How to Get Rid of Back & Side Fat in 2 Weeks: Workouts for Men & Women

Weight gain may increase your body’s muscle mass percentage or fat percentage. Maybe it’s the latter that is the culprit. You’ll start to see the cues or evidence of weight gain in belly fat and thicker thighs. A double chin or back fat is also common.

What causes back fat?

Back fat is slowly accumulated over time and may be caused by any of the following:

  • overeating
  • vices, like drinking alcoholic drinks
  • sedentary lifestyle
  • aging
  • and poor posture

Fat is stored in our body to have a secondary energy source for later use. Excess glucose/calories from the food we eat are converted into fatty acids via insulin and stored as fat in our adipose tissue. Overeating will cause more fats to be stored in your body because you have excess glucose from all the extra calories that you consume. Furthermore, eating foods with excess sugar or salt can contribute to inflammation in your body.

Drinking alcohol is hard to give up since it’s part of socializing. Frequent, excessive alcohol intake is detrimental to your health and makes you gain weight. Alcoholic drinks like beer have a lot of calories in them—even more so drinks with mixers and fruit juices and soda. They have very little nutrients, which leads to more excess glucose available to be stored as fat.

A sedentary lifestyle is another culprit. Maybe you’re consuming calories, but you’re not moving to burn any of it. It’ll amount to further fat storage. You’ll have to use up all available calories/glucose first to burn back fat. You’ll get nowhere with this if you’re sitting around all day.

Aging is also tied to a sedentary lifestyle for obvious reasons. It gets harder to live an active lifestyle as we age, especially when age-related illnesses arise. Skin sagging due to aging can also cause stomach overhang and back fat. Moreover, hormonal changes that affect how fat is deposited in our bodies fluctuate as we age. Our metabolism slows down.

Although poor posture doesn’t cause an increase in body fat, it makes back fat more obvious. You get stretched, skin wrinkling, and fat bulging out. It’s particularly on the lower back fat. For example, sagging lower belly and side fat/love handle can be corrected by standing or sitting tall and getting into a good posture. As we age, our posture also worsens. These two factors can be tied together.

Where do you lose fat first?

You may have noticed that you accumulate fat faster at a certain part of your body. Some people gain belly fat faster than others, while others develop back fat before getting a stomach overhang.

This means that you can’t direct where fat will be deposited in your body, which is also true with fat loss. It’s a hit or miss. How often have you gone on a diet or tried a new workout routine but didn’t lose fat in the targeted areas? It’s frustrating how our bodies can shed fat in some areas but not in certain parts.

So, the question still stands: is there a pattern or order where we shed fat in our bodies?

There are a lot of factors in play when it comes to fat accumulation, such as genes and hormones. Illnesses and diet will also play a role. Our genes and hormones have the greatest role in dictating where fat loss and deposition happen among these factors.

In women, fat deposition happens more at the buttocks and thighs. It includes the hips. These are called sex-specific fat advantageous for pregnancies. Women’s bodies gain more “curves” upon puberty. Hormones are in play and dictate where fat should be located. During menopause, when hormone levels change. Women tend to deposit more fat in the abdominal area. On the other hand, men tend to gain fat in the belly area first.

Fat loss might have one if fat deposition has a certain trend or pattern.

The answer is…yes! Generally, women tend to lose body fat from their lower body first. It’s at the areas where fat deposition mostly occurs: buttocks, thighs, and hips. On the other hand, fat loss in men is most noticeable in their abdominal area. This is mainly because a fat percentage is higher in the areas where fat is deposited first. It’s a given that if people shed weight, the results will be more noticeable in those areas first.

Keep in mind that this order of fat loss can still vary per individual. Other factors are in play since we also have different genetic makeup! Some may see results in their face earlier than others, whereas others may get back results faster.

Can you target fat loss?

Here’s the harsh truth: you CAN’T target fat loss. Spot-treating or targeted fat loss is a myth. The previous section shows a pattern in fat loss, but I did not say that you can make a targeted fat loss.

As confirmed by various doctors and scientists, our body burns fat evenly throughout the body when we lose weight. Suppose you see a certain area of your body slimmer faster than other parts. In that case, the fat in that area is higher than others right from the start. The change is more noticeable.

If you’re still confused about this, let me make a quick analogy: the candies are the fats in your body, and the packs are certain body parts.

You’re supposed to eat 50% of candies from Pack A, and Pack B. Pack A contains 50 candies, while Pack B contains only 4. After eating, which Pack showed a more noticeable change in size? Pack A, right? Pack A lost 25 candies, but Pack B only lost 2.

So, suppose your body burned 5% body fat. The effect will be most noticeable in an area with the most body fat (Pack A). It will be less noticeable in leaner body parts (Pack B).

Benefits of losing weight

For non-athletes, women’s total body fat percentage must be 14-24%. Men must have 11-31% body fat. Further than this, you’ll have a higher risk for type 2 diabetes and many other things from being overweight. Visceral fat is abdominal fat that wraps around the inner organs in your body. It can cause insulin resistance even though you don’t have diabetes by secreting retinol-binding protein. It can cause high blood pressure and stroke.

Being overweight can also have a huge impact on your confidence and overall mental health by affecting your hormones affecting your social life.

Losing weight will shed off back fat and improve your physical well-being, but you’ll also improve your mental well-being. It includes improved cognitive skills and reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease. So, it’s not just about the aesthetics! You’ll be healthier when you lose all that extra body fat while gaining more self-esteem and confidence. A win-win situation!

How to naturally reduce ghrelin

Controlling your ghrelin levels is the key to controlling your hunger and vice versa. Here are the things that you can do to decrease your ghrelin levels healthily:

Sleep properly

It’s been proven that lack of sleep increases ghrelin levels, leading to hunger pangs and weight gain. This is because our bodies are synced with circadian rhythm. It’s the natural sleep-wake cycle; sleeping during the night and being awake during the day). Notice how when you skip lunch, the feeling of hunger goes away after a few hours. Your hunger would only come back during the next mealtime. Thus, the release of ghrelin follows a circadian pattern.

Past midnight, your body will recognize that your stomach is empty and release ghrelin. In addition to the usual circadian pattern release of ghrelin during the day, you’re adding an extra wave of ghrelin and an extra meal at night. This will ultimately lead to weight gain.

Go for a low-fat/high-protein breakfast.

A study proved that this diet results in successful weight loss without increasing ghrelin levels. This study noted that meal timing and composition influence ghrelin levels and maintain weight loss. Specifically, fasting and having a low-glycemic index and high-protein breakfast will help you achieve long-term weight loss and prevent weight regain.

Protein takes longer to break down into simpler sugars compared to sweets, thereby increasing the time wherein your body feels sated. Your body will not produce ghrelin for a while, and you will not crave food at moments in between meals.

Eat less frequently

This study has shown the average ghrelin levels of a person who fasted and who regularly ate three meals remained stable for 24 hours, regardless of the difference in food consumption. Thus, ghrelin levels increase periodically according to our circadian rhythm. Afterward, it does NOT continually increase to a higher concentration.

Another study found that after an extended period of fasting, the patients turned out to feel less hungry despite not eating. They saw a significant decrease in ghrelin after fasting. It turned off certain food cravings, especially in women.

Therefore, by eating less frequently, as one would do during fasting, your ghrelin levels decrease while achieving a caloric deficit. This means that your body will break down fat, and you’ll get rid of the cravings that make you overeat.

Limit carbs and increase protein intake

Meal composition has a huge impact on your hormone levels. It was found out in a study that increasing your protein intake limits hunger. It maintained satiety, and a high-carbohydrate meal causes rebound hypersecretion in ghrelin. It increases hunger and lowers satiety. Thus, you should avoid high-carb diets and stick to low-carb ones.

High-protein meals caused ghrelin levels to decline gradually without spikes, promoting weight loss. Whenever I break my fast, I eat a low-carb/high-protein meal to avoid disrupting the low level of ghrelin my body makes. Eating a high-carb diet will make my body secrete more ghrelin, making me feel even more hungry afterward.

Benefits of fasting

Learning about how fasting works and its benefits is important. It erases the lingering fears and misconceptions. Hopefully, what I’ll discuss will make you see just how beneficial fasting is in losing weight and being healthier.

I want to focus on two types of fasting: intermittent fasting (IF) and prolonged or extended fasting. Both have been around for years, recommended and practiced by many dieticians and doctors to improve health. I’ve tried both fasting practices, and I can attest to their benefits and effects!

Benefits of intermittent fasting

  • According to Dr. Monique Tello from Harvard, IF leads to weight loss through reduced insulin levels. It reduces the risk of obesity and high blood pressure. In the article, the following information was mentioned:
    • In this study, obese men with prediabetes showed improved insulin sensitivity. They also saw a significant drop in insulin levels and lowered blood pressure. It came with the advantage of decreased appetite after five weeks of IF.

  • Dr. Jason Fung discussed how intermittent fasting could reverse Type 2 Diabetes by regulating and lowering blood glucose levels and aiding weight loss. Type 2 diabetes is known to be chronic and incurable.
    • One success story was Dan Shadoin’s. After four months, he lost 68 pounds. His blood sugar and pressure levels stayed low and stable.

  • Fasting is ketogenic. As fats are used up, and ketones are increased, appetite is suppressed. KD is also used to treat people with epilepsy and to starve tumors and cancer cells.
    • In this study, evidence has shown that KD can selectively starve tumor and cancer cells. Since normal cells in our body can use ketones while cancer and tumor cells cannot, KD is suggested to be safe to include in cancer treatment.

  • A systematic review of 40 studies stated that IF resulted in 7-11 pounds of weight loss for over 10 weeks.

How to get started with fasting & intermittent fasting

I want everyone to practice fasting safely; you must know what you’re getting into and take your current health into account before fasting.

Consult with your doctor

First and foremost, you have to ensure that your body doesn’t have any underlying issues that can interfere with fasting. If you’re in any of the criteria below, you should discuss whether it is safe to fast with your doctor.

  • People with severe diabetes and other chronic diseases may not benefit from fasting. ADF can indeed reverse type 2 diabetes. People with severe cases of diabetes that are taking insulin shots and under other medications cannot handle fasting.

  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women must have a well-balanced meal to support the baby’s growth and lactation.

  • The elderly usually have various medications that require them to eat regularly and have underlying diseases that can make fasting life-threatening.

  • Young children and teens are still rapidly growing. Their bodies need a high intake of nutrients to support their growth spurt and help their bodies adapt to puberty changes.

  • People who have prior or existing eating disorders should steer away from fasting. This practice may morph into a form of abuse or punishment for them.

Choose which type of fasting is right for you.

Read carefully the types of fasting that I’ll outline below, so you can choose which type of fasting is the one for you.

Intermittent Fasting

There are three types of IF, and these differ in the time interval between meals.

  • Time-restricted feeding This IF approach involves eating 2-3 meals daily, but only during a certain time window. For the 16/8 approach, you have to schedule your meals within an 8-hour time frame and go fasting for 16 hours. For the 12/12 approach, you have to fit your meal schedule within a 12-hour time frame. Bear in mind that the extent to which ghrelin level is lowered in this approach is not as great as the others.

  • Whole-day fasting | 5:2 approach – This involves regularly eating five days a week and then fasting for two days. During non-eating days, only one meal is consumed. It must only provide 25% of the body’s daily calorie needs.

  • Alternate-day fasting (ADF) is an approach of IF where you alternate between days of fasting and no food restriction. ADF shows an even greater effect on lowering ghrelin levels and increasing leptin. It works by having “non-eating” and “eating” days. Here’s an example schedule for ADF:
    • TThSatSun (eating days) – No food restriction; eat healthy meals thrice a day
    • MWF (non-eating days) – Fast completely (this is more effective), or eat one meal that only gives 25% of your daily calorie needs.

Prolonged/Extended fasting

Prolonged fasting seems intimidating, and some people would even say that it’s “starving yourself to death.” It’s not. It’s doable and scientifically proven to be beneficial in more ways than one.

Long-term fasting involves water fasting, wherein the individual only drinks water and does not consume any calories. Some people may fast in different ways, such as juice and bone broth fasting. However, these aren’t considered truly fasting because they would still consume calories from the juice or broth. I’ll only discuss prolonged water fasting, which I tried.

Essentially, prolonging fasting is a way to let your body stay in ketosis for an extended time. Ketosis is when your body solely breaks down fats as a source of energy because there is no glucose (food intake) available. You’re not starving yourself because your body has stored fats to act as an energy source. Through ketosis, your body will shed off fat effectively. It will be an average loss of 1-2 pound/s per day.

You’re the one who’s in tune with your own body—listen to it. Once you’re confident that you can handle more, I strongly suggest trying out prolonged fasting. It’s the most effective way that allows you to shed off fat fast. In just two weeks, I was already able to get rid of my back fat!

Start slow and adjust according to your health’s state

Ease yourself into prolonged fasting carefully by starting with a 24-hr fast for the first week. Next, try to increase your fast to 72 hours. Once you feel more comfortable with the feeling of fasting, you can go on and try a 10-day fast or longer.

Make sure that you’re taking track of your moods and other unwanted side-effects of fasting in your body. Every person is different. Taking note of your body’s response is important to adjust your fasting schedule and meal plan according to your body’s needs.

Hydrate and take multivitamins during prolonged fasting | Eat balanced meals during ADF

Unlike in ADF, you need to supplement yourself with the vitamins and electrolytes it needs in prolonged fasting. We’re only trying to deplete the carbohydrate reserves in our bodies when we fast so that our bodies will switch to ketogenesis to break down fats.

We’re not trying to take away everything from our bodies. Staying hydrated and drinking multivitamins are important. Maybe you want to drink something other than water. You can go ahead and drink green tea or electrolyte drinks but make sure that these are not sweetened.

For ADF, this is the ratio for a well-balanced meal on a plate, dubbed as the “Healthy Eating Plate”:

  • ½ of plate: vegetables and fruits (except potatoes!)
  • ¼ of plate: whole grains 
  • ¼ of plate: healthy protein

Track your progress

It’s easy to lose motivation when you’re not aware of how great you’re doing. When checking for your progress, don’t just use the scale. Take photos for visual progress and note your body stats with a tape measure. Consider using a tracking app to make your calorie count easier. It’s always rewarding to know that you’ve made progress, further encouraging you to persevere until you reach your goal.

Break your fast correctly and slowly.

For prolonged fasting, it’s very important to reintroduce the right type and amount of food slowly into your system when breaking the fast. After getting used to ketosis, suddenly getting an influx of carbohydrates will cause a flood of insulin in your body. It can cause health complications.

You must start with a small, light meal. Increase the amount of food slowly, adding only small increments per day or week. To avoid complications when breaking your fast, follow this guideline:

  • Breaking a fast longer than 15 days: start with 5 calories/kg of body weight. Otherwise, start with 10 calories/kg of body weight; increase the amount of calorie intake daily by 5 calories/kg only.

  • Drink a supplement with B-vitamins and sodium a few hours before eating.

  • Before eating solid foods, break your fast with bone broth or unsweetened/diluted fruit juices. Start with soft solid foods first, such as pureed vegetables.

We started with wanting to lose back fat. Yet, we discuss techniques to make us healthier while losing body fat. However, being safe is important. Please listen to your body and consult with your doctor.

Back exercises at home for men & women

Upping your energy expenditure and building muscle can also aid in fat loss. Although targeted fat loss isn’t real, you can do targeted muscle building! Strengthening your back muscles will also improve your posture and lower your risk of injury.

Sometimes, excess fat is not the culprit for sagging lower or upper back fat. It’s just because your muscles aren’t toned. To remedy this, you can try these back exercises that target your upper and lower back muscles to tone them up!

  • Reverse fly – it targets rhomboid muscles in the upper back. Help balance shoulder strength to protect it from injury.
  • Lateral raises with dumbbells – targets shoulder and upper back muscles to improve definition and posture.
  • Rowing – targets the latissimus dorsi muscle at your upper back and can also tone your leg muscles.
  • Reverse hip raises – targets the lower back muscles such as obliques and extensors.
  • Side jackknife – get rid of “love handles”; target the obliques extensively, toning your abdominal muscles.
  • Superman – targets the lower back muscles and glutes; strengthens erector muscles that run along your spine for stability and greater posture.

Careful and consistent practice of fasting and these back-toning exercises will give you an amazing (to-die-for) back. Say goodbye to saggy back fat. Say hello to toned, slim back in just two weeks! Thank you for reading until the end, and I hope to hear about your success stories soon!

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