What Are Love Handles ... Actually?

May 8, 2019

Love handles: they’re something that’s often discussed, but what actually are they? And how do you get rid of them?

What Are Love Handles?

Love handles are just the name given to the protrusion caused by fat that accumulates around the hips. The “handle” part of the phrase comes from the fact that tight clothing, like trousers, constricts the hip area, causing fatty deposits to flop over the sides, giving them a distinct, handle-like shape.

What Causes Love Handles?

The cause of love handles varies from person to person.

The leading cause of love handles is obesity. When people become overweight, their bodies start storing excess energy wherever they can, including the hips.

Some people have a genetic predisposition to store fat in some areas rather than others. For some, it’s their thighs, for others the buttocks and, for others still, the hips and waist.

It’s also thought that diets particularly high in fats and sugars can lead to the development of love handles, as can sleep deprivation. So, in general, love handles are the result of a range of less-than-healthy lifestyle factors.

How Do You Get Rid Of Love Handles?

Okay, so now onto the important question: how do you get rid of love handles?

Getting rid of love handles involves many of the same lifestyle choices as living healthily in the first place.

First thing’s first: you’ve got to nail your diet. If you’re going to the fast food joint after work every day and filling up on fries and milkshake, then your love handles won’t go anywhere. The only way to shift fat is to change your body’s chemistry - and the way you do that is by filling up on food as nature intended.

Instead of drinking orange juice, eat the whole orange. Replace Fruit Loops with real fruit. And cook mountains of veggies as your side, instead of relying on fries. Cut out the snacks, stop buying any food that comes in a shiny packet (and contains lots of sugar), and generally focus on living how people used to live before the advent of the industrial food system.

Second, get in shape. While diet can have a profound effect on love handles (perhaps the most significant of anything), getting in shape can help consolidate your progress. Building muscle in the core of your body will give it shape. By exercising in the right way, you’ll not only lose the fat but build sub-surface musculature that will make your waist region look great.

Finally, body contour treatments can provide an immediate boost and reduce the appearance of sagging skin.

Are There Any Specific Exercises That Can Help?

It turns out that there are. The side plank, for instance, can strengthen the muscles around the periphery of the abdominals which connect to the hips and spine. You can also try bicycle crunches where you lie on your back, lift your legs, then pedal as if you were riding a bike. Finally, you can try Russian twists to target the hip region. 

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