How To Get Rid of Love Handles


Marianne Campolongo, Staff Writer

Marianne A. Campolongo is an experienced writer and photographer. Her work has appeared in newspapers and magazines and on websites. The topics she has written about include health, parenting, lifestyles, travel, food, and dieting. She has also photographed magazine covers, including personalities such as Hillary Clinton and former CBS co-anchor René Syler. She holds a law degree from Fordham University School of Law.

November 27 2007

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No one likes those love handles. And they'll try any way to get rid of them.

A CBS publicist had Katie Couric's waistline whittled away using Photoshop. And Paris Match, France's answer to People magazine, digitally removed unsightly love handles bulging over the waistband of French President Nicolas Sarkozy's bathing suit. Both times, the media had a feeding frenzy over these faux fixes.

So, How to Get Rid of Love Handles for Real?

When diet and exercises fail—and they often do—a body sculpting technique such as liposuction can be the answer.

When Liposuction Works Better Than Losing Weight

Love handles, those rolls of flab around your midsection, are surprisingly resistant to both diet and exercise. Why?

  • When you lose weight, the fat doesn't melt away evenly from all over your body
  • Spot reduction doesn't work; you can't control where the pounds come off, so your face may get thinner before your waistline.
  • Diet and exercise will not decrease the number of fat cells you have, just their size. You are stuck with the same number.

It's mostly a matter of genetics. Although the way it works is not completely understood, some of your fat cells grow when you gain weight and others shrink when you lose weight. Our genes appear to control which ones grow first and which ones shrink first. Weight training and exercises that target problem areas may tone the underlying muscles, but this has no effect on which parts of your body lose fat first.

So, no matter how hard you work at it, certain parts of your body, like your waist, may stubbornly resist slimming down.

Cosmetic Plastic Surgery—How to Get Rid of Love Handles When Diet and Exercise Fail

Liposuction is one of the most popular cosmetic surgery procedures in America. That shouldn't come as a surprise! Liposuction permanently removes fat from the targeted area and reduces the number of fat cells. Best of all, the results last as long as you maintain your post-op weight.

There are different methods of liposuction (also called lipoplasty), but they generally work the same way. A surgeon makes small incisions in the body and then inserts a small, hollow tube, called a cannula into the fatty tissue to be removed. This cannula is connected by tubing to a vacuum pressure unit that literally sucks out the fat. Whether liposuction is appropriate for you and which liposuction technique to use depends on your health and other factors. You should discuss this with a board-certified surgeon along with the benefits and risks of liposuction.

Many people think liposuction is a weight-reduction method. It isn't. Liposuction is a good choice for people who are close to their goal weight range and who have isolated fatty areas such as those stubborn love handles.

Men are especially good candidates for liposuction. Because men are more likely to gain weight in their midsection while more women gain weight on their hips and thighs, many men end up with love handles even if they keep fit. Although you can have lipoplasty at almost any age, it is best if your skin still has enough elasticity to achieve a smooth contour following lipoplasty. Men's skin retains its elasticity longer than women's. Liposuction is usually very effective for men and often the best way to remove love handles.