How to Get Rid of Love Handles and Lower Belly Fat: 12 Steps

Lose love handles

The term “love handles” refers to weight gain that occurs below the waist and around the hips area. Though the name is rather cute, lower belly fat is dangerous for your health. People with weight around their midsection and abdomen are at increased risk for heart disease, diabetes, and even some kinds of cancer. 

It’s not always easy to get rid of this particular kind of body fat; however, there are some proven tips and techniques to help you get the body you want.

Here are some ways to love your body and lose the love handles:

Read Next: 6 Best Lower Ab Exercises to Get Rid of Lower Belly Fat

Start with a Good Diet

Want to lose fat? It starts in the kitchen.

1. Eat More Vegetables

Vegetables are a great source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. These are all important for proper nutrition and long term health. But how do they help with fat loss and ditching love handles? Most vegetables are low in calories while being high in water and fiber.

This means they help fill you up and keep you from eating higher-calorie foods that add weight to your belly and hips (1). 

One powerful way to add more vegetables to your diet is by substituting delicious veggies for other high-calorie foods. 

For example:

  • Replace pasta with vegetable noodles made of squash or zucchini
  • Swap tortilla shells in tacos for lettuce or cabbage leaves
  • Use vegetables for dips made with yogurt, rather than potato chips and dip

2. Get Your Fruit

Fruits are also low calorie, high fiber foods that have other benefits for all over health and wellness. But when it comes to reducing fat, they can also be a great friend. When your sweet tooth is acting up, try using fruit instead of candy or cookies.

Craving ice cream? How about a protein smoothie made with frozen high fiber raspberries instead. Instead of packaged foods with questionable sweeteners, choose a snack of an apple with peanut butter, it’s much better for your thighs and butt. 

Having prepared fruits and vegetables ready to go, and as part of your weekly meal plan, is one powerful way to decrease unwanted fat. 

3. Cut the Sugar

Studies show that sugary beverages like fruit-flavored drinks juice and sodas are the largest source of sugar intake in people’s diet (2).

These sweet drinks may give you a short term burst of energy, but they are terrible for your waist. If you are looking to dump the muffin top, it’s time to get these drinks out of your house. Replace them with water infused with fruit or green tea. 

Sugar doesn’t just hang out in beverages, however. Pre-packaged foods, even ones that seem healthy like flavored yogurt, can have quite a bit of added sugars. Make sure you check ingredient labels. Some products can have a lot more sugar than you expect. 

4. Eat More Protein

Vegetables aren’t the only thing that can help you feel full and eat fewer calories. High-quality protein sources can also help curb your appetite and help you hit your goal. In fact, some studies have shown that high protein diets can be particularly useful in reducing weight around the stomach (3).

Some lean proteins you should consider for their health benefits are:

  • Legumes like beans, peas, and lentils
  • Non-fatty white-fleshed fish
  • White meat poultry
  • Lean cuts of beef or pork
  • Tofu or other vegetarian meat replacements
  • Eggs
  • Sustainable seafood

Make sure you have one healthy protein source on your plate with each meal. 

5. Less Simple Carbs

All foods are made of fat, protein, or carbohydrates. These are called macronutrients. We have discussed how protein can make a difference in your body. Let’s look at carbohydrates. Carbs are broken into two categories. There are simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates (4).

Simple carbs are found in processed foods and don’t bring additional nutrition to the table. This would include the sugars mentioned above, but also include syrups and candy. Complex carbs include starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes, legumes, vegetables, and whole grains like brown rice and oats.

These foods take longer to be digested and won’t spike your blood sugar levels. They also have more nutrients and fiber, with fewer calories. These are the options you want to go for when you are trying to lose fat around your hips. 

6. Choose Healthy Fats

The third macronutrient is fats. Though you may think all fat is bad, that isn’t actually the case. Your body needs some fats to live. In fact, fats are one important source of energy. It is also important for the health of your cells, and your body uses it for blood clotting and to reduce inflammation (5).

Healthy fats are natural fats and are called monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. They come from sources like nuts, seeds, vegetables, and fatty fish. Avocado, sunflower and olive oil, walnuts, flax seeds, and pumpkin seeds all contain healthy fats.

Trans fats are manufactured fats, built for longevity on the shelf – not health. They have been linked to abdominal weight gain, and are even illegal in many countries.

Ditching Love Handles, Exercises 

I know it is tempting to think that some spot” love handle exercise” like a few side planks or a session of crunches will help you get rid of those love handles. Sadly, that just isn’t how our bodies work.

While you can strengthen muscle groups, to lose weight, you need to combine healthy eating habits with a consistent training plan.

7. Cardio Exercise

Cardiovascular exercise is a fantastic way to reduce waist size and help your jeans fit better. Cardio is moving your body so your heart rate goes up, you sweat and breathe heavy. You can get calorie-burning movement regardless of your fitness level. Swimming, going for a run or getting out on your bike, even a brisk walk in nature all counts as cardio.

This type of exercise is excellent for weight loss and to burn fat, and you don’t need a trainer or a gym. Build in a regular workout routine that helps you get your cardio session in multiple times a week for the best results.

8. Weight Training

Cardio can help you burn fat and reduce your muffin top, but to keep your body looking great, you should also consider resistance training. Strength training will help boost your metabolism long term.

While cardio burns a lot of calories in the moment, muscle mass will help your body burn calories – even while it is at rest. 

Strength training can use equipment like barbells and dumbells, but can also be done with bodyweight. And don’t worry that having muscles will make you bulky, having a few weight lifting sessions in your exercise program will help you be rid of love handles and look great. 

9. Get The Right Amount of Sleep

Researchers have found that a lack of sleep can lead to weight gain. There can be a couple of reasons why not getting enough sleep could cause an increase in weight. For one thing, when you aren’t getting quality sleep, your brain feels tired and foggy. You have higher levels of frustration, and it can be hard to focus. This is hardly the place you want your mind to be in when you are hitting your goals or trying to avoid sweets. 

Another part has to do with biology. There have been studies that link a lack of sleep and a physical change in your body’s chemistry (6).

Sleep deprivation can affect your brain and cause increases in hunger and appetite. That means that your sleep-deprived self might be grabbing a bag of cookies before you even realize what is happening. If you want to get rid of your love handles, getting enough time in bed is vital.

There are plenty of great resources around the web that have great advice about getting sleep, but if you have a chronic problem, be sure and talk to your doctor. 

10. Reduce Stress

High amounts of stress can be incredibly hard on your body and wellbeing. Men and women alike suffer from life stress. Stress can cause increases in cortisol, which can increase food cravings, slower metabolism, and, ultimately, disease.

It’s not easy to get rid of stress, but interestingly, many of the items already mentioned in this article can help. One example is a healthy diet. Also getting enough sleep and regular exercise can make a big difference 

Stress can come from a combination of places. There can be short term and long term stress. Some people suffer from depression, and others have anxiety. Some people have both. While there are many choices with how to deal with stress, if you need a diagnosis, you should seek medical assistance.

Quench Your Thirst the Right Way

There is a lot of choices out there when it comes to beverages. Some help, some hurt.

11. Water And Weight 

We’ve already mentioned why sugary beverages are the wrong direction to take when you are trying to fit into your clothes. When you replace those drinks with water, you reduce your caloric intake.

In addition, you are keeping your body hydrated. Some people mistake the symptoms of dehydration for hunger signals. Research shows that drinking water can make you feel more full and eat less (7). 

Water is also important for recovery, so if you are adding cardio activities to your routine, you’ll also want to bring along that water bottle. 

12. Lose the Booze 

Alcohol can have a significant impact on weight. For one, many cocktails are mixed with sugary sodas or fruit juices, leading to additional calories. For another, inhibitions are dropped when you drink.

Why do you think it’s beer and pizza and not beer and broccoli? 

Have a few pints and see what kind of mood you are in. The urge for salty, fattening foods will be strong. That can lead to lots of flab yo have been working hard to lose. u

How Long Does it Take to Get Rid of Love Handles?

Unfortunately, there is no perfect answer to this question. How your love handles change will depend on how you chose to implement the items above. Genetics can also come into play. However, it is usually considered safe to lose one to one and a half pounds of fat per week. 

This is article has a lot of information on weight loss and how to get rid of love handles. While there are many things you can do right away to help get rid of belly fat, for long term success, you are going to want to make lasting lifestyle changes. 

You may also need some additional resources. Need help with your meals? You might want to try talking to a nutritionist about your diet. A doctor might be able to help with stress and sleep problems. 

Know that in addition to trimming your hips and waist, you are also working towards your long term health, and that should make it all worthwhile. 

Sources:

  1. “How to Use Fruits and Vegetables to Help Manage Your Weight.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 31 Jan. 2020, www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/healthy_eating/fruits_vegetables.html.
  2. Hu, F. B. “Resolved: There Is Sufficient Scientific Evidence That Decreasing Sugar‐Sweetened Beverage Consumption Will Reduce the Prevalence of Obesity and Obesity‐Related Diseases.” Wiley Online Library, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 13 June 2013, onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/obr.12040.
  3. Chen W;Liu Y;Yang Q;Li X;Yang J;Wang J;Shi L;Chen Y;Zhu S; “The Effect of Protein-Enriched Meal Replacement on Waist Circumference Reduction Among Overweight and Obese Chinese With Hyperlipidemia.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26650434/.
  4. “Carbohydrates.” Www.heart.org, www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/nutrition-basics/carbohydrates.
  5. Harvard Health Publishing. “The Truth about Fats: the Good, the Bad, and the in-Between.” Harvard Health, www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-truth-about-fats-bad-and-good.
  6. “Molecular Ties between Lack of Sleep and Weight Gain.” National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 13 July 2016, www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/molecular-ties-between-lack-sleep-weight-gain.
  7. NewsWire, HR. “Yes, Drinking More Water May Help You Lose Weight.” The Hub, 15 Jan. 2020, hub.jhu.edu/at-work/2020/01/15/focus-on-wellness-drinking-more-water/.
Dawn Highhouse

ISSA, PN1 Certified - Contributor

Dawn Highhouse holds personal training and nutrition certifications from ISSA and Precision Nutrition. Dawn also graduated from Davenport University with a B.A. in Business with a Minor in Humanities. She focuses on lifestyle health – how to incorporate health and wellness into our everyday life.

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