If you’re a woman trying to lose your love handles then rest assured that the answer is simpler than you think.
I know sometimes getting rid of your love handles can feel like the last thing to go but there’s still hope for you. Even though you may have lost a lot of weight already that doesn’t mean that your love handles aren’t gone too.
Love handles are one of the most stubborn areas to get rid of on the body when you’re trying to lose weight. But most people go about getting rid of their love handles all wrong. Then they end up not getting any results for all their hard work.
It can be frustrating to see improvement on the rest of your body but still be stuck with trouble spots like those stubborn love handles. And yes it’s true spot reduction isn’t a very effective method for getting rid of your love handles. But you can use some tactics to better target stubborn fat.
I know can feel like your love handles will never go away but I can assure you if you follow the system laid out here you will get rid of your love handles faster than you think just by following these simple methods.
Women Can Get Rid of Their Love Handles Fast
As women age, their physiology tends to change and they store more of their fat in their belly and love handles (1). Because of this very reason, it makes things much harder to get rid of stubborn fat on your love handles. Your body wants to store more of your excess fat there so it seems like any fat you carry on your body will go straight to your troublesome love handles.
The reason is that women are evolved to carry more fat than men. When you think about it women need to have more nutrient stores to raise a baby and children (2). Because of this throughout evolution, the women who were better adapted to carrying fat on their bodies were much more likely to survive and pass on their genetics. And this is why women today are likelier than men to hold onto excess fat even though it’s much against their wishes these days.
While a lot of women carry fat in their hips, butt, and thighs it can also easily be troublesome for their belly and love handles. These troublesome areas for women also include back fat and cellulite. Unfortunately having visceral fat can be linked to serious health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes (3,4). Most women are less likely to store visceral fat than men. Women tend to store fat in the form of subcutaneous fat which is fat right underneath your skin (5).
Your genetics will also largely determine where fat is stored on your body. If you have an apple-shaped body then you’re much more likely to store excess fat on your stomach and love handles. This is going to make it more difficult for you to lose stubborn love handles but that doesn’t mean hope is lost for you. If you’re a man then go here to see the best ways to get rid of love handles.
The Reason Why You Can’t Get Rid of Your Love Handles
So the main reason you haven’t been able to lose your love handles even though you’ve lost weight is because you still have too much fat on your body. I know that sounds basic but in actuality, if you were able to lower your body fat even further then you’d be able to get rid of those stubborn love handles for good.
When most people try to lose weight they simply cut their calories and do more cardio. Now, this is effective for losing weight but up to a certain point, it isn’t very effective for lowering your body fat.
To lower your body fat, you’re going to have to use different methods than just lowering your calories and doing more cardio.
Most people already know you can’t necessarily spot reduce certain target areas on your body (6). This is because your body doesn’t use these same areas on your body to burn fat while building muscle.
If you still have a lot of weight to lose then you should focus on getting rid of the bulk of the fat on your body before trying to specifically target stubborn fat.
And to better target the stubborn fat on your love handles, I’d try using the following methods to take things up a notch.
Get Your Hormones Right
One of the big reasons you aren’t able to get rid of stubborn fat is because your hormones aren’t optimized for fat burning.
The clearest and obvious way to control your hormones is by regulating what you eat. Having too much insulin released into your body will cause your body to store more excess body fat (7).
And the best way to control your insulin levels and keep them low is to also control your blood sugar. The best way to stabilize your blood sugar and keep it on the lower end is to not eat starchy, process and refined carbohydrates (8). This includes sugar and artificial sweeteners which can also elevate your blood sugar and insulin levels.
You can also practice intermittent fasting for weight loss as it’ll help to improve insulin levels in your body. Studies have found those using intermittent fasting saw improvements in insulin response (9).
When your insulin levels are low your body will be much likelier to use fat for energy instead of storing it in your body. You can download my list of the Food List Cheat Sheet for my approved recommended flat belly foods.
Also controlling your cortisol levels will be key to lowering your belly fat and love handles. If you’re chronically stressed out or not getting enough sleep then your body will be pumping out high levels of cortisol. Many studies are linking high cortisol levels to increases in abdominal fat in women (10).
Start by improving your quality of sleep to lower stress levels naturally. Try to aim for 7-8 hours of quality sleep per night.
And then do what you have to do to destress your life the best you can throughout the day. I know that’s easier said than done but doing small things such as going for a walk and taking a quick afternoon nap can help a lot.
If you have any thyroid problems then it’s best to focus on getting that fixed too. Having an out-of-control thyroid can wreak havoc on your body and cause it to store excess fat (11). But once you get your thyroid fixed and under control, you’ll be better able to target the stubborn fat that’s holding you back.
Exercises to Get Rid of Love Handles for Women
Even though you can’t spot reduce certain areas on your body by traditional methods that doesn’t mean women can’t use these exercises to help tone the area.
Once you begin to lower your body fat you’ll be able to use these best exercises for love handles to tone and shape your love handles. This will help so they’re better defined and not bulging out.
I highly recommend combining these exercises with high-intensity interval training to increase how much fat you’re burning in your workouts. An example would be to sprint on the treadmill for 40 seconds and then jump off and do some side planks for 20 seconds per side.
You can also do your cardio exercise if you want but if are you I more focus on doing intense exercises such as high-intensity interval training, metabolic resistance training, and Afterburn effect workouts to burn more fat off your body while keeping your lean muscle to help tone things up.
Just doing more cardio might help you lose more weight but you’ll also lose some muscle at the same time. And like stated earlier if your body fat remains high you will still have some love handles even though you’re losing weight.
Diet Tips to Lose Love Handles for Women
Just watching your calories isn’t going to be enough to get rid of your love handles if you’re a woman. Instead, you have to cut out the foods that are causing you to store excess fat as well.
This means reducing your carbohydrate intake and getting most of your carbs from vegetables such as kale, spinach, Swiss chard, and broccoli.
Try to kick out the processed foods, refined carbs, sugar, vegetable oils and excess alcohol from your diet which will cause you to store more fat on your body.
Eat a higher protein diet as studies have found it to be much more effective for fat loss (12). Don’t worry about a high-fat diet damaging your kidneys as that is a total myth (13). A higher protein diet will help to add some lean toned muscle to your body which will also lower your body fat (14).
Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water while dieting and exercising to lose your love handles. Studies have found the more water people drink while dieting the more weight they were able to lose (16). Plus if your stomach has some water in it then you’re less likely to feel hungry all the time.
For a complete diet plan for getting rid of your love handles and belly fat be sure to check out The Flat Belly Formula.
How do love handles go away?
Long story short your love handles will finally go away once you lower your body fat to the point that the stubborn fat there goes away too. Now, this is different for everybody depending on how much fat you have to lose in the first place.
For most women, it’s best to lower your body fat into the teens at least to start seeing some impressive results with your love handles. By sticking to the plan laid out here you’ll be able to lower your body fat percentage to the point you can get rid of your love handles.
The Last Word
At the end of the day getting rid of your love handles if you’re a woman is all about lowering your body fat percentage. And this can be hard considering women are more genetically evolved to store excess fat more than men.
But you can more quickly lower your body fat by following the strategies laid out here for you. Then once you lower your body fat you’ll also get rid of your love handles once and for all.
When it comes to exercise you can cut back on a cardio exercise like jogging and cycling. Try doing more high intense exercise combined with specifically targeted exercises to help tone up your love handles even faster.
Then once you start dieting by cutting out the bad carbs from your diet and eating a higher protein you’ll be setting your body up for the right nutrients it needs to lower your body fat quickly.
Last but not least your hormones play a vital role in how much fat your body is willing to burn off. If your hormones are out of whack then your body will stubbornly hold onto fat in trouble spots such as your love handles. But once you get your hormones under control your body will quickly start to burn fat off from troublesome areas.
Now that you know all the tips to getting rid of your love handles for women it’s time to put them into action so you can slim down that muffin top faster than you think.
Josh holds a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition Science. He’s a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) by the National Strength and Conditioning Association and he’s a Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) by American Council on Exercise. He’s worked as a Strength and Conditioning Coach at the high school and college levels. He has over 15 years of experience as a personal trainer and nutrition coach. He is also the author of The Flat Belly Formula. He strives to bring inspiration and results for people to live healthier lives through smart diet and exercise.