There's nothing more frustrating than trying to lose a few pounds of flab.
Trust me, I know how hard it can be to maintain a bangin' beach bod when all you want to do is sit on your couch and watch Netflix as you stuff your face with six slices of pizza.
Seriously, why can't healthy stuff like jogging and eating leafy, green sh*t be fun and taste like little, triangle-shaped pieces of heaven?
Unfortunately, there are a lot of misconceptions out there when it comes to losing fat and maintaining your figure.
There's a good chance you've been following some pretty bad health advice if you've been trying to shed some pounds without seeing any results.
Sure, losing weight can be pretty hard sometimes, but it's not impossible.
All you need to get in tip-top shape is the right information along with a little motivation (and the will power to say "no" to buffalo chicken pizza, of course.)
In order to help you get your butt back into your favorite skinny jeans, we set out to find some of the best ways to banish body fat and keep it off for good.
Cut down on your overall calorie intake.
The secret to losing weight is pretty simple: You have to eat less calories than you burn each day.
To figure this out, all you have to do it calculate your Resting Metabolic Rate, which is the number of calories you normally burn each day excluding those burned from exercise (RMR = weight in pounds x 13). Then calculate the amount of calories you burn from exercise each day and add that to your RMR.
To lose fat, you want to keep your calories below that number.
If overeating tends to be a problem, you can keep your portion sizes in check by using a food scale and tracking your calorie consumption with an app or food journal.
You can also try using smaller plates to make your perceived portion sizes appear larger, or eat your meals on blue plates, since studies show this color makes food look less appetizing.
Eat fewer starchy carbs.
Don't get me wrong, carbs are an important source of energy your body uses to function. But eating too many carbs can be causing you to pack on the pounds.
Consuming too many of those "bad" starchy carbs like bread, pasta and potatoes will provide your body with more energy than it needs, and whatever you don't use gets turned into, you guessed it: fat!
So when it comes to shedding fat, it's best to limit your carbohydrate intake and chose smarter carbs choices like whole grains or sweet potatoes.
Another great way to cut down on carbs is to get creative with your cooking and swap bread, pasta and grains for copycat versions made with veggies like zucchini noodles.
Don't skimp out on healthy fats.
Often, people have a hard time sticking to low-fat diets because they are constantly hungry. Fat has a higher caloric density and takes longer to break down in your stomach, which helps to control blood sugar levels and leaves you feeling full.
About 30 percent of your diet should incorporate healthy fats from foods such as avocados, eggs, olive oil, fatty fish and nuts.
Eat foods that are high in protein.
It turns out not eating enough protein can actually lead to overeating and weight gain.
Protein is crucial for muscle repair, so if you're working out, it's even more important to make sure you're incorporating an adequate amount of protein into your diet.
According to an article published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, active women should consume about 0.5 to 1 gram of protein per pound of their goal body weights by eating foods such as chicken, fish, nuts, whey and lean cuts of beef.
Never skip breakfast.
Your body has been fasting all night long, so in order to kickstart your metabolism, you should always eat within an hour of waking up.
To start your day off right, you should aim to eat a balanced breakfast that contains about 30 to 40 grams of protein, a complex carb and a piece of fruit. This will get you going in the morning and keep you feeling full until lunchtime rolls around.
When possible, eat organic foods.
It turns out pesticides may be the reason you just can't seem to drop those stubborn pounds.
Researchers in Canada found dieters with higher levels of organochlorines (pollutants from pesticides that bioaccumulate in fat cells) experience a decrease in metabolism as they lose weight because these toxins lower your ability to burn energy.
Unfortunately, buying organic food can get pretty pricey.
But when it comes to buying produce that's meant to be eaten with the outer skin like berries, peppers, peaches, spinach and grapes, it's always better to choose organic since these food tend to have high levels of pesticides.
Make sure you are drinking lots of water.
Your body needs water to carry out all of it's chemical reactions, including burning fat.
In fact, a study at the University of Utah actually found dehydration can cause you to burn up to 2 percent fewer calories.
You should aim for 64 ounces a day, and drinking a glass of water before each meal will make you feel full and consequently, help you eat less.
Plus, one study in Germany found that drinking 48 ounces of ice cold water each day can raise your body's resting metabolism by about 50 calories.
Kick up your cardio routine with some high-intensity interval training...
When it comes to getting the most out of your cardio workout, high-intensity interval training (aka HIIT training) is the way to go.
Doing short bursts of intense exercise is the most efficient way to burn fat since it will cause your body to quickly use up its glycogen stores and move on to burning much faster than continuous moderate cardio.
Plus, HIIT training is a lot more fun than chaining yourself to the treadmill for an hour.
Incorporate strength training into your workout regimen.
Cardio alone isn't going to cut it, so if you're looking to get lean, strength training is a must.
In addition to burning fat and building strong muscles, studies show strength training can raise your metabolism for an hour after you exercise, so you’ll burn an additional 25 percent of the total calories from your workout after you leave the gym.
Get a good night's sleep.
Getting the proper amount of Zs every night keeps the hormones responsible for regulating your metabolism in balance and is optional for fat burning mode.
In fact, fatigue often induces overeating and studies have found sleep-deprived people usually tend to have greater levels of visceral fat.
Say "goodbye" to sugary drinks.
Sucking down drinks full of sneaky sugar and empty calories may be the reason you're not shedding any pounds.
These drinks have little nutritional value and are loaded with carbs that ultimately get stored as body fat.
Try to avoid sugary beverages such as juice, sports drinks and soda with healthier alternatives like water, coffee or tea.
Fill up on fiber.
Fiber lowers insulin levels and takes up more space in your stomach, making you feel more satisfied with less calories for longer.
In some cases, fiber can actually aid in fat burn and studies show people who consume adequate fiber gain less weight over time.
You should try to consume at least 25 grams of fiber per day from things like bran cereal, oatmeals, beans, fruits and veggies.