Losing your love handles requires showing your fitness and wellness routine a bit of extra, well, love and undivided attention. It's a combination of updating your diet and making necessary adjustments in your workouts and overall lifestyle habits. If you're unsure of where to begin and want to banish this excess flab on your waistline for good, we spoke with The Nutrition Twins®, Tammy Lakatos Shames, RD, CDN, CFT, and Lyssie Lakatos, RD, CDN, CFT, who sit on our Medical Expert Board, who share with us 10 ways to melt love handles fast.
When it comes down to it, having too much of anything is never a good thing. Alarm bells should ring if you're carrying around excess fat in your abdominal area, as this is a true danger zone for fat storage. Extra visceral fat—aka the fat in your stomach that surrounds your organs—is associated with a greater risk of developing heart disease, fatty liver disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers. You can reduce fat in your abdominal region by bumping up your exercise routine and following a healthy diet. The Nutrition Twins share with us 10 ways to melt your love handles and get a solid handle on this area of your body. Keep reading to learn more, and when you're finished, be sure to check out these 6 Tips for Women To Lose Belly Fat & Keep It Off.
Downsize your plates.
In order to change the size of your waistline, you first have to change the size of your plate. This may seem like a simple habit, but it's one that can make a major difference when you're looking to melt your love handles. Taking control of your portion sizes is key!
"Eat off salad plates instead of dinner plates," The Nutrition Twins suggest. "Most people overfill their plates, no matter how big the plate is. By simply eating off smaller plates, you'll feel equally satisfied mentally when you see your filled plate, but it can save you several hundred calories per meal, which equals many pounds quickly lost, including the fat around the love handles."
Go dry for three weeks every month.
We're not telling you to break up with your favorite pinot for good—but it is time to broaden your horizons and see what other drinks are out there! The calories you consume via alcoholic beverages can add up real quick—especially when it comes to sugar-packed cocktails and mixed drinks. Needless to say, cutting back is crucial.
"Most people don't realize what we see with our clients: alcohol stimulates the appetite while also lowering inhibitions. Often, it's the hundreds and even thousands of calories consumed after a few cocktails that really do damage to your waistline," The Nutrition Twins explain. "And those calories are consumed as your body also shuts down its' metabolism to prioritize getting rid of alcohol, which it sees as a toxin. Most of our clients who go dry for a bit feel so much better that when they start drinking for one week each month, they consume a lot less and shed inches from their waistline."
Have your veggies before your meal.
Make your veggies a top priority. In fact, have them before each meal! This is a smart habit to get into, as the fiber in veggies will help fill you up without consuming a ton of calories.
"You'll take the edge off hunger and eat much less of the heavy items at each meal," The Nutrition Twins add. "This can work like a charm, but just be sure not to douse your vegetables in butter or oil. Squeeze lemon over your veggies and try balsamic vinegar. Olive oil is heart-healthy, but while you're trying to melt your love handles, limit it to a teaspoon on your veggies."
Make smart drink choices.
Just as alcoholic beverages can derail your fat loss efforts, so can soda and drinks with a high sugar content. Soda doesn't offer any nutrients and contributes to a spike in your blood sugar. It's also the culprit behind hundreds of calories in the typical American's daily diet, The Nutrition Twins say, which is a surefire way to accumulate extra girth around your waistline.
"When cravings for soda strike, opt for a delicious bubbly replacement like OLIPOP," The Nutrition Twins suggest. "You'll get a burst of bubbly flavor but with only 35 to 45 calories, so you'll save more than 100 calories per can compared to soda, and several hundred calories combined over the course of the day from each swap. And OLIPOP has just two to five grams of sugar in each can, so it won't spike blood sugar. Plus, as you sip, you'll get the added benefits of prebiotic fiber to help improve the gut microbiome and help with digestive issues, including bloat, so you can show off a more svelte midsection!"
Consider intermittent fasting.
If you haven't tried intermittent fasting before, you may want to give it a shot. A common way to intermittent fast is by fasting for 16 hours and then eating your meals within an eight-hour timeframe. "This typically results in people losing weight—and those love handles—because there isn't time for several snacks as well as late-night snacking that contribute to love handles," The Nutrition Twins tell us.
Select portion-controlled snacks that will leave you satisfied.
It's time to ditch the candies, ice cream, and chocolate chip cookies for satisfying portion-controlled snacks. It can be incredibly easy to consume hundreds of extra calories when snacking if you're opting for (and overeating) sugar-packed treats and refined carbs. These unhealthy snack choices can also leave you hungry and craving even more quick "pick-me-up" foods.
"Instead, choose wholesome snacks that provide delicious flavor and also contain the satisfying combination of fiber and protein," The Nutrition Twins say. "Look for portion-controlled crunchy snacks like individual packages of nuts, chickpeas, lupin beans, and low-sugar nut and fruit bars and squares. These contain nutrient-packed whole, unprocessed ingredients as well as the energy and blood sugar-stabilizing combinations of protein and fiber, so you don't keep running back for more snacks that accumulate on the love handles."
Kick up your daily cardio game.
Lace up your sneakers, because it's prime time to kick up your cardio. Doing so will help you establish a calorie deficit so you can lose weight and melt your love handles for good. "Commit to doing it every day until you reach your goal. You don't need to go all-out every day, and in fact you shouldn't, but just be active and consistent. Aim for an hour a day," The Nutrition Twins suggest.
Use the teaspoon when dining out.
The teaspoon is a pretty misunderstood kitchen utensil when you're dining out (or eating at home, for that matter). But the next time you're at your favorite restaurant, The Nutrition Twins recommend making use of that teaspoon. "Order sauces and dressings on the side and try to stick to one or two teaspoons. It's an easy way to keep calories in check while still getting the flavor," they say.
Take 10 gradual, deep breaths before you eat.
Carving out time before meals to take 10 slow, deep breaths is an excellent habit to get into. Doing this kind of breathwork will activate your parasympathetic nervous system which is essentially "a relaxation switch," The Nutrition Twins explain. "It will help you slow down, so you won't eat as quickly. It takes 20 minutes for the brain to receive the signal that you're full and a lot of damage can be done in that time. Plus, when you are calm you can be more rational about the foods that you eat and you'll be less likely to eat out of emotions," they add.
Power down your blue light devices one hour before bedtime.
Last but certainly not least on this list of ways to melt your love handles has to do with your bedtime routine. Be sure to turn off all electronics an hour before heading to sleep. This will help you get an overall more restful snooze.
"TVs, phones, and computers stimulate the brain and also emit blue lights that interfere with the body's natural circadian rhythm," The Nutrition Twins say. "When we're sleep deprived, our body craves energy so we reach for the fastest source of energy we can get—sugar and refined carbs. These are calorie-dense and create a sugar high followed by a crash. When the crash sets in, you crave more sugar and it becomes a vicious cycle."