So you want to know how to get rid of love handles and other stubborn fat. You’ve lost quite a bit of weight, but that annoying handful of fat that hangs over the sides of your pants just won’t go away. You’re not alone in your feelings, as this is a very common problem to have.
Stubborn Fat is Real
You might have noticed by now that certain areas of your body have a higher tendency to store fat. These areas tend to be your lower back, love handles, butt, hips, stomach, and thighs. These same areas of fat are also hard to get rid of. Many people label these areas as stubborn fat. Stubborn fat is real. It is not a myth or marketing term. There are reasons why these particular areas of fat are stubborn.
The way you store your fat is highly dependent on a few different factors. Some of the factors have to do with your sex and genetics. But more specifically, it’s the different ratio of hormones men and women have. Two sex hormones that influence fat disposition are testosterone and estrogen. Your ratio of testosterone to estrogen is going to have a large role in where you store fat on your body.
Why is Stubborn Fat Different?
So then, do we just store our fat in different places, or is there actually something different about this so-called stubborn fat? There are some very important differences actually. Your fat tissue contains two major receptors – alpha and beta.
Beta-receptors are the receptors you want. These receptors increase the breakdown of fat, and also increase blood flow to fat cells. On the other hand, alpha-receptors inhibit fat metabolism and have decreased fat tissue blood flow. Blood flow is very important when it comes to fat loss. Your blood shuttles many of the required hormones and nutrients into cells that are needed for lipolysis to occur. Less blood flow into fat cells means less fat loss.
Your love handles and other stubborn fat areas have a higher ratio of alpha-receptors to beta-receptors – up to 10 times more. What this means is that where your typical diet and exercise would succeed in mobilizing fat stores, it fails (or at least makes it more difficult) to get rid of love handles and other stubborn fat.
Getting Rid of Love Handles
It’s worth noting that the best way to fight love handles and other stubborn fat areas is to prevent them from forming in the first place. More than likely, those love handles were caused by a previous increase in weight. When you put on weight, your ratio of testosterone to estrogen starts to shift in favor of estrogen. This is because fat cells produce estrogen. The more fat you have, the more estrogen is produced.
As you can imagine, this process can get out of hand if not taken control of early on. And once you have a large amount of fat on your body, it makes it that much harder to lose it, but certainly not impossible!
Alright, so that doesn’t help you, as you already gained weight. If that’s the case, the best way to battle stubborn fat stores is to work on improving your insulin sensitivity (here are 10 ways you can increase your insulin sensitivity for better fat loss). Your insulin sensitivity is correlated with the amount of fat you hold on your body. People with better insulin sensitivity tend to have leaner bodies. Insulin is your body’s most powerful fat storage hormone. You need to control it if you want to get rid of love handles.
What Doesn’t Work
One way that will never work to get rid of love handles is exercise. You cannot spot reduce fat. In fact, if you are going to overwork your obliques in the hope that it will lose the fat in the area, it will actually cause the area to stick out more.
The muscle will grow from exercise stimulus, but the fat will remain the same, causing the area to be more pronounced. This isn’t something you should stress about, and you certainly shouldn’t stop working out, but it’s worth noting if you’re doing sit ups in vain trying to get rid of abdominal fat.
To conclude, you are not alone in your frustration over why your love handles and stubborn fat won’t go away. Through a treatment regimen focused on prevention, improving your insulin sensitivity, patience, and consistency, you give yourself a fighting chance to lose that stubborn fat. Stay focused with solid nutrition and intense exercise. Be patient and consistent more than anything, and you will notice it slowly start to go away.