Love handle is slang for fat accumulation at the waist. One can blame the tight clothing, but these only escalate the love handles and not cause them. Love handles indicate the need to lose those few inches from the waist.
Love handles or muffin tops are tough to lose. It is not easy to lose weight by repeatedly doing exercises that target this specific area.
What causes love handles?
Fat accumulation is the main reason for people having love handles. Fat cells accumulate when a person consumes too many calories or burn out little calories. Slowly, these become noticeable because they retain around the waist or hips. If the fat cells are targeting the hips and waist, then it may be triggered because of various reasons, including:
- Stress (causes too much cortisol hormones to release into the body)
- Age (fat accumulation in the belly area and hip is particularly common in older people)
- Lack of exercise
- Diet high in fats, sugars, and high-calorie foods
- Sleep deprivation
- Conditions that lower metabolism (hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid)
- Genes or hereditary
Do love handles pose risks?
Love handles are not dangerous but may sometimes indicate an underlying condition, including:
How to get rid of love handles?
Crunches or other targeted abdominal exercises can help tone abdominal muscles, but just doing these exercises won't get rid of love handles. It is advisable to consume a healthy diet and practice cardiovascular exercises to shed excess pounds and lower total body fat. To keep the love handles at bay, one needs to:
- Eat a healthy diet: Including more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains would do the trick. Also, choose lean sources of protein, such as fish, and low-fat dairy products. Limit the consumption of processed food and saturated fat.
- Practice control portion: Measuring portions helps take control of the amount of daily intake of food. Avoid stuffing at restaurants. Share meals or eat half of the meal and take the rest home. Use a small plate to eat.
- Replace sugar-containing beverages: Added sugars contain high fructose, which may decrease fat burning. Hence, avoiding sugar-containing foods and drinks, such as candies, cakes, frozen yogurt, soda, flavored coffee drinks, and sweet tea, help lose love handles.
- Increase physical activity and adopting a regular exercise regimen: A sedentary lifestyle remains the main culprit in fat accumulation. Women sitting continuously for more than 3 hours are at an increased risk of love handles. Exercising daily for 30 minutes may be useful. Activities, such as brisk walking, swimming, dancing, and jogging may be effective in reducing overall body fat. Some of the exercise that target abs, hips, and backs include:
- Side planks
- Bicycle crunches
- Russian twists
- Mountain climber
- Get more sleep: Sleeping for less than 5 hours per night may result in a weight gain of around 32 lbs. Similarly, sleeping for more than 8 hours also does the same. People with sleep disorders are most likely to experience weight gain. Hence, sleeping for 6-8 hours is essential to remain fit.
One can also try plastic surgery to get rid of fat accumulation in a specific area. Liposuction is a plastic surgery where the surgeon injects a solution into the targeted region, such as hips to liquefy fat cells. Liposuction is recommended only for people who are slightly to moderately overweight.
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Office on Women’s Health. Weight and Obesity. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. https://www.womenshealth.gov/healthy-weight/weight-and-obesity#7