How Long Does It Take to Get Rid of Love Handles (Before and After)

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What kind of food causes love handles

muffin top

I grew up skinny, but I can clearly remember the first time I got called out on my love handles. 

I was probably in middle school when one day, my family and I were walking towards the entrance of the mall, and my dad, not too far behind, started giggling and pointed out my “llantitas,” that’s Spanish for little tires. I wasn’t offended because, again, I was used to being skinny, but I still remember thinking to myself, “ME?”

Where your body stores fat, the most is based on your genes. It will also be the last place your body will begin to get rid of fat. To get rid of love handles, you will need to follow a steady, healthy 12-week diet followed by a diet break and a continued diet if there are more pounds to lose. This means that in 12 weeks, you can lose your love handles or muffin top by following a diet rich in protein, healthy fats, and carbs and including exercises to strengthen your core like planks. 

What are love handles?

Love handles, also known as a muffin top, is the abdominal part of your body that stores body fat around the sides of your lower stomach and can extend around to your back. When wearing tight pants or jeans that don’t rise above the love handles, love handles can be more defined. 

How do I have love handles if I’m skinny?

If you’ve never heard the term “skinny fat,” this can be and is most likely the reason why you can be skinny and have love handles. Love handles aren’t necessarily related to how much you weigh, but how much body fat your body carries. 

Avoid doing excessive cardio, implement more strength training, and avoid dieting for long periods. 

Related Article: How to Go From Skinny Fat to Fit (Cutting or Bulking)

What kind of food causes love handles?

While I’m a big believer that there is no such thing as good foods or bad foods, because there really aren’t, the same goes for what kinds of foods cause love handles.

There are no foods that cause love handles. 

But there is such a thing as too much of something. Your body will gain weight when you eat in a surplus of food/calories, no matter what.

So when you’re going hard on that banana bread, your mom just baked at home, the bread won’t make you fat, but having too much of it along with all the other meals you had in a day will. 

If – and only if – you are continuously eating in a surplus of calories for a long time will you gain weight.

And with gaining weight or fat, if you are not strength training and using the extra calories to fuel a great lifting workout in the gym or at home, there is a high chance your body will store the excess calories eaten and not burned.

And where your body stores this fat is predominantly dependant on your genes. 

For me, it is my chest and lower stomach, so yes, love handles.

A great way to avoid gaining an excessive amount of fat without giving up the foods you love is by counting your macros. It takes the guessing game out of how many calories your body needs a day and gives you the flexibility to eat foods you like (like that banana bread) without feeling guilty and the urge to cardio like a maniac to burn it off the next day.

macro calories

Related article: The Complete Guide to Calculating Your Macros (for Beginners)

Do love handles go away?

Straight up, I’ll tell you that they do go away. Coming from someone who was skinny fat and holding body fat in my love handles, love handles do go away.

But listen to me when I tell you this.

Skip out on burning yourself out doing a million crunches or ab workouts and focus on your nutrition. 

Aim to have a protein like chicken, fish, tofu, or a berry banana protein shake, to name a few, in every meal. Eat around two servings of greens a day, toss in healthy fats as a snack like nuts, or topping to your food like avocado.


Related Article: The Best Protein Powder for Women and Weightloss (Is It Really Good for You?)

Is it hard to lose love handles?

I remember how frustrating it was trying on clothes at the mall. Specifically, jeans because I could already picture how they would fit, and honestly breaking a sweat to try and squeeze into a pair of jeans that I already knew wouldn’t fit me sounded exhausting and like such a waste of time. 

But let me tell you, and listen closely because it gets better. After a while, it really doesn’t matter what brand of jeans or pants you try on. 

When you work hard, are patient, and consistent, it will pay off in your results. This is when no matter what you try on, everything will look good on you, even if it’s a pair of Walmart pants.

Why? Because you make it look good and not the other way around.

So is it hard to lose love handles? Yes, if your genes hold fat here the most because it will probably be one of the last places your body gets rid of fat. 

But then no, if your body doesn’t store much fat as love handles.

Stay consistent with your nutrition, track your meals on an app like myfitnesspal, and keep up with strength training in the gym.

Related articles: Your Simple Beginner’s Guide to Myfitnesspal

Where do you lose fat first?

We talked about this, but I want to mention this again because it’s true.

You could be doing the same exercise program and eating the same amount of calories as someone else, but your results can vary even then.

Your body is going to lose fat first, where it predominantly doesn’t hold fat the most.

For me, this is going to be my legs, thighs, and butt. But again, working hard at training those muscles can change everything.

Related Article: How to Gain Weight in Buttocks and Thighs (Do You Need to Lift Heavy?)

How can I lose my love handles fast?

If you want to lose your love handle fast, there are two things you can do. 

  1. Focus on having nutritious meals
  2. Lifting weights at home or in the gym.
dumbbells at home

Don’t give up the days you feel like you’re not seeing results, be patient, and remain consistent. 

Set yourself up with mini goals, create new habits like working out a specific time no matter what, take pictures, and keep a daily journal, whether in writing or video.

I felt like I could reach my goals fast when I started joining FB groups with similar women also on a weight loss journey or when I shared my progress on Instagram.

It kept me accountable, and once I started seeing results, and my love handles and back fat started to shape up, I was even more inspired.

Whether people are watching or not, your hard work will get noticed eventually, and you will be that spark of motivation someone else may have needed.

This is how I lost over 15 pounds during quarantine working out at home in my room with nothing more than a 15-pound dumbbell.

If you want to check out how I did it, I linked the blog post below.

Related Article: 6 Tips to Bang Out Your Home Workout (Even When You Don’t Have Motivation)

How do you lose back love handles?

I know you’re probably thinking that doing any core exercises is what’s going to shape up your love handles, but what some people look past is shaping up their back to portray the look of “having a small waist.” 

And working on their glutes to shape up up their lower body.

And no, this doesn’t mean go and bulk up like hulk, haha.

This means including back exercises like:

  • Barbell deadlifts
  • Barbell or dumbbell bent-over rows
  • Lat pulldowns
  • Inverted rows

And glute exercises like:

  • Hip thrusts
  • Lunges
  • Bridges
  • Deadlifts

If lifting weight is something new, try adding resistance bands to your workout. These are great for challenging your muscles when you’re both not using weights or are using weights.

Related Article: How Much Can Your Butt Grow With Resistance Bands? (7 Booty Workout Exercises)

What exercises get rid of love handles?

  1. Plank
  2. Deadbugreverse crunch
  3. Glute bridge
  4. Side planks

While exercises that work your core are great, they aren’t going to give you a flat stomach or a six-pack because nutrition is key here.

But don’t completely kick core exercises to the curb. It’s important to work on creating a strong core. Think of it as that body part that holds everything else together.

The stronger your core is, the better your posture, balance, coordination, flexibility, and my favorite, your lower back will get stronger, and if you’ve never hurt your lower back before, let me tell you it is no fun.

Exercise your core two to three times a week after your workout or on your rest days.

Why can’t I lose my love handles?

It can actually be really frustrating not to see any progress. And when this happens, you may just end up blaming your genes. 

While that can play a small tiny role, it’s not the reason you are not losing your love handles. 

In the past, I avoided listening to any advice because I firmly believed that clean eating and cardio were going to get rid of my love handles. 

The funny thing was that I didn’t even take my own advice.

I didn’t “eat clean” 100% of the time. There were times where I only went to the gym for two weeks; then I would completely disappear.

And you want to know what the problem was?

The problem was that :

  1. “Clean Eating” wasn’t sustainable.
  2. Cardio wasn’t enjoyable anymore.
  3. I didn’t see the results I needed to give me that push of motivation to keep going.

So if you’re not losing your love handles, it could be that you:

  1. Are still eating too little calories
  2. Overdoing it on with cardio
  3. Not strength training or not following a plan and going in and doing random exercises


  1. Calculating your macros and eat at maintenance for a while, then move into a deficit of calories if you need to lose weight.
  2. Keep cardio down to no more than two hours a week,
  3. Find a workout program that you will enjoy, and track your progress in a journal or on excel.

Final Thoughts on How do you lose back love handles

Love handles are also known as a muffin top is the abdominal part of your body that is soring an excess amount of fat. 

Depending on the clothes you choose to wear, they can sometimes be more noticeable.

To get rid of love handles, you will have to follow a healthy diet rich in protein, cut out doing an excessive amount of cardio, and lift weights in the gym or at home. 

Have you been struggling to get rid of love handles being overweight or skinny fat?

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How Long Does It Take to Get Rid of Love Handles (Before and After)

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