So you are finally ready to tackle that love handles that you’ve been carrying around, year after year. You tried every quick fix, every recipe, and product, but you just cant lose them! Don’t worry, I’ve been exactly where you are.
After countless tests, trials, and failures, I finally found the answers on how to get rid of love handles, once and for all!
Will you like the answer? Probably not, depending on how hard you are willing to work, and how bad you want the results.
So we created this in-depth guide, to help get you on the path of eliminating those stubborn love handles.
We will help you get to know your worst enemy (your love handles), and reveal the truth as to what it will take in order to get rid of them.
Points We Will Be Covering
What Are Love Handles?
Love handles are deposits of excess and unwanted fat, which is located around the hips and abdominal area. They can become more obvious when wearing tight clothing, and are the most difficult to eliminate when trying to lose weight.
Love handles are also known to be called muffin tops, due to the hanging excess fat that bulges out, and above the waistline of your pants.
Many people struggle to lose love handles, as they are the first place where excess fat starts to accumulate, and the last place it leaves.
What Is The Cause Of Love Handles?
So what causes those annoying love handles?
The result of love handles is simply due to fat retention, which is influenced by many factors including calorie intake, poor dieting, lack of physical activity, poor sleeping habits, as well as having a low metabolism.
If lifestyle changes aren’t implemented, then fat cells will continue to accumulate around your belly and waistline, therefore increasing the size and formation of your love handles.
There are also other uncontrollable factors that may cause the appearance of love handles. These can include:
- Age (as you get older, belly fat accumulates due to slower metabolism)
- Untreated health conditions (commonly, hypothyroidism)
Although these factors are uncontrollable, making healthy choices early on can help minimize the size of your love handles.
Foods That Cause Love Handles
Your love handles are one of the first places where fat is stored, and one of the last places where it is burned. This in mind, it is important to build awareness around what types of food we should and should not eat, in effort of trying to lose those muffin tops.
Here, we listed 6 types of foods that you should avoid when trying to lose love handles:
1. High In Trans Fats
Trans fats often have high levels of LDL Cholesterol (the bad cholesterol), which are most known to increase the risk of heart disease. Although the FDA has banned the manufacturing of trans-fats due to its risk, it is still easy to find foods that contain high levels of trans fats.
Avoid foods containing high amounts of trans fats such as margarine, crackers, pizza, doughnuts, and fried foods like french fries and chicken. Healthy fats can be found in foods such as nuts, seeds, avocado, and olives.
2. High Carbs
First, it’s important to understand that there are both good carbs and bad carbs. Healthy carbs are important because they contain beneficial nutrients which promote better digestion, as well as weight loss. Your body also stores them and uses them as a source of energy, kind of like a rechargable battery.
However, since carbs cannot be burned all at once, your body will store them as fat. This is why it’s important to limit your carb intake and choose foods which contain more healthy carbs, which your body can burn easier.
Stay away from foods such as white rice, white bread, pastries, ice cream, potato chips, and sugary drinks, and lean towards healthier foods, such as vegetables, whole fruits, nuts, and whole grains.
Trust me, your body and love handles will thank you for it!
3. Soda's And Soft Drinks
It is no secret that sodas and sugary drinks are terrible for your health. These beverages are highly saturated with sugars that not only contribute to your love handles but can significantly increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease, as well as kidney disease.
Instead of consuming these deadly beverages, stick to water and fruits to kill off any sugar cravings that you may have throughout the day.
Studies have shown that drinking too much alcohol can highly increase the chances of obesity, and has been a major influencing factor for well over 30 years now.
Consuming too much alcohol can easily increase the formation of love handles. Alcohol also slows down your metabolism and contains high amounts of calories which contribute to overall weight gain.
Not only does alcohol make you gain weight, but it can lead to several health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, and can have a large negative impact on your mental health.
5. Sodium-rich Foods
Intaking too much sodium will drastically increase your bodies retention levels, causing your love handles and any excess fat to appear larger than it really is. Eating too much salt also comes with the potential risk of stroke, heart failure, osteoporosis, and increase of blood pressure.
Avoid seasoning food with high amounts of salt, or try disregarding salt when cooking meals. Instead, you can replace salt with spices and herbs if you feel that you are lacking flavor in your meals.
Canned foods often contain high amounts of sodium so that they may be preserved using fewer chemicals. So stay away from anything that comes canned and has a long shelf life, as well as foods such as beef jerky, bagels, and muffins.
6. Processed Foods
Processed foods contribute to the growth of love handles because they reduce your body’s ability to metabolize food. This can lead to insulin resistance, as well as increased amounts of bad cholesterol. This can put you at risk of many health problems, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and even cancer.
Simply stay away from any preserved foods that come in a can, and stick to fresh whole foods.
A rule of thumb is to shop around the outside perimeter of the grocery store while staying away from the center isles.
How To Get Rid Of Love Handles. For Good...
The common mistake people make when wanting to lose their love handles is thinking that they have to just change one habit or one pattern.
The reality is that if you want to see the results you desire, you have to make multiple lifestyle changes and maintain consistency over long periods of time.
Easier said than done, right?
Too many people will try to sell you on the idea of quick fixes, or try to sell you that “big secret” that will magically make you look like a supermodel. Sound familiar?
The quicker we get over the fact that it’s going to take work and dedication, and the sooner we realize that what has always worked…still works! (a.k.a hard work), then the sooner we will start taking the necessary actions towards getting rid of those love handles once and for all.
13 Things You Can Start Doing Today
Below, we listed 13 things you can refer to daily, that will help you stay on track towards getting rid of those love handles.
1. Stop Snacking Throughout The Day
One common habit that I personally was guilty of in the past was snacking too often in between meals. Doing this will increase your fat and calorie intake faster than you will realize, which makes it more challenging to lose your love handles.
The solution: Try adding at least 8-11 grams of fiber to each meal, and drink more water. It will help you stay fuller for longer, and reduce your urge to snack.
2. Get Better Sleep
Sleep deprivation can cause you to become more dependant on food as a main source of energy, therefore increasing the number of calories and fats you intake.
A lack of proper sleep can also increase stress and anxiety. This can cause you to make poor lifestyle choices which can result in you repeatedly falling off course when trying to lose, or manage weight.
Make sure you aim for at least 7 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep in order to prevent weight gain, which contributes to the formation of love handles.
3. Drink Plenty Of Water And Avoid The Sugary Drinks.
Many people tend to go for sugary beverages containing high amounts of calories. This quickly starts to add up, resulting in rapid weight gain.
Because liquid calories don’t fill you up as food does, it is much easier to intake an over excessive amount. This is because fluids pass through your digestive system much quicker and are absorbed easier by the body, than food.
Water is by far the best fluid to drink, as our body is composed of over 60% of it. Drinking cold water will also help you burn more calories, and help boost your metabolism. This is because your body has to work hard to bring the water from a cold to a warm temperature.
4. Cut The Sugar
Reducing the amount of added sugar, or sugary foods in general, is one of the best ways you can start eliminating your love handles.
Studies have shown that sugars and sweeteners contribute to belly fat and overall weight gain. Additionally, foods that contain high amounts of sugars contain more calories and fewer nutrients which contribute to more body fat.
5. Intake More Fiber
Fiber will help you stay fuller for longer periods of time. It will slow down digestion while suppressing hunger, therefore resulting in less intake of calories throughout the day.
6. Be More Active
If you work at a desk or sit for long periods of time, then you may find it more difficult to lose your love handles.
Finding every opportunity you can to burn more calories is a great way to lose excess fat. Look for windows of time where you can walk or move. This can be as simple as going to a different location to eat lunch, or taking a short walking break every hour.
An article by Mayo Clinic suggests that you should walk for at least 30 minutes a day if you want to lose weight. Try to prioritize a brisk walk after or before working hours, and aim for a long walk on your days off.
Remember, consistency is key here. Every little bit counts towards you losing those annoying love handles.
7. Cut Back On The Alchohol
Cutting alcohol consumption is an easy way to lose excess weight.
Alcohol is known to increase fat, particularly in the midsection where your love handles are located.
Studies have also shown that alcohol stimulates the brain, tricking it into feeling that it is more hungry than it really is. This can result in a much greater intake of calories throughout the day.
8. Change Your Mindset Around Eating
Paying attention to when you are hungry, how frequently, and how fast you are eating can help you take control of your weight loss journey.
This mindset will help you to adopt the power of mindful eating, so you can gain full control of your eating habits. This will help prevent you from slipping into temptation unwillingly, and helps develop your ability to say no when faced with the temptation to snack or over-eat.
9. Stop Stressing
Not dealing with stress can impact your health both mentally and physically.
Although stress is a normal function, too much production of stress hormones such as cortisol can lead to headaches, anxiety, depression and even weight gain.
Learning to stay healthy under stress can help you bounce back quicker, and will help reduce the chances of gaining excess weight.
Managing stress can also help you make healthier decisions around eating, and increase your desire, as well as your capacity to exercise.
10. Eat More Healthy Fats
Believe it or not, there are unhealthy, as well as healthy fats which your body depends on in order to get the energy it needs.
Healthy fats help you stay fuller longer, which in return reduces your total calorie intake throughout the day.
The best fats can be found in foods such as avocado, olive oil, and nuts. Although healthy fats contain calories, your body will burn them more efficiently than foods containing unhealthy fats, therefore helping you lose weight.
11. Do More Cardio
Any cardiovascular activity such as running, biking, swimming, and aerobics are one of the best ways to burn through any remaining calories in your body. For better results, you can use equipment such as jump ropes, weights or a stability ball to increase the intensity of your workouts.
Many people avoid these types of exercises because they get intimidated, thinking that it takes a really high level of intensity and energy in order to achieve any kind of noticeable results.
This is far from the truth. In fact, there are many low-impact and beginner type exercises that will do wonders for losing excess weight, including your love handles.
12. Avoid Processed Foods
Choosing whole foods over processed foods is probably one of the best ways to lose love handles.
Research reveals a much higher percentage of people having larger waistlines when eating processed foods, over those that eat healthy meals. Evidence also shows that ultra-processed foods are highly linked to obesity in both men and women.
Additionally, processed foods that are fried, are canned or frozen, have unwanted chemicals and preservatives which can have a negative impact on your health. They also tend to contain higher amounts of calories, sodium, as well as sugar, which can put you at risk of heart disease and diabetes.
13. Start Working Out
If you want to cut the time it takes to lose those stubborn love handles in half, then you have to go all in on exercise’s that target fat loss.
Any kind of higher intensity workout is beneficial to your health. However, there are specific workouts that will help target your waist-line and belly, so you can lose your love handles faster.
There are many benefits of exercising regularely, including:
- It can make you feel happier
- Improves sleep
- Increases metabolism
- Increases energy
- Improves skin
- Helps relive stress and anxiety
- Improves memeory and brain health
In the next section, we will look at some of the best workouts for burning off your love handles.
The Best Exercises To Get Rid Of Love Handles
Below, we listed 6 effective exercises that have proven worthy in helping you lose excess fat around the waistline. You can create your own workout routine by pairing a few of these, or even couple all 6 together in one session.
We will also look at one of the most effective types of training you can do in as little as 20 minutes after we look at these 6 exercises.
The first effective workout for losing love handles, and achieving a flat stomach, are Russian twists.
1. Sit on the floor with your torso (upper body) leaning back at a 45-degree angle, with your knees bent, ankles together, and your feet planted on the floor. You can also elevate your feet if you want to increase the intensity and give your core muscles a workout.
2. You can either bend your arms like you are running or put your arms in front of you as if you were holding a ball. For a higher intensity workout, you can use a medicine ball with a weight that best fits you.
3. Start swinging your arms and upper body from side to side, keeping your arms in a locked position, spine straight and chin up. Do your best to prevent your legs from swaying.
Do this for as many repetitions you can, until failure. Repeat 3 to 5 times with only 30 – 60-second breaks in between sets for best results.
Burpees are one of the most effective exercises you can perform to lose excess body weight. They are also the least fun to do.
1. begin by standing in the squat position, with your hands on the floor, and your head looking forward. Kick your feet back with your hands remaining on the floor, until you are in the pushup position.
2. As soon as you are in the pushup position, immediately return to your feet so that you are back into the squat position, then jump as high as you can, landing in the squat position again.
3. Repeat consecutively without stopping, until failure. You should be short of breath, and your heart rate will be rapid. This is normal and means you are performing the workout properly. Make sure to take a 30 – 60-second break between sets.
1. Start by laying on the ground with your lower back flat against the floor. You can use a mat or rug underneath if you find it too comfortable.
2. Put your hands on the side of your head gently, like you were holding a set of large headphones and extend one leg while bending the other towards your chest.
3. Begin to twist across your core so that your opposite arm almost touches the bent knee. Keep alternating as if you were riding a bicycle while keeping both your head and elbows in the same position. Your legs and core should be doing almost all the work.
Repeat until failure, then rest for 30 – 60 seconds. Do this 3-5 times depending on your fitness level.
Side Plank Crunches
1. Begin by starting in a side elbow plank position, with your right elbow planted, and the other hand on your hip, or behind your head. Keep your upper body and hips aligned, and off the ground.
2. Keeping your body straight an stable, bring your left leg up towards your shoulder until it almost taps your elbow.
3. Bring your left leg back to the original position, completing 1 repetition.
Repeat until failure, then switch to perform the same routine for the other side. You can take a 30 – 60-second break between switching sides.
1. Begin by standing with your feet shoulder width apart, back straight, and your head looking forward. This will help you balance.
2. Start skipping in place by hopping your right leg, while immediately bringing your left knee to your right elbow.
3. Try to engage your abs when your knee comes to your chest.
4. Alternate by switching legs, mirroring the movement.
Repeat for 45 seconds to 2 min, depending on your fitness level. Take a 30 – 60-second break in between sets.
1. Start in the pushup position with your abs pulled, and your body as straight as possible.
2. Pull your shoulders back away from your ears and squeeze your glutes. Remember that proper posture will make all the difference.
3. Bring your right knee to your chest with that same foot off the ground. Then quickly switch and pull the left knee into your chest in the same formation.
4. Continue to switch knees simultaneously, while tensing your abs and glutes. Again, make sure that your spine is straight. You can let your head relax while looking at your knees as they alternate from left to right.
Do this until failure for maximum results. Repeat 3-5 times with a 30 to 60 second break in between.
You probably noticed that we recommend maxing out your repetitions to failure. This is far more effective than setting a ceiling of 10 or 15 and will produce far better results.
It’s important to understand that the last 2 to 3 repetitions are what counts when performing your workout. The common mistake I see people make is they set a limit of 10 or 20 repetitions and stop when they could have pushed through 5 more. They then wonder why they’ve been training for months on end with minimal results.
Remember, no pain, no gain!
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) For Losing Your Love Handles
What Is High Intensity Interval Training?
High-intensity interval training is a short workout, with short recovery periods in between sets.
This type of workout demands anywhere between 80 – 95% of your total workout capacity. The cycle can be repeated multiple times and is quite extreme, hence why it produces significant results when it comes to loosing excess fat.
HIIT for weight loss is commonly used by performing cardio workouts, such as swimming, running, cycling and aerobics. This type of intensity can also be applied to weight lifting, as well as strength training.
The key to high-intensity interval training is maintaining a high level of intensity and effort and being able to sustain it all the way through.
Why HIIT Is Effective For Losing Love Handles
Here are two main reasons why high-intensity interval training is one of the most effective ways to lose love handles and excess fat.
HIIT Boosts Metabolism
High-Intensity Interval Training increases metabolism, which helps you burn more calories throughout the day. In addition, HIIT will burn excess calories for a 24 hour period from the time you finish your workout, even while you are asleep.
Improves Insulin Sensitivity
Performing high-intensity cardio workouts also promotes positive insulin sensitivity and improves the way glycogen is stored in your muscles. This will help prevent sugar spiking, as well as insulin resistance which is otherwise known as diabetes.
It’s Quick And Dirty!
Let’s be real, no one likes to spend hours doing cardio. The beauty of performing a HIIT workout is it’s quick and can produce far greater results than a lower intensity workout.
You can do a whole HIIT workout session in as little as 10 to 25 minutes. That being said, you have to go all in, otherwise, you are better off sticking to a lower intensity workout.
The Best HIIT Workout You Can Do In 20 Minutes!
When I struggled with love handles, I went through dozens, upon dozens of different workouts. Until I found this one.
Below is a video that helped me solve my love handle problem faster than I expected. In fact, I was able to lose 7 pounds in under 3 weeks.
I get excited about sharing it with people, which is why I had to include it in this post.
I will warn you ahead of time, you will be hurting after this 20-minute workout.
Good results come with a price!
Can You Get Rid Of Love Handles By Running?
In short, yes. Running helps your body burn enough calories for you to lose weight all over if you implement healthy a healthy diet. However, the process of trying to lose love handles by running alone can take longer, than if you were to target them directly with high-intensity interval training.
If you enjoy running or jogging and want to make it a part of your lifestyle, then stick with it. Running is great for maintaining good overall health, including both mental and physical.
For faster results, try running or jogging at least 1 to 2 times a week while implementing a HIIT routine 2 – 3 times a week. Make sure you drink tons of water and take a day or two to recover.
Losing your love handles is not easy, but can certainly be achieved with enough hard work and dedication . You will need to dial in 100% on what you are putting into your body, and make adjustments to your lifestyle if you haven’t already.
The reality is that we all know what changes need to be made. Majority of people who want to look or feel a certain way struggle, because they simply don’t want to put in the work. Instead, they look for the next shortcut or “secret” that will bring them to the promise land.
I too was guilt for this in the past, and soon learned that there is no better way to achieve something than to go all in for long sustained periods of time.
So if you are still looking for that big secret, if you are still falling victim to courses, products and false promises, then it’s time to put it all to a halt and start taking massive daily action.
Cut all the junk out, get that diet in check, start working out like a racehorse by implementing a HIIT, and watch those love handles disappear!
And remember, change only works if you do!
Daniel has a dedicated history and passion for health and wellness. His journey began when he served in the Canadian Forces while pursuing bodybuilding for a hobby. Through several years he learned about what it takes to achieve a healthy lifestyle holistically and now desires to help others get on track.