Love handle [luhv han-dl](n): The pockets of fat that rest just above your hip bone. Creates a soft, rounded or curvy figure. Often used as handles during various physical activity. Contribute to premature death.
Ok, now that we know what love handles are (as if we already didn’t), it’s time to realize what they are doing to the rest of our body. Hip and belly fat are becoming an ever-growing problem in our country today. Without any intervention, the problem is only going to increase.
Body Fat versus “Healthy Weight”
The obesity problem in this nation does not appear to be slowing down any time soon. Regardless of your body composition, odds are you can grab more fat around your hips or belly than you can anywhere else on your body. Even on a man with a 30” waist or a woman who wears a size 4, the fat is still probably there, just to a smaller degree.
Many people think because they have a healthy BMI, they are in fact healthy. Aside from the BMI being relatively useless, it doesn’t indicate whether or not you have mid-section fat. It has been shown that individuals with extra fat around the mid-section and hips were at a higher risk of death. What this means is you don’t have to be tremendously overweight to find yourself at risk. Mid-section fat groups you with others who are affected by high mortality rates.
Having a “healthy weight” i.e. good height to weight proportions, is simply not enough. This doesn’t take into account muscle to fat ratio, where you store your fat, etc. In order to determine true health, you need to look beyond weight alone. You have to look at your body composition and fat percentage.
Mid-section fat puts you at a major heart attack risk as well as factors associated with insulin resistance syndrome. Insulin resistance occurs when cells become less responsive to insulin (the hormone responsible for removing sugar from your blood). The more sugar and glucose that is in your blood, the higher levels of mid-section fat you are going to have. This is why mid-section fat is one of the highest risk factors contributing to diabetes. To improve your mid-section fat and get those abs everyone wants, you must first limit your insulin and glucose levels.
For the more advanced person, you are probably already thinking about the GI (glycemic index) chart which promotes healthy living through eating low GI foods. By doing this, your blood sugar is properly regulated, which in turn limits the hormone insulin which has been demonstrated to slow fat loss and increase fat storage. The one thing about GI is it doesn’t take into account portion sizes. However, this is another topic, for another day.
Ideally, you want to eat foods that have a smaller effect on blood sugar levels. This is a great strategy for fat loss in general, but especially for mid-setion fat loss. Why do you think there are so many low-carb diets out there? This is the very reason…
Some tips to regulate blood sugar
- Increase fiber intake
- Increase protein intake
- Include more healthy fats into your diet
- Eat more, smaller meals a day
- Adding lemon juice to meals may aid healthy blood sugar levels
Regardless if you work out or not, the physical benefits of a healthy diet will be realized. It is possible to lose fat through diet along. However, adding exercise to a healthy diet plan will exponentially increase your success. One hard workout will tremendously increase the amount of glucose absorbed by a contracting muscle. This is a key reason why working out is good for losing fat. Try using shorter rest periods, heavier weights, and compound exercises to really up to fat burning potential.
Now you should be able to understand the best way to look at those pesky love handles. They are a detriment to your health, and while you may be at a “healthy weight”, you are far from healthy if you have mid-sectional fat. A good approach to cutting fat is to examine your diet and refrain from sugars and other high GI foods. A great approach however, is to combine intense exercise with a healthy diet. By taking a multifaceted approach you are making great strides in improving your quality of life and extending your life expectancy.