is forced to find another source for energy: fat. Once you cut your carbs down to 40-60 grams per day (10-20% of your total calories), keep them there.

Train your system to fuel itself with fat, not carbs. Once your body starts efficiently using fat as its primary fuel source, it will realize that it has an abundant amount of energy at the ready and will not as readily catabolize your muscle.

Carbohydrates trigger the release of the hormone insulin. Think of insulin as the "gatekeeper hormone" regarding fat loss and muscle growth. During the Ab Etching Diet, you will alter your carbohydrate intake to use insulin to your advantage while minimizing the negative effects it can have on fat loss.

Don't worry, the application is simple. You're going to modulate your carbohydrate intake in relation to your workouts.

  • Normal Carb = Carbohydrates are 10-15% of your total calories.
  • High Carb = Eat an additional 40-60g of carbs per day. Increase your carbohydrate intake to maximize the effort and recovery of your training sessions.
  • Low Carb/Calorie = One less meal on these days lowers your calorie and carb intake for the day.

Carb days follow this regimen:

  • Monday: High Carb
  • Tuesday: Normal Carb
  • Wednesday: High Carb
  • Thursday: Normal Carb
  • Friday: High Carb
  • Saturday: Normal Carb
  • Sunday: Low Carb/Calorie

Work out hard on those higher-carb days. Extra carbs fuel you to train harder, recover faster, and burn more calories. On Sundays, don't train at all. Your body doesn't have the same energy needs, so dropping a meal will help your body fuel itself through fat cells.

If you alter your training schedule, make sure to adjust your carb intake so high-carb days are training days, normal-carb days are cardio days, and low-carb/calorie days are recovery days.

Face The Fat

Fats make up the remainder of your calories. Eating sufficient fat and reducing your carbohydrate intake cues your body to shift toward the production of enzymes and optimize biochemical processes that support the use of fat as fuel and away from enzymes and processes that primarily use carbohydrates as fuel.

Don't skimp on fats. Your body needs to become accustomed to fueling itself with fat, not carbs.

Follow These 3 Rules:

  1. Eat a variety of fats. Eating different types of fat ensures you will get all your essential fatty acids, and also a variety of additional nutrients, antioxidants, and phytochemicals that come packaged with higher-fat foods like nuts, oils and avocados.
  2. Take supplemental fish oil every day.
  3. You can eat more solid fats than you normally would, so don't be scared to have a little butter or cheese.

New research shows that reducing the amount of carbs in your diet changes how your body metabolizes fat; the risk of increasing cholesterol levels doesn't seem to hold true anymore.

Supp You Up

7-Day Ab Etching Diet

Day 1 - Monday

Calories: 1943.09 | Fat: 113.25g | Carbs: 51.15g | Protein: 180.18g

Day 1, Meal 1
Canadian Bacon
2 slices
Eggs
4
Bell Pepper
1/2 medium
Onion
1/4
Cheese
1 slice
Day 1, Meal 2
Tomato
1/2 medium
Pine Nuts
2 tbsp
Onion
1/4
Olive Oil
1 tbsp
Chicken (skinless)
6 oz.
Cucumber (skinless)
1/2
Day 1, Meal 3
Salmon
8 oz.
Asparagus
8 spears
Olive Oil
1 tbsp
Raspberries
1/3 cup
Day 1, Meal 4
Strawberries
4
Cottage Cheese
1/2 cup
Whipped Cream
3 tbsp
Protein Powder
1 scoop

Day 2 - Tuesday

Calories: 2087.95 | Fat: 107.21 | Carbs: 91.60 | Protein: 193.82

Day 2, Meal 1
Eggs
4
Salsa
2 tbsp
Scallions
2
Cheese
1/4 cup
Egg Whites
3
Day 2, Meal 2
Steak
6 oz.
Broccoli
2 cups
Olive Oil
1 tbsp
Red Onion
1/4
Day 2, Meal 3 Post-Workout
Protein Shake (or any recovery drink)
2 scoops
Day 2, Meal 4
Spinach
3 oz.
Coconut Milk
1/4 cup
Onion
1/4
Chicken (thighs)
3
Day 2, Meal 5
Protein Powder
1 1/2 scoops
Walnuts
1/4 cup
Blueberries
1/4 cup

Day 3 - Wednesday

Calories: 1919.41 | Fat: 108.60 | Carbs: 49.11 | Protein: 181.96

Day 3, Meal 1
Eggs
4
Egg Whites
3
Broccoli
1 cup
Olive Oil
1 tbsp
Feta Cheese
1/4 cup
Day 3, Meal 2
Peas
1/2 cup
Carrots
1/2 cup
Chicken (thighs)
3
Parmessan Cheese (thighs)
2 tbsp
Canola Oil
1 tbsp
Day 3, Meal 3
Protein Powder
1 1/2 scoops
Peanut Butter
2 tbsp
Flaxseeds
2 tbsp
Day 3, Meal 4
Tuna
7 oz.
Spinach
2 cups
Mushroom
1/2 cup
Tomato
1/2 medium
Olive Oil
1 tbsp
Butter (unsalted)
1 tbsp

Day 4 - Thursday

Calories: 2025.46 | Fat: 98.61 | Carbs: 84.12 | Protein: 196.25

Day 4, Meal 1
Turkey Bacon
2 slices
Eggs
4
Chocolate Milk
8 oz.
Day 4, Meal 2
Mayonnaise (canola)
2 tbsp
Celery
1 stalk
Onion
1/4
Tuna
1 can
Lettuce
3 leaves
Day 4, Meal 3 Post-Workout
Protein Shake (or any recovery drink)
2 scoops
Day 4, Meal 4
Stevia
6 oz.
Brussels Sprouts
8
Olive Oil
1 tbsp
Day 4, Meal 5
Protein Powder
1 1/2 scoops
Walnuts
1/4 cup
Blueberries
1/4 cup

Day 5 - Friday

Calories: 1980.33 | Fat: 114.89 | Carbs: 58.73 | Protein: 185.49

Day 5, Meal 1
Greek Yogurt
1 cup
Protein Powder
1 1/2 scoops
Walnuts
1/4 cup
Raspberries
1/4 cup
Day 5, Meal 2
Spinach
2 cups
Strawberries
2
Onion
3 tbsp
Mushrooms
1/2 cup
Chicken (skinless)
7 oz.
Olive Oil (skinless)
1 1/3 tbsp
Day 5, Meal 3
Cottage Cheese
1/4 cup
Walnuts
2 tbsp
Protein Powder
1 1/2 scoops
Orange
1/2
Day 5, Meal 4
Steak
7 oz.
Onion
1/2
Bell Pepper
1/2
Canola Oil
1 tbsp

Day 6 - Saturday

Calories: 2236.20 | Fat: 113.88 | Carbs: 100.39 | Protein: 204.75

Day 6, Meal 1
Eggs
3
Egg Whites
1 cup
Mushrooms
1 cup
Onion
1/4
Swiss Cheese
1 slice
Day 6, Meal 2
Lettuce
2 cups
Avocado
1/2
Salsa
2 tbsp
Scallions
2
Chicken (skinless)
7 oz.
Olive Oil
1 tbsp
Day 6, Meal 3 Post-Workout
Protein Shake (recovery)
2 scoops
Day 6, Meal 4
Ground Beef (95% lean)
7 oz.
Tomato
1/2
Onion
1/2
Feta Cheese
1/4 cup
Cucumber
1/2
Olive Oil
2 tbsp
Day 6, Meal 5
Protein Powder
1 1/2 scoops
Walnuts
1/4 cup
Blueberries
1/4 cup

Day 7 - Sunday

Calories: 1455.05 | Fat: 86.69 | Carbs: 40.69 | Protein: 136.02

Day 7, Meal 1
Chocolate Milk
8 oz.
Protein Powder
1 1/2 scoops
Coconut Milk
1/2 cup
Coffee (instant)
2 tbsp
Day 7, Meal 2
Pork (tenderloin)
7 oz.
Pineapple
1/2 cup
Spinach
2 cups
Olive Oil
1 1/3 tbsp
Day 7, Meal 3
Broccoli
1 cup
Chicken (skinless)
7 oz.
Cauliflower
1 cup
Butter (unsalted)
1 1/3 tbsp
Almonds
2 tbsp

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