“Love handles” is a cute name for a serious problem: fatty deposits on the back and sides of the waist. They’re not just unsightly, they’re unhealthy, too. Fortunately, you can get rid of love handles once and for all by making some small changes to your lifestyle.
Lose Fat All Over
Love handles are a sign of excess abdominal fat. This is a stubborn and dangerous type of fat that can lead to metabolic disorders and even serious heart disease. Reducing the fat around your waistline can decrease your chance of becoming diabetic or suffering a heart attack.
If you’ve considered targeting your abdominal fat and nothing else, don’t bother; there’s no such thing as spot reduction. If there were, none of us would have problem areas and we would all be perfectly proportioned! But in reality, if you want to get rid of love handles, you have to get rid of fat everywhere else, too.
Cardio exercise will help you burn fat faster. Strength training will increase your lean muscle mass, which in turn will make you burn calories faster. Eating at a slight calorie deficit will keep you from storing extra calories as fat. The best way to get rid of love handles is to do all three.
Build Stronger Obliques
The obliques are the muscles that run down both sides of your abdomen. They frame the group of muscles commonly called the 6-pack. Obliques give us the strength to twist and turn when we need to. Unfortunately, they are sometimes hidden by love handles.
Building stronger obliques will help you burn more calories, and will give you tight abdominal muscles to show off after the love handles are gone.
You can get rid of love handles faster by doing exercises that were found by the American Council on Exercise to be the very best ones for working your obliques: Bicycle crunches, captain’s chair leg raises, and vertical leg crunches.
Bicycle crunches involve lying down on your back and doing crunch-twists while pedaling your legs as if you were riding a bicycle. Captain’s chair leg raises require the use of a captain’s chair, which is a common fixture in most gyms. Vertical leg crunches are performed like regular crunches, but with your legs raised perpendicular to the ground.
Do a search for these exercises to find helpful step-by-step guides with photos.
Eat Fat-Burning Foods
Some foods, especially those high in sugar and sodium, add inches to the waistline. To get rid of love handles, you’ll need to eat more foods that fight belly fat. Doctors recommend heart-healthy fats, like those found in olive oil, nuts, and salmon; 3 servings of calcium from green, leafy vegetables or dairy products; and plenty of fiber from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
These foods are digested slowly, so they leave you feeling satisfied longer. Add some green tea to your diet for an extra fat-burning boost. Three cups a day will speed up your metabolism and ward off diseases.
Check Your Clothes
One last quick and dirty trick to get rid of love handles: Make sure your clothes fit properly. Tight clothing can create the illusion of love handles, even on thin folks. If you’ve worked hard to lose your love handles, don’t ruin the effect by squeezing into jeans that leave you overflowing!