How to lose your love handles

Story highlights

Love handles are especially stubborn and do not respond as quickly to diet and exercise

There is no such thing as "spot reducing" when it comes to fat loss

CNN  — 

If you ask almost any fitness professional how to lose your love handles, they will tell you two things: No amount of abdominal crunches will make a difference if you don’t first improve your diet and exercise regimen.

And there is no such thing as “spot reducing” when it comes to fat loss, so you can’t target this area alone.

Love handles, the pinchable fat on both sides of your stomach that leads to a “muffin top” appearance, are especially stubborn. They do not respond as quickly to diet and exercise changes as the more dangerous visceral fat that is deep within your abdomen and leads to more of a “potbelly” appearance.

If you are a woman and your waist is larger than 35 inches around or a man with a waist size greater than 40 inches, you will lose the deep belly fat first. This is actually better for your health, as visceral fat has been linked to numerous medical issues, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, pre-diabetes and inflammation.

To lose the subcutaneous fat that forms not-so-lovable love handles (or excess fat on your hips, thighs and buttocks), it’s going to take even more time and effort.

What is the best diet for losing your love handles? The one