Love handles refer to the skin that extends from the hips outward. Love handles can be caused by tight clothing when worn in conjunction with shapewear, but tight clothing is not the only reason for them. The hips and abdominal areas are affected by excess fat accumulation.
It is embarrassing to have love handles because they are visible when you are wearing tight clothing. Therefore, people always try to find effective means of getting rid of them. During ab exercises, oblique muscles tend to be overlooked, which leads to fat accumulation. As a result, everyone has trouble getting rid of the love handles.
You’re not the only one affected. It’s tough to manage those fat pockets over the lower side of your torso, which are called love handles. It is true that even those who are devoted to the gym struggle to get rid of these fat pockets, no matter how many workouts they do.
Love handles don’t appear overnight but develop over time. Lack of exercise, empty calories, stress, and poor sleep are all responsible for the rise of cortisol and adrenaline, which leads to fat storage As a result of age or genetic predisposition, some people will always have some extra fat in that area.
A good evolutionary explanation for why we accumulate fat in our midsection is that it’s an easily available source of energy that our bodies can steal if we are fasting or facing a scarcity of food. In other words, when you desire to lose weight, your body removes fat from arguably ‘less essential areas like the face first. Now let’s have a look at the main causes and culprits of Love Handles.
What are the Causes Of Love Handles & Why is it difficult to get rid of love handles?
You may wonder, ‘What is the main cause of love handles? The main culprit for love handles is fat retention. Despite this, love handles, like other tummy fat generally appear because of other factors too. Among them are:
The distribution of fat shifts with age, making it more likely that we accumulate fat around the waist and love handles. Women with lower estrogen levels and men with lower testosterone levels also contribute to this.
Fats and calories found in sweet drinks and high-calorie foods will eventually cause you to gain weight, belly fat, and love handles. Weight management is largely a matter of counting calories. The body stores excess energy as fat if it consumes more calories than it can burn. Therefore, eating a caloric surplus every day will inevitably lead to weight gain. Although some diets produce a surplus of energy, they are designed to help a person build muscle and require regular exercise. As proteins are a building block of your body and enhance muscle growth, these nutritional plans usually require increased protein intake.
One of the primary contributors of excess fat in the form of love handles is a diet high in sugar and unhealthy fats, which provides you with more calories than you burn each day.
Lack Of Exercise
The paragraph above mentions that if you consume more calories than you burn, you will most likely gain weight, and some of your extra fat will settle in your stomach and love handles. Lack of exercise is also the main culprit behind causing love handles.
Yes, my dear friend, you heard that right. Those glasses of wine or beers could be the cause of your ever-growing waistline and muffin top. The liver is responsible for processing alcohol, just as it does fat. When you drink heavily, your liver spends more time processing alcohol than fat, resulting in the accumulation of fat in your body. In addition, alcoholic beverages are high in calories, which can lead to eating too many calories during the day.
It is very important to get enough sleep, but many people overlook its importance. Sleep deprivation can lead to various health problems, including weight gain. According to experts, an average adult should sleep for 7-9 hours per night. People under the age of 40 who get less than five hours of sleep each night can develop belly fat.
There are times when your lifestyle does not determine everything. It is possible to eat a balanced diet, sleep eight hours each night, avoid alcohol, and still have love handles. Despite doing everything right, there is a possibility that genetics may be the main culprit behind your excess weight.
Love handles and lower back fat can be caused by several factors. What is your age? Do you exercise enough? Are you stressed all the time, and how is your diet? All of these factors contribute to weight gain and fat deposits in the love handles. Make sure you pay attention to all these factors to determine why you are gaining fat in these areas. Now let’s have a look that why is it difficult to get rid of them:
There’s something wrong with your diet
It is important to note that you should not decrease your intake too quickly when you’re cutting calories. Hormonal imbalances can be caused by excessive dieting and not eating enough. This can have a negative impact not only on your metabolism, but on your sleep, energy, mood, and strength, as well.
Cardio exercises are all you do
We do not mean to imply that cardio is not effective for losing weight and burning calories, but you’ll need to lift some weights to slim your hips. Although aerobic exercise will burn calories, it will not necessarily target the areas that you would like to lose fat from. Targeting specific areas through weight training can reduce body fat by increasing lean muscle mass.
You’re always stressed out
Stress is largely regulated by the cortisol hormone. A high level of cortisol is a contributing factor to weight gain and overeating when you’re stressed out. When your life is quite stressful, you tend to produce a large amount of cortisol, which leads to Cushing syndrome. Having this condition leads to excessive abdominal fat, causing love handles.
Engage in activities and people that make you happy. In addition to uplifting your spirits, you will become leaner and more confident.
All you do is ab exercises
We’d all be swimming suit models if all we had to do to get rid of love handles were oblique exercises and crunches. It would be so easy if it was only that simple. Although core exercises will help tone your abs, your main focus should be on a full-body workout and a well-balanced diet to make a caloric deficit because that is the only way to lose fat from anywhere on the body.
The amount of running you do is too excessive
Running for miles and miles is often assumed to be the key to losing weight. A steady cardio workout is good for your body, but if you overdo it you may harm your body. When you do excessive steady-state cardio like long-distance running for months at a time, your testosterone levels drop and you release cortisol in a sustained manner.
In other words, your body will use fewer calories over time to power you through your miles. As a result, you will need to continue running to simply maintain your weight. Furthermore, excessive running has been proven to lower testosterone levels, which is necessary to maintain and grow muscles.
You have a high body fat percentage
You can’t target the fat covering your hips if you are overweight. It may seem obvious, but if you are overweight, you will have a tough time targeting that fat. In women, a body fat percentage above 25 percent or in men, a body fat percentage above 15 percent could result in an unattractive figure. If you want to lose fat, hit the gym five times a week and incorporate both cardio and weight training into your workout.
You have only aesthetic goals
It’s often more difficult to stick with long-term goals when they’re based on aesthetics rather than health or strength. You have every right to want to lose a few pounds, burn those love handles, or gain some muscle and definition. However, if you focus on your fitness goals other than looks, you will enjoy your workouts more and be more confident in your body.
What are the Effective Ways To Get Rid Of Love Handles?
Though it is a bit difficult to get rid of love handles, it is not Mission Impossible. Below are some tips for getting rid of love handles quickly and safely.
Consume Nutrient-Dense Foods
It is easy to lose weight and excess fat when you switch from a calorie-dense diet to a nutrient-dense diet. Managing your weight becomes easier when you reduce your daily caloric intake. Additionally, nutrient-dense foods give you better immunity, better health, and better well-being. You can also prevent several diseases by eating foods that are high in vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients.
Consume more fiber
We can boost our metabolism and digestion by consuming fiber-rich foods. Additionally, as dietary fiber has a longer digestion and absorption process, food with dietary fiber takes longer to digest and absorb. This prolongs feelings of fullness and reduces our cravings. There are several studies linking fiber intake to weight loss and fat elimination.
Avoid consuming added sugar
Sugar added as an artificial sweetener to various processed foods and beverages is referred to as added sugar. The consumption of added sugar can result in obesity and other health problems as well. Several studies have concluded that sugar has adverse effects on our bodies & health. The best method of losing love handles and excess fat from other areas of the body is to reduce sugars contained in foods, such as cookies, soft drinks, sodas, etc.
Keeping Stress at Bay
Love handles are among the most common health problems caused by stress. An excessive amount of stress causes the adrenal glands to release the hormone Cortisol. Stress hormone cortisol can cause other problems, such as poor digestion, anxiety, and weight gain. As a result, people are usually advised to steer clear of stressful situations and situations in which they are stressed. You will not only lose love handles but you will also experience other psychological benefits as well.
Get enough sleep
A lack of sleep can also lead to weight gain as it increases cortisol production. There have been several medical studies that demonstrate that people with insomnia are more likely to be obese. Therefore, it is recommended to sleep for 7-8 hours per day. This will enable you to manage your weight, as well as boost your mental wellbeing.
Consume more protein
A good supply of protein plays a crucial role in building and toning the muscles in the body. In addition, protein-rich foods keep you full for a longer period. High-protein consumption has been associated with a reduction in belly fat in several medical studies. It is therefore important to eat foods that are high in protein, such as eggs, salmon, avocado, nuts, and seeds.
Be sure to drink enough water
Weight loss experts recommend drinking water to those struggling with weight loss or excess body fat. The first advantage of drinking water is that it reduces appetite and keeps us fuller longer. Furthermore, it helps our bodies eliminate toxins and extra fats through perspiration. Drinking 3 to 4 liters of water every day is highly recommended. It is also possible to consume water-rich fruits and vegetables so that you meet your daily water requirements.
Perform physical activities
Exercise is very important for losing weight and removing fat from your body. In addition to exercise, physical activities also include other tasks. For instance, walking around your office during your free time or walking home from work (if your office is near your home). Physical activity has been shown to increase fat loss around the belly area according to several studies. Now let’s see what are some of the great exercises to get rid of the love handles:
What Are Some Great Exercises To Get Rid Of Love Handles?
You are more likely to exercise your core when doing love-handle workouts. If your usual belly/core exercises are not helping you lose stubborn fat, here are some other exercises you can do.
Cycling crunches are extremely effective for strengthening your core. Initially, these exercises don’t require any equipment, but you can use ankle weights to level up the difficulty. Bicycle crunches can be performed as follows:
- Lie flat on the ground with your lower back pressed into the ground. Bring your navel in and brace your core.
- Bring your knees into your chest, raise your shoulder blades off the ground, and put your hands behind your head.
- Make sure not to strain your neck.
- Your right leg should be straightened out approximately 45 degrees from the ground and the right elbow should be pointed towards the left knee as you turn your upper body left.
- Ensure that your rib cage is moving and not just your elbows.
- Then switch sides and repeat the exercise on the other side.
- For one set, repeat this 10 – 15 times.
- Do three sets.
Even without gym equipment, you can perform this exercise with a barbell, kettlebell, dumbbell, or water bottle.
- With an overhand grip, hold two dumbbells in front of you (your palms should be facing the body).
- As the dumbbells are lowered to the ground, hinge forward at your hips and slightly bend your knees, trying to keep your back straight.
- Regain your starting position by bracing your core. Your shoulders should remain together the entire time and your spine should remain neutral.
- One set should consist of 15 repetitions of this.
- Do not arch your neck or curl your chin into your neck.
Hanging Leg Raises
Work on your strength and endurance as you prepare for this workout, which requires a lot of upper body strength.
- Grab a bar placed well above your head while standing. Turn your pelvis slightly backward while engaging your hips and core.
- Keep your legs straight and raise your feet off the ground.
- Raising your legs at least 90 degrees above the ground will help. If you are unable to lift your legs this high, lift them to a height that feels comfortable for you.
- Even if you can’t reach a 90-degree angle on the first try, don’t be discouraged.
- As you return to a vertical position, lower your legs gradually.
- For one set, repeat this 10 – 15 times.
Note: Inhale while lifting your legs and exhale when lowering them.
One of the best exercises to get rid of love handles is Russian twists. This exercise targets your obliques and your entire core, as well as your legs, arms, and hips. Follow these steps to do a Russian twist:
- Lie on the ground and extend your legs straight.
- Form a V shape with your torso and legs by leaning back slightly.
- Draw your navel towards your spine to engage your core by bracing your abdominal wall.
- Twist your torso while balancing, without moving your legs.
Note: Do not attempt to do these twists quickly. It engages your core, specifically the love handle area, quite effectively because it moves slowly and steadily.
A burpee is a complete body workout in one exercise. Exercises like these are often used as a warm-up because they are great for getting your blood pumping. The right burpees will burn a lot of calories and tone all your major muscles. The right way to do a burpee is as follows:
- Put your feet shoulder-width apart and start in a standing position.
- Put your hands on the floor between your feet and squat with your back straight.
- Kick your feet back so your weight is on your hands and toes. Get into the push-up position.
- Before you jump your feet back to their starting position, perform one push-up.
- As you jump, push strongly from this position and reach your arms above your head.
Even gym veterans consider burpees to be a tough workout. Here are some tips on how to make this exercise easier for beginners:
- You can either skip the push-up altogether or do it on your knees.
- Stand still and extend your arms in the air instead of jumping.
Side Plank Dips
The following exercise will set your core on fire! It’s a great way to tone your arms and challenge your obliques. Performing side plank dips is as follows:
- Start in a side elbow plank on your right side, with your legs straight and your feet stacked.
- As you breathe in, lower your pelvis so that your right hip hovers just above the floor.
- Exhale and lift your pelvis through your right hip to return to the side plank position.
- Stabilize your shoulder by pulling your right shoulder blade down your back.
- For one set, repeat this 10 – 15 times before switching to the left side.
For those who are uncomfortable with the dip in the side plank, this simple variation could be a good substitute. But don’t worry, it can also help you reach your goals by strengthening your oblique muscles! The basic side plank involves the following steps:
- Lay on your right side with your legs extended and stacked from hip to foot.
- When you are standing with your right arm under your shoulder, your head should be in alignment with your spine.
- Lift your hips and knees while exhaling and engaging your core.
- Make sure your hips and body are straight.
- Switch to the left side after holding this position for 10 to 60 seconds.
- Depending on your endurance, you may hold this position for a long period. It’s best not to hold the position too long, as you might injure yourself.
To effectively tone your obliques, you must perform this exercise. Among other muscles, it engages your core, shoulders, quads, and hamstrings. Woodchoppers can be performed with dumbbells or by lowering the level of difficulty and skipping the weights. The proper way to perform a woodchopper is as follows:
- You should have your feet hip-width apart as you stand with your weight on your left leg while holding a dumbbell.
- Start by holding the weight in both hands up by your left shoulder.
- Make a chopping motion towards your right hip by twisting.
- With the twist, allow your feet and knees to pivot, and then raise the weight back up to your left shoulder.
- Follow the above motion for 10 to 15 repetitions before moving to your right
Exercises aimed at reducing spots on the body won’t work. Your love handles cannot disappear just by doing the above exercises. These just exercise you should add to your current routine. To lose weight and burn fat, you should do high-intensity exercises such as squats, jumping high knees, lunges, jumping jacks, chair dips, and more.
How disastrous are Love Handles for Health?
Even retaining fat around your waist isn’t dangerous. However, love handles can lead to a whole variety of health complications. In addition to this, various underlying health concerns can be indicated by the presence of love handles. The following are among them:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Heart disease
- Sleep apnea and other breathing issues
- Type 2 diabetes (too much body fat can lead to insulin resistance)
- Cancer, especially of the colon and breast
- Liver disease
We have provided you with an intensive overview of the main causes behind love handles and how to get rid of them. We recommend our valuable readers to follow all the above guidelines to have a toned body.