It’s hard to comprehend when you truly think about it, but the facts don’t lie: one in three Americans are obese, and this trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down quite yet. Chances are there’s a bit (or maybe a lot) of stubborn belly fat you’ve been trying to clear yourself of. Rather than spend another whole year with this cumbersome cellulite, check out nine ways to get rid of it for good.

1. Find out exactly how much protein you need

This one is all about the activity level in life you already sustain. In a world where the media and lobbyists have virtually dominated consumers’ conceptions of protein needs, most people still believe they aren’t getting enough protein. The opposite is actually the truth. Most people are already getting as much protein as they need, if not more.

The catch here is to know what number to shoot for, if your energy expenditure is high. For every pound of lean body mass, you should aim for 0.5 to one gram of protein. This ensures all fitness activity, such as strength training or cardio, is followed by adequate amounts of protein replenishment.

2. If your body needs more, adjust your intake

If you are training for a focused athletic accomplishment (such as marathoning or power lifting) or an elite athlete, you’ll certainly need more protein. Your protein intake (and the type of protein) should be custom-fitted to the specific activity you’re engaging in. Most weightlifters and bodybuilders consume whey protein, where as heavy cardio and individuals with other food preferences may call on pea protein or brown rice protein.

3. Stay annoyingly low on carbs

Yes, it’s true: one of the fastest and most reliable ways to lose weight is to avoid carbs. Eating less than 150 grams per day will dramatically boost your body’s ability to burn fat and understand how to use glucose better.

4. Drink more water than you do normally

Water is one of the primary “transport” substances your body uses to get things done. Not only does water keep you hydrated and refreshed, it assists your body in converting carbohydrates into usable energy. Water is used to remove waste products and is also involved in breaking down unwanted fat cells.

5. Start eating more fat

Yes, you read that correctly.

Fat is actually the body’s best source for energy, so you’d be remiss to avoid this tip. It sounds counterintuitive from the get-go, as the very word “fat” is reviled and despised by millions of Americans and others around the globe. Yet, fat has nine calories per gram, while carbs and protein only have four. So by this logic alone, you can eat less fat and still get more caloric nutrition than you would eating simply carbs or protein.

6. Try a few days with 50g of carbs or less

Doing some “carb fasting” where you consume almost no carbohydrates at all will actually kickstart your body into burning more fat. Your body uses about 150 grams of carbs per day, but what it can’t obtain from your food that day, it will procure from gluconeogenesis. This fancy word means “to create new glucose”.

7. Kick your day off on the right foot

To help your body know how to best use carbs, consuming the largest amount of carbs first thing each day is a solid approach. This provides your body with ample time to assimilate the carbs and use them up before they are stored as fat.

8. Divide and diversify with protein

Including a smaller amount of protein at every meal, instead of consuming during one large “protein window” is actually best for your body. Your digestive system can only process a certain amount of nutrients at any given time, so it’s optimal to spread your protein consumption out across meals. This is closely related to how you can actually toxify your body if you consume too much of any given micronutrient.

9. Complete your evening on a light note, with healthy fat

When it’s time to consume your final meal of the day, remain nutrient-focused rather than succumbing to overly sweet and barren carbs. If you’re the conventional type, basing a light meal around fish is recommended by dozens of top health organizations. If you’re the plant-based type, some no-sugar-added peanut butter or half of an avocado is best. Then, while you’re sleeping, your body will use these fats and protein to restore damaged muscle and refresh cellular components that require fat.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via flickr.com

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