It’s common to see people dedicate themselves to a fad diet to lose love handles in 2 weeks. Little do they know that there is no single one-size-fits-all approach that can get rid of their side fat.
One glaring evidence of this fact is the Biggest Loser study. If you’re one of those who watched the reality TV show, you already know how the contestants worked hard to shed the extra fat.
Through rigorous exercise and strict diet, each contestant lost 128 pounds each, on average, over the course of about seven months. After six years, however, researchers found that the contestants regained much of the fat they’d lost. This weight regain was chalked up to the fact that their metabolism slowed down.
You could say, “Those people were extremely obese. I’m not.”
Studies show that whether you’re obese or have just a little bit of fat in your body, the problem isn’t in losing your love handles. The real ordeal is in keeping them gone for good.
In the middle of the 1940s during World War II, people in Europe and Asia were starving. A scientist named Ancel Keys wanted to find the best possible way to help the hungry. So, he conducted research where he starved 36 subjects, all have average weights, in the course of 6 months.
All of Keys’ subjects lost 25% of their body weights. However, just like the Biggest Loser contestants, their metabolism slowed down, and they went back to their original weights once they’re allowed to eat.
The good thing is, science finally found out how you can keep those side fats away forever.
Your Body’s Set Point
Your body has a system called the set point. It’s the weight that your body does its best to maintain.
See, food wasn’t as easy to obtain during the Paleolithic era. So, the human body developed a mechanism against starvation.
Once your system detects that your weight is going down, it tries to “fix” the problem. It increases your appetite so that you will eat more.
Obesity, according to scientists, is a set point malfunction. A high-fat diet gradually elevates your set point wherein your body maintains a weight that’s within the range of obesity.
That’s why the Biggest Loser contestants found it hard to maintain their new weight. That’s why resorting to extreme diets fails the majority of the time. For you to lose your love handles for good, you have to consider your body’s mechanism and the environment around you.
Why Obesity is a Modern Problem
After the Second World War, there was a surplus of ammonium nitrate. With the war over, the only use for the chemical is in agriculture – as fertilizers and pesticides.
The introduction of fertilizers and pesticides led to a staggering increase in food production. Businesses had to find a way to keep foods from going bad too soon. So they added preservatives like sugar and monosodium glutamate (MSG). That’s why we now have bacon, corn chips, potato chips, and cereals.
From then on, you can see people eating cheap, high-calorie foods. Moms were feeding their kids dinner from oven-ready aluminum trays. Kids’ TV shows got swarmed with ads showing candies, crackers, and popcorns. More and more people got obese.
Your ancestors didn’t live this way. They had to hunt for food, and if they caught a wild pig, they don’t rub it with MSG and turn it into bacon. They didn’t go to the gym, but they didn’t sit in front of the TV all day, either.
It’s then safe to say that there’s something about the modern world that’s making it easy for you to get fat and harder to maintain a healthy weight. Junk food and fast-food restaurants are everywhere. If you follow most people’s lifestyle, you’ll always be vulnerable to obesity, and you’ll never really lose that side fat above your hips.
The key is to find a sustainable way to lose love handles. You have to ease into an environment that supports a healthy lifestyle gradually.
What to Eat to Lose Side Fat: Foods that Reduce Love Handles
Let’s start with what you need to eat to lose side fat.
A diet to lose love handles in 2 weeks doesn’t necessarily have to be too strict that you can’t enjoy tasty treats. The secret is in food quality, not food quantity.
As you already know from the previous section, there’s one physiological factor that’s making it hard for you to lose love handles for good. It’s your metabolism. So, what you need to eat to lose side fat are foods that boost your metabolism.
Here’s a quick list of the food you need to have in your pantry all the time to reduce love handles:
When you eat protein-rich foods, your body uses more energy to digest them compared to other types of food. Health experts call this the thermic effect of food (TEF).
TEF is the amount of calories your body requires for digesting and absorbing the nutrients in your food. Protein-rich foods have the highest TEF, increasing your metabolism by 15-30%.
Foods rich in protein include:
- Lean meat
- Nuts and seeds
Foods Rich in Iron, Zinc, and Selenium
These minerals are essential for your thyroid gland to do work properly. It secretes hormones such as thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), which regulate your growth and development, body temperature, and metabolism.
With an underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism, your thyroid gland doesn’t produce the necessary amount of the T3 and T4 hormones. Some of the tell-tale signs of this condition are:
- Dry skin
- Impaired memory
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle aches
- Weight gain
So, to ensure the proper function of your thyroid gland, have these foods on your plate:
- Lean meat
- Nuts and seeds
There are two reasons you need chili peppers if you want to lose your love handles.
- Capsaicinoids, the chemicals found in chili peppers, prove to be a natural appetite suppressant, according to a study published in the Appetite journal.
- The same chemicals may enhance your metabolism by about 50 kilocalories per day.
It seems that your daily dose of coffee can do more than make your mornings bearable. It can also help you lose love handles more quickly.
Research shows that the caffeine in your coffee can boost your metabolic rate, whether you’re obese or not. A study also suggests consuming caffeine after working out can help refuel your body more rapidly.
Keep in mind, though, that caffeine can have varying effects from person to person. Some may not experience any adverse effects, while some may have trouble trying to sleep.
Oolong and Green Tea
Apart from caffeine, oolong, and green tea also have catechins, a flavonoid that can help reduce body weight and blood glucose. You can also get catechins from berries and cocoa.
Certain Herbs and Spices
Some spices can enhance your metabolism better than others. Some of these metabolism-boosting spices are:
- Ginger – Gingerol or ginger extract may activate sacro/endoplasmic reticulum calcium ATPase (SERCA), which is a protein known to regulate the burning of calories.
- Ginseng berry – Ginseng contains substantial concentrations of ginsenosides. This substance may help in reversing the various metabolic abnormalities related to diabetes, such as high blood glucose levels, insulin resistance, weight gain, and high cholesterol levels.
- Turmeric – Turmeric has a bioactive component called curcumin which may modulate angiogenesis, a process associated with the development of fat tissue.
- Black pepper – Piperine, the substance that gives black pepper a pungent taste, can keep new fat cells from forming in your body. It can start a metabolic chain reaction to inhibit the production of new fat, making it an effective weapon against love handles.
- Cinnamon – Cinnamon aids in the burning of fat cells or adipocytes by inducing thermogenesis, the process of heat production. Another study also showed that cinnamon could minimize the risk of heart damage following a high-fat diet.
Foods to Stay Away From
A diet for losing love handles DOES NOT include any of the following food items:
Sugar-Laden Snacks and Drinks
Drinking water is still the healthiest way to get hydrated. Energy drinks, soda, and canned juice – no matter how “fortified” they are – have high fructose and sugar content. These two ingredients are not only unhealthy; they’re also addicting, so you keep wanting more.
Fried chicken and your favorite french fries have dangerous amounts of calories and trans fats. Making fried foods a permanent part of your diet doesn’t only make you fat; it also makes you more prone to heart disease.
White bread, white rice, and pasta are products of a refining process that extends the shelf life of whole grains. What’s undesirable about them is that they strip the grains of their natural vitamins and minerals, leaving only simple carbs and sugar.
Apart from tweaking your diet, there are other things you can do to speed up fat loss.
Diet still plays a massive role in getting rid of that side fat above your hips. “Eat less, exercise more” is a bad idea. There are some types of food you need more in your diet. As mentioned before, it’s about quality, not quantity.
That said, you also need to have some physical activity. A sedentary lifestyle can contribute to weight gain. You, however, don’t need to spend most of your days at the gym. A study says even standing up can help increase your energy expenditure compared to sitting down. However, a bit of walking has better effects.
Keep Stress Away
Stress leads to various ailments, such as cancer and heart disease. Chronic stress can also lead to weight gain.
When you’re stressed, your body produces cortisol, also referred to as the “stress hormone.” Cortisol affects fat distribution by storing fat around your organs, according to a Yale study. This same study found that slender women who have excess abdominal fat are more stressed and have more negative moods.
Apart from that, the Garvan Institute of Medical Research also found that a high-calorie diet is even more detrimental when combined with stress. When stressed, your body produces a molecule called NPY, which stimulates eating, which is why you tend to indulge in a high-calorie diet during stressful times.
On top of that, NPY also has insulin receptors. Insulin helps your cells absorb blood glucose and signals your brain to “stop eating.” Under stress, your insulin levels slightly go up, but if you combine this with a high-calorie diet, your insulin levels shoot up to ten times higher.
So, do your best to steer clear from stressful situations and engage in relaxing activities such as yoga and meditation.
Try Weight Training
Working out helps you burn fat faster, but weight training proves to be more beneficial than other types of exercise. It increases the amount of type II muscles, which plays a role in managing your whole-body metabolism.
Get Adequate Sleep
So, no matter how busy life gets, aim to get 7 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night.
Practice Mindful Eating
Mindful eating is the habit of paying attention to how you feel during every meal. It helps you know when you’re full, so you don’t overeat. The simple steps to mindful eating are:
- Choose food that’s going to make you healthy, so that means no cheeseburger and fries.
- Eat with an appetite, but don’t wait until you’re hungry. Skipping meals can make you ravenously hungry, making you want to eat anything and everything.
- Limit the size of your plate, so you only eat what you need.
- Appreciate and enjoy your food. Eat without distractions — no TV or mobile phone.
- Take small bites. Chew thoroughly and slowly.
Meals to Lose Love Handles
|A bowl of fresh fruit salad
Slices of hard-boiled eggs, cucumber, tomatoes, and avocado on top of a slice of whole-wheat bread, seasoned with salt and pepper
|This breakfast combination gives you a dose of protein, healthy fats, and fiber, which are all necessary for proper digestion and improved metabolism.|
|A bowl of mixed berries
Mushrooms, potatoes, spinach stir-fried in virgin olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper
|Olive oil is one of the most nutritious oils to cook with. It’s filled with fatty acids that help stabilize your blood sugar levels. Plus, it has the lowest calorie count among cooking oils.|
|Berries and mango mixed with a scoop of quinoa. Drizzle on a dressing made of honey, lemon, and basil.||Quinoa is high in protein but has a low glycemic index, which is an essential factor in blood sugar control. Quinoa’s fiber content is also higher compared to most grains.|
|Baked salmon seasoned with oregano, thyme, and garlic
A salad of chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, feta cheese, and red onions. Seasoned with olive oil, lime, salt, and pepper
|Salmon is a splendid source of omega-3 fatty acids and protein. It can help keep your love handles away by regulating your hormones and controlling your appetite.|
|Lamb chops sautéed in olive oil, seasoned with salt and cayenne and black pepper
Serve with roasted cauliflower and carrots
|Lamb is rich in protein that builds your lean muscles, which is essential in fat-burning.
Carrots and cauliflower are both high in fiber, making you feel full and prevents you from overeating.
|Chicken soup made with chicken breasts, onion, garlic, ginger, potatoes, celery, and carrots. Seasoned with salt, pepper, parsley, and dill||Most soups are eaten before your actual meal, but the chicken breasts, potatoes, celery, and carrots make this soup a hearty, nutritious lunch or dinner. The addition of ginger and spices makes it a fat-burning powerhouse.|
These are a few examples of a healthy meal. Notice that these meals use ingredients that boost your metabolism. What most people don’t know is that some foods burn fat better during specific times of the day. And that’s what metabolic cooking is about. Learning about it can help you lose your love handles faster.
When it comes to snacks, you’ll never go wrong with fresh fruits. For variety, it’s smart to have organic cheese and different kinds of nuts in your pantry.
It’s important to reiterate that you should avoid alcohol. Coffee and tea are better alternatives. However, water is still the best way to stay hydrated. You can add fruits and herbs to concoct your own detox water, boosting its weight loss properties.
If you really want to lose the pesky side fat above your hips, you have to let go of the idea of a diet to lose love handles in 2 weeks. The process has to be gradual if you want the change to last forever.
Knowing that your biology, how your brain, hormones, and emotions affect your weight is the key to sustainable fat loss. Your diet is essential for weight management, but they’re only a chunk of the problem. Don’t forget that stress, exercise, and sleep can also influence your appetite and metabolism.
If you’re looking for a diet that can be a mainstay for the rest of your life, I recommend a program called 2-week diet. Its long term, sustainable and can really give you the inspiration and guidance to create the body you desire. I still use the recipes and tips to this very day so well worth the cheap price!
Good luck! 🙂 🙂