Get a grip on those love handles

You can call them love handles. It’s a kinder, less-threatening way to describe … fat. Love handles are fatty deposits around the hip, lower back and abdominal areas, and they’re tough to get rid of.

Fat results when you consume more calories than your body burns.

Other factors that may contribute to love handles are: hormones, especially too much cortisol, age, lack of physical activity, sleep deprivation and conditions that slow your metabolism.

The good news is that you can get rid of love handles; the bad news is that it’s difficult.

Eat right

  1. Eat more fruit and vegetables. They’re high in fibre and water and low in calories.
  2. Eat healthy proteins and fats. Opt for chicken, fish and lean beef over cured meats, as well as eggs, tofu, legumes, and some leafy green vegetables.
  3. Eat whole grains and fibre, such as oatmeal and quinoa, as well as fibre-rich beans and nuts.
  4. Avoid processed foods. Most snack foods, fast foods and other factory-made foods are packed with extra sugar and salt, white flour, preservatives and food colouring.
  5. Re-assess your food portions to ensure you are consuming only what you need. 


Exercise right

These exercises target the muscles in the area of the love handles.

1. Side planks
Lie on your side and prop yourself up on one arm. Your elbow should be in line with your shoulder, your forearm should be flat against the ground, at a right angle to your body.

Stack your legs, one on top of the other, so that your body forms a straight line from head to hip. With your knee still touching the ground, raise your hips. Squeeze your glutes and hold for 30 seconds to a minute.

Switch sides and repeat.

2. Bicycle crunches
Lie on your back with your hands behind your head and your knees bent.

Lift your shoulders, head and feet off the ground. Bend your knees so that your shins are parallel to the ground. Slowly twist your body so that your left elbow moves toward your right knee. As you twist, extend your left leg straight out in front of you. Repeat with your right elbow and left knee.

 Repeat 10 times. It’s important to do this exercise slowly.

3. Russian twists
Sit on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.

Tighten your abdomen, lean your torso back so that you’re at about a 45-degree angle to the floor. Clasp your hands together. With knees bent, lift your feet off of the ground so that you’re balancing on your butt. Twist your torso to the right, bringing your clasped hands or your weight to the right side of your body. Twist to the left. Repeat and build the number of repetitions.

4. Use a hula hoop
It’s harder than it looks, but a terrific way to strengthen the muscles in the love handles area.

Do you have a problem with love handles? What exercises have you tried?

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What body fat is telling you
Getting fit when you hate exercise
Healthy bones for life

Written by Janelle Ward

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