No matter your age, gender or lifestyle, we all know that love handles exist and that they can be tough to get rid of. If you have love handles, you may know how hard it is to find clothes that fit properly without accentuating the excess fat at the waistline.
In the past, love handles were very common among the middle-aged women and men from their late 30's. Nowadays, this is not the case because the love handles are so common among teenagers especially girls.
Scientific statistics suggest that, among the people having love handles, 82.36% are teenage girls. The explanation to support this research is that "Most teenagers love junk food".
If you’ve been like the hundreds of thousands of other people that struggle with love handles and are looking for a way to get rid of them, look no further.
Below you will find out everything you need to know about this stubborn body fat, what causes love handles and plenty of ways to get rid of them.
I included a FAQ section to hopefully answer any questions you may have on the topic as well. Hopefully after reading this you’ll be one step closer to getting the body you desire!
What Causes Love Handles
When it comes to love handles, the main culprit is fat retention. In your body, fat cells will begin to accumulate if you take in too many calories, or if you’re not burning as many calories as you’re taking in.
Eventually, those fat cells pool together and become physically noticeable. Love handles occur on the sides of your waist and can make things like finding clothes difficult and self love hard.
There are several factors that play a role into why you may have love handles. The underlying problem is fat retention, but is there something else playing a role?
One thing that can cause love handles is your hormones. Love handles are mostly found in women, but that’s not to say that men can’t have them. If your hormones are too high, or you have too much cortisol, that can aid in gaining love handles.
Cortisol is caused by too much stress and can be a much bigger problem than most people realize. If you feel like this may be something you struggle with, speak to your doctor.
Another thing that can play a part is your age. If you’re younger, it’s going to be much easier for you to get rid of love handles and you’re less likely to have them in the first place.
The older you get, the more common it is for belly fat to start to accumulate. This unfortunately can be the cause of love handles.
Lack of Exercise
Something else that can cause love handles to appear is a lack of physical activity. When it comes to weight loss and gain, it’s mostly centered around caloric intake and outtake.
If you eat 3,000 calories in a day, but you’re only burning off 2,000, you’ll gain weight rather quickly. If this is an issue for you, consider moving around a bit more during the day to increase the amount of calories you burn.
Something as simple as going for a walk, or a short bike ride can really help.
High Calorie Diet
On the other hand, if you have a diet that is high in things like fats, sugars or calories, you may be getting love handles in exchange.
There are healthy fats such as avocado and almonds that are okay, but anything in excess is going to affect your body negatively. Sugar can be incredibly hard to cut down on, but it is possible.
Again, when it comes to consuming too many calories, make sure you’re moving around enough during the day to even things out. If you’re eating calories in excess, talk to a medical professional to seek some help and get things under control.
Another thing that can give us love handles is poor sleeping habits. If you struggle with sleep deprivation, your body will react accordingly. This can cause an increase in cortisol and a lack of sleep can really mess your body (and mind) up.
If you’ve been struggling with sleep for an extended period of time, look into taking part in a sleep study to see if there’s an underlying cause that should be addressed.
If you have any un-diagnosed or untreated conditions that could be slowing down your metabolism like hypothyroidism, that could be causing love handles as well.
If you’ve tried diet and exercise and aren’t seeing a change over an extended period of time, consult a medical professional.
20 Ways to Get Rid of Love Handles
So you’re probably reading this article wanting to know the magic cure to getting rid of stubborn fat around your waist.
Unfortunately there isn’t a wand we can wave to get rid of love handles, but there are a ton of amazing and healthy remedies you can try to reduce or completely get rid of love handles on your body!
I wanted to share with you a wide range of remedies to help you with your struggles. It can be so frustrating when you feel like you’ve tried everything, but there’s usually a lot more things to try out there before giving up.
Below you will see everything from workouts, diet tips and more to help you slim down your waistline. Let’s jump into it!
Reducing Intake of Added Sugar
When it comes to targeting fat loss on your body, a healthy diet is incredibly important. One of the things that can make a huge difference is reducing your intake of added sugar.
Sugar is addictive so this may not be the easiest thing to do, but if you can do it, it will help a lot!
Added sugar can be found in most processed foods, but is most well known for being in;
There are plenty of great natural sugars you can eat that are found in things like fruit!
Added sugar can not only cause you to gain love handles, but you can get diabetes, gain weight, have a metabolic syndrome and more. There is something called fructose that can cause belly fat as well.
Fructose is usually found in things like sugar, honey or processed goods. High-fructose corn syrup can be found in a ton of foods in the United States, while it’s actually illegal in other countries.
Sugary foods like cookies and candy may taste great, but they’re packed with empty calories and lack nutrients. If you can cut back on the amount of added sugar you’re ingesting, you may be able to slim down more than just your love handles!
Eating Healthy Fats
One of the easiest ways to lose weight around your waist is to eat a lot of healthy fats. Healthy fats are filling and full of a lot of amazing nutrients.
A few popular healthy fats can be found in;
These foods can taste amazing and they’ll keep you full so you won’t be overeating.
A study was performed where the participants ate a high fat diet while taking an olive oil supplement and they lost a lot more weight than those who were on a low fat diet.
This doesn’t have to be an intimidating total diet change. At first you can start by eating a handful of almonds with your lunch, having salmon for dinner or adding a few slices of avocado to your breakfast.
One thing you may notice is that foods that are packed with healthy fats tend to be higher in calories. This is why it’s important to eat a moderate amount within your diet to help you lose weight!
Cut Back On Alcohol
One of the easiest ways to cut back on calories and lose fat around your midsection is to decrease the amount of alcohol you’re drinking.
Drinking a lot of alcohol can not only increase the amount of fat you have in your midsection, but it can be damaging to your internal organs as well.
There was a study done where they took 2,000 participants who drank a lot and often and found that they were more likely to be obese than those who drank moderately or not at all.
One thing that alcohol does to your brain is make you feel hungry by igniting your brain cells that are related to your appetite. This can make you eat even when you’re not hungry, which can result in consuming too many calories.
Often times, fun, alcoholic drinks are packed with not only calories, but tons of sugar as well. You can still have a glass of wine to help reduce your risk of heart issues, but just like everything else, this should be done in moderation.
Feast on Fiber
Another food related thing that can help get rid of love handles is by getting caught up on your fiber intake. You want to look for foods that have a lot of soluble fiber, such as;
Fiber helps keep the body full for a long period of time because it will slow down your digestion and keeps you from feeling hungry. When you feel full from eating fiber, you’re less likely to eat too many calories, which can make you lose weight.
You don’t have to eat a ton of fiber either for this to work! Taking in just 10 grams of fiber per day can help you not only reduce love handles, but also dangerous visceral fat that surrounds your internal organs.
Just like healthy fats, foods that have a lot of soluble fiber generally have a lot of other important nutrients such as iron. These foods are great for your overall health and can improve the state of your gut, colon and intestines.
Enjoy More Protein
One thing I like to see in a diet is being able to have more of something! If done right, you can have a ton of high-quality protein in your diet to help you lose weight. Protein is something that will keep you full between meals, resulting in you eating less.
There have been studies done that show that when people have diets with a lot of protein, they are more likely to have less belly fat than those who are eating a low protein diet. If you’ve already reached your goal weight and are trying to maintain, protein can help you do just that!
Foods that have high-quality protein that you can incorporate into your daily intake are
Make Sure You’re Hydrating Properly
Something that many people brush under the rug is hydration. Staying hydrated is one of the most important things you can do for your body.
You shouldn’t need to consume anything but water throughout the day. Most people have a few cups of coffee, or a nightcap with dinner and that’s perfectly okay in moderation.
What you should do throughout the day is try to reach for water first, over things like soda or sports drinks that are packed with sugar and sodium. These drinks can make you gain weight and really don’t do too much for your body.
If you’re concerned about electrolytes, there are waters that are infused with them and are great for people who are really active. Another thing when it comes to water is having a glass before each meal you eat. This will help you to stay hydrated and fill you up enough so that you won’t overeat.
If you want to stay hydrated, while getting energized and not consuming extra calories or sugar, consider drinking a cup of hot or iced green or black tea.
Try Out Complex Carbs
Yes, you read that right.
Carbs can in fact help you lose weight. With that being said, you need to make sure that you’re consuming complex carbs, not refined carbs.
Refined carbs are found in things like;
Whereas complex carbs can be found in;
If you eat a lot of refined carbs, you may notice that they don’t fill you up. Complex carbs are the opposite, leaving you feeling full so that you eat less throughout the day. Complex carbs have more fiber and take longer to digest.
Adding in or swapping refined carbs for complex carbs is a great way to say goodbye to those love handles. You can do this by having oatmeal for breakfast, over a sugary cereal or pastry.
Eat Whole Foods
The last thing when it comes to diet and love handles is to eat whole foods. What this means is you should consume a lot of unprocessed foods such as fruits, vegetables, proteins, grains and nuts!
On the opposite end of things, you’ll find things like fast food, frozen dinners and deep fried foods will make your love handles even larger. If you eat a diet that has a lot of these things, you’re putting yourself at risk for a lot more health issues than just love handles.
You can easily incorporate whole foods by making your meals at home, instead of swinging through a fast food drive-thru.
One meal that’s quick, easy and delicious is to have a piece of salmon with lemon and black pepper, accompanied by a side of your favorite veggies and a mashed potato!
It has been proven that those who eat at home, weigh much less than those who visit fast food chains frequently.
Getting Physical Work out
Wouldn’t it be great if we could burn a ton of calories by doing nothing? Unfortunately, that’s not the case, which is why we’re gonna talk about moving a bit more during the day. You don’t have to go to the gym for hours everyday to lose excess body fat.
There are a number of simple ways you can burn more calories at home to get rid of love handles. Several people work office jobs where they’re sitting for several hours a day, which isn’t good if you’re looking to slim down.
If this sounds like you, you may be shocked to find out that for every 15 minutes of sitting or lying down, there is a chance of .05 inch increase in your waistline. This can be combated by getting up and walking around for a few minutes every 15 to 20 minutes or so.
Get up and fill your water bottle, grab a snack, take your pets outside, do something to get your body moving to say goodbye to love handles.
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Start Weight Lifting
Another physical thing you can do to lose those love handles is to add weight training into your daily workouts. You may have heard weight training called strength training or resistance training, all three are relatively the same thing.
As long as your muscles are doing one form or another of resistance, you’ll build strength, burn calories and say so long to your love handles. When you build more muscles, you body actually burns more calories while your resting.
This is why many people work out in the morning, so that they burn more calories throughout the day.
If you don’t work out at all now, start off slow so that you don’t hurt yourself further. You can start by taking walks as cardio, and lifting dumbbells for strength training. This will help you build up your endurance and can lead to a healthier body.
Move Your Entire Body
When it comes to physical movement, making sure you’re moving your entire body. While spot training doesn’t really work to get rid of fat, you can focus on moving your entire body to make sure you are hitting all of the important muscles.
A fun way to do this is by going swimming!
Swimming not only burns a lot of calories, but it takes your entire body to do it. If swimming isn’t your thing, there are things like jumping rope and doing burpees that can burn a lot of calories as well.
Think of it this way: the more muscles you’re moving at once, the better! With that being said, don’t overextend yourself or push yourself too hard to the point where you end up pulling a muscle.
Get In More Cardio
Just like weight training, cardio is an important part of getting rid of love handles. What is considered cardio? Any activity that increases your heart rate for an extended period of time. This could be a brisk walk, taking a bike ride, jumping on the elliptical and more.
These types of workouts tend to burn several calories and reduce the overall amount of fat you have on your body. You don’t need to do high intensity workouts to burn fat and calories.
If you can get in 150 minutes of cardio exercise a week, you’re on the right path.
This may sound like a lot, but when split up throughout the week, it can be accomplished by the majority of people.A lot of people say that they don’t have time, and when it comes to your health, you have to make the time. Taking a 20 minute walk after work while your dinner is cooking will increase your heart rate, burn calories, reduce stress and help you sleep better. Sounds like it’s worth making the time to me.
Try Out Pilates
Trying to find a workout that works for you and that you actually enjoy can be tough. Thankfully there’s pilates. Pilates is great for people who are just starting to workout, or folks who work out daily!
Pilates mostly focuses on your core and improving your flexibility, posture and can even give you abs. You know what this means? It can help you get rid of love handles as well! Pilates can be done by people of any age or size!
Many older people enjoy taking pilates classes as a way of reducing their belly fat and getting a more lean body mass. Check your local area for pilates classes, or search online for videos you can do at home!
Incorporating High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Workouts
If you’re a little more experienced, you may be able to add in some high-intensity interval training workouts into your weekly routine. This type of training is known for how well it burns body fat, including love handles!
What it is is shorter bursts of high-intensity cardio, with short recovery times in between each exercise. This type of training can help you burn more calories and fat than if you were to do a lower intensity workout for a longer period of time.
If you struggle with belly fat specifically, taking part in a few high-intensity interval training workouts will likely help you to get rid of that belly fat overtime. This is perfect for those of you that don’t have a ton of time to spend slaving away at the gym.
Reduce the Amount of Stress You Have
Someone telling you to get rid of stress is much easier said than done. There are a number of things that can cause us to be stressed out. When we’re stressed, it takes a negative toll on your physical and mental health.
Many people are surprised to know that being stressed too often can actually cause weight gain.
What causes this you may ask?
Well our bodies product a ton of hormones, one of which is related to stress called cortisol.
Our bodies naturally produce this hormone through our adrenal glands, but having too much of it can cause more than just a higher number on the scale. It can cause mental disorders such as anxiety, panic disorder, and depression. It can also cause things such as headaches and irritable bowel syndrome.
There are a handful of things you can do to reduce your stress. You can do things like yoga or meditation to refocus your thoughts.
You can distract yourself by doing something you enjoy, take a bath, give yourself time to relax. You can also get your stress out by punching a pillow, or ingesting CBD.
Stress is an unavoidable part of our daily lives, but having too much of it can take quite a toll on our bodies.
Catch Enough Sleep
Just like how stress can affect us, so can the amount of sleep we get. If you’re not getting enough sleep, your body will release cortisol which can cause you to gain weight.
Studies have shown time and time again that people who have sleeping disorders or struggle with sleep tend to weigh more than those you sleep comfortably every night.
If you find yourself getting five hours of sleep or less each night, you could contribute your waistline to that. Not getting enough sleep can cause several other physical and mental issues as well. People that don’t get enough sleep are more likely to suffer from things like depression.
Give Mindful Eating a Try
I decided to add this into this category instead of the diet section because mindful eating is just as much mental as it is physical. Mindful eating is done by paying extra attention to how you feel when you eat and when you’re hungry.
This allows people to get a better grasp on their eating habits and can help people eat less calories. When you practice mindful eating, you’re focused on when you feel hungry and when you feel full. This is done by eating slower, eating without a screen in front of you and by giving your full attention to the food in front of you.
Many times people will grab a bag of chips, popcorn or even a healthy serving of grapes and sit down in front of their television, only to get so distracted that they didn’t even realize they ate the entire bag of their snack. Mindful eating is to tackle just that by eating without distractions.
It can not only help you lose weight, but can reduce stress, anxiety and make you feel much more present. Recently there was a study done to see if mindful eating actually made a difference when it came to the amount of belly fat and cortisol the participants had. Both aspects dropped to a lower, healthier level after practicing mindful eating.
This can also be a great practice to start using if you’ve lost a lot of weight and are trying to maintain the weight loss.
Performing a Cleanse
A cleanse is a unique method of fasting where you are supposed to stop eating some types of food for a certain period of time. This method is 100% effective since it acts by eliminating all the undigested fats that form the love handles.
Your body will then burn off the undigested fat because when you fast, your rate of metabolism is altered. Nonetheless, you can decide to compress your meals into long feeding hours so that you eat only twice per day.
With this, your body will be in a fasting state when you are not eating. A cleanse ought to be done on a regular basis. This in turn makes your body to get adapted to the long feeding hours. Performing a Cleanse is safe because it is natural and lacks side effects.
You will not be able to get rid of this belly-fat within one day. This should not be a discouragement to you because with determination, you can get positive results within a short period of time. For you to stick to your new diet routine and exercise routine, you ought to discipline yourself.With the discipline, you will not be pushed to do your exercises but instead, you will have the self-drive to motivate yourself. Take measurements of your tummy before and during your belly-fat elimination program. This is to see if the back fat / love handles are reducing in size as the days go by. Discipline also entails avoiding the junk food at all cost
Performing a calorie shifting
This is a dieting technique that involves eating non-fatty foods and drinking about 8-10 glasses of water on a daily basis. The diet helps in raising your metabolism and thus increasing the rate at which the belly fat is burnt.
Scientific research suggests that plenty of water helps in eliminating approximately 500 - 1,000 calories from the total amount of calories in your body. When the calories are burnt, the belly fat will start reducing. Calorie shifting is recommended for people who are too busy because it is so flexible and easy to be performed.
Can Love Handles Pose Health Risks?
Yes. While love handles themselves aren’t dangerous, having them may be a sign of an underlying condition and I wanted to share a handful of them with you.
This section isn’t supposed to scare or alarm you, but it is designed to give you a better idea of why some people have love handles. Just like anything else, take your concerns to your doctor if you’ve been struggling with health issues.Lastly, liver disease and osteoarthritis are a couple more medical conditions that may cause love handles. Doing what you can to reduce love handles will be a positive thing for your overall physical and mental health.
High blood Pressure
If you or your family has had a history of high blood pressure, this could be something that is causing love handles. High blood pressure is known to affect one's weight and if left untreated can be deadly. High blood pressure can be easily controlled with medications, and a change in lifestyle.
On that same note, if you have high cholesterol that could be playing a part as well. Cholesterol is related to your heart health. If you have anything posing a threat to the health of your heart, the rest of your body will respond accordingly.
Sleep apnea or any other breathing issues may be causing love handles. This is mostly due to the fact that a lack of sleep can increase the stress hormone called Cortisol.
Another thing that could be causing the stubborn fat retention on your waist is a history of having a stroke.
If you have type 2 diabetes or are a candidate, your body has too much fat which can lead to your body not producing enough insulin. This can also result in love handles, among other health risks.
On a very serious note, there are two types of cancer that can cause stubborn fat on your waist that just won’t seem to go away: breast cancer and colon cancer. If you have signs of either types of these cancers, please see a physician immediately.
Medical Procedures for Love Handles
Whether or not you’ve tried other methods, you may be wondering if there are any medical procedures that could help you get rid of love handles. If that sounds like you, you’ll be happy to know there are a few available!
The most widely known plastic surgery that can help with fat retention is one you’ve probably heard of: liposuction.
During this procedure, a surgeon will inject a solution into a targeted area of your choice. This solution turns the fat calls into liquid and then it’s removed with a machine that’s comparable to a vacuum.
A lot of people enjoy liposuction because you can see your results the same week you get the surgery. It’s good to keep in mind that a medical procedure such as liposuction is done to target specific regions of your body and won’t be a head-to-toe fix.
Another thing to consider is if you’re overweight and by how much. Liposuction is only recommended for people who are slightly to moderately overweight. It cannot be performed on people who are considered obese.
If liposuction doesn’t sound like the medical procedure for you, there are other options. These options are more intense and are great for those who are considered obese. These medical procedures will be head-to-toe fixes and will help with more than just your love handles, but they can be much more invasive and it can take a bit longer to see results.
If you’re interested, look into gastric bands or gastric bypass surgery. You have to have a BMI over 40, or a BMI over 35 with other health issues to be considered for these surgery options.
Frequently Asked Questions
I wanted to include a handful of questions that are asked frequently. I hope you're able to find answers to some of your burning questions below. For the majority of people it can be embarrassing and awkward to ask questions about your own body.
While any embarrassment, shame or awkwardness is unnecessary, it’s human nature and I hope these questions below can help you in some way!
How long does it take?
I wish I could give you an exact answer, but it really depends on your body. Experts have been known to say that if you do between 30 and 45 minutes of cardio exercises three to four times every week, combined with a couple days of strength training, the love handles on your body will eventually shrink.
If paired with a healthy diet, sleep and posture, you’ll be able to speed up the process.
Does running get rid of love handles?
Many aerobic exercises will burn calories and eventually get rid of fat on the human body. Overtime, running can help slim down love handles. I can’t say for sure that running can completely get rid of love handles, but working out in general will help to at least make them smaller.
How do you target love handles?
Love handles are technically a part of the abdomen. One way to target them specifically is by focusing on exercises that work out your abdomen.
Things like crunches, squats and other exercises you can do from just about anywhere should help target that area.
Why do I have love handles?
There are several reasons why you may have love handles. It could range from your diet, your genes, how your body holds fat and more. What it boils down to is fat retention. Your body is holding onto fat in that specific area.
If you’re interested in pinpointing the exact reason why you have love handles, consider speaking to your doctor. They’ll be able to help you find out if it’s something like hormones, your age or too much cortisol.
Will love handles ever go away?
As long as you’re focused and motivated to get rid of them, absolutely. Whether you start working out, change your diet or a mixture of the two, when you burn fat and your metabolism kicks into gear, love handles should eventually go away!
How can I hide my love handles?
We talked about several ways you can hide your love handles above, but there are a few tips that are easy to follow.
For starters, you can leave your shirts untucked. If that’s not an option, try to avoid loud or bright tops.
You can also stand up straight and wear your pants at your waist to help hide your love handles.
How Can Teenage Girls Lose Belly Fat?
The afore-mentioned remedies are not only effective to teenage girls but to anyone who is willing to get rid of his/her love handles. The methods will not cost you a lot and the amount of money you will spend will be cheap and affordable to suit the budgets of your pockets.
You’ve read just about everything there is to know about love handles, what causes them, what health risks they pose and several different ways you can get rid of them. You can change your diet, incorporate new workouts, or make sure you’re getting enough sleep.
If nothing else works and you’ve talked to your primary care doctor, you can always look into getting one of the three surgeries mentioned above if your love handles bother you. Changing your diet and lifestyle is a long lasting process and you won’t see results overnight.
It may benefit you to know that the more you weigh, the more time it will take to see results, but don’t let that discourage you! The fact that you’re even reading about how to get rid of love handles is a great first step. Before you know it, you’ll look in the mirror and be happy you made a positive change! Good luck!