Holding Belly Flab (Love Handles)

I don’t know anyone who loves love handles. In fact despite the name having love in it there isn’t one woman I have met that loves having a bulging waistline. Yeah they gave it a cute name but love handles are just another name for excessive fat that sits on the sides of the waist and hangs above pants or jeans.

While many women try to target this area for weight or fat loss, you can’t! Doing endless crunches, side crunches, and other abdominal exercises/workouts are not going to help you lose that spare tire.

It’s just not what is needed or even an effective way to lose love handles. If the middle-age spread is a problem area for you then here’s the lowdown what they are and how to get rid of them for good. To be fair these are easy in theory but people still struggle. In short, in order to get rid of love handles you are going to need to make eating adjustments, lifestyle changes, and over course working out and being more active.

So just what are Love Handles?

Hate handles, muffin top, spare tire, a bulging waist are just a few other names that love handles go by. It is just the area around the waistline that contains excess fats on the sides. Some say its a love handle because usually it’s enough to grab and hold. However, when you have pants or shorts on it can be called a muffin top. This is because it’s more defined and pronounced when wearing tight pants. In doing so you can see something that resembles the top of a muffin with your legs being the muffin base.

And as stated before, though we give this area of the body all types of cute and playful names, in reality it is just the fat accumulation around the belly and hip area.

What causes them is the underlying fat retention. Since fat accumulates anywhere on the body when it wants you will see some women with large handles and others smaller. This is because everyone stores and loses fat differently. Though most women will store more fat in their midsection than men.

There are also many factors that contribute to having love handles. Many women find that when they gain weight for whatever reason it seems to go to this area. Oftentimes women experience increased love handles during pregnancy. Yes, being pregnant and having a baby can indeed cause a muffin top. So let’s get to the list to help you get rid of your love handles.

1. Stop with the Processed Foods

One of the simplest ways to get rid of love handles is to just eat whole foods. No not the store Whole Foods but foods that are just not processed. Fast foods, sweets, TV dinners are all highly processed and will more often than not cause increased weight gain.

There are studies that show eating lots of processed foods put people at greater risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Now don’t get me wrong eating whole foods can seem a lot more expensive but your health in general is worth it.

By cutting out processed foods you will have a better chance of naturally reducing your excess fat and your waistline. Eat more vegetables, fruits, nutes, lean meats and grains. Be sure to focus on preparing your meals at home and not purchasing premade dishes. Eating at home more definitely makes the process easier.

I know those readymade meals are not only tasty but also save you time but they just aren’t as good for you. Research shows that people who eat readymade meals regularly are more likely to have more belly fat than those who don’t. Go figure, right??

2. Cut Out the Extra Sugar

I know you may have a sweet tooth but honestly the added sugar is just killing your midsection. If you want to lose fat around your belly and sides you are going to need to just stop it with the added sugar. Gotta clean that diet up. I guess we should just say lifestyle up since diet makes it seem like it’s short term.

So what is added sugar? Well naturally many foods and fruits contain sugar, added sugars would be those found in sodas, cookies, candy, etc. Even too much healthy sugar can be bad for you. All things in moderation.

Eating too much sugar is not only bad for your teeth but has been linked to health issues such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. If you want that belly area to shrink you are going to have to cut back on sweeteners like table sugar, high-fructose corn syrup and even honey can really destroy any attempts to cut those pounds.

3. Focus on Good Fats

Not all fats are created equal and oftentimes when trying to lose weight we think cutting out all fats is the key. However, just the opposite is true. If you are really wanting to lose the pounds you should think about eating good fats. I know you’ve probably heard that foods like nuts, seeds, fish, avocados and all have healthy fats. Did you know that these fats can help with slimming the stomach bulge?

Healthy fats taste good and also give you that full feeling when you eat. This helps you to not overeat. If you feel full then guess what? You will consume less calories throughout the day which will, you guessed it, help you shed the weight.

In a study of over 7,000 people they found that when the participants ate a high-Mediterranean diet that was supplemented with olive oil, the participants lost a greater amount of weight than those people who were on a low-fat diet. To top it off it also showed that they also accumulated less belly fat.

Just be mindful of eating healthy fats as well. Many of the healthy fats are high in calories so moderation is important if you want to lose weight.

Avocado Salmon Nuts

4. Get Up and Do Something

Burning calories is probably one of the more simple ways to increase the number of calories burned daily. The issue is that many of us just don’t move around or do anything. Many of us sit or stand all day but not too much walking. If you really want to lose that excess body fat you need to get up and get moving.

Studies have shown that sitting for long extended periods is not only bad for your waistline it’s also bad for your health. These sedentary lifestyles and desk jobs are hurting your belly. One study of 276 people found that every 15 minute increment of sedentary behavior was associated with .05 inch increase in waist size.

Let’s not forget that genetics does play a factor and that women do tend to carry more weight in the waist and hips areas but even this can be curbed a little. Walk more, take the stairs, park a little farther from your destination and you may start to see a big difference in weight loss.

5. Please Stop Stressing

There are so many things you just can’t change or fix but being stressed out has such a negative impact on your mental and physical health. Yes and being stressed can also cause you not to lose weight and even gain belly fat.

Stress triggers the hormone cortisol to be produced and this is known as the “stress hormone.” Cortisol is produced by your adrenal glands in stressful situations. Well this is normal for the body in stressful stressful situations it’s not good when you are stressed all the time.

When the body is producing cortisol for extended periods of time there will be unwanted side effects. Some of the side effects of prolonged stress and overexposure to cortisol can be anxiety, headaches, weight gain, high blood pressure, exhaustion or trouble sleeping, dizziness, shaking, muscle tension, and jaw clenching, just to name a few.

Taking up yogi, exercising, walking and mediation have been proven to help reduce both stress and prevent belly fat.

6. Sleep 7 to 8 Hours Per Night

For many women, getting enough sleep is a major problem. Whether it’s the career, relationships, children or just helping so many other people. You just don’t find enough time to get good sleep. But much like stress, not getting enough sleep will actually increase those cortisol levels we just finished talking about.

Not only is it unhealthy but will prevent you from losing weight and in some cases may increase your chances of gaining weight. Studies show that sleep deprived people in general tend to weigh more and carry around more body fat than those who get enough sleep.

Well what is enough sleep? You should be aiming for about seven to eight hours of sleep each night. This is uninterrupted good sleep per night. One study of 1,000 participants that they followed around for five years found that those who sleep less than five hours per night weighed more and had more stomach fat than those who slept seven to eight hours.

7. Lifting Weights

As mentioned before, activity helps everything but if you want to kick it up a notch then go with lifting weights. Many women don’t want to lift weights or lift heavy because they think they might look like a man. That’s not true! One thing is true though and that’s that physical activity will help you lose your love handles.

Lifting weights or resistance training is essential for maintaining good health and reducing body weight. Training helps you burn calories, build lean muscle all while giving your metabolism that boost you need.

8. Add More Protein

Adding more protein to your eating will have you lose fat and maintain a healthy weight. Much like healthy fats, proteins help keep you full in between meals and might just be what you need to help reduce the urge to snack so often.

I know a lot of people that graze a lot around food in their homes and end up eating a lot of calories through snacking. Studies have shown that eating more protein rich meals are more effective at reducing belly fats than those that are lower in protein.

But be careful with the protein as well. Your body can only consume and utilize a certain amount of protein daily. According to the Dietary Reference Intake report for macronutrients, a sedentary adult should consume 0.36 grams per pound. That means that the average sedentary man should eat about 56 grams of protein per day, and the average woman should eat about 46 grams.

9. Drink Enough Water

Staying hydrated is so important yet many of us mess this up daily. It’s simply a must for optimal health. Women tend to drink a lot of fluids but soda, added sugar beverages, teas and juices just don’t cut it. When you feel thirsty, water should be your drink of choice.

A lot of the weight you are carrying around your midsection could be from all the beverages that you are consuming. Those calories and sugars found in sweetened beverages will add up quickly. Before you know it you’ve gained 5-10 pounds and are sporting a muffin top.

Liquid calories don’t have the same effect on hunger as solid foods will so while you may get full off of 500 calories from a meal you might not be full from a 500 calorie drink. This could lead to you consuming way more calories because you are drinking them.

Instead of sugary beverages, hydrate with plain or sparkling water, or unsweetened tea.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that there are several ways to help you naturally get rid of love handles. The nine listed here are just a tip of the iceberg. Whether it’s working out, being more active, eating more healthy fats and proteins or drinking more water.

If you want a slimmer waist and looking to lose fat and keep it off you have to stop thinking short term. This is one of the reasons we don’t like using the word diet. Most of these simple changes only work if they are a part of and adopted as a lifestyle change.

Though changing one aspect of your life is great and may help you see some results, combining a few and sticking it out will definitely increase your chances of losing those unwanted love handles for good.