1 Month Diet/Tighten Up Challenge: Abs Are Made in the Kitchen

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Hi Everyone!

Tomorrow starts a brand new month, and with it Jesse and I are starting a new challenge. You are welcome to join us in the challenge. We will be sharing our progress throughout the month. 

My challenge is a month without sweets, and keeping a food log. 

Jesse’s challenge is to complete daily core strengthening exercises. 

Why did we select these challenges? 


1. I have been eating (and craving) sweets much more than usual lately. While I do believe that healthy lifestyles should include indulgences, having high quantities of sweets can create addictions and cravings. When you limit your intake of processed sweets full of refined sugars you re-set your taste buds so that natural sugars (like fruit) becomes sweeter and more satisfying. 

2. Keeping a food log makes you more aware of what you are putting into your body, and portion sizes. Also, when you have to write down (or even better, take photos) of all of your meals it’s an extra incentive to make healthy choices. 

1. Core strengthening is imperative for maintaining proper form as a runner. This is especially true for long distances, as form tends to disintegrate as you get tired. 

2. Jesse says “I want my abs to look good. Especially during swimming season.” He’s sick of people saying “I’m 29, it’s not possible to have abs anymore.” 

3. “I want to be as attractive as I can to my wife.” (awwww! He has already succeeded there.)

For the next month we will be sharing our progress with these challenges (along with our normal workouts!) If you are joining us let us know how your progress is going!

The plan:

Starting tomorrow you can expect to see a daily update of my food log. I will be aiming for around 1800 calories (more if it’s a more intense workout day). Nutrition fuels your body, so along the way I will be paying attention to how I feel throughout the day and during my workouts. 

Each day Jesse will be completing one of my shorter ab workouts, or selecting exercises that work each muscle group in the core. We will share his workout/exercises each day, as well as his progress and how he feels it is impacting his running time. 

Feel free to post comments or recipes along the way, either here of on my facebook page: www.facebook.com/MelissaBenderFitness

Other Posts you might enjoy:
Abs Are Made in the Kitchen Meal Prep
Healthy Vegetable Grilled Cheese Recipe
Green Smoothie
Tuna Stuffed Egg Whites
Bean Salad: Easy, Quick and Healthy

12 thoughts on “1 Month Diet/Tighten Up Challenge: Abs Are Made in the Kitchen

  1. Tanja

    I’m in the challenge, sweets are my problem too! A minute of pleasure and then much more of fatigue and bad skin.
    But 1800 kcal a day seems too little for active woman, maybe you meant 2800? 🙂

    • Anonymous

      Tanja, I’m with you, my workouts are worse and my skin gets so broken out when I have sugar…esp chocolate. I started today 7.1.13. If I can keep it going throughout our camping trip, I’ll be good!!

  2. I’m in. I’ve been eating Clean for the past two days, so I’m ready for the Challenge :-). I’m also on MFP and a pal of Melissa who is also on MFP. I have and will be logging my daily intake there too.

  3. Melissa, I have to tell you how much I love your website! I’m a Personal Trainer and a mother of 5. I get bored with my workouts easily and I love that I can always find a short, high-intensity workout on your site. I love the workout breakdown and share these with my clients! My husband and I are going to join you for the July challenge. Thank you for being an inspiration!

  4. Anonymous

    Hi Melissa! I’m new to your website and am so looking forward to this challenge!! I too have issues with sweets and tend to eat them way too often! I will be logging and tracking my calories on lose it.com I will be doing one of your ab focused workouts daily! Thank u so much for all that u do! 🙂


  5. Anonymous

    I will join all of you too! Sweets is a VERY BIG problem with me. It always win over me and when I start I just can stop. Is maple sirup is a sweet or I can take it because is natural? I will do my workouts and add a 10 min abs into it too. Thanks for sharing this with us also giving us and idea of what you eat daily it will help us to make good choices.

  6. Anonymous

    Although sweets have always been dear to me, I’ve learnt to set strict limitations for myself over the past two and half years during my fitness journey. Especially considering that I am a pastry chef I have to set strict rules or else it can become a slippery slope. I have found this to be the most effective way to maintain my desire for sweets. Essentially I allow myself a treat each evening, the reason I choose evening is because I find once I have a taste for it I want more later, but this isn’t the case since I will be off to bed also it encourages me to eat healthy all day to earn my treat. Of course this also eliminates the chances of me nibbling on sweets at work all day. People are amazed that I can go all day without tasting any of the delicious treats I make, but I am so used to my routine and look forward to earning and feeling like I deserve my end of the day treat, that I wouldn’t enjoy it if I cheated.

    I don’t count calories though since I find listening to my stomach is a better key indication of whether or not I have eaten enough. Although I don’t like to eat until I am full, rather until I am satisfied and since I eat 5-6 times through out the day I rarely feel deprived or starving.

    I am guessing you chose the lower daily calories of 1800/day because you are looking to shed some fat, (Not that you have any!!!) because that is a low amount for your activity level. I know you compete and often before a competition cutting calories is the most effective way to shed the last bit of fat to really showcase your muscles.

    I would join in on this fun adventure but I am almost 4 months pregnant so even though I already eat under 60 grams of fat a day, I do usually have to consume over 2200 calories each day. This will be a good challenge though for my post baby recovery (once I wean from breast feeding that is)!

  7. Hi Melissa. I just discovered your blog last night and am so happy to have found it. I too will be joining this challenge as I struggle each week with sweets, etc. I have been working hard or the past two weeks and am finally seeing some progress with my core. Though I always seem to sabatoge my hard efforts on the weekends when my husbands wants to take me out for dinner. I’m 27 years old and a mother of one. I’ve been working out every day and put in about 2 hours or strengths training and cardio altogether 5x a week. On Weekends I usually take it easier and do about an hour each day. During the week I average about 1500-1600 calories a day. Aside from my weekend binging on dining out and sweets, is there anything else you recommend I change? Thanks!

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