From skwigg's journal:
Here is a list of things that did not produce visible abs for me: low-calorie dieting, clean eating, fasted morning HIIT, lots of crunches, lots of cardio, lots of protein, doing anything extreme for a few weeks.
Here is a list of things that did produce visible abs for me: eating enough food to build big bumpy ab muscles that show through ice cream, lifting enough heavy things to build big bumpy ab muscles that show through ice cream, being consistent for loooong stretches of time, especially with the ice cream.
I used to think if I just restricted enough, did enough cardio, and took enough supplements, it would reveal a six-pack. No, that did not happen. Overtraining, undereating, and restricting the types of food I ate only caused me to retain a bunch of water and binge regularly. If I eat enough and I find my meals satisfying, then I have plenty of energy for such things as weighted Russian twists, hanging leg raises, suitcase deadlifts, one-arm swings, windmills and whatnot. The combo of a tasty, reliable food intake + heavy, twisty exercises over long stretches of time made abs where Extreme 6-Week Fat Attack schemes only made a mess of things. I paid approximately $79.95 for each of those, BTW, sure each new meal plan and workout program was THE answer.
It's when I quit trying to micromanage what I eat and how much I weigh that everything improved. Now I can choose workouts that feel best and are the most fun. Now I can eat what I actually like, which means I'm satisfied sooner. Those factors make me more consistent over long stretches, and that's the real ticket to lasting changes. None of the "starting Monday" or "from now on" declarations ever stuck.