How to Get Rid of Love Handles

Let's be real: no matter how confident we feel, we still worry about them—a celebrity trainer shares the real secret to burning abdominal fat and losing waist curves faster.

Curves around the waist, often referred to as "love handles," can sometimes be a barrier to complete body confidence. If that's your case, strengthening your abs could be a positive first step towards embracing your body. However, getting rid of these curves doesn't rely on one strategy alone; instead, it's about combining various elements. While total-body strength training, high-intensity cardio intervals, proper dieting, and sufficient recovery are crucial, there are other lesser-known tricks for reducing abdominal fat.

It's common knowledge that excess belly fat is linked with cortisol or "stress hormone," but that's not the entire picture. Our bodies produce cortisol in response to stress—whether physical, mental, or emotional. Sources of such stress include extreme low-calorie diets (like fasting), infections, inadequate sleep, emotional trauma, and intense exercise, as well as everyday stressors like work pressure or relationship difficulties.

High levels of cortisol lead to storing body fat, especially visceral abdominal fat. Visceral fat settles deeper within the abdominal cavity and around internal organs, while normal fat (subcutaneous fat) is stored beneath the skin. As visceral fat increases the risk of heart diseases and diabetes, managing your cortisol or stress response is key to prevent fat accumulation around your waist.

Here are four effective strategies for eliminating belly fat:

  1. Regular eating: Skipping meals will raise cortisol levels. So, aim to consume three to four evenly spread meals throughout the day. Eating every 3.5 to 4 hours helps maintain insulin levels and enables you to benefit from other hormones that assist in fat loss.
  2. Avoid skipping breakfast: Neglecting the first meal of the day forces your body to produce more stress hormones. Make it a practice to eat something early morning to break your overnight fast.
  3. Ensure adequate sleep: Lack of sleep often triggers cravings for carbs and sweets. High cortisol levels increase your desire for fatty and sugary foods, making it tough to stick to your diet.
  4. Limit alcohol consumption: Alcohol intake not only adds empty calories but also intensifies fat storage by releasing cortisol and inhibiting testosterone production. Alcohol can cause fluctuations in blood sugar levels, contributing to restless sleep and thus creating another stressor that leads to abdominal fat storage. Ideally, limit your intake to one to two drinks once or twice weekly for effective fat loss.

Joe Dowdell, a personal trainer and strength coach, is one of the world's most sought-after fitness experts. His motivating teaching style and unique expertise have helped transform a clientele that includes stars of television and film, musicians, pro athletes, CEOs, and top fashion models from around the world.

To get expert fitness tips all the time, follow @joedowdellnyc on Twitter or become a fan of his Facebook page.

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