Fastest Way to Lose Belly Fat & Love Handles

There's nothing to love about love handles and excess belly fat that negatively affects your appearance and health. Excess fat around your middle increases your risk of health conditions, such as heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke. To quickly and safely reduce belly fat, create a healthy lifestyle that includes dietary changes and regular exercise that are maintainable and provide lasting results.

Drop Pounds Quickly and Safely

Although it might seem tempting to resort to restrictive measures, such as crash dieting, to quickly reduce belly fat, drastically cutting calories isn't safe. Fast weight loss makes your body go into starvation mode -- your metabolisms slows down and your body holds onto fat, because it doesn't know when it's going to get fed. Losing no more than two pounds per week is a better, safer and expert-recommended alternative that allows you to create a healthy lifestyle for lasting weight loss.

Eat Your Veggies

Since one pound of fat has 3,500 calories, it'll take a daily deficit of 1,000 calories to lose two pounds in one week. Part of this deficit comes from your diet. Stop eating unhealthy, fattening fare and fill up on veggies, fruits, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy, instead. Also, eat smaller portions and read food labels so you can replace high-calorie foods with healthier, low-calorie alternatives. Consider drinking more cold water and green tea, and spicing up foods with hot peppers. According to Dr. Mehmet Oz, these can all speed up your metabolism.

About Crunches and Sit-ups

Although there's a place for abdominal exercises, such as crunches and sit-ups, they won't begin to touch your belly fat. While ab workouts strengthen the muscles underneath the fat, a better fat-loss option is to do 60 minutes of cardiovascular exercise, such as bicycling or jogging, on most days of the week. This helps you lose fat from your entire body, including your stomach. To really rev your metabolism, perform interval training -- speed up to a vigorous exercise pace for one minute, and then return to a moderate, maintainable pace for two minutes. Fifteen minutes of this can have you burning calories for up to 24 hours after your workout.

Resistance is Good

Resistance in the form of strength training is beneficial to weight loss, because it maintains and increases muscle tissue. Muscle tissue boosts your metabolism, because it burns anywhere from 35 to 50 calories to sustain itself. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends doing strengthening exercise on at least two days of the week and targeting all major muscle groups. You can use your body weight, free weights, weightlifting machines or exercise bands for resistance. For your abs do exercises, such as planks, bicycle crunches and hanging knee raises.