Hmmm, love handles. Let’s consider that expression for a sec. It’s basically a cutesy name for something that’s not cute at all. We know cute when we see it and, sadly, deposits of excess fat in the hip, bum and upper thigh area just don’t fit the bill.
They ruin the line of a figure-hugging frock and make it tough to slip on a pair of favourite skinny jeans. Now, are love handles the biggest problem in the world?
Of course not! So, as worries go, love handles are merely an annoyance. Nevertheless, if you want them gone, you can start here, with these food and exercise tips.
Although you can't target a specific area for fat loss, reducing total body fat will help, and that begins with what you eat. In fact, sports nutritionists will tell you weight loss is 80 per cent your diet and 20 per cent exercise. You can run for a month of Sundays, but if your nutrition game isn’t on point, your hard work won’t amount to all that much.
For optimum fat loss, dedicate yourself to consuming:
- Lean proteins. Think lean chicken, beef, pork and fish. Grill it, toss it in a stir-fry, steam it or bake it.
- Lots of fresh, colourful produce including dark leafy greens, asparagus, zucchini, red and yellow capsicum, carrots, cabbage, cauliflower, beetroot, broccoli, tomatoes and onions. Roasting vegies in a little extra virgin olive oil is a delish way to up your intake.
- Low-sugar fruits and no more than three serves per day. Raspberries, strawberries, grapefruit, kiwis and watermelon are among the lowest in suga
- Herbs, spices and natural flavourings to boost taste. You can never go wrong with garlic powder, red chilli flakes, peppercorns, paprika, cumin and good old lemon juice.
- A couple of serves of healthy fats in your daily diet. Nuts, avocado, eggs, olive oil, coconut oil, full-fat yoghurt, cheese and olives are all good choices.
- Grain foods (such as bread, rice and pasta). Note that fibre-rich wholegrains are digested more slowly and protect against insulin spikes.
- Nix processed foods. That means fast food, pies, pre-cooked/pre-packaged meals, deli meats, hot dogs, cakes, bickies, lollies, pastries and ice-cream. Sorry!
- Fewer adult beverages. An average full-strength beer has 550kJ, and wine about 500kJ.
Move your rush
The next most important thing you can do is get serious about exercise. To whittle away love handles your routine should include a good mix of cardio and strength (resistance) training at least four days a week. Whole-body workouts will supercharge your metabolism, burn fat and help build lean muscle mass.
Cardio can include 20-40 minutes of brisk walking, cycling, swimming, water aerobics, all kinds of dancing, kickboxing or whatever floats your boat and gets your heart rate up. Then, two to three times a week, factor strength training into your workout.
Note that ‘compound’ strength moves target multiple muscle groups at once to give you more bang for your buck. Give deep squats a go.
HOW TO DO DEEP SQUATS
Standing with feet hip-width apart, arms at your sides and palms facing out, gently lower into as deep a squat position as you can (bum out, knees in line with, not over, your toes) while raising arms to shoulder height. Hold the position for a few seconds then return to the starting position. Do three sets of 20 reps, resting for 30-40 seconds between sets.