How To Get Rid Of Love Handles: Our 8 Sure-Fire Tips

Although love handles have a cutesy term, no one loves having love handles and most likely looking for some way of how to get rid of love handles.

But, how do you get rid of love handles? Are there easy ways to lose love handles?

In this article, we will discuss what love handles are and how to get rid of love handles for men and women.

We will cover: 

  • What Are Love Handles?
  • How to Lose Love Handles
  • How To Get Rid Of Love Handles: 8 Sure-Fire Tips

Let’s get started!

A person holding their love handles.

What Are Love Handles?

“Love handles“ is not a technical term but rather a colloquialism created to describe excess body fat, or adipose tissue, that accumulates around the waist and hangs over either side of your hips. 

Because you can “grab“ the excess fat that comprises your love handles, these adipose deposits earned the moniker of handles. 

Love handles may also sometimes be referred to as a “muffin top“ as the extra skin and fat pillows over the sides of your pants in much the same way that the puffy, dome-shaped top of a muffin extends beyond the circular part contained in the pan.

Both men and women can develop love handles, depending on your body fat percentage and body fat distribution pattern.

A person with love handles trying to close their pants.

How to Lose Love Handles

It is important to establish, first and foremost, that it is impossible to spot reduce fat on the body, meaning that you can’t get rid of love handles any faster than you can reduce body fat in other areas of the body.

From a practical standpoint, this means that just doing crunches, abdominal twists, or using a “waist trimmer” device will not be effective at getting rid of love handles.

Ultimately, there are no miracle love handle exercises or ways to “melt love handles“ any faster than taking a comprehensive approach to fat loss. There is, however, limited evidence to suggest that circuit training may be an effective way to spot reduce belly fat.

With that said, because love handles are essentially an accumulation of excess body fat, it’s possible to get rid of love handles by losing weight and reducing your body fat percentage.

Additionally, body fat distribution, or the pattern in which your body stores excess fat, is partially determined by your biological sex but also your hormonal profile.

Making certain dietary and lifestyle changes can optimize your hormonal profile and shift your body into more of a fat-burning mode, and may help regulate the body fat distribution to be less centralized or concentrated on noticeable love handles.

How To Get Rid Of Love Handles: 8 Sure-Fire Tips

The following are some of the best ways to get rid of love handles by optimizing your hormonal profile and supporting the reduction of belly fat.

"Eat less sugar" written in sugar.

#1: Eat Less Sugar

One of the best ways to decrease your body fat and improve your overall health is to cut out added sugars in the diet. 

Foods high in added sugars include cookies, candy, sweetened breakfast cereals, pastries, muffins, most commercial granola bars, toaster pastries, and even many condiments and sauces, including some peanut kinds of butter, ketchup, sweetened yogurts, jellies, jams, puddings, and syrups.

Added sugars are also found in beverages such as fruit juices, sports drinks, sodas, and energy drinks. 

Diets high in added sugars are associated with numerous adverse health effects such as weight gain, dental cavities and periodontal disease, fatty liver disease, obesity, cardiovascular disease, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and dysfunction, and even depression.

But consuming high amounts of added sugar has also been shown to increase body fat, particularly belly fat, which, in turn, can increase the deposits of adipose around the waist and the size of your love handles.

Sweetened beverages, in particular, are associated with increased belly fat, largely because they contain high amounts of high fructose corn syrup. Try to focus on drinking water, unsweetened tea, and black coffee.

If you have difficulty drinking plain water, you can use natural flavorings such as lemon juice or a splash of pineapple juice to make lemon water and pineapple water.

A variety of foods that are high in fiber such as beans lentils and greens.

#2: Fill Your Plate With High-Fiber Foods

Almost every list of tips to improve your health and lose weight include advice to eat more fiber.

Fiber is filling because it takes the body a long time to digest, slowing gastric emptying and gut transit time.

This can help decrease feelings of hunger, which may help you control your caloric intake, and can ultimately lead to weight loss, which will help you get rid of love handles.

More importantly, if you are looking to get rid of love handles, the good news is that evidence suggests that adding foods high in soluble fiber, such as lentils, beans, oats, vegetables, nuts, and certain fruits, can decrease visceral fat.

Visceral fat is the dangerous type of fat associated with adverse health conditions such as metabolic syndrome and heart disease, and it is the type of fat that accumulates in the abdomen surrounding your organs.

One study found that visceral fat decreased by an average of 3.7% over the course of five years when individuals boosted their soluble fiber intake by 10 grams per day.

A variety of healthy fats.

#3: Don’t Shy Away From Healthy Fats

People often try to avoid eating fat when they want to lose weight because fat contains more calories per gram than other macronutrients. 

However, certain fats are healthy, and there can be weight loss benefits to eating them.

Healthy fats, such as monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, and omega-3 fatty acids (a type of polyunsaturated fat), are found in foods such as avocado, olive oil, fatty fish like salmon and mackerel, nuts, nut butters, and seeds.

These fats have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, and they also promote satiety, potentially helping you consume fewer calories throughout the rest of the day.

Moreover, studies have shown that following a high-fat version of the Mediterranean diet by supplementing it with additional olive oil can reduce the accumulation of body fat compared to those who follow a low-fat diet. The monounsaturated fats may have a protective effect against the storage of body fat.

Similarly, studies have found that people who consume more avocados also seem to have a lower body weight as well as less body fat than those who do not.

Keep in mind that fats are high in calories, so it’s still important to watch your intake, but don’t shy away from healthy fats if you are trying to get rid of love handles; foods high in these fats may be your ticket to healthier body composition and a slimmer waistline.

A gym class full of people holding dumbbells.

#4: Boost Your Physical Activity 

It should come as no surprise that getting more active, whether doing more planned workouts or just trying to increase your steps and physical activity throughout the day, will help you burn more calories and lose more weight.

Many studies have suggested that sedentary behavior is associated with a greater waist circumference, which ultimately signals a higher risk of having the dreaded love handles.

#5: Hit the Weights

Although any type of exercise can be a great way to burn calories and therefore lose weight, resistance training, in particular, can be a highly effective way to stimulate fat loss and help you get rid of love handles.

Resistance training helps increase lean body mass, which will boost your metabolic rate and help you burn more calories both during your workout and at rest.

Studies suggest that the best way to maximize the effectiveness of your workouts in terms of getting rid of love handles is to engage in a fitness routine that combines aerobic exercise and resistance training.

A close-up of someone's hand who is meditating.

#6: Incorporate Intervals

If you usually just run steady-state distance runs at a constant effort, consider adding interval training into your workout routine. 

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) stokes the metabolism and will help you burn calories more efficiently. 

#7: Reduce Your Stress

We often think that only our diet and exercise habits have a significant influence on our body fat, body weight, and the size of our waistlines, but other lifestyle factors can also affect metabolism, hormonal profile, and the storage of body fat.

For example, stress increases the production of a hormone called cortisol, which has been associated with an increased risk of weight gain, particularly in the abdominal region, thus increasing the risk of love handles.

Working to decrease stress in your life, whether by making lifestyle changes or implementing stress-reducing techniques such as walking, other types of exercise, mindfulness meditation, or yoga, can be a great way to reduce cortisol and the risk of gaining belly fat.

Some studies have even found that activities like yoga and meditation are indeed effective at reducing cortisol levels.

A person waking up from a good night's sleep.

#8: Get More Sleep

Failing to get enough sleep can not only make you feel too tired to push your body during your workouts to burn more calories, but chronic lack of sleep can also cause weight gain.

Studies have found that even a single night of poor sleep can increase appetite and significantly increase self-selected portion sizes. Moreover, a lack of sleep has been shown to increase belly fat.

Getting rid of love handles takes time, but as you make improvements to your health, your body fat will decrease, your energy will increase, and you’ll feel and look even better.

For some great HIIT workouts to get you burning calories right away, check out our guide to HIITs here!

Two people doing squats.
Photo of author
Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, and contributes to several fitness, health, and running websites and publications. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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