Love handles… it’s funny how we LOVE to hate them. As we age, these pesky bulges begin to spill over our waistbands creating the perfect muffin top that no one wants. Are we inevitably doomed to suffer from love handles for the rest of our lives? Nope, because there’s hope in sight! By adopting an overall approach through a wholesome diet, combined with a regular fat-burning cardio routine, and strength training, we can make significant strides in reducing and even saying goodbye to those love handles. So what are you waiting for!? It’s time to fight back and attack these bulges now. With these 5 simple ways to get rid of love handles, you can start on a journey to a slimmer you.
What are Love Handles?
Let’s start at the beginning. Love handles form when the body stores excess fat, often caused by consuming more calories than needed (that’s right, all those sugary desserts have caught up with you). Although the fat is a nuisance, it actually serves a purpose. It tends to accumulate around the midsection, where vital organs are located, providing protection to them. Regardless of their purpose, how can we get rid of them?
Embrace a Balanced Diet
I can’t emphasize this enough, losing fat, especially around the midsection starts with your diet. While targeting love handles alone is not possible, shedding overall weight will naturally reduce their appearance along with other problem areas.
Instead of resorting to punishing or restrictive diets, focus on finding a sustainable eating plan that suits your individual needs. Avoid extreme calorie restrictions as they may lead to fat retention, triggering the body’s survival response. Make gradual changes, such as cutting down on sugar, alcohol, and processed foods, which can contribute to weight gain and inflammation. Opt for foods that support abdominal muscle development, such as protein-rich sources (quinoa, barley, and oats) and healthy fats (salmon, tuna, and avocado), while replacing sugary treats with nutrient-rich fruits (pineapple, grapefruit, and blueberries).
Keep in mind that a reasonable weight loss goal is approximately one pound per week, which translates to a calorie deficit of 3,500 calories per week (or 500 calories per day). A well-balanced diet provides the necessary calories to nourish your body while supporting your weight loss journey effectively.
Tip: If you do choose to indulge in alcohol, low-calorie RTD (ready-to-drink) cocktails like Owl’s Brew Boozy Teas and Tea Cocktails are delicious and contain only 110 calories per can.
For many of us with sedentary jobs, spending prolonged hours in a chair can have a significant impact on how we retain weight. However, incorporating regular fat-burning movement like cardio into our daily routine can make a notable difference in our overall well-being. Cardio torches fat by elevating your heart rate and increasing calorie expenditure, promoting a greater fat-burning effect. Cardio exercises, such as running, cycling, or jumping rope, stimulate your metabolism and encourage the body to utilize stored fat as an energy source. Walking is also a great source of cardio. It has 80% of the benefits of running and is easier on your joints.
To begin your journey, create a practical and personalized routine that seamlessly fits into your life’s rhythm and that you enjoy. Trust me, doing convenient and enjoyable cardio is more sustainable in the long run, making it easier for you to achieve and maintain your desired results.
Tip: Here’s a list of fun and FREE Workouts on YouTube, designed to burn calories, lose weight, and tone up from the comfort of your own home.
Now remember what I said earlier, that spot reduction or targeting specific areas to lose fat, isn’t possible? Well, the good news is incorporating more intense workout routines, such as weight training, HIIT (high-intensity interval training), and exercises focusing on core muscles, can yield significant benefits. Engaging in resistance and strength training exercises like crunches, obliques, and dumbbell reps increase muscle mass and can help your body burn fat even during rest, extending the weight loss effects beyond the workout.
Here are some of my favorite ab moves that strengthen the core and target the oblique muscles.
- Side Plank Dips: Start in a side plank position, resting on one forearm with your feet stacked on top of each other. Lower your hips towards the ground, and then lift them back up to the starting position. Repeat the movement for the desired number of reps, and then switch sides.
- Russian Twists: Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Lean back slightly, engaging your core, and lift your feet a few inches off the floor. Hold a weight or medicine ball with both hands and twist your torso to the right, bringing the weight towards the right side of your body. Return to the center and then twist to the left side. Continue alternating sides for the recommended number of reps.
- Bicycle Crunches: Lie flat on your back with your hands behind your head and your knees bent. Lift your feet off the ground, and bring your right elbow towards your left knee while extending your right leg straight. Twist your torso to the other side, bringing your left elbow towards your right knee while extending your left leg straight. Continue alternating sides in a pedaling motion for the desired number of reps. Kick it up a notch and straighten both legs for a few sets of straight-leg bicycles.
To reduce love handles stay hydrated. Water aids in appetite suppression, ensuring we eat only when necessary and in appropriate quantities. Moreover, staying hydrated contributes to a positive and energized mindset, reducing the tendency to indulge in unnecessary snacking. Keep a water bottle at hand throughout the day and reach for water instead of snacks, fostering healthy habits that support your journey to a fitter you.
Tip: Here’s a tip, elevate your water by adding lemon, cucumber, and fresh mint. You’ll think you’re at a spa. Drink up!
Managing stress is crucial in the context of weight gain and loss, making it essential to find techniques that can help mitigate its impact. When we experience stress, the body produces cortisol, commonly known as the stress hormone, which provides bursts of energy. We often lack outlets to release the excess energy produced by heightened cortisol levels and as a consequence, energy levels experience a rapid and drastic decline, leading to increased cravings for sugary foods and snacks due to the accompanying drop in blood sugar. Additionally, prolonged elevated cortisol levels have been associated with an increase in belly fat, making stress reduction crucial in achieving a trimmer waistline and saying goodbye to those love handles. To help manage stress, try journaling, meditation, yoga, or simply stretching.
Tip: Make sure to get your sleep! Insufficient sleep can elevate stress levels and lead to overeating. If you’re having trouble going to sleep or staying asleep, drink a shot of tart cherry juice before bed. It’s rich in antioxidants and melatonin, allowing you to get a good night’s sleep without waking up groggy. Sweet dreams!
There you have it. By implementing these 5 simple ways to get rid of love handles, you will see a newer and slimmer you in no time.