How To Get Rid Of Love Handles: 14 Tips

Even when you exercise and lead a healthy diet, stubborn fat sometimes does not go away so easily. 

This stubborn fat may accumulate on your thighs, back, or sides. 

One example is love handles and skin areas on the hips that many people try to burn without a noticeable improvement. 

Is there a secret to achieving a complete love handle loss? How to get rid of the side fat in love handles?

That’s the main issue we will address in this article. You will get several science-backed methods and alternatives to lose stubborn fat. 

With all the information at hand, it will be your decision which way to go.

What are love handles?

You want to lose the love handles, but what are they? Love handles are areas of stubborn subcutaneous fat you can find on your midsection. 

More specifically, they bulge out from your hips to the abdomen and become more noticeable on tight clothes. You could say that love handles and back fat are equally difficult to burn. Thus, they are common reasons men and women try body sculpting and similar techniques.

If you fought obesity for years and then lost weight, you may still carry some belly fat and love handles. 

What causes love handles?

Why do love handles remain if you have already lost weight? The cause is an accumulation of body fat that stays in your organism as a reserve. 

Our metabolism is the product of evolution through thousands of years in which sometimes we had many days without eating properly. So, the surplus when we eat extra energy is stored in these stubborn areas. You can say this retention is backup energy for periods of poor nutrition.

Naturally, we don’t need this backup energy anymore. That’s why we see these stubborn areas as a problem instead of a solution to starvation.

Moreover, our lifestyles tend to promote love handles. For instance, work and life stress send the message that something is wrong out there, and your body responds by accumulating fat. Drinking alcohol and overeating are also significant contributors.

How to get rid of love handles

Some people try to burn love handles with side crunches. Does it work? Well, it does burn calories and strengthens your obliques and core muscles. But that does not always reduce love handles. 

Crunches are not necessarily a loves handles burner. They burn calories, but not selectively. 

Let us review some methods that may work to get rid of love handles:

1) Avoid added sugars

They are a pain for dietitians and fitness people. Added sugars mean added empty calories. 

They won’t help if you want to lose side fat. Quite the opposite, because they increase body fat percentage, especially in your belly (1).

how to cut out sugar

2) Favor high-fiber foods

Whole-wheat bread, fruits, and vegetables can be used to get rid of love handles. They slow down digestion and help you feel satiated for longer. You tend to consume fewer calories and achieve a better calorie deficit (2).

3) Avoid sedentary behavior

Simple modifications throughout the day can help you get rid of love handles fast. Instead of sitting for hours, do sit-ups every 40 minutes and stretch. 

Take the stairs every once in a while instead of using the elevator. For every 15 minutes you gain in this regard, you can be avoiding 0.1 centimeters of increased waist circumference (3).

does exercise boost energy

4) Cope with stress

The stress hormone is a steroid and makes you gain weight. Your body is receiving a danger signal, and the natural response is storing fat in your hips and elsewhere (4).

5) Engage in resistance training

Resistance training is basically weight training. The workout plan includes chin-ups, overhead presses, push-ups, and more. 

You don’t have to be a gym rat. You can use a dumbbell or kettlebell training at home, which only takes a few minutes. 

Resistance training not only burns calories, but it also speeds up your metabolism too. Combined with cardio, it makes you burn calories more consistently (5).

6) Get your night’s rest

Sleep is a fundamental companion for your love handle exercise at home. Sleeping properly reduces cortisol levels and prevents fat accumulation. You’re also at a higher risk of obesity if you have inadequate sleep (6).

melatonin supplement

7) Exercise with your whole body

Using exercises involving several muscle groups simultaneously is much better than crunches alone. So, don’t leave out burpees and battle ropes.

8) Eat enough protein

Muscle building speeds up your metabolism and makes you burn more fat. And the protein in your meals is essential for muscle building. 

Moreover, it helps reduce cravings and appetite problems when you include protein in the nutrition plan (7).

9) Don’t forget cardio

Aerobic exercise will always be a good idea to get rid of big love handles. So, does running get rid of love handles? It does if you combine cardio with resistance training. 

So, get your bicycle, complete a round of side plank, and then exercise your chest, torso, and core muscles with weights (8).

10) Hydrate properly

Doing so will not only give your kidneys liquid to flush out toxins. It will also solve a type of hunger triggered when you’re dehydrated. 

Drinking a glass of water before eating can also be an excellent way to reduce calorie intake.

how to prevent dehydration

11) Use HIIT workouts

If you don’t have much time after work, a short session of intense exercise can be the fastest way to get rid of love handles. 

HIIT reduces weight faster than traditional exercise. Thus, it is a potential love handles fat burner (9).

12) Cut back on alcohol

Drinking alcoholic beverages is probably the worst thing you can do if you care about fitness. Excessive alcohol consumption causes central obesity. 

In other words, it makes you gain weight in your midsection. So, even if you have the best way to lose love handles, it may not work if you continue drinking heavily (10).

13) Practice mindful eating

Another common problem is that people eat way too fast. They don’t even realize when they become satiated and keep overeating. 

If you take time for every bite and pay attention to what you’re eating, the chance of gaining body fat will decrease.

14) Tone your core muscles

Crunches and core muscle exercises are not enough to remove love handles. But they can surely help tone your midsection. 

If you follow a good exercise plan, toning your core muscles will sculpt your torso, as no treatments can do. But first, you need to do everything you read above.

how to start exercising

How much time does it take to get rid of love handles?

As noted above, there is not a single and all-inclusive method to get rid of love handles easily. Instead, it is a conglomerate of recommendations you should follow closely. 

Depending on your current lifestyle, it can feel like a challenge. But perseverance is key. So, instead of thinking about how long it takes to get rid of love handles, consider lifestyle modifications you can live with from now on.

With proper exercise and a healthy diet, you may need a few weeks, months, or years before achieving the goal. It depends on your current weight and how much body fat you need to lose first. 

Also, remember that people store fat differently depending on their hormones and body composition. So, whatever worked for your gym partner to get rid of them in one month may take longer in your case.


Losing love handle body fat is not only about doing crunches all day and night. Contrary to what people may think, exercise in a muscle group does not necessarily burn fat around those areas. You need to boost your metabolism with exercise and a proper diet. 

At the end of the day, this stubborn fat stays there to protect your body from starvation during winter. It is an obsolete method, but your body still doesn’t understand that. 

To counter this tendency, build muscle mass, avoid sedentary behavior, reduce alcohol, cope with stress, and sleep your night’s hours. 

If your body doesn’t raise the metabolic alarms, it will stop collecting fat in these stubborn areas. Meanwhile, keep building muscles in your torso, and you’ll be showing them off when the area is cleared from adipose tissue.

Explore More

how to start exercising

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  1. Rodríguez, L. A., Madsen, K. A., Cotterman, C., & Lustig, R. H. (2016). Added sugar intake and metabolic syndrome in US adolescents: cross-sectional analysis of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005–2012. Public health nutrition, 19(13), 2424-2434. 
  2. St-Pierre, D. H., Rabasa-Lhoret, R., Lavoie, M. È., Karelis, A. D., Strychar, I., Doucet, E., & Coderre, L. (2009). Fiber intake predicts ghrelin levels in overweight and obese postmenopausal women. European journal of endocrinology, 161(1), 65-72. 
  3. Saunders, T. J., Tremblay, M. S., Despres, J. P., Bouchard, C., Tremblay, A., & Chaput, J. P. (2013). Sedentary behaviour, visceral fat accumulation and cardiometabolic risk in adults: a 6-year longitudinal study from the Quebec Family Study. PLoS One, 8(1), e54225. 
  4. Donoho, C. J., Weigensberg, M. J., Emken, B. A., Hsu, J. W., & Spruijt Metz, D. (2011). Stress and abdominal fat: preliminary evidence of moderation by the cortisol awakening response in Hispanic peripubertal girls. Obesity, 19(5), 946-952. 
  5. Greer, B. K., Sirithienthad, P., Moffatt, R. J., Marcello, R. T., & Panton, L. B. (2015). EPOC comparison between isocaloric bouts of steady-state aerobic, intermittent aerobic, and resistance training. Research quarterly for exercise and sport, 86(2), 190-195. 
  6. Cappuccio, F. P., Taggart, F. M., Kandala, N. B., Currie, A., Peile, E., Stranges, S., & Miller, M. A. (2008). Meta-analysis of short sleep duration and obesity in children and adults. Sleep, 31(5), 619-626. 
  7. Leidy, H. J., Tang, M., Armstrong, C. L., Martin, C. B., & Campbell, W. W. (2011). The effects of consuming frequent, higher protein meals on appetite and satiety during weight loss in overweight/obese men. Obesity, 19(4), 818-824. 
  8. Donnelly, J. E., Honas, J. J., Smith, B. K., Mayo, M. S., Gibson, C. A., Sullivan, D. K., … & Washburn, R. A. (2013). Aerobic exercise alone results in clinically significant weight loss for men and women: midwest exercise trial 2. Obesity, 21(3), E219-E228. 
  9. Türk, Y., Theel, W., Kasteleyn, M. J., Franssen, F. M. E., Hiemstra, P. S., Rudolphus, A., … & Braunstahl, G. J. (2017). High intensity training in obesity: a Meta analysis. Obesity science & practice, 3(3), 258-271.
  10. Lourenço, S., Oliveira, A., & Lopes, C. (2012). The effect of current and lifetime alcohol consumption on overall and central obesity. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 66(7), 813-818.

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