You've probably noticed from looking at the list of MUFAs on page 37 that they're not exactly low-cal choices. They're all foods—nuts, oils, chocolate—that you're usually told to avoid when you're trying to lose weight. But because these MUFAs are so essential to losing belly fat, calorie control in what surrounds them takes on extra importance. All the meals in the Flat Belly Diet provide a MUFA and total about 400 calories. An added bonus of this controlled-calorie plan is that you can substitute one whole meal for another. You can eat breakfast for dinner or lunch for breakfast. If you like, you can even eat four breakfast meals in one day. That's part of the ease of this plan. I don't expect that you'll love every single meal. But on the other hand, if you find a few you absolutely adore, it's perfectly okay to enjoy them to your heart's content.
This diet is 1,600 calories per day because that's how much it takes for a woman of average height, frame size, and activity level to get to and stay at her ideal body weight (men who want customized calorie counts can go to flatbellydiet.com). So 1,600 calories is not a starvation plan—it's enough to keep up your energy, support your immune system, and maintain your precious calorie-burning muscle. That means you won't feel run-down, cranky, irritable, moody, or hungry. But you also won't be eating enough calories to hang on to your belly.