Hi Hayley,

I have been working out consistently for the last 4 years and while I have replaced a lot of fat with muscle I still have some extra padding I would love to get rid of. I work out 4-6 times a week (2 high intensity/strength classes, Pilates or a core class, TRX, Cycle and an hour and a half boot camp with cardio, strength, core…). What am I missing or should be doing more of?

Also any recommendations for tackling love handles? They love to linger.



As much as exercise plays a role in body fat loss, if you are not complimenting your workouts in your kitchen, all of that amazing muscle that you are building will be hidden away underneath body fat and your love handles will stay put.

Exercise has many benefits, such as improving your cardiovascular fitness, building your muscular strength and endurance, improving your flexibility, increasing your metabolism, upping your energy levels in the day, and overall making you a stronger person, inside and out. However, if you are continuing to fill your body with sugary foods, you will never be able to break down the fat you have stored under your skin.

Think of your body like an electric car, the battery being sugar and the reserve gas tank being your body’s fat. If you keep charging your car battery it has no need to tap into the reserve fuel, which is a good thing when it comes to our environment and energy conservation. But, this is not good when it comes to changing the composition of your body because every time you give your body some sugar it decreases the need for it to tap into the stored fat.

So you have two choices: change your nutrition and see the change you want to see in your body or keep on working out and eating the way you are and allowing those love handles to keep their home above your hips.

But before you decide what you want to do you need to think a little deeper. How happy are you going to be changing your lifestyle so drastically? Are you going to be ok with cutting back on all the simple pleasures in life? Are you going to be ok with the fact that while you are out at a restaurant with girlfriends, you are sipping on water while your friends enjoy a nice bottle of red wine? Or, would you rather be ok with having a small layer of fat under your skin but still being able to share the wine with your friends and have the odd piece of chocolate now and again.

It is all about sacrifices and you need to be willing to make the sacrifices to get what you want but you also need to make sure you are happy.

Here’s my approach: I love wine and I can devour a bag of rice chips and hummus in one sitting. Because of this, I carry a little extra body fat which I am ok with. I know that if I cut back a bit on a few things I would be leaner but I believe in moderation in my diet and I allow myself to enjoy some simple pleasures once and a while. I have friends who would not even step near a piece of chocolate and they are happy with that choice but I know I would be miserable.

You need to make that decision. Losing weight is not rocket science but it is also not easy, and it requires consistency, dedication and hard work. Cut out sugar, cut out alcohol, cut out snacking, sleep more, and drink more water and drink less coffee and you will see those love handles melt away. It’s up to you.

Attached - Natalie Portman out for a hike with her family on the weekend.