Is there anything more annoying when it comes to losing weight than having a slim stomach, but still having those pesky love handles? I’ve dieted down to low levels of body fat, enough to where I could see my abs, and still had love handles… Am I simply doomed to have them forever?
There is no specific way to target love handles and other stubborn body parts while on a keto diet. However, particular exercise or dieting protocols and supplements may make the process of getting rid of them more manageable, such as yohimbine, caffeine, intermittent fasting.
In this article, I’ll go over how to best tackle losing those love handles, supplements that may help expedite the process and dive into the science of what makes it so hard to get rid of them.
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How Can I lose My Love Handles Fast?
While I can’t guarantee you’ll lose your love handles “fast,” I can say that I’ll lay out the best protocol to help you along your journey.
For anyone who says otherwise, they’re probably trying to sell you a supplement or workout program that will do very little or nothing at all. You simply can’t make your body lose fat from one specific area.
Unless, of course, you get liposuction.
First off, fast is relative. What do you consider fast? As in, how quickly do you want to get rid of them? While we all want to get rid of them as soon as possible, you need to set realistic goals.
After all, it’s not like those love handles built up overnight or even in a few weeks. The chances are those love handles were built up over months and even years.
How Long To Lose Love Handles On A Keto Diet
The problem with stubborn areas is… well… they’re stubborn.
Hips and thighs tend to be the stubborn area for women, while males tend to have their stubborn areas in the love handle and lower back region.
And sorry ladies, women have a much harder time losing body fat than men, especially stubborn body fat. 1 2
So how long does it take to lose love handles? While there is no specific time table anyone can give you to losing love handles, the truth is, it may be the last place to go.
Meaning, you might just have to lose enough body fat everywhere else before your body decides to tap into those stubborn areas.
But we want to expedite the process, so I’ll leave my tips on the most scientific-based and effective method in hopes that it speeds up your process.
Before we get into that, it’s probably best you understand why it’s hard to lose fat from these areas. You’ll then realize why it may be not worth worrying about, plus the protocol will make much more sense.
Why Is Stubborn Fat Hard To Lose
Stubborn body fat are the areas that your body wants to hold onto fat the longest. Again, these tend to be the lower abs and lower back in men, and the lower body in women.
Without getting too much into the weeds, your fat cells have two kinds of receptors, those are:
- Beta-2 receptors (b2) – Tells cells to release more fat
- Alpha-2 receptors (a2) – Tells cells to stop releasing fat
Think of b2-receptors as the gas pedal and a2-receptors as hitting the breaks.The critical difference between your stubborn fat and regular fat is that regular fat has more b2-receptors in proportion to a2-receptors. The ratio of receptors in a given area more or less determines how easy it will be to liberate fat from a specific area in the body.
Everyone has certain body parts that get lean and lose fat quickly; these areas have a higher ratio of b2 to a2-receptors. On the flip side, your stubborn fat has a higher proportion of a2 to b2-receptors.
Another determining factor in where you lose fat is blood flow. The more blood flow an area receives, the easier it generally is to lose fat in that area. 3
To sum it up, stubborn body fat is stubborn because it has a higher ratio of a2 to b2-receptors and doesn’t get as much blood flow relative to other areas that may come off quicker.
How Keto Helps With Stubborn Fat
I don’t have to tell you to lower your carbohydrates, because you’ve already done that.
A ketogenic diet is beneficial in helping target love handles and other stubborn areas due to low-carb diets decreasing the activity of a2-receptors (the breaks), and lowering insulin levels.
Both decreasing a2-receptors and lowering insulin help mobilize stubborn body fat. 4
Does Intermittent Fasting Help To Lose Love Handles?
While Intermittent Fasting hasn’t shown to be superior to eating throughout the day when it comes to fat loss 5, there may be some merit to intermittent fasting in helping to get rid of those love handles.
To target stubborn body fat, we must activate b2-receptors while deactivating a2-receptors. Additionally, we have to improve blood flow to these areas to help maximize fat loss from stubborn areas.
Here’s how intermittent fasting (IF) may help with love handles:
Fasting increasing catecholamine levels
Catecholamines are like a messaging system for the brain. Your cells have catecholamine receptors that receive messages.
When your body needs more energy, your brain tells your cells to release fat to be used where it’s required.
Fasting increasing blood flow
Increased abdominal subcutaneous blood flow is achieved while fasting. The increased catecholamines mentioned above will have an easier time reaching those stubborn areas.6
Fasting lowers insulin levels
I’ve already gone over how a ketogenic diet already helps with stubborn body fat, so I won’t get into the weeds again.
But low insulin levels = decreased a2-receptors.
Using intermittent fasting may be another tool in helping target those pesky love handles, but no need to get carried away doing one meal a day (unless you prefer that).More is not always better.
12-18 hours of fasting seems like an ideal period for these mechanisms to occur.
Supplements That May Help You Lose You Love Handles
Diet and exercise should be at the forefront of your efforts when attempting to lose fat, but you may benefit from a few supplements when it comes to burning stored body fat.
Remember, supplements won’t make up for a poor diet and marginally make a difference. It’s all the small things that add up over time that make a significant impact.
I wrote about the most evidence-based fat burners for keto and other diets if you’re interested in diving in a bit deeper.
Yohimbine helps reduce the activity of alpha-2 receptors, which could help mobilize stubborn body fat.
A dose of 0.2 mg/kg seems to be an effective dose, according to the literature. 7
It seems that your morning cup of coffee may do more than just perk you up. Caffeine increases fat burning, blood flow, and metabolic rate. 8 9
It’s also cheap, safe, and readily available… and delicious if you enjoy coffee.
A low dose of caffeine (1-2mg/kg) may be beneficial before doing cardio to help maximize fat oxidation. 1-2mg is equivalent to about an 8-16oz cup of coffee for more individuals.
For those that don’t like coffee or rather be precise in dose, I like to use these 100mg caffeine tabs.
Summing Up Stubborn Body Fat On keto
In most cases, getting rid of stubborn body fat is a matter of exercising patience. I generally don’t have clients do anything special until they get under 15% body fat for males or 25% body fat for females.
Even then, losing stubborn body fat comes down to playing the waiting game. Those who can stick to things long enough tend to be the most victorious in any endeavor.
However, to give yourself the best chance at targeting those love handles, there are some tricks and supplements you can use.
- Low-carb (but you’re already on a ketogenic diet)
- Intermittent fasting (12-16 hours)
- Supplement Caffeine and/or Yohimbine
- Fasted cardio or weight training to jack up catecholamines
Sometimes no matter what you do, some parts are just going to be the last to go. I assure you that if you stay the course, they will disappear eventually.
The most important thing you can do is to be patient.