Eliminating love handles can be challenging, but with the latest scientific insights, we will guide you through five simple steps to lose love handles and keep them off.
First, it’s crucial to grasp the origin of this stubborn fat, often developed over months or years of overeating. Our bodies tend to store excess calories as fat around the abdomen, particularly true for men and women after menopause.
Unfortunately, fat stored in these areas is typically the last to be shed during weight loss.
However, fear not; love handles, like any other fat, can be conquered with the right approach. To initiate the process, we’ll start with the most crucial step: nutrition.
Step 1 – Nutrition
While a calorie deficit is necessary, an overly aggressive deficit may not immediately target fat loss in your love handles. Your body tends to prioritize other areas first. Aim for a gradual calorie deficit, with losing about a pound of fat per week as a reasonable target. Adjust the pace if needed, even opting for a slower approach.
Steps 2 and 3 focus on the exercises to complement your nutritional efforts:
Step 2 – Lifting Weights
While not directly targeting love handles, weightlifting creates the illusion of a smaller waist and acts as a preventive measure against future fat regain. Performing 3-6 challenging sets per muscle per week is typically sufficient.
Step 3 – Cardio
Enhance calorie expenditure through exercise, considering that without cardio, a very low-calorie intake might be required to lose fat.
Cardio has the added benefit of reducing visceral fat, contributing to overall health and potentially minimizing love handles. Start with walking, gradually increasing steps until reaching 8,000 to 10,000 steps daily. Optionally, include low- to moderate-intensity cardio that aligns with your preferences.
As you progress, you may encounter a plateau, signaling the need for adjustments:
Step 4 – Adjusting Caloric Intake
If fat loss stalls for 2-3 weeks, consider a minor reduction of around 100 calories per day.
Step 5 – Increasing Activity
Alternatively, enhance daily activity by increasing steps or incorporating additional low- to moderate-intensity cardio sessions.
Consistency with these steps ensures effective love handle reduction. However, achieving a level of leanness to completely eliminate love handles may be challenging and unsustainable for many.
It’s crucial to appreciate progress, take breaks when needed, and acknowledge that pursuing extreme leanness may not be worth the associated trade-offs in terms of energy levels and overall well-being.
What is a Calorie Deficit?
A calorie deficit occurs when the number of calories you consume through food and beverages is less than the number of calories your body expends through its basic metabolic functions (such as breathing, circulation, and cell production) and physical activity. In simple terms, it means you are consuming fewer calories than your body needs to maintain its current weight.
The concept of a calorie deficit is fundamental to weight loss. When your body is in a calorie deficit, it needs to tap into its stored energy reserves (typically in the form of fat) to make up for the shortfall. This leads to a reduction in body weight over time.
To create a calorie deficit, individuals can approach it in two ways:
- Reducing Caloric Intake: Consuming fewer calories by adjusting the portion sizes of meals, choosing lower-calorie foods, or limiting the intake of high-calorie and processed foods.
- Increasing Caloric Expenditure: Burning more calories through physical activity and exercise. This can involve activities such as walking, running, weightlifting, or engaging in sports.
Weight loss occurs when the calorie deficit is sustained over time. It’s important to note that creating a moderate and sustainable calorie deficit is generally recommended for a healthy and balanced approach to weight loss. Extremely low-calorie diets or overly aggressive deficits may not be sustainable in the long run and can have negative effects on overall health.
Individual calorie needs vary based on factors such as age, gender, weight, activity level, and metabolic rate. It’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian to determine an appropriate and personalized calorie deficit for weight loss goals.
What is a Calorie Surplus?
A calorie surplus occurs when the number of calories you consume through food and beverages exceeds the number of calories your body expends through its basic metabolic functions and physical activity. In other words, it means you are taking in more calories than your body needs to maintain its current weight.
The concept of a calorie surplus is typically associated with weight gain or muscle-building goals. When your body is in a calorie surplus, the excess calories are stored as energy reserves, often in the form of body fat. This additional energy provides the necessary resources for various physiological processes, including muscle growth, tissue repair, and overall energy balance.
Individuals may intentionally enter a calorie surplus for specific purposes:
- Muscle Building: To support muscle growth, individuals engaged in resistance training or bodybuilding may purposely consume a surplus of calories. The extra energy helps facilitate the synthesis of new muscle proteins and contributes to overall strength and size gains.
- Athletic Performance: Athletes in certain sports, such as weightlifting or football, may aim for a calorie surplus to enhance energy levels, endurance, and performance.
- Recovery: A surplus of calories can support faster recovery after intense physical activity or strenuous exercise, promoting the repair of muscle tissues and reducing the risk of overtraining.
It’s important to note that while a calorie surplus is necessary for building muscle and achieving certain performance goals, it should be approached with moderation and in conjunction with a well-balanced diet. Excessive calorie surpluses can lead to unwanted fat gain and potential health issues.
Individual calorie needs vary based on factors such as age, gender, weight, activity level, and specific fitness goals. Consulting with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian can help individuals determine an appropriate and personalized calorie surplus for their specific objectives.