How to Get Rid of Love Handles: 17 Simple Ways

Lexi Lutz
Reading Time: 16 minutes
how to get rid of love handles
Table of Contents

Before we dive into this article, I want to remind you, yes you, that every body is beautiful. Every body is unique. And every body deserves optimal health.

These are 17 simple and effective ways to improve your overall health and lifestyle, and they’ll also help you get rid of those stubborn love handles. 

These methods include targeted exercises, diet tips, and insights on fat loss. By incorporating these strategies into your routine, you can work towards gaining more energy, better health, and even a slimmer waistline.

Note: The following tips and guidelines are not a miracle solution but rather practical suggestions that, when combined with a balanced diet and regular exercise, can lead to positive results.

Understanding Love Handles and Why They’re Stubborn

The first step of how to get rid of love handles, is understanding them. Love handles are the excess fat that accumulates around the sides of the waist and hip area. They can be a source of frustration for so many people, as they can be difficult to get rid of despite regular exercise and a healthy diet. Understanding why love handles are stubborn is crucial in implementing effective solutions.

Love handles tend to be resistant to reduction for a few key reasons. 

One reason is that the fat stored in this area is commonly known as subcutaneous fat, which is located just beneath the skin. Unlike visceral fat, which surrounds internal organs and is linked to health risks, subcutaneous fat is less responsive to exercise and diet modifications.

Another reason why love handles may be stubborn is that spot reduction, the idea of targeting fat loss in specific areas, is not supported by scientific evidence. When you engage in exercises that target the abdominal muscles, you’ll strengthen and tone the underlying muscles, but it doesn’t necessarily result in direct fat loss in that area.

So how do you go about reducing love handles? It requires an overall approach focused on burning calories, creating a calorie deficit, and promoting overall fat loss. This includes a combination of cardio exercises, strength training, and adopting a healthy diet.

1. Cut Out Added Sugar

Added sugars are often hiding in processed foods, sugary drinks, and tempting sweets. By eliminating these sources of empty calories, you can significantly reduce your overall calorie intake and prevent further weight gain around the waistline.

These sugars provide little to no nutritional value and can quickly spike blood sugar levels, leading to increased cravings and a higher risk of overeating.

To successfully cut out added sugar, make a conscious effort to read food labels and choose whole, unprocessed foods whenever possible. Opt for natural sweeteners like fruit or stevia instead. Also, try to limit your intake of sugary beverages and replace them with healthier alternatives like water or herbal tea (my favorite is green tea with lemon).

2. Healthy Fats

Incorporating healthy fats into your diet can actually help in reducing love handles. Contrary to popular belief, not all fats are bad for you. In fact, healthy fats are essential for your overall well-being and can aid in weight loss.

Avocados, for example, are packed with monounsaturated fats, which not only provide satiety but also help regulate hormone production. This can have a positive impact on the distribution of body fat, including love handles.

Olive oil is another healthy fat that can be beneficial for those looking to get rid of love handles. It contains monounsaturated fats and has anti-inflammatory properties, which can promote weight loss and reduce the accumulation of fat around the waistline.

Nuts, such as almonds and walnuts, are also rich in healthy fats. These nuts provide a good source of protein and fiber, both of which help keep you feeling full and satisfied. Including a handful of nuts in your diet can help curb cravings and prevent overeating, contributing to love handles fat loss.

When incorporating healthy fats into your diet, it’s important to consume them in moderation. While they offer numerous health benefits, they are still high in calories, so portion control is key. Aim to include a variety of healthy fats in your meals while keeping your overall calorie intake in check.

3. Add Fiber

Fiber-rich foods are not only nutritious, but they also help you feel fuller for longer, which is the key to reducing the temptation to overeat. Incorporating a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes into your meals can provide the necessary fiber to tackle those stubborn love handles.

One easy way to increase your fiber intake is by enjoying a colorful array of fruits and vegetables. These nutrient-packed foods not only provide valuable vitamins and minerals but the fiber content helps regulate digestion and promote satiety. Consider adding berries, apples, leafy greens, and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower to your diet.

Whole grains are another fantastic source of fiber. Opt for whole wheat bread, brown rice, quinoa, and oats to add that extra fiber boost to your meals. These complex carbs provide sustained energy, reduce cravings, and contribute to a feeling of fullness.

Lastly, legumes such as beans, lentils, and chickpeas are fantastic sources of fiber and can be easily incorporated into meals or as a protein-rich side dish. These plant-based options not only provide fiber but also offer a host of other health benefits.

Keep in mind that incorporating fiber into your diet should be done gradually to allow your body to adjust.

4. Stress Management

Chronic stress can seriously contribute to the accumulation of fat, including love handles. When we’re stressed, our bodies release cortisol, a stress hormone that can promote weight gain and fat storage in the abdominal area.

To combat this, it’s important to prioritize stress management in your daily routine. Regular exercise, such as brisk walks or yoga, can help reduce stress levels. Meditation and deep breathing exercises can also be effective in promoting relaxation and reducing stress.

While it may not directly target love handles, stress management plays a crucial role in overall fat loss. By implementing these techniques, you can help prevent the release of stress hormones that promote weight gain and support your efforts to reduce love handles.

5. Start Lifting Weights

Incorporating strength training exercises into your fitness routine is crucial for reducing love handles. Weightlifting helps build lean muscle mass, which increases your metabolism and promotes fat burning. 

Wanna tone your obliques so that they’re nice and defined? The Russian twist is where it’s at:

Sit on the ground with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lean back slightly and lift your feet off the ground. Hold a dumbbell or a medicine ball with both hands in front of you. Twist your torso to the right, bringing the weight down towards the ground, then twist to the left. Repeat this movement, alternating sides, for a specified number of repetitions.

love handles exercises

6. Prioritize Quality Sleep

When we don’t get enough sleep, our body’s hunger-regulating hormones, such as leptin and ghrelin, become imbalanced. This can result in increased appetite and cravings for unhealthy, calorie-dense foods.

Aim for 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night to support your weight loss goals.

So, how can you prioritize quality sleep to reduce love handles? Here are some tips:

1. Stick to a sleep schedule: Establish a consistent sleep routine by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, even on weekends. This helps regulate your body’s internal clock and promotes better sleep quality.

2. Create a bedtime routine: Develop a calming pre-sleep routine to signal to your body that it’s time to wind down. This can include activities like reading a book, taking a warm bath, or practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation.

3. Create a sleep-friendly environment: Make your bedroom a comfortable and conducive sleep environment. Keep the room cool, dark, and quiet, and consider investing in a comfortable mattress, pillows, and bedding.

4. Limit caffeine and screen time: Avoid consuming caffeine or engaging in stimulating activities close to bedtime, as they can interfere with your ability to fall asleep. Additionally, limit exposure to electronic screens, such as smartphones and computers, as the blue light emitted can disrupt your sleep-wake cycle.

5. Create a sleep-friendly diet: Avoid heavy meals, spicy foods, and excessive fluid intake close to bedtime, as they can disrupt your sleep. Instead, choose lighter, sleep-friendly snacks if you’re hungry before bed.

7. Eat More Protein 

Protein has a thermic effect, meaning that it requires more energy to digest compared to fats and carbohydrates. By consuming protein-rich foods, you can increase your metabolism, which in turn helps to burn more calories. This can contribute to a decrease in overall body fat, including love handles.

Another advantage of protein is its ability to promote feelings of fullness and satiety. Including protein-rich foods in your meals can help curb cravings and prevent overeating, ultimately reducing your overall calorie intake. This can be especially beneficial in targeting love handles, as it allows for a more controlled approach to weight management.

Incorporating lean meats, eggs, dairy products, tofu, and lentils into your diet can have a positive impact on your love handle reduction journey.

8. Cardio

Cardiovascular exercises get your heart rate up, increasing your calorie burn and promoting overall weight loss.

When performing cardio exercises, make sure to maintain proper form and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity cardio per week, as recommended by the American Heart Association.

Remember to choose activities that you enjoy and that suit your fitness level and preferences. Consistency is key when it comes to cardio exercises, so find ways to incorporate them into your weekly routine and make them a regular part of your fitness journey.

9. Stay Hydrated

Drinking enough water helps curb cravings and promotes a feeling of fullness, which can prevent overeating and unnecessary snacking. Additionally, staying hydrated boosts your metabolism, enabling your body to efficiently burn calories and promote fat loss.

Proper hydration also supports optimal digestion, aiding in the elimination of excess fat. It helps maintain regularity and prevents constipation, ensuring that your body can efficiently process and excrete waste.

Drinking water helps regulate body temperature and lubricates joints, promoting better overall physical performance during workouts. Being well-hydrated ensures that you can give your full effort to love handle-targeting exercises.

Make it a habit to drink water consistently throughout the day. Carry a reusable water bottle with you, and sip on it regularly to meet your hydration needs. A general guideline is to aim for at least 8 cups (64 ounces) of water per day, but individual needs may vary based on factors such as activity levels and climate.

10. Complex Carbs

Instead of consuming refined carbs that are often found in processed foods, choose whole grains, brown rice, quinoa, and legumes. These complex carbs provide sustained energy, regulate blood sugar levels, and make you feel fuller for longer.

By incorporating complex carbs into your meals, you can reduce the likelihood of overeating and weight gain in the love handle area. Whole grains and legumes are nutrient-dense and high in fiber, which helps with digestion and keeps you satisfied. So, whether you’re enjoying a hearty quinoa salad or a comforting bowl of brown rice, you can nourish your body while working towards your love handle reduction goals.

11. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is an excellent way to target love handles and achieve overall fat loss. HIIT workouts involve short bursts of intense exercise followed by periods of rest or low-intensity exercise. This alternating pattern keeps your heart rate elevated, resulting in increased calorie burn both during and after the workout.

When you perform HIIT exercises for love handles, you engage multiple muscle groups, including the core, which helps to strengthen and tone the area. This not only helps to reduce love handles but also improves your overall fitness.

Here are a few HIIT exercises to get you started:

  • Burpees
  • Mountain climbers
  • High knees
  • Jumping jacks
  • Plank jacks

Remember to warm up before performing HIIT exercises and cool down afterward to prevent injuries. Start with shorter intervals and gradually increase the intensity and duration as your fitness improves.

love handles fat loss

12. Practice Mindful Eating

Mindful eating involves being fully present and aware of your eating experience. Instead of mindlessly consuming food, take the time to appreciate the flavors, textures, and aromas of your meal. This practice can help you tune in to your body’s hunger and fullness signals, allowing you to eat according to your body’s needs rather than emotional or external cues.

Here are some tips for practicing mindful eating:

  • Turn off distractions, such as the TV or phone, while eating.
  • Eat at a designated, calm space, away from work or other distractions.
  • Take small bites and chew slowly to fully savor and appreciate the flavors.
  • Pause between bites to check in with yourself and assess your level of hunger and satisfaction.
  • Listen to your body’s hunger and fullness cues and eat until you’re comfortably satisfied, not overly full.
  • Avoid multitasking while eating, and focus solely on your meal.

13. Targeted Ab Exercises

To effectively get rid of love handles and strengthen your core, incorporating targeted ab exercises into your workout routine is essential. These exercises specifically focus on the abdominal muscles and can help tone and tighten the love handle area.

  • Side planks: Start by lying on your side with your elbow directly beneath your shoulder. Lift your hips off the ground, creating a straight line from your head to your feet. Hold for 30 seconds on each side.
  • Russian twists: Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet lifted slightly off the ground. Hold a weight or medicine ball with both hands and twist your torso from side to side, tapping the weight on the ground. Aim for 12-15 twists on each side.
  • Bicycle crunches: Lie on your back with your hands behind your head and your legs lifted off the ground. Bring your left elbow to your right knee while extending your left leg. Switch sides and continue alternating for 12-15 repetitions.
  • Oblique crunches: Lie on your back with your feet flat on the ground and your knees bent. Place your hands behind your head and lift your upper body off the ground, twisting to bring your right elbow towards your left knee. Repeat on the opposite side and aim for 12-15 repetitions on each side.

By incorporating these love handles exercises into your routine, you’ll target and strengthen the muscles in your core, leading to a more defined and toned midsection.

14. Minimize Alcohol Consumption

Alcoholic beverages are high in empty calories, meaning they provide little to no nutritional value but can contribute to weight gain and the accumulation of love handles. These drinks often lead to increased appetite and poor food choices, sabotaging your hard work towards achieving a slimmer waistline.

Consider reducing the frequency and quantity of alcoholic drinks or even eliminating them altogether. 

Remember, small changes in your lifestyle can have a big impact on your overall wellness and body composition.

15. Focus on Whole Foods

Whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains, are nutrient-dense and lower in calories compared to processed foods. They provide essential nutrients while promoting satiety and weight loss.

By focusing on whole foods, you can nourish your body with the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants it needs to thrive. These foods are also typically high in fiber, which aids in digestion and helps you feel full, reducing the likelihood of overeating.

Incorporating lean proteins, such as chicken, fish, and tofu, can help support muscle growth and repair. Building lean muscle mass can increase your metabolism, helping you burn more calories throughout the day.

Whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, and oats provide sustained energy and fiber, helping to keep you feeling satisfied and preventing blood sugar spikes. 

Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support overall health. They are low in calories and high in water content, making them a great choice for a snack or a side dish.

16. NEAT Activities

Ever heard of NEAT?

Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) refers to the calories you burn through everyday activities, such as walking, doing household chores, or taking the stairs. By increasing your NEAT, you can burn more calories throughout the day and contribute to love handle reduction.

To increase your NEAT, look for opportunities to stay active throughout the day. Instead of sitting for long periods, take short walking breaks or opt for active tasks. You can choose to walk or cycle for short distances instead of driving, stand while doing simple tasks, or take the stairs instead of the elevator. These small changes in your daily routine can make a significant impact on calorie expenditure and help in your journey to reduce love handles.

17. The Benefits of Running

Not only is running a high-intensity cardiovascular activity, but it also effectively burns calories, making it an ideal workout for those targeting their love handles. 

One of the great advantages of running is its accessibility. You don’t need any special equipment or expensive gym memberships. Simply lace up your running shoes, step out onto the pavement or hit the trails, and you’re ready to go. Whether you prefer a brisk jog or a full-on sprint, running allows you to customize the intensity and duration of your workout to fit your fitness level and goals.

Running also strengthens your cardiovascular system, improves endurance, boosts mood by releasing endorphins, and enhances overall well-being. Regular running can also help lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and improve bone density.

FAQ

How can I get rid of love handles?

To get rid of love handles, you can try incorporating targeted exercises, such as side planks and oblique crunches, into your workout routine. Additionally, making dietary changes like cutting out added sugars and increasing your fiber intake can help reduce love handles. Consider incorporating cardio and strength training exercises into your routine as well.

What are some effective exercises for burning love handles?

Some effective exercises for burning love handles include side planks, Russian twists, bicycle crunches, and oblique crunches. These exercises target your abdominal muscles and can help tone and strengthen the love handle area. Combining these exercises with cardio and full-body strength training workouts can yield even better results.

How does diet contribute to love handles reduction?

Diet plays a crucial role in reducing love handles. Cutting out added sugars and focusing on whole foods can help reduce calorie intake and promote weight loss. Incorporating healthy fats and high-quality protein into your diet can also support love handle reduction. It’s important to prioritize a well-rounded, balanced diet for overall success.

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