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50 Ways to Leave Your Love Handles

Love HandlesIt’s time to break up with Ben & Jerry’s if you want to start a hot and heavy relationship with your skinny jeans! Here’s how to lose your love handles — without going to extremes.

#1: Stand Up

Are you reading this sitting down? Well, get up! One of the simplest ways to start shedding pounds is to stand up more often throughout the day. The average 150-pound woman burns about 14 calories standing for 10 minutes. While that seems like nothing, if you stood for at least 10 minutes every hour of your ten hour day, you’d burn off an extra 140 calories a day – or 14 pounds in one year – without even breaking a sweat! And don’t think that if you hit the gym regularly, you are off the hook either — one study found that even women who exercised regularly still sat about nine hours a day, which enough to increase your for obesity, diabetes and certain types of cancers. If you

#2: Believe You Can

We’ve all heard the saying, ‘if you think you can’t, you’re right,’ and it turns out it may be even more true when it comes to losing weight, says Cynthia Sass, MPH, a registered dietitian and author of S.A.S.S. Yourself Slim: Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds and Lose Inches. “A recent Australian study that analyzed data on the diet, exercise, and personality types of over 7,000 people found that those who believe in ‘faith’ or ‘luck’ are more likely to live an unhealthy life; but those who believe they can change their lives through their own actions tend to eat healthier, exercise more, smoke less, and avoid binge drinking,” she explains. Sass says developing a ‘can do’ attitude can go a long way toward helping stick with healthy habits and lose those love handles, for good. Believe you can and you will!

#3: Burn More Fat With Vitamin C

Turns out vitamin C is not only good for keeping you healthy, but it’s also a major fat burner! “One recent study found that test subjects’ blood vitamin C levels directly related to their ability to use fat as a fuel source, both during exercise and at rest, and those with poor vitamin C status burned 25% less fat during a treadmill test,” Sass says. And there’s no need to stock up on supplements to boost your daily intake – plenty of fruits and veggies like oranges and strawberries are great food sources of Vitamin C. One of the best food sources? Red bell pepper! “In addition to having less than 30 calories per cup (compared to 130 in just 10 pita chips), these ruby gems are one of the best sources of vitamin C,” says Sass, who recommends enjoying fresh sliced red bell pepper strips in place of chips to scoop up hummus.

#4: Exchange 5 Weekly Servings of Meat for Beans

Want another painless way to shed pounds without feeling hungry? Trade meat for beans, five times a week, recommends Sass. “Beans are nutritional powerhouses, chock full of protein, fiber, antioxidants and minerals, including potassium, which acts as a natural diuretic to de-bloat your body. And becoming a bean lover can help you lose weight and whittle your middle. One study found that regular bean eaters have smaller waistlines and a 22% lower risk of obesity,” she explains. Sass suggests whipping up a batch of vegetarian chili with black or red kidney beans, adding a scoop of lentils or cannellini beans to a salad in place of chicken, or using edamame instead of shrimp in a veggie stir-fry to meet your weekly quota.

#5: Fight Fat With Fat

If you’ve been cutting down on fat in order to reduce your body fat, you could be making it harder to lose! In fact, eating the right kind of fats could help you lose fat faster. How? “Fat is satiating, so cutting it too low can lead to constant hunger,” Sass explains. “When you cut fat too low, your carbohydrate intake generally increases, which can result in a surplus of unburned carbs that wind up feeding fat cells. Fats also boost the absorption of antioxidants, which in emerging research are linked to weight control. And certain fats play a key role in fighting inflammation, a known trigger of premature aging and diseases including obesity,” she explains. A good way of aiding in the process can be to use injectable peptides – which can assist in the fat burning and weight loss process when taken before a rigorous workout.

#6: Switch to Whole Grain Rye Instead of Wheat

Sliming your middle may be as simple as swapping out whole grain wheat products for whole grain rye, says Sass. “One animal study found that compared to wheat mice fed whole grain rye had a greater reduction in body weight, improved insulin control, and lower total cholesterol levels. Additional research has shown that rye is more satiating, which means it does a better job of delaying the return of hunger,” she explains. Sass recommends enjoying it is in the form of bread or crackers (just be sure the ingredients list whole grain rye flour), and spreading it with sundried tomato pesto or olive tapenade for a delicious, savory snack.

#7: Up Your Calcium Intake

One study conducted by researchers at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville found that dieters who increased their daily calcium intake (in the form of 6 ounces of yogurt), they lost 81 percent more belly fat than those that didn’t. Lead study author Michael Zemel, PhD. notes that increasing calcium reduces calcitrol levels in your body, which is important since calcitrol is a hormone that promotes fat storage. And, stick with food sources, as dietary sources of calcium are about 50-100 percent more beneficial than supplements for body fat reduction.

#8: Sleep Them Off

If you’ve been burning the midnight oil lately, you may want to consider turning in earlier to get rid of those love handles. It turns out, sleep may be as important to weight loss as diet and exercise. According to new commentary from researchers at Laval University in Quebec, published recently in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, sleep habits play a vital role in any weight-loss plan. Researchers noted that several studies have shown that a lack of sleep results in an increase in food intake. And, one study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers from the University of Chicago found that not getting enough shut-eye could actually impair the function of the fat cells in your body. When subjects slept only 4.5 hours over four nights, their fat cells’ ability to respond to insulin dropped by 30 percent!

Getting enough sleep to reduce your belly fat may also have other benefits too – a new study conducted by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found that reducing your belly fat by as little as 15 percent could help improve the quality of your sleep.

#9: Add More Slow Carbohydrates to Your Diet

Good news! You don’t have to eliminate carbs from your diet to lose those love handles. Instead, swap out processed and refined carbohydrates for ‘slow carbs’ suggests weight-loss specialist and endocrinologist Scott Isaacs, M.D., author of Hormonal Balance: How to Lose Weight by Understanding Your Hormones and Metabolism. Since insulin surges can lead to love handles, eating these types of slow carbohydrates helps reduce insulin spikes after meals, Dr. Isaacs explains. And just what exactly is consider a ‘slow carb’? “Slow carbs are also known as ‘low glycemic index’ carbohydrates, and approximately 40% of your diet should come from eating these kinds healthy carbs. They are the healthiest type of carbohydrates because they take a long time for your body to digest, and include most vegetables, fruits, nuts legumes and dairy products,” he says.

#10: Seek Help From The Professionals

Been struggling unsuccessfully for years trying to get a handle on those love handles? Don’t suffer alone — ask for help! If getting your eating habits under control is your biggest challenge, consider joining a group like Weight Watchers where you can meet new friends with similar challenges and help support each other along with the help of professional guidance. One study found that patients referred to the program by their doctors lost twice as much weight than those that didn’t join.

#11: Eat Apples to Avoid An Apple Shape

An apple a day not only keeps the doc away, it can also help burn off those pesky love handles too. Researchers from the University of Iowa found that a compound in apple peels called ursolic acid increases muscle mass and levels of beneficial brown fat, helping your body burn more calories, and even fend off pre-diabetes and fatty liver disease. Plus, they are full of fiber (one medium apple contains about 4.4 grams), so you’ll also be adding to your daily intake goal. Fiber adds bulk to foods and slows the rate of digestion, which ultimately boosts satiety and curbs over-consumption, says Rania Batayneh, M.P.H., a certified nutritionist and owner of Essential Nutrition for You.

#12: Work Your Waist With This Twisted Side Plank

While you can’t spot reduce (or lose fat in a certain spot), doing exercises that the work the oblique muscles that line sides of your waist can help you strengthen and engage your abs for a tighter, more pulled in look. This twisted plank exercise is one of Nicole Nichols, a certified personal trainer and star of the “Total Body Sculpting” DVD, favorite ways to work the waistline. You might also be interested finding the best waist trainer to help you to work the abdominal area.
To do it: Come to a side plank position with the feet and legs stacked, hand directly under shoulder and top arm extended. As you exhale, reach your hips higher from the floor while threading your top hand under the body, reaching behind you. Return to face forward to complete one rep. Work your way up to 3 sets of 15 reps on each side.

Try more plank variations with this 14-Minute Plank Power Workout!

#13: Pare Down With A Pedometer

Who says you need a treadmill to get in a good, belly-fat burning cardio workout? According to a recent UCLA study, slimming your waist may be as simple as taking more steps during the day. Researchers found that women who wore a step-counting device (such as a pedometer) ended up walking an extra 7 miles per week week, and lost about 60 percent more weight than those that didn’t. Invest in a pedometer (most are under $10) and gradually increase your steps each week, aiming for a goal of at least 10,000 steps (or about 5 miles) a day. Too cold, dark or wet to walk outside? Try walking indoors with us with our “Walk On: 15 Minute Fast Fat Blasts” DVD!

#14: Stay Slim with Meditation

Research shows that regularly practicing meditation techniques may help you dramatically lower your levels of belly-fat inducing stress hormones. One study reported in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences found that when subjects (who had been meditating on a long term basis) were exposed to a stressful trigger, their stress-hormone levels were three times lower than those who did not have the same level of experience with meditation. Not exactly sure how to meditate? Get started with any of these basic breathing and guided meditation videos.

#15: Drink a Glass Of Water Right Before Dinner

Drink an 16-ounce glass of water right at the beginning (or up to 30 minutes before) you start eating dinner to eat less, recommends Dr. Dan Giuglianotti, a primary care physician and certified health and fitness specialist. Studies show that just this simple step could help you lose 30 percent more weight! How exactly does it this water trick work? “By drinking water before eating you are pre-activating the fullness centers in your stomach that help you avoid overeating. This can save you from eating a ton of extra food that your body doesn’t even want,” he explains. Since dinner is likely to be your largest meal of the day, gulp down your glass beforehand to help lose those love handles faster.

#16: Eat Dessert Early

You’ve already heard about the importance of eating breakfast for both your waistline and your health, but did you know that indulging in a little dessert with the first meal of the day could help you keep those love handles away? Science Daily reports that a recent study found that when dieters who ate a carbohydrate and protein rich breakfast that included a small portion of a dessert food like a doughnut or piece of cake experienced less hunger and cravings, and were able to maintain weight loss better than those that didn’t, even though all subjects ingested the same amount of daily calories. By eating dessert first, you may feel more satisfied and make you more likely to stick with your love handle-zapping diet plan.

#17: Ditch The ‘Diet Food’

Do you fill your shopping cart with reduced calorie, low fat or fat-free ‘diet foods’ in hopes of shrinking your beltline? It turns out that a diet full of ‘diet’ foods (including frozen diet dinners, fat-free cheese, reduced fat cookies) could be causing weight gain, or at the very least, keep you from losing those love handles.

Skip the processed, packaged foods and focus on filling your plate with whole foods like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and healthy grains. And steer clear of diet soda too – one 10-year University of Texas study found that people who drank two a day gained 70 percent more belly fat than those that steered clear of diet soda.

#18: Think Small To Lose Big

“Trying to make too many drastic changes to your diet or exercise plan all at once can be a recipe for disaster (and rebound weight gain),” says Liz Neporent, a certified fitness expert and co-author of the Thin in 10 Weight Loss Plan. Instead, focus on small steps you can take on a daily basis, such as taking a 10-minute walk around the neighborhood, to make manageable changes that will lead to long term weight loss results.”

#19: Burn More Calories With Total Body Workouts

“Don’t try to spot reduce your love handles by only doing exercises that target that area,” says Nick Tumminello, a certified fitness expert who specializes in fitness education and personal training, and owner of Performance University. “Love handles are body fat, and training the muscle underneath the fat does not burn the fat above,” he explains. Instead of solely replying on waistline-focused moves, Tumminello recommends also including total body workouts to your weekly routine in order to burn more calories, and in turn, reduce the body fat that are causing those love handles. This 30-Minute Chisel and Burn workout incorporates multiple muscle groups to help you burn more calories and develop more muscle all at once.

#20: Build More Fat-Burning Muscle

In addition to eating a healthy diet, one of the best ways to reduce your body fat (aka those love handles) is to pack on more metabolically active muscle, says Tumminello. “Muscle is metabolically active tissue, in other words, muscle is the physical place where fat is burned,” he explains. Get started with this strength training routine. No equipment? No problem! Turn your living room into a gym with this 15-minute workout of body weight only, muscle-building moves you can do at home in your living room. If you are trying to build muscle though, then there are loads of ways that you can do this, it just depends on what suits you best. This might mean that you spend a little while trying to figure out what works well for you. However, once you’ve found it, your body fat will come right off. This might mean that you use something like the best bcaa in india, but it’s up to you.

#21: Do Interval Core Cardio

One of the best ways to reduce love handles is to combine abdominal exercises with an interval cardio workout, says Lynn Anderson, Ph.D., a naturopathic doctor and certified fitness instructor. “Interval cardio is done by alternating between a few minutes of intense cardio and then slowing down to a less intense pace, and since you also need to work the obliques (love handles) to make the muscles firmer and slimmer, do some abs-focused moves during your recovery time,” recommends Anderson. Create your own cardio core interval workout by alternating one minute of a higher intensity cardio move (like jumping jacks, skips or running in place) with one minute of your favorite abs moves.

RELATED: 20-Minute Belly Fat Blasting Cardio Abs Workout

#22: Develop A Strong Back

If you are adding in more abs exercises to your workout routine to help tighten up your waist, be sure to also focus on strengthening your lower back too in order to help balance your posture, recommends Dr. Levi Harrison, an orthopedic surgeon and author of the book The Art of Fitness. Keeping your muscles evenly balanced in terms of strength not only helps to prevent injury, but it also helps you stand taller, which can help lessen the appearance of any existing love handle rolls. To start developing the muscles in your back, try this simple workout you can do from home without any equipment.

#23: Remember Why It’s Important

Nobody likes the look of their love handles, but your motivation to shed them should go beyond your appearance to help keep you inspired to lose. “Remember that you are losing the “lovable handles” (weight) to decrease your risks of obesity, cardiovascular disease (the #1 killer of women in America), hypertension, diabetes and some forms of cancer, says Dr. Harrison. And, that goes for men too — recent research from the University of Melbourne suggests that men should lose the love handles in order to save the quality of their sperm.

#24: Watch Your Waistline On Weekends And Holidays Too

Those love handles never take a vacation, so you shouldn’t either! When researchers from the Quinnipiac University in Connecticut surveyed 600 subjects about their eating habits, they found that most people ate about 37 calories more on weekends (typically during breakfast). And when asked about their holiday eating habits, most people ate an average of 174 calories more, but some subjects reported eating as much as 900 extra calories on holidays! Straying from your diet and/or skipping your workouts on weekends (Friday-Sunday) translates to about 12 days ‘off’ a month! Add to that days off (plus the extra eating) during the holiday season, and its no wonder those love handles never quit!

There’s no reason you can’t enjoy your weekends off from work, but for the sake of your eating and exercise habits, pretend it’s just a regular weekday. And when it comes to holidays, plan ahead. Strategize ways to sneak in extra exercise if you know you’ll be indulging more, and try making healthier, lighter versions of some of your favorite holiday treats.

#25: Try This Graceful Gut Buster

For a quick and efficient way to target the muscles that line your waist (and work the rest of your body too), try this graceful, gut-busting move from Nicole Nichols:

To do it: Come to a side plank position with the legs staggered (top leg forward, bottom leg back), hand directly under your shoulder and top arm extended. Inhale and reach your top arm up and over (next to your ear) while lifting your bottom hip even higher from the floor, laterally flexing the spine while keeping the hips and shoulders square. Exhale and lower your bottom hip half way down toward the mat, sweeping your top arm down next to your thigh. Continue back to the lifted and lowered position without pausing to complete all reps before switching sides. Work up to 3 sets of 15 reps on each side.

RELATED: Flat Belly Barre Exercises

#26: Eat The Right Amount of Calories

Ever heard the expression ‘great abs are made in the kitchen’? Well it’s true, says Dr. Isaacs. Those love handles won’t shrink if you are eating too many calories (even if you are eating healthy food). So how do you know the right amount of calories to eat? “A general rule of thumb is about 10-11 calories per pound per day for men and 9-10 calories per pound per day for women,” says Dr. Issacs. If, for example, you are a 135-pound woman, you should be eating about 1,350 calories a day.

#27: Strengthen Your Sides With This Side-Lying Squeeze

Strengthen your waist with this side slimming move from Patricia Friberg, a certified Pilates instructor and star of the “Power 4 Pink Workout” DVD.

To do it: Start lying on your left side, legs extended out straight, with your left arm extended and your head resting on it, with your top arm resting on the side of your thigh (your body should be making a straight line). Squeeze your inner thighs together and lift your feet slightly off the floor. Next, press down with your right shoulder reaching your right arm towards your feet as you lift the left side of your torso off the floor, pressing down with your left hand for support. Hold for one count and then slower lower back to starting position. Work your way up to 3 sets of 15 reps on each side.

RELATED: 12-Minute Standing Pilates for Flat Abs Workout

#28: Fill Up (Not Out) With Figs

According to Japanese researchers, figs’ chlorogenic acid helps slow the absorption of sugar in the small intestine which can help reduce post-meal blood-sugar spikes by up to 43 percent. That’s important for weight loss since blood sugar spikes eventually result in low blood sugar levels, which lead to fatigue and sugar cravings, explains Batayneh. “Maintaining steady blood sugar levels keeps high-sugar and high-calorie cravings at bay,” she says. At 47 calories and 1.9 grams of fiber per fig, these naturally sweet and delicious fruits make a great snack or addition to a meal (just be sure to munch on the real deal and skip the Fig Newtons).

#29: Put Protein On Your Plate At Every Meal

“Add protein to every meal,” suggests Lori Shemek, Ph.D., a health coach and author of Fire-Up Your Fat Burn! “By adding protein you will have the necessary protein needed to preserve muscle during weight loss, release the hormone glucagon that releases fat from fat cells to be used for energy and facilitate fat burning,” Shemek says. She recommends aiming for one gram of protein per pound of your body weight. For example, you weigh 120 pounds; you would require 120 grams of protein daily. Some great sources of naturally occurring, high protein foods include beans, lean meats, nuts and seeds.

#30: Boost Your Metabolism With Mustard

Did you know that adding mustard to your food could actually help boost your metabolism? Adding as little as one teaspoon of mustard to your meal can boost your metabolism by 20 to 25 percent afterwards, Shemek says. How? The mustard seeds that mustard is made from contain blood-dilating chemicals called isothiocyanates, which boost your body’s production of the fat-burning hormone ephedrine, explains Shemek, who recommends topping your food with a teaspoon of spicy Asian mustard or spicy brown mustard for best love handle melting results.

#31: Sip Slimming Green Tea

“Green tea boosts metabolism when you’re resting and specifically targets the release of stored fat,” explains Shemek, who recommends sipping three cups a day to tap into this tea’s fat burning potential. “Green tea has been found to be a thermogenic food because it causes the body to release more heat and burn more calories while in a resting state, it also prevents the generation of new fat cells and the formation of fatty tissue.” Can’t sip that much tea on a daily basis? Shemek says green tea supplements are just as effective (check the label to find out your supplement’s ‘cups of tea’ equivalent, and always check with your doctor first before taking any new supplements).

#32: Take A Cold Shower

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just shower off your love handles? You may be able to, says Shemek. “Taking a 15-20 minute cold shower activates ‘brown fat’ – the good type of body fat that increases metabolism and fires-up your fat burn,” Shemek says. “Brown fat is a heat-generating type of fat that burns energy instead of storing it, acting more like muscle than fat, and exposure to cold naturally stimulates the production of these brown fats to keep your body warm. Brown fat burns fat and glucose (the calories you eat and the white fat that you store) to try and produces as much heat energy as possible. Having a higher amount of brown fat leads to more energy being burned and along with it, fat, Shemek explains. So, in addition to diet and exercise, why not try throwing in a couple of cold showers to help keep your body in peak fat burning mode.

#33: Add In Zest to Eat Less

Looking for an inexpensive appetite suppressant? Try sprinkling grated lemon zest into your food, recommends Shemek. “The fibrous pectin in the lemon peel turns into a gel in your stomach to help stop cravings and hunger, prevents your body from absorbing too much fat, helps the body to release fat and is an appetite suppressant — it can eliminate the urge to eat for up to four hours – putting the brakes on cravings and hunger by stabilizing blood sugar,” she explains.

#34: Follow the ‘250 Formula’

Forget fad diets and hours of exercise – to lose those love handles you have to make weight loss fit into your busy schedule. “Focus on what I call the ‘250 formula’ — cut back 250 calories a day from your diet, and burn an extra 250 calories a day with exercise,” says Rick Richey, a certified personal trainer and owner of R2Fitness in New York City. Just those two simple steps will give you a daily deficit of 500 calories, or a realistic and maintainable loss of one pound per week.

#35: Ask Your Love to Handle You

Research from the University of Miami shows that physical touch (like a massage from your partner) can help lower your body’s level of the stress hormone cortisol by about 31 percent, and at the same time, increase levels of the feel good chemicals dopamine and serotonin each by about 30 percent. That’s good news for your waistline since high levels of cortisol have been linked to excess belly fat, and dopamine and serotonin help you feel happier and more relaxed, which may make you less likely to raid the fridge later on.

#36: Stop Telling Yourself You’ve Earned That Splurge

When it comes to your love handles, you may be your own worst enemy. According to one study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, women who were made to feel like they had worked harder on a task than the control group (all women worked the same amount of time) indulged in about 130 more calories than the other subjects did. That means you could unknowingly sabotaging your own weight loss success simply because you feel you’ve worked hard and deserve that extra treat. An extra 130 calories may not sound like much, but over the course of a single year that translates to about 13.5 extra pounds!

#37: Tighten Your Belt With Apple Cider Vinegar

Forget diet pills and prescription fat burners, you probably already have this fat burning secret weapon in your pantry – apple cider vinegar! According to Dr. Oz, the acetic acid apple cider vinegar contains may switch on genes your body needs to pump out fat-burning proteins. And it may help curb your appetite too: one University of Arizona study found that subjects who consumed apple cider vinegar before a carbohydrate heavy meal ate about 275 fewer calories less during the remainder of the day. If you can’t handle it as a straight shot, try it mixed in Dr. Oz’s secret slim down drink.

#38: Turn Off Negative News

Sorry ladies, but according to a recently released study published in the journal PLOS One, it appears women are more susceptible to negative news than men. And that’s bad news for your body — the women studied were found to have higher levels of the belly-fat inducing stress hormone cortisol after being exposed to stories about murders or accidents (the men did not experience the same physical reaction). Researchers believe that women are biologically designed to be more empathetic, and are more likely to remember the details of the negative stories afterwards (the women’s stress levels were noted to be higher not immediately after reading the story, but rather later when they were asked to perform a stressful task).

You can’t avoid all bad news or headlines, but our more constant access to news through social media, TV and the internet can make the negative news feel more constant. Consider putting yourself on a brief news ‘fast,’ especially during very stressful times (such as around the holidays). And if you do feel yourself getting affected by it, make a conscious effort to help lower your stress level with regular prayer or meditation to help lessen its potentially love handle expanding effects.

#39: Snack Like You Are Single

Are you a few years into your relationship or marriage and starting to notice your waistline gradually expanding? “There’s a reason they’re called ‘love’ handles: women gain more weight when they get married or enter relationships with men,” says Julie Upton, a registered dietitian for “There are a few theories on why this happens, but primarily, it’s because they tend to settle into new routines that involve less exercise and eating more.” And Upton says, women tend to start matching their man bite-for-bite once they start living with their significant other, which means you could be eating more calories at meals than you used to (translation: gaining weight). If the single you never used to snack in front of the TV at night, the married version of you shouldn’t either (or at the very least, munch on a healthy snack – yours doesn’t always have to match his). And, if you are really hungry enough to eat more at meals, start your dinner off with a filling salad or broth based soup to consume less calories overall during meals with your man.

#40: Try The Most Effective Abs Exercise

“While bicycle crunches may seem like a basic exercise, one ACE research study found this exercise to be one of the most effective exercises in terms of eliciting muscle activation for the rectus abdominus and the obliques (ranked #1 and #2, respectively),” says Jessica Matthews, an exercise physiologist for the American Council on Exercise.

To do it: Lie in a supine position on the floor (on your back) and place fingertips behind your ears. Bring the knees in towards the chest and lift the shoulder blades off the ground by contracting the abdominals (avoid pulling on the neck). Straighten the right leg out to about a 45-degree angle while simultaneously rotating the upper body to the left, drawing the right shoulder towards the left knee. Then switch sides, bringing the left shoulder towards the right knee while extending the left leg at a 45-degree angle. Continue to alternate sides in a pedaling type motion.

Try the bicycle crunch and other effective abs exercises with this 5-Minute Abs Workout.

#41: Steer Clear of BPA

Could your water bottle be making you fat? If it contains BPA, it might be. Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical that is found in everything from canned goods, plastic containers and water bottles, may have the ability to disrupt your metabolism and potentially cause weight gain according to some recent research.

“Researchers have found some disturbing associations between BPA levels in the urine and the risk of obesity. The studies have been mixed but troubling. For example, in one study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association higher levels of BPA were associated with double the risk of obesity in white kids and teens but for some reason not to the same degree in black and Hispanic kids. Associations are not proof of causality, but since BPA has shown an association with a number of other health conditions, it’s prudent to assume this chemical can do no good whatsoever and may do some serious harm,” says Jonny Bowden, a board certified nutrition specialist and author of Living Low Carb: Controlled Carbohydrate Eating for Long Term Weight Loss. “There is active research going on in the field of obeseogens, which are chemicals which may disrupt the metabolism in some way (perhaps not fully understand) that can hugely increase the risk of gaining weight. While we don’t know with absolute certainty that BPA is one of these chemicals, I certainly wouldn’t take a bet that it’s not,” says Bowden.

Reduce your exposure to this potentially fat-causing chemical by choosing “BPA free” plastics, limiting your canned food intake and using porcelain, glass or stainless steel food and beverage containers whenever possible.

#42: OM Away Love Handles

“Yoga can burn calories depending on the style, or vigorous nature of your yoga practice, which can reduce levels of belly fat,” says Tamal Dodge, a certified yoga instructor and star of the “Element: Yoga for Energy & Relaxation” DVD. But even gentle yoga can help reduce those love handles — yoga can also be extremely calming and the effects help reduce stress and anxiety, which can help melt off those love handles by reducing cortisol levels and, possibly, stress and emotional eating. “Yoga has been shown to shut off the fight or flight response and help to make your life stress free. Less stress equals less acidity in the body, which in return makes your body alkaline, healthy and potentially, lose weight,” Dodge says. In addition to a healthy diet and regular strength and cardio exercise, he recommends incorporating a calming, gentle yoga session into your weekly routine 2-3 times per week.

Try this 30-Minute Yoga for Flat Abs workout!

#43: Reduce Your Sodium Intake

You may associate cutting back on salt with heart health, but it’s important for losing those love handles too. A high-sodium diet can cause that spare tire around your waist to look even bigger, since too much sodium causes bloating and water retention, says Batayneh. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 90 percent of Americans consume way too much salt, with the average daily intake clocking in at about 3,300 milligrams (about 1,000 milligrams above the recommended U.S. Dietary Guidelines). And it’s not the salt shaker you need to worry about, Batayneh says, it’s the processed foods that can pack in sodium that can really add up throughout the day. Canned soups, sandwich meats, frozen and fast foods and even some cereals are all high sodium culprits. Batayneh says you can easily reduce your sodium intake by eating as many fresh, whole and unprocessed foods as possible on a daily basis.

#44: Try A New Happy Hour Activity

We’re not saying you can’t have a glass of wine (see tip #2), but if you are a regular at happy hour, it may be time to consider finding another way to socialize with friends. “Alcohol acts on areas of the brain that triggers more hunger and less fullness; and its metabolized in a way that promotes fat storage in the mid-section,” explains Upton. Our favorite new way to stay social and up burn fat in the process? Happy hour workout parties! Gyms and studios are hopping on this trend and combining a ‘party’-like atmosphere and exercise all in one! Don’t have one in your neighborhood? Why not host your own? Invite a group of friends over to do a workout video with you or go for a group power walk around the neighborhood together.

#45: Watch Added Sugars

“Added sugars are enemy number 1 for belly fat and love handles,” Upton says. “Excess sugar in the bloodstream finds its preferred storage spot as fat in your belly. It’s not surprise that diets rich in added sugars are linked to metabolic syndromes — which is defined in part, by excess belly fat,” she explains. And while you may know to steer clear from high-sugar treats like candy, cakes and doughnuts, watch out for surprisingly high sugar foods like dried cranberries, fruit flavored yogurts and bottled juices and teas too.

#46: Chop Love Handles Away With This Move

Wood chops are one of my personal favorite exercises, as it’s not only functional, but also effective! For these, I prefer to use a dual grip medicine ball, says Matthews. And, if you don’t have a medicine ball handy, try holding on to both ends of a dumbbell or filled water bottle instead.

To do it: Begin in a split stance with the left foot forward. Holding the medicine ball in both hands, slowly bring the medicine ball to the starting position, just about the left shoulder without rotating your torso. Keep your abdominal muscles engaged and throughout the exercise continue to keep the chest, hips and head facing forward at all times. Keeping the medicine ball close to your body, slowly begin the ball down and across your body to your right hip. Hold this end position briefly before returning to your starting position. Once you’ve completed the desired number of repetitions, repeat this exercise in the opposite direction with the opposite leg forward. Work your way up to 3 sets of 15 reps on each side.

Try this wood chop move + more awesome abs exercises during this 30-Minute Cardio Ball Blast Workout!

#47: Concentrate On Cardio Exercise

When it comes to cutting your waist down to size, cardiovascular exercise is king, say researchers from Duke University. Subjects who ran the equivalent of 12 miles per week burned 67 percent more calories and lost more belly fat than those who performed only resistance training exercise. While strength training is important, if you are just starting to exercise and really need to reduce your waistline fast, concentrate on cardio. Dr. Harrison recommends at least 30-45 minutes, 4-5 times per week of cardio exercise to help keep your heart healthy and lose those love handles.

Blast off belly fat and work your waistline with this 30-Minute HIIT Cardio Core Workout!

#48: Beat Belly Fat With Beans

What’s one of the best foods you can eat to beat belly fat? Beans! “Beans are loaded with soluble fiber, which promotes good bacteria in the gut, thus lowering inflammation linked to belly fat,” Dr. Oz explains. He recommends eating one cup at every meal – even breakfast (they are delicious in this recipe for fat-burning chickpea muffins!).

#49: Curb Hunger With A Handful Of Raisins

Believe it or not, research from Canadian scientists shows that eating a handful of raisins could help you cut your caloric intake by as much as 54 percent for up to four hours afterwards! Two compounds called cinnamic acid and rutin, both found in this portable snack, help switch off your body’s production of ghrelin, the hormone that stimulates appetite, which could help you eat less. Snack on ¼ cup serving for best weight loss results.

#50: Slim Your Sides Instantly With Shape Wear

We know you’ll be putting all these great tips into action, but for those times when you just have to make those love handles instantly disappear, shape wear can be a gal’s best friend. Finding the perfect body-shaping undergarment can help you fake a slimmer silhouette while you work on developing your own (no harm in making the most of what you have right now, right?) Oh, and guys, fear not – there’s love handle hiding shape wear made for men too.

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