Love Handles: What are they & how do I get rid of them

Published October 26th, 2021 by Chris Riley
Fact Checked by
Camille Freking

What are love handles? | Causes of love handles | Exercises for love handles | Additional Options

Love handles are a common problem for many people, and it's easy to see why. When you love food or love to sit down on the couch all day long with your remote control in hand, love handles will start to form. They can be caused by excess weight, genetics, or even pregnancy. Love handles may not seem to have any negative effects on your health at first glance, but love handles are usually the last place fat is burned off because it's located close to vital organs and puts pressure on them. It's important to find ways of getting rid of love handles now before they become detrimental to your health. This article will answer all of your questions about love handles so you know how to get rid of love handles for good.

What are love handles?

Love handles are simply fat deposits that accumulate around the waistline of someone who is overweight or obese. It's easy to spot love handles because it appears as though the person has two lumps of fat and skin that stick out from your body at or above their waist. Love handles can lead to a higher risk of obesity and cardiovascular disease, so they should be taken seriously and addressed immediately. It is uncertain the origin of the name but it is generally accepted that the "handle" part of the word is because they look like handles or can be handled by someone else. It is important to remember that love handle fat doesn't discriminate, and it can affect anyone who has a higher body mass index (BMI) than average for their age group or gender.

What causes love handles?

Love handles can be caused by a variety of factors, and it's important to understand what causes love handle so you know how to prevent them in the future. Let's take a look at the most common reasons.

Poor dietary habits and lack of exercise

A poor diet and lack of exercise can cause love handles by increasing body fat in the midsection. Not only does love handle make you look bad, but it can lead to health problems such as heart disease and type II diabetes should if you do not lose excess fat and get into shape. A healthy diet and exercise will reduce the fat cells around your midsection and increase your muscle tone. 

Weight gain from pregnancy or age

Another reason love handles appear is due to weight gain during pregnancy or aging. While this isn't preventable for some people, there are things you can do to help love handles from showing up due to weight gain during pregnancy or age.

Disease and genetics

Finally, love handles are sometimes a result of diseases such as Diabetes mellitus type II. This condition causes love handle because individuals who suffer from this disease often have high blood sugar levels which lead the body to store fat all over, including love handles. Or love handle can be caused by genetics which means you were simply born with love handles and they cannot be prevented nor treated at the moment.

love handles

What are three exercises I can try to get rid of love handles?

There are a variety of different workouts that target love handles specifically. Some popular ones include:

Plank

The plank position is a common love handle exercise. To do the plank, lie on your stomach and place your forearms flat against the ground with elbows directly beneath shoulders. Lift yourself up off of the floor to form a straight line from head to toe by contracting core muscles and keeping abdominals tight throughout the entire movement. Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds.

Russian Twist

This love handle exercise can also be done on the ground in a seated position with legs bent and feet flat against the floor. Lean back so that you are at about a 45-degree angle from the ground and hold your arms straight out in front of you, slightly higher than shoulder height (similar to a bow and arrow position). Twist to both sides by contracting your obliques, moving shoulders in a forward motion.

Hanging Leg Raise

To do this love handle exercise stand under a bar with feet shoulder-width apart from each other. Grip the bar overhand at slightly wider than shoulder-width. Hang from the pull-up bar so that there is tension on the cable if you are using a workout machine. Bring knees up towards the chest or as close to ninety degrees without any swinging motion until legs are parallel with the ground while keeping your hips stationary throughout the exercise. Slowly return back down and repeat for desired reps.

What if I can't get rid of love handles on my own?

If you find that love handle exercises are not working for you, make an appointment with your doctor. Your love handles may be a result of another underlying condition that needs to be treated before love handle exercises can effectively reduce fat in this area.

There are also surgical options open to you if you should need to get rid of them for cosmetic or health reasons. These options include liposuction, gastric band, and gastric bypass surgeries.

Liposuction

Liposuction is a surgery that involves removing excess fat from love handles and other areas of the body by inserting a small tube with a tiny liposuction cannula. The love handle is then sucked out and removed from the body which leaves only healthy tissue behind.

Gastric Band

A gastric band, also known as lap-band surgery, is a medical device that reduces the stomach's size by limiting how much food can be eaten and how fast it can be digested.

Gastric Bypass Surgery

A gastric bypass is a type of weight loss surgery that reduces the size of your stomach by creating a small pouch. This process makes you feel full faster.

These options may be available to you should your medical provider deem them necessary. Talk to your physician about the right treatment plan for you.

Summary

Love handles are excess fat on the sides of the waistline region of your body. Love handles can be caused by genetics, a medical condition, or obesity and it is important to determine the cause to figure out the proper treatment. Besides many people being embarrassed by their love handles, due to love handles being caused by obesity they can also help lead to diseases like Type II diabetes. Three exercises we recommend to prevent and get rid of love handles are planks, the Russian twist, and hanging leg raises. Should these exercises not work for you there are also surgical options available. Please talk to your doctor should you have any more questions.

References and Sources:

MedicalNewsToday - What are Love Handles

10 minute love handle workout - Health.com

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