How to Get Rid of Love Handles (Ultimate Guide)
If you’d like to find out how to get rid of love handles, then you’re at the right place. The best way to go about this is to focus on a healthy diet, manage stress, and commit to whole-body exercises, some of which we’ll mention in this article. You should also avoid smoking, overexertion, and alcohol.
What Are Love Handles?
Love handles are the excess fat that accumulates around your hips. They’re usually more pronounced under tight clothing but can also be noticed under looser garments.
What Causes Love Handles?
The major causes of love handles are excess calorie intake and slow metabolism. Other factors include hormones, stress, age, activity level, medication, and genes.
Hormones—such as cortisol—are likely to cause love handles by interfering with insulin. Too much cortisol in the body impairs the ability of insulin to maintain balanced blood sugar levels. This leads to fat build-up around your abdomen and other body parts. In light of this, those who want to get rid of love handles should keep an eye out for any causes of potential hormone changes.
Sleep Deprivation and Stress
If you’re often exposed to stress, you might be at an increased risk of developing love handles. This is caused by the high production of cortisol that leads to Cushing’s syndrome—a direct cause of abdominal fat. Adults typically need 7–9 hours of sleep per day; anything less might lead to reduced energy levels, increased food cravings, and ultimately, weight gain.
Age is an incredibly significant factor in love handles. This is why belly fat is very common among older people. Another age-related reason for weight gain is linked to fluctuations in estrogen in women and testosterone in men—two hormones that are being produced at reducing rates as we advance in age.
Because love handles need a while to form, they’re more likely in older adults. Finally, we shouldn’t forget that our vulnerability to stress and other factors increases with age, leading to higher fat deposits that resist love handle reduction methods.
Not getting enough exercise is one of the major causes of love handles. If we consume more energy than our body expends, the excess energy gets stored as fat around the waist and other parts of the body. Considering this, physical activity is necessary to lose love handles. If you want faster results, you might want to look into high-quality weight loss pills as well.
Metabolism is the process through which the body uses energy. Anything that impairs your metabolism might lead to love handles. A host of conditions can end up slowing down your metabolism, including:
- slipped disc
- too much cortisol
- high insulin levels
- thyroid issues
- low estrogen levels
- low testosterone
- sickle cell anemia
- cystic fibrosis
- maple syrup urine disease
- Gaucher’s disease
- Cushing’s syndrome
Potential Health Risks of Love Handles
Love handles are generally safe, but they can be a symptom of a severe underlying health condition. This includes the conditions listed above, plus:
- high blood pressure (hypertension)
- high cholesterol
- heart disease
- sleep apnea and other breathing issues
- type 2 diabetes
- cancer, especially colon and breast
- liver disease
How to Get Rid of Love Handles
Effectively eliminating love handles comes down to three basic approaches that we will discuss in more detail below.
Here are our recommendations on how to get rid of love handles for men or women who are willing to make dietary changes.
Cut Out Added Sugar
Sugary drinks, processed carbohydrates, and fast foods usually have a high calorie value. The nature of these foods, i.e., them being extremely delicious and addictive, makes us overeat on them, filling our bodies with more calories than we can burn.
Focus on Healthy Fats
There’s ample evidence that healthy fats don’t cause weight gain—provided you don’t consume too much of them. On the contrary, they actually help you lose weight. Many studies prove that people who restrict fat in their diets don’t enjoy any weight loss benefits. Some good sources of healthy fats are avocados, salmon, nuts, etc.
Fill Up on Fiber
If you’re wondering how to lose fat on the side of the stomach, fibery foods might be the answer. For one, fiber has significant weight loss benefits—it reduces your tendency to eat, keeps your stomach full longer, and moderates the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream. All these actions have a direct effect on your weight loss efforts.
Increase Protein Intake
A diet deficient in protein will lead to food cravings and overeating. Protein has a similar effect on your stomach as fiber. Namely, it makes you feel full longer than most of the other nutrients.
Don’t Avoid Carbs
While avoiding unhealthy carbohydrates has great weight loss benefits, avoiding all carbs impairs your body’s ability to make insulin. Insulin is the chemical that enables our body to use the energy we ingest as calories, and as such, its role in weight loss is essential.
Eat Whole Foods
Whole foods still have their original nutrients intact. They provide healthy calories that your body uses, unlike the empty calories from alcohol, drinks, and fast food. Namely, the nutrients in whole foods don’t undergo any damaging processing, nor are they adulterated with additives. Considering that whole foods are frequently recommended to those interested in how to get rid of love handles and muffin top, cooking at home is a great first step towards achieving this.
Practice Mindful Eating
Getting rid of love handles isn’t just about what you eat but also about how you eat it. Eating mindfully minimizes your tendency to rush meals and makes it easier to register the sensation of fullness. With this in mind, it’s not surprising that studies show that mindful eating in adults leads to weight loss.
Furthermore, mastering the art of mindful eating makes it less likely that you’ll eat out of loneliness, irritation, or stress. It also increases your ability to resist foods that aren’t part of a healthy diet plan.
Cut Out Alcohol
The consensus in the health community is that alcohol contributes to weight gain, and consequently, to the development of love handles. Eliminating or lowering alcohol intake is one of the first suggestions you’ll get when inquiring how to get rid of love handles fast. Alcohol is high in empty calories that don’t have any nutritional value. The same goes for most of the mixers used in drinks. Moreover, drinking alcohol makes it more likely for you to eat unhealthy foods.
About 30%–59% of US adults embarking on a weight loss journey increase their water intake. Drinking water makes you burn more calories via resting energy expenditure, which increases by 24%–30% within 10 minutes of drinking 17 oz (0.5 l). In addition, you can lose an extra 4.4 lb (2 kg) over a period of 12 months by upping your daily water intake to more than 34 oz (1 l). This follows, considering that you’ll burn an extra 23 calories for every 17 oz of water you drink daily.
In addition to diet modifications, alterations in your lifestyle can go a long way in trimming love handles. Let’s take a look at the most effective changes you could make.
Move Throughout the Day
If you’re wondering how to lose side fat, you might want to look into activities that have a body-wide effect. Brisk walking for at least 30 minutes can help you burn 150 or more calories every day. Moreover, leading an active life reduces the amount of food you eat. On the other hand, a sedentary lifestyle increases overeating out of boredom.
The effect of stress is both physical and mental. We all experience stress once in a while, stemming from our relationships, finances, work, family responsibilities, etc. Stress directly affects many body processes, causing both weight gain and weight loss. A high amount of the stress hormone cortisol interferes with insulin’s action, leading to weight gain around the abdomen.
Get Enough Sleep
People researching how to get rid of side rolls found that sleep deprivation is a common cause of weight gain. It’s a fact that poor sleep causes metabolic dysregulation. Since metabolism is the process by which the body burns fat, anything interfering with it causes a weight change.
Exercises for Losing Love Handles
There are no exercises that specifically target love handles. In other words, while you can engage in workouts that target your midsection with a good home rowing machine, whole-body exercises will be more effective because they lead to an overall weight reduction. You can choose from a wide variety of regular exercises to torch those fats on your hips. We’ll discuss five of the most effective ones, which should probably give you enough of an idea on how to trim love handles by working out.
Weight lifting is a resistance training that was once exclusively associated with bodybuilders as people believed it makes one bulky. Over the years, this has been recognized as a myth. We’re saying that you can lift weights without any fear of a V-shape, especially if you’re a woman. However, moderate your exercise to only focus on burning calories and firming up your midsection muscles.
Add Whole-Body Moves to Your Workout
To reduce love handles through exercise, focus on whole-body workouts and strength exercises that target every muscle in your body. They let you burn fat and build muscle simultaneously—a double advantage because those muscles lead to more calories burned at rest.
Examples of whole-body exercises include:
- bodyweight squats
- dumbbell front squat
- dumbbell chest press
Up the Cardio
Those who would like to know how to get rid of side fat through cardio exercises have a number of available options. This includes everything from distance running, jogging, and sprinting, to rowing, HIIT (high-intensity interval training), swimming, cycling, kettlebells, and many more.
Give HIIT a Try
This involves engaging in HIIT intensely and taking a small break afterward. There are many HIIT exercises listed below. You should try to do at least five in each round before taking a short break.
- high knees
- lunge jumps
- jumping jacks
- mountain climbers
- rope jumping
- side jackknife
Try Pilates Moves to Engage Your Abs
Pilates is believed to tone your muscles and burn fat. While skeptics point to the lack of scientific evidence justifying its merit, many swear it works for them. Some moves you can try include:
- jogging knees
- leg pull
- plank jacks
- kneeling side kicks
- rolling like a cannonball
While there are various suggestions on how to burn love handles, they all center around watching your diet, doing the right exercises, managing stress, and avoiding anything that could lead to weight gain. This also means you should give up smoking and alcohol or at least drastically scale down your consumption of these harmful substances.
How do you get rid of love handles fast?
There are a couple of steps you can take to trim love handles in no time:
- identify the cause and eliminate it
- maintain a healthy diet
- exercise regularly
- avoid alcohol and smoking
What is the main cause of love handles?
The major causes of love handles include:
- eating more calories than your body uses
- leading a sedentary life
- underlying health conditions
How long does it take to lose love handles?
It can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months, depending on your dedication to the various methods of shedding weight. Of course, how long it will take you also depends on the size of your love handles.
Can a waist trainer help get rid of love handles?
The answer to this question isn’t straightforward. Love handles are difficult to get rid of because the layer of muscles behind them is thin and doesn’t bulk up easily. The best recommendations on how to get rid of love handles combine targeted exercise, cardio exercise, strength training, and a healthy diet. If you already have all of this taken care of, a waist trainer is not likely to contribute anything significant to your weight loss efforts.