By ‘love handle’ (also known as a spare tire), we mean the fat around the waist and hips. It tends to accumulate in this part of the body due to the close proximity of the liver, which is of course an organ that plays a major role in the processing of body fat.
Unfortunately, once a love handle has developed it can be extremely difficult to get rid of. In fact, it’s quite common for people to diet right down to their correct weight and still be left with a love handle, albeit a smaller one.
So, on to the million dollar question; the one we get asked more than any other. Is it possible to lose a love handle and, if so, how? The answer to the first part of the question is a straightforward yes; the answer to the second part is less so.
The first thing people need to be aware of is that it is simply not possible to target any specific part of the body with regard to losing fat. Basically, it’s all or nothing. If you take in less calories than your body needs, you will lose weight all over, including around the hips and waist. The same basic rule applies to exercise; despite what you will read on dozens of websites, there is no exercise that will get rid of fat anywhere on the body. Exercising will build muscle but it cannot remove fat.
What we are saying therefore, is that there is no magic panacea with regard to getting rid of a love handle. The only way to do it is to knuckle down and go on a weight-loss diet. As your body sheds the fat, your love handle will diminish – it’s as simple as that.
However, there are steps you can take that will help the process. These are as follows:
- Stop eating junk food – junk food is basically the majority of what the processed food industry churns out. High in sugar and unhealthy fats, and low in nutrients, it is the major cause of the obesity crisis currently sweeping around the western world
- Exercise more – simply going for a long walk and doing weight bearing exercises such as pull-ups, press-ups, planks and squats will help enormously. You don’t need a gym
- Cut out alcohol – studies show that alcohol is one of the main offenders with regard to stomach fat. It contains a high amount of ’empty’ calories which don’t have any nutritional value. Women are more likely to store the fat created by surplus calories on their hips, thighs and arms, while men store it on their tummy, i.e. the ‘beer belly’
- Get plenty of sleep – sleep is one of the most important aspects of overall health and wellbeing, especially when it comes to managing weight. In one study, it was shown that women who slept for less than five hours a night were significantly more likely to gain weight around their stomach than those who slept seven hours or more
- Eat plenty of protein – there is evidence that suggests protein is a very important factor when it comes to losing stomach fat. Firstly, it releases the hormone PYY which sends a message to your brain that you’re full. Secondly, studies have been done that prove people with a high protein intake have lower levels of stomach fat
- Stop counting calories – quit calorie counting and, instead, start eating a healthy diet comprised of unprocessed fresh foods, such as fish, eggs, meat and vegetables. Don’t be afraid of eating good fats, such as avocados, nuts and oily fish
We said at the beginning of this article that it’s quite common for people to diet right down to their correct weight and still be left with a love handle. So the only option for these people is to continue the diet until the love handle has gone completely. By the time they have achieved this, of course, they will be well under weight and probably looking somewhat skeletal.
It’s at this point that they have to start putting weight back on. However, it’s absolutely essential that they do so by only eating foods that contain healthy fats. Processed food will be a no-no. By eating healthy foods that are free of refined sugar and starches – in other words, eating as they should have done right from the start – they will be able to put on weight without developing another love handle.