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An Exercise Professional’s Guide to Losing Your Love Handles

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Often with any weight loss attempt, you reach a point where stubborn fat just sits there and refuses to move. Every individual is different and we often read that this is purely genetic and we have to be patient, it will go away when our body decides to let it go out of that range.

But what if you run out of patience? Is spot reduction possible?

Contrary to popular belief, yes it is (cue heavenly music and the sun parts the clouds lol) but it is through hormonal manipulation rather than specific exercise. By making changes in your diet, lifestyle, and supplementing with natural products, you can target those stubborn areas of fat, whether it’s your stomach, love handles, or thighs.

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The love handles

Before we focus on losing specific fat around the love handles, I have to assume that you already meet the following requirements, without them you’re fighting a losing battle:

  • a clean, healthy, balanced diet in slight calorie deficit compared to your daily maintenance intake.

    – Regular moderate-intensity physical exercise or activity.

    – Consume one liter of water for every 25 kg of body weight

    – Go to bed by 10:30 p.m. 5 nights a week

If you are not doing these 4 things then start now as your body is not ready to get specific…you may not even need to do it if you are doing the above things over a long period of time. OK, so we’re up to speed and ready to go? Great, so insulin resistance is the main culprit behind fat storage in the love handle area.

Simply put, insulin resistance causes the body to store carbohydrates from your diet in fat cells rather than muscle or liver cells, and this storage occurs specifically in the love handles. Insulin resistance develops from years of eating refined and sugary carbohydrates such as pasta, white rice, bread and consuming large amounts of carbonated drinks, sweets, chocolate, etc.

Our typical response to these foods is for the body to produce insulin to tell the receptor cells to receive the broken down sugar to lower our blood sugar levels. Unfortunately, over-eating these foods over a long period of time desensitizes our cells to the consistently high levels of insulin, ultimately leading to insulin resistance and specific fat storage.

Ok that doesn’t sound good what can I do about it?

First we need to give your body a break from all those refined, overly processed foods like pasta, white rice, bread, and all that sugar (look for fructose, dextrose, glucose, or anything ending in ose on food labels and avoid like that the plague ). Do this for a 30 day period and you are well on your way to resetting your body’s responses to sugar-based foods.

Second, alternate your complex carbohydrate intake, so alternate days with normal servings of potatoes, brown/whole grain rice, and days with either very small carb servings or no carb servings at all. By alternating these cycles you ensure that you keep your energy levels high, give your body a break from high insulin levels and encourage the body to access fat stores as a preferred source of energy :).

On low-carb or no-carb days, make sure to fill up your portions with meat or vegetables to ensure your body is getting enough nutrients each day. You can miss the carbs, but you shouldn’t be starving. If we get these two parts right we should see results within 30 days 🙂 we can help the process with the following supplements…

fish oils:

Fish oil supplements, whether capsules or oil, are without a doubt one of the best health products out there. Among the many health benefits (Google them), you’ll see that fish oils speed up fat burning, slow down fat storage, and dampen the insulin response when taken with meals (so especially useful on carb days). I’d advise looking for a good online source (as the high street versions aren’t that strong and taste awful) ideally if you get a good product there shouldn’t be a fishy aftertaste.


Fenugreek is an herb often used as a Mediterranean culinary spice, it can be sprinkled on foods in seed form or taken as a capsule, both of which are available at health food stores. For insulin resistance, fenugreek helps slow gastric emptying (so sugar doesn’t overwhelm the bloodstream) and lower blood sugar, which lowers insulin responses to your carbohydrate-based meals and helps give your resistant cells a “breather.”


Magnesium is quickly being recognized as an essential mineral for health, but unfortunately it is now also being realized that many of us are already magnesium deficient. It appears that magnesium is a powerful protector against insulin resistance and aids our process of taking the pressure off over-sensitized cells.

Magnesium can again be found in health food stores, with the most suitable type being magnesium citrate. Follow the dosage instructions as you may be a little “loose” if you dose too high lol. Thank you for reading. I hope this helps you understand why love handles are so hard to get rid of and gives you some key points you can put into action for your health and happiness.


Thanks to Nathan Garnham

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