Whoever named the fat at our sides love handles had a warped sense of humor. There’s nothing to love about them, especially when we pull on our favorite pair of jeans and they roll over the top like dough.
The image that brings to mind can seem amusing, but the frustration and insecurity that can come from your love handles undoubtedly isn’t funny.
If confidence is vital to you when you’re wearing your style while slimming down those problem spots, then you’re in the right place.
We’ll look over what causes love handles and how to get them out of your life once and for all without needing to buy any gimmick dieting scams.
What Are Love Handles?
To defeat your enemy, you first need to know your enemy. Love handles are sections of excess fat that get stored at your midsection.
Most of the time they sit at your sides, and they tend to be where your fat gets stored first while, at the same time, being the hardest to work off.
There’s no need to get discouraged, though, they can be reduced or even made to disappear if you work for it.
Women are more prone to holding onto fat in their mid-sections and thighs because that fat is there to protect reproductive organs, and potentially unborn children, from harm.
That doesn’t make the fat that’s settled there any more appealing, but genetics are genetics.
Men on the other hand gain fat on their love handles first when they drink too many empty calories, such as beer or other alcoholic drinks.
Smoking also plays a part in how much fat men store on their sides and mid-sections, quitting can help your body let go of that excess fat.
Low testosterone has also played a part in love handles in men, especially since love handles have typically been considered a more feminine problem.
If testosterone levels are suspect to be the cause, it might be time to talk to your doctor.
What Causes Love Handles?
Now that we’ve gently touched on a few problems that might aid in your love handle issue, it’s time to get real about what causes love handles.
Just like with any other issue regarding fat loss and weight concerns, your diet will be the first thing that’s called into question.
Are you overeating sugar, processed foods, fried foods, etc.? These are all things you really should consider when you approach the issue of your unwanted fat storage.
Making even the slightest changes to your diet can leave you with dramatic and desired results that don’t just end in your love handles.
Starting with sugar intake, it may shock many of you to know that women should only be taking in 25 grams of sugar a day, men don’t have it much better at 37 grams of sugar a day.
Since everything, and I mean everything, has sugar in it, you’ll have to give those nutritional labels a good look over.
Cutting out sugars will amp up your weight loss regime by reducing your appetite which may make you surprised when you look at the scale after you’ve had it out of your system for a bit. The results can be pretty dramatic.
Secondly, let’s talk about water intake. I know that there’s a water fad that’s been plastered all over the internet, talking about how it clears up skin and slims you down all at the same time.
Well, surprise, that’s not wrong. Increasing your water intake has a significant effect on your body, from clearing up your skin, cutting back hunger cravings, and even slimming down your figure.
One study found that overweight women who drank one liter of water a day found that they had managed to lose about four pounds in a year. Because they weren’t doing anything aside from drinking their water, those findings are fantastic.
Water intake is even more critical if you plan to exercise, needing to consume nearly twice the recommended amount to cover the amount of sweat lost during a workout.
This next bit might be more challenging to manage, especially if you’re not a morning person. Reducing the amount of caffeine you take every day will drastically impact your love handle issue.
Now, before you hug your coffee machine defensively, hear me out. It’s ok to have one to two cups of coffee in the morning, please, by all means, enjoy that hot cup of joe.
However, limit it to just that, one to two cups for the day.
Another thing is not to add sugar additives to your coffee. If you can’t stand it black, try using an unsweetened almond milk creamer with a little bit of stevia to give it the flavor you need to enjoy it.
Remember, your sugar intake for the day is deficient, so you’ll want to try to find ways to stay away from sugary anything.
Put away the booze. When you drink alcohol, you’re just ingesting empty calories and carbs that add on the pounds pretty quickly.
Killing the drinking habit or at least substantially reducing it will help start you off on the right foot to slimming down your sides. Not to mention you’ll save some money too!
With that said, don’t cut carbs from your diet out entirely. You should, instead, look for heavy complex carbs to add to your diet instead of simple carbs.
Eating things like sweet potatoes, black rice, and oats help feed your body energy long term and should be consumed before, or just after a workout to get the most out of these effects.
These long burns of energy help your body stay out of a starvation cycle; a process that forces your body to store fat instead of burning it.
Go for the Organic section when you’re shopping for groceries. Eating healthy isn’t cheap, it’s a harsh truth that we all have come to accept, but those extra dollars and cents that you’re putting into your food will benefit you big time in both physical health and mental health.
Eating foods that don’t contain unnatural hormones and filler feed gives you almost fifty percent more Omega-3 fatty acids.
Eating organically also gives your body more conjugated linoleic acid or CLA. Combined, these two fatty acids have been shown to reduce belly fat storage over time.
Finally, eat fats. Eating fat does not make you fat. However, not all fats are the same. You should eat healthy fats that come from foods such as avocados, fish, and nuts.
These fats are beneficial for your system, and they have been shown to decrease the amount of fat that gets stored around the stomach. Switching to good fats will give you a boost in saying goodbye forever to those love handles.
Are you getting enough sleep? Or are you continually juggling a busy schedule with no time to yourself? It’s a perfect storm for love handles and, if you’re not careful, other more fatal forms of health problems.
Taking care of your well being is a big positive in more than one way, especially when you’re struggling to keep your life together.
The first thing you should focus on when you’re changing your lifestyle is a proper amount of sleep is key to success. Most of the time you’ll hear how, on average, people should be getting around eight hours of sleep a night.
While this is not exactly true for everyone, it’s a good start. Many studies have shown that if you get less than five hours of sleep a night, you’re looking at a 32 percent increase to gain weight over someone who slept at least seven hours in a night.
Even with proper exercise and reduced eating habits, those who received testing still had a higher rate of weight gain than those who slept more.
Nutritionists and doctors theorize that it may have something to do with sleep depravity disrupting a person’s basal metabolic rate which is responsible over the number of calories you burn when you rest.
Lack of sleep also raises your cortisol levels, which is a hormone that’s generally caused by stress.
This hormone can stimulate hunger, driving us towards carb and sugar-dense foods and thanks to the lack of sleep in play, your body won’t be able to metabolize these carbs, which means that all those sugars and carbs go right onto your waistline.
Leptin levels will start to dwindle which makes the body crave more carbohydrates in a vicious cycle.
Low leptin levels will cause heightened insulin resistance which leads to high blood sugar and high blood pressure, putting you at an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Ok, now that sleep has been thoroughly drilled into your mindset, it’s time to focus on resting. Not sleeping-resting, but exercise relaxing. Recovery is just as remarkable as exercise itself.
Don’t run your body ragged by exercising too much or putting yourself on too extreme of a diet.
Not only will this fail, and it will, it will also regress all the progress you’ve made so far with the changes you’ve made. Eventually, you’ll give up, because it’s too hard to keep up with and you’ll fall right back into your old rut.
Set realistic goals and keep them simple. If you want to try exercising more, incorporate a 30-minute window a couple of times a week to start with and once you’ve gotten the hang of that, then start increasing the time or even change up your exercise routine a little.
Don’t cold turkey everything, no matter how dedicated you feel at the current moment. Your body needs to ease into new habits, that’s how it is, and if you rush it too quickly, you’ll rebound faster than a rubber band into your old habits.
An excellent way to start the morning is to not look at your phone. Remember how cortisol has an impact on our guts, and that’s not good? Not giving your body enough time to wake up and understand the idea of a ‘morning’ can upset your mood balance and stress levels.
Keep stress levels low by taking your mornings slow. If you find that your current schedule makes that virtually impossible, then start trying to wake up earlier and sleep earlier.
Giving yourself fifteen minutes of quiet time to yourself can increase your mood immensely which not only gives you a better start to your day but also keep those pesky cortisol hormones down.
Also, you can take this time to boost your metabolism the right way by drinking about 16 ounces of water. This action will cut back those morning breakfast cravings and allow you to choose healthy options to get you going.
This is the third part of the traditional take on getting rid of unwanted fat. You have to exercise to get rid of excess body weight, and there’s no getting out of it.
Sure, reducing caloric intake on our foods will reduce your weight overall; however, those pouches of fat that hang around after you’ve lost some weight won’t go anywhere unless they’re burned off from muscle.
It’s important to start getting into a routine that enables you to exercise several times a week for at least 30 minutes.
Of course, you can up this time limit as much as you need to when you’ve grown accustomed to the previous times.
Switching up your exercise routines are also beneficial ways to make the most out of your workout; these exercises can allow you to burn calories even after you’ve finished for the day.
Here are some great activities that will enable you to burn fat and get rid of love handles fast.
- Planks: Not everyone loves them, but if you want to know what workouts for love handles work, then this is a great place to start. In intervals of 20 seconds up to 10 seconds of resting time, you should do three sets of these to get a good core build. If you can’t do 20 seconds to start with, then it’s advised to hold your plank as long as you can before resting. The next attempt should push to go a little longer until you can eventually work your way up to 20 seconds.
- Woodchoppers: You’ll need a weight of manageable size for this one. Stand with your feet shoulder length apart with the majority of your weight on your left foot. Now raise your weight above your left shoulder with both hands and make a chopping motion downwards towards your right hip. You’ll want to do 20 of these reps on each side.
- Side Planks: This time get into side plank position with your elbow and forearm laying flat on the ground, with your hips and legs also sitting flat. Raise your lower body by engaging your abs to keep your body in a straight line. Do 15 reps on each side.
- HIIT Cardio: HIIT stands for High-Intensity Interval Training, and it’s currently one of the leading ways to shed the fat on your body. Each exercise lasts only 20 seconds, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t get a workout from it. You’ll start up with some warm-up cardio such as jogging in place, torso twists, and so forth. Once you’ve hit the 3-and-a-half-minute mark, you’ll start into the HIIT cardio itself.
You can find all sorts of sheets and workout routines that revolve around HIIT cardio, and it’s highly recommended you start with what you think you can handle.
Once you get into the habit and you find that these aren’t doing it for you anymore, there’s always a different set of exercises that will challenge you.
The best part is that when you’ve finished with exercising for the day, your body doesn’t stop burning calories. These exercises were made to make the most out of your training, getting benefits for sometimes hours afterward.
How Does Exercise Help?
Engaging your core will help build the muscle you need. When you build muscle, fat gets burned. As a result, fat is used as energy instead of being stored.
However, just because you’re giving your midsection an intense workout does not mean that you’re going to see your love handles disappear in a week.
Unfortunately, spot training is a myth, and your body will take fat stores that are easy to access and slim those areas down before they get to the areas that you might be the most worried about.
It’s also essential to keep incorporating weights in your exercises. You’re not just using them to build up your arm muscles, but engaging your core in a more extreme workout by adding extra resistance when you go through your reps.
Like the exercises above, using a weight that’s not hard to hold but can give you that bonus to your workout can help you achieve your goals.
Also adding in exercises such as squats, deadlifts, thrusters, and hang cleans can help build lean muscle, for men especially. Ultimately you want to balance out cardio workouts with strength training exercise throughout your entire week.
This will prevent your body from getting into a habit and cutting corners with your workout and instead maximizes what you get out of every workout.
The Last Word
No one said getting rid of love handles was going to be a natural process but understanding the problem and how to fix it is only half the battle.
It’s time to start planning out healthy meals, buying just healthy and organic foods, work on getting a right amount of sleep, and reduce stress levels in your life.
What’s essential over everything that we’ve gone over in this article is to be patient with yourself.
You may be tired of seeing those love handles hugging the rims of your jeans, but you will get rid of them in time as long as you change up your lifestyle and bad habits.
Don’t forget to enjoy the other benefits of your new lifestyle changes while your love handles are slowly shrinking away.
You’ll be happier from a reduced amount of stress, and you won’t be eating junk food because you’re stressed out, but instead eating things that only benefit your body instead of hindering it.
You’ll also have more energy; stronger muscles and a trimmer body will give you the advantage when you tackle things that weren’t as easy before.
Of course, drinking water will always remain a constant benefit, giving you not only a slimmer waist but clearer skin and a more balanced mindset. The benefits are all there and it’s easy to agree that there’s nothing to love about love handles.
It’s time to get your life back in your hands and get rid of them once and for all.