Despite their name, it’s a pretty safe bet that you don’t love your love handles. This stubborn fat hangs right around your midsection, often hitting just above your waistband and resulting in the infamous muffin top. If it sometimes feels like you are doing as much exercise as your body can handle and your love handles still aren’t going away, you are not alone. Both men and women can get love handles. This extra layer of fat around your middle is notoriously difficult to get rid of. Rest assured, though, it is possible.
While many people believe that you can spot-reduce fat in a particular area of your body, this is not actually the case. It is impossible to target a specific area for fat loss. When you lose weight, you’ll lose fat from all over your body simultaneously. You may see results more quickly in some areas but this is mostly due to genetics. Some people are predisposed to retain fat in particular areas of their bodies over others. There is little you can do to change that fact.
So, how do you really get rid of love handles, then? The answer is a combination of a healthy diet, simple lifestyle changes and regular exercise, both cardiovascular and strength training. Follow these guidelines to get rid of that stubborn fat for good.
EAT A NUTRITIOUS, BALANCED DIET
Proper diet is the most critical component in your efforts to get rid of your love handles. The main focus of your nutritional plan should be on fresh, whole foods. This means sticking to the outer edges of the grocery store when you shop as all of the processed food tends to be in the aisles in the center of the store. Fill up your cart with lean proteins, like poultry and fish, and plenty of fresh produce.
Eat the Rainbow
When shopping for produce, try to get in as many colors of the rainbow as possible. This will give your body access to the vitamins and minerals necessary to fuel your body with the energy you need to get through your toughest workouts. Each color provides different nutrients so it is important to get a wide range of colors in your daily diet.
Include Vegetables in Every Meal
Most people don’t get anywhere near the recommended five servings of vegetables each day. Aim to include at least one serving of veggies in each meal. Try adding some spinach to your omelet in the morning, or enjoy some carrot sticks with hummus or dip as a snack. When filling up your dinner plate, half of it should be filled with delicious vegetables.
Watch Your Sugar Intake
If you are trying to lose weight, sugar is not your friend. While it’s fine to treat yourself every once in a while, try to minimize the amount of processed sugar in your diet. If you are really craving something sweet, try a piece of fruit instead. Although fruit does have natural sugar, it is far healthier than processed sugar, and it won’t leave your stomach feeling bloated afterward.
Load Up on Complex Carbs
Carbohydrates are essential when you are exercising regularly as your body burns them for energy. However, not all carbs are the same. Processed carbs like white bread don’t have the same benefits as more complex ones like those found in whole grains. There are many popular diets that severely restrict carb intake but your body needs the energy for your workouts.
Fat Is Your Friend
Over the years, dietary fat has gotten a bad rap, with many people cutting it out of their diets. However, your body needs fat to function at its most optimal level. Of course, there is a big difference between the healthy fats found in avocados, nuts and other healthy foods and the fat found in greasy fast food cheeseburgers. Make sure that you are including plenty of healthy fat in your diet to fuel your body.
Minimize Your Dairy Intake
Consuming dairy products is a great way to get your daily recommended calcium intake, but try not to overdo it. Dairy can leave your midsection bloated, making your love handles look even more prominent. Stick with just a few servings each day to cover your nutritional needs while minimizing bloat. If you can’t live without milk in your morning coffee, try soy or almond milk instead.
Don’t Shy Away from Seasonings
Inflammation is one of the most common causes of belly fat. Your diet can help to reduce inflammation. Spices like turmeric and ginger are known for fighting inflammation, making it easier to lose your stubborn love handles. Not only do these seasonings help you lose weight, but they also make your food taste delicious.
Think About Portion Size
Take care to watch your portion sizes. When loading up your plate for dinner, it is a good idea to take a little bit less than you think you’ll actually eat. When your plate is full, you may feel the need to eat everything on it, even if you are no longer hungry. Instead, serve yourself less. You can always go back for seconds if you are still hungry. However, you’ll likely find that you don’t really need that second helping. Take your time while eating, setting your fork down between bites. Slowing down makes it easier for you to recognize the signs that you are full so you don’t overeat.
MAKE SOME SIMPLE LIFESTYLE CHANGES
Your diet isn’t the only area of your life that can affect your love handles. You also need to take care to live a healthy lifestyle. Don’t feel the need to overhaul your life and make big changes right away. A few minor tweaks can make a big difference.
Get a Full Night’s Sleep
Sleep is critical to helping your body recover from your workouts so don’t skimp on this important aspect of your training plan. A general guideline is to get eight hours of sleep each night but every person is different. Some people do just fine with six hours, while others need nine or more to feel fully rested. Listen to your body to find the right number for you. When you don’t get enough sleep, your metabolism slows down, making it even more difficult to lose weight. Try going to bed a little bit earlier each night until you reach your target sleep duration.
Drink Plenty of Water
Your body is made up mostly of water. You need to replenish that water throughout the day. Otherwise, you’ll get dehydrated, forcing your body to retain as much water as possible, which leaves you bloated. It is also easy to confuse hunger and thirst cues, which could cause you to overeat, derailing your weight loss efforts even further. To determine how much water you should be drinking each day, divide your weight in pounds by two. The result is the number of ounces of water you should drink, though you may need to drink more if you are exercising vigorously or live in an especially dry climate.
Minimize Your Intake of Alcohol and Caffeine
Both alcohol and caffeine can cause bloating, especially with carbonated beverages like beer and soda. What’s more, these drinks add to your daily calorie intake. A single glass of wine or can of soda will add 100 to 150 calories. This can seriously add up if you drink several each day. An occasional drink is fine but try not to overdo it when you are trying to lose weight.
Eat Frequently Throughout the Day
While this may seem a bit counterintuitive, eating five or six smaller meals is much better for your metabolism than having two or three larger ones. Each time you eat, it signals to your body to use up the energy rather than storing it for later use. This way, you’ll burn calories more efficiently. Also, you’ll be less likely to reach for unhealthy snacks as you’ll be feeling satiated and energized throughout the day.
GET PLENTY OF EXERCISE
Exercise is the final component of your plan to get rid of your love handles. As mentioned previously, it’s impossible to target specific areas of fat with exercise alone. That doesn’t mean you should give up on exercise. You want to have tight, toned muscles in place to show through when you do lose the fat.
Any activity that gets your heart rate up can be deemed cardiovascular exercise. This includes traditional exercises like running, biking, swimming, and aerobics. However, there is no need to feel locked into those particular activities. Having a dance break with your kids or wrestling with your dog counts too. You can also meet up with your friends to throw a football around or try a group fitness class.
The goal is not to push yourself to exhaustion, but rather to keep your heart rate elevated for an extended period. Pay attention to the signals your body is sending you so you don’t overdo it. Aim for 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity at least 3 days a week. As your fitness improves, you can extend your workouts and add additional days.
Although cardio does burn calories, it doesn’t burn quite as many as you might think. For example, running a mile will burn approximately 100 calories. This can give you a bit of extra wiggle room in your diet, but don’t take it as an excuse to overeat. It’s fine to treat yourself every once in a while but always keep the end goal in mind.
Cardio is great for staying in good shape overall but you need to train your muscles as well. This way, you’ll have tight, toned abdominal muscles to show off when your love handles finally melt away. Love handles sit on top of the oblique muscles, which wrap around the sides of your abdomen. Try these moves to target your obliques.
Start by lying on your side, resting propped up on your elbow. Lift your hips off the ground, keeping your entire body in a straight line. You can hold the position for as long as you can, or raise and lower repeatedly. Move slowly to make sure your muscles are doing the work, not momentum.
In a standing position, hold a dumbbell with both hands. Lower the weight down to your left foot, then lift it up over your right shoulder, keeping your arms straight the whole time. Let your body twist and pivot to accommodate the motion. Repeat on the other side. When choosing your weight, choose one that is heavy enough to challenge you. In a set of 20 reps on each side, the last few reps should be a struggle. If you find them easy, you need a heavier weight. If, on the other hand, you can only get through a few reps, choose a lighter weight.
Put a twist on classic crunches to target both your rectus abdominus (the six-pack muscles) and obliques (the muscles under your love handles). Start in a standard crunch position, lying on your back with your knees bent and your hands behind your head. Engage your abs to lift your shoulders off the ground into a crunch, taking care not to tug on your neck. Once in the raised position, draw your right elbow to your left knee, meeting in the middle. Keeping your shoulders lifted, alternate sides. Move slowly and deliberately to keep the focus on your muscles.
GET RID OF YOUR LOVE HANDLES AT TRUFIT ATHLETIC CLUBS
Here at TruFit Athletic Clubs we have all the tools to help you reach your fitness goals. From state-of-the-art equipment to expert personal trainers, you’ll have everything you need to train your body so you can get rid of your love handles. Stop by one of our many locations in Colorado or Texas today to learn more about our services and sign up for a free trial.