Diet Tips for an Enviable Core

For the Core Envy program to work, you will need to create a caloric deficit that leads to weight loss in addition to toning  your core muscles. By choosing highly nutri­tious foods, you can get more out of every sculpting and cardio session and see the results in the mirror. I’ve prepared some tips that will make your Core Envy diet even easier.

#1 Eat Core Envy Foods: Core Envy offers recipes and a meal plan that rely on nutritious, affordable foods that are easy to find at home or on the go—in fact, most of the Core Envy foods are readily available on restaurant menus. Of course there are countless foods that could help you achieve your goal, but by narrowing the field, I hope to make this diet less daunting and streamline the process of calorie counting. If you stick with the Core Envy foods, you can save yourself the time and trouble of hunting down nutritional information and more easily hit your daily calorie goals.

#2 Eat on Time: In my sample Core Envy meal plans, I have laid out options for three meals and two snacks each day. You’ll see that there are no guidelines around when you eat these meals and snacks—at the end of the day, it comes down to calories in ver­sus calories out. You can consume them whenever you like. That being said, most people (me included!) enjoy eating every 3–4 hours, and by eating small portions on a regular basis, you are more likely to avoid that “starving” feeling at the end of the day that often leads us to make poor dietary choices. No matter when you choose to eat, the key to a healthy, suc­cessful diet is planning. If you don’t know where and how you’re getting your next meal or snack, you run the risk of grabbing something convenient and unhealthy.

#3 Core Envy Offers 100-Calorie Portions: For each of the foods, I have specified a portion that is equivalent to 100 calories. Thinking of your diet in 100-calorie por­tions makes it much easier to keep track of your calories for the day.

#4: Drink Plenty of Water! To have a lean body, you need to eat healthy foods in the right quantities, but you also need to be well-hydrated. In order to ensure adequate hydration, you should aim for a number of ounces that is half the number of pounds of your body weight each day (for example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should drink 75 ounces per day). If you sweat a lot during your workouts, you will need to drink even more to replace that loss in water. A gen­eral rule is to add 20 ounces for each hour of intense workout.

#5 Keep a Food Journal: Be honest about what and how much you’re eating. If you grab a few M&Ms from your colleague’s candy bowl, write it down. To help guide you in keeping track of your daily calories, I’ve created a Core Envy log in the book that makes it easy to check off the baseline requirements and fill in the rest of the day’s calories. Review the sample that follows and use the method that works best for you. At the end of every week, check your measurements. There’s a chart for tracking your body composition and waist, hip, and belly-button measurements (page 188). It might take a few weeks for your waistline to begin to tell the story of how hard you’ve been working. Be warned that if you lie in your food journal, your weekly measurements will deliver the hard truth.

#6 You Can Cheat and Still Win: You might be wondering if there’s room for the occasional indulgence—a small piece of chocolate, a glass of wine, anything at all? In fact, I encourage you to enjoy “cheating” once a week. I don’t believe in following a diet protocol that is so rigid that there is lit­erally no room for error; this is dangerous both physically and mentally. You need to have a plan that is sustainable on a daily basis and that you can adhere to for the long term, not just a crash weight-loss program that is too extreme to follow for more than a few days. For these reasons, I want you to have the luxury of looking forward to a little indulgence once a week, knowing that you have worked hard to earn it.

There’s just one caveat—if you overdo it on your cheat meal, you could ruin all the progress you made in the previous six days. If this sounds overly dramatic or calorically impossible, think about the cheat meals that you have enjoyed in the past. Based on both my own failed diet attempts and those of my clients, it could look something like this:

  • Basket of warm bread with butter or olive oil on every slice (500–700 calories)
  • 3 pieces of sausage-and-mushroom pizza with thick crust (800–1,000 calories)
  • 3 glasses of red wine, 6 ounces each (450 calories)
  • Large piece of cheesecake with whipped cream (1,000–1,200 calories)

If you were to eat all of this in one sit­ting, it would add up to as much as 3,350 calories! If a daily 500-calorie deficit is the goal, that amounts to a 3,500-calorie deficit each week. Our hypothetical cheat meal is dangerously close to 3,500 calories, effec­tively zeroing out the caloric restriction that you worked so hard to create.

I’ve seen cheat meals sabotage progress more times than I can count. To avoid this scenario, cash in your weekly cheat for a single food, not an entire meal. This means your cheat will consist of a couple hundred calories rather than a couple thousand. Stay focused on obtaining an enviable core, and don’t let the concept of a cheat meal equate to a carte blanche for consumption.

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Allison Westfahl’s Core Envy will tone and sculpt your abs, back, stomach, and sides—and build a strong, sexy core you’ll love showing off. Her Core Envy program solves the problems other abs programs ignore with a three-part approach to slim down and tone up. You’ll clean up your diet, fire up your metabolism, and tighten up all the muscles of your core without a gym or equipment. In just three weeks, you’ll start seeing results.

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