How to get rid of love handles fast

What Exactly Are Love Handles?

Love handles are the areas of fat that accumulate around the midsection and present as an horizontal overhang of skin/fat over your trousers or skirt. They are often exacerbated by wearing tight fitting clothing.

You may have also heard them referred to as “muffin top” – same thing!

Comically, the name comes from the idea that they offer your partner something to hang onto during sex.

Love handles are something that most dieters are super keen to wave goodbye to.

Not only are they rather unsightly but the scientific evidence is that a wider waistline is associated with serious health issues such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

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Why Do I have Love Handles?

Love handles are essentially just areas where fat has built up.

Like any other fat, the reason for it loitering around is because you are most likely eating more calories than you are burning.

Over a sustained period this leads to weight gain due to your body’s storage of fat.

The hips and stomach are classic areas for this fat to build up and even people who are naturally skinny tend to notice an accumulation of fat in this area as they reach their 30’s, if left unchecked.

You might have heard it to referred to as “middle aged spread“.

There’s a number of factors that can lead to love handles including:-

  • Poor diet – usually one high in unrefined carbs, fats, sugars and lacking in protein, fiber and healthy fats.
  • Poor sleep – sleep deprivation leads to unhelpful hormones circulating around your body like cortisol and ghrelin (a hormone that tells you when to eat) and less leptin (a hormone that tells you to stop eating).
  • Getting older – as above, age generally makes you more susceptible to weight again, especially around the mid-riff. This is because our metabolism slows as we age.
  • Genetics – genes control pretty much all bodily functions including metabolism and also where we store fat. Some bodies store fat more around the midsection. Some bodies also find it easier to gain fat here and harder to lose it. It’s a bit of a gene roulette.
  • Unhealthy lifestyle – this may mean too little exercise, eating too many calories or not controlling stress.
  • Certain medical conditions – thyroid conditions or conditions that impede your metabolism.

Related Articles:
11 Ways to get a flat stomach without exercise
8 Ways to lose belly fat super fast

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5 Lifestyle and Dietary changes to Shed Love Handles

If you’re serious about leaving your love handles and muffin top behind there’s a few steps you can implement right away to see results.

The most important factor in losing weight, including love handles, is diet.

The key thing to remember is that you cannot lose weight without a nutritious diet.

Diet is the by far the most important factor in weight loss and weight gain!

If you are consuming more calories than you are burning, it doesn’t matter how good your exercise regime is – you’re not going to lose your love handles.

An 80/20 split of diet to exercise is a sensible model to follow.

So, let’s take a look at a few dietary ideas to get you started.

1. Eat More healthy Fats

There was a trend that started in the middle of the last century that fats were bad and were the arch nemesis of anyone trying to lose weight. Science now tells us this is simply not true.

Eating healthy fats is crucial to any well meaning diet!

Healthy fats keep us fuller for longer and help curb those mid morning or mid afternoon snack attacks where we head to the fridge or cupboard for a pick me up.

Here’s some healthy fats to add to your diet or to replace other foods you eat with:-

  • Avocados
  • Nuts
  • Fatty fish – salmon, sardines or mackerel
  • Olive oil
  • Chia seeds
  • Eggs

My weight loss journey where I lost 50lb’s in 7 months was achieved with the Mediterranean diet which is naturally high in healthy fats (see the above foods).

I was apprehensive about loading up on fat probably because of the junk science I had heard that had condemned all fats, when some fat is actually very good for you.

The key is to focus on healthy fats (as above) and to avoid trans fats and saturated fats, which can raise LDL cholesterol (the bad stuff).

2. Reduce Your Stress Levels

Being less stressed is great way to improve your health and help you banish your belly.

High levels of stress leads to over production of the stress hormone cortisol which has been shown to induce weight gain and reek havoc with your digestive system.

Too much cortisol has actually been shown to increase the fat around your midsection and lead to obesity.

My favorite ways to reduce stress include:-

  • Reading
  • Yoga
  • Exercise
  • Listening to chill out music
  • Walking
  • Having a bath with lots of bubbles

3. Reduce Your Sugar Intake

Sugar is high in calories and foods containing it usually offer very little nutritional benefit.

Sugar is also addictive and some studies show that it may even be as addictive as cocaine. Not good for anyone trying to cut down on it.

Excess sugar can also lead to insulin resistance where your body stops using insulin effectively leading to elevated blood sugar and inflammation which has been shown to lead to increased fat storage.

Sugar is also not very filling which generally means you’ll carry on eating it or eating other foods to satisfy your hunger, thereby taking on more calories.

4. Eat More Protein

Bulking up your meals with protein is a great place to start to shed your belly fat.

Protein is a great food for keeping us full for longer so we don’t snack between meals.

Protein is also a great choice to boost metabolism and can help you preserve and build lean muscle mass.

5. Cut Down on alcohol

Alcohol is not a good choice for those looking to shed weight – especially fat around the belly.

Alcohol is full of empty calories and has been shown to stop your body from burning fat.

Alcohol can increase hunger and you’re more likely to make poor food choices when intoxicated leading to excess calorie intake.

Not only that but alcohol can also affect the REM stage of sleep and make you feel more groggy the next day.

Lack of high quality, restorative sleep has been shown to increase output of the hormones cortisol and grehlin which are proven to lead to weight gain.

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5 exercises to help you shed your love handles

It’s important to point out from the outset that there is no magic exercise bullet that will specifically target your muffin top before other flabby areas.

Unfortunately exercise doesn’t operate in that way.

Instead, when you exercise your body will burn fat from anywhere on your body, not necessarily the area you’re targeting and that you wished would shift first.

This means you cannot simply pick and choose which fat to lose first.

The key is to choose an exercise regime that is effective at helping you lose weight on the whole.

When you do that, you will naturally lose your love handles at the same time.

So, here’s 5 exercises to consider to shed that belly blubber.

1. Bicycle Crunches

2. mountain Climbers

3. Planks

4. Russian Twists

5. burpees


Love handles are something most women (and a lot of men too) are keen to get shut off and in quick time!

The bottom line is that if you adopt a healthier diet and compliment it with effective exercise, you will start to see results fairly quickly in most cases.

How fast you’ll be able to rid yourself of your love handles will depend on how committed you are to making these lifestyle changes and how well you can maintain them.

It’s important to remember that any sustainable weight loss results will bee seen by changing your lifestyle in the long term and not reverting back to your old ways as soon as you hit your target weight.

Genetics and certain medical conditions can also make things harder or easier when it comes to losing belly fat and if you’re having issues with particularly stubborn fat in this area, it may be worth speaking to your GP to discuss the same.


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