Two weeks isn't enough time to make all your trouble spots disappear. It is enough time to jump-start a weight-loss program and make some progress, however. Lower back fat and love handles are a type of visceral fat, a particularly dangerous fat that accumulates in your midsection. Internally, this fat releases compounds that increases your risk of metabolic disturbance and heart disease. Act on your urge to lose this unsightly fat today, even if you won't lose it all in two weeks.
The Basics of Fat Loss
You lose fat by moving more and eating less. This creates a caloric deficit, so your body has to call on its fat stores to provide you with energy. You can safely lose about a pound or two per week by making this deficit equal to about 500 to 1,000 calories per day. A combination of exercise and making healthier food choices is the sensible way to create this deficit. Of course, in a couple of weeks, you'll only manage a loss of between 2 and 4 pounds, but that weight is likely to stay off. You'll also learn strategies that you can sustain past your two-week goal date to eventually lose the lower back fat and love handles for good.
Resort to a fad diet or quick-weight-loss scheme and not only suffer severe deprivation, but risk nutritional deficiencies, muscle loss and weight regain once your return to your normal eating habits.
Exercise Away Visceral Fat
The first type of fat you lose when you exercise is visceral fat. Rush University Medical Center suggests you commit to a physically-active lifestyle to lose your belly pudge, love handles and back fat. Do a minimum of the 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention each week; up it to 250 minutes per week for more significant weight loss. Weight loss with exercise is a process, though. In two weeks, you won't completely eradicate the love handles and lower back fat.
Resistance training can also help you shrink central body fat. You can't crunch, side bend or whittle the fat away from your love handles and lower back, though. A comprehensive body strengthening program that targets all the major muscle groups -- including the hips, legs, buttocks, abdominals, chest, back, arms and shoulders -- builds muscle. Muscle burns more energy and helps raise your metabolism at rest. Change your body composition to include more muscle, and it's easier to lose weight.
You can include exercises that target your low back and midsection, but know you're only strengthening the muscles underneath the fat you want to lose. Strength training takes more than two weeks to have a noticeable effect on your physique, but start now so you're well into establishing it as a workout habit in two weeks.
Lose Fat With the Right Diet
Avoid excessive portion sizes and foods that tend to correlate with increases in mid-section visceral fat, including sugary soft drinks, refined grains and saturated fat. Make lean proteins, such as egg whites, white fish, skinless poultry and tofu, and fresh vegetables, your priority at meals. Augment these with modest servings of whole grains, such as brown rice or quinoa, and unsaturated fat, found in nuts, seeds, avocados and olive oil.
To see substantial results in two weeks, eat a low-calorie diet, which is generally considered to be between 1,200 and 1,400 calories per day. Even this low of a calorie diet is unlikely to cause your love handles and low back fat to completely disappear in two weeks, though. Avoid dipping below 1,200 calories to lose weight faster. You'll create sensations of deprivation and could stall your metabolism.
Lifestyle Interventions for Visceral Fat Loss
In addition to formal exercise, move more each and every day. Get up from your desk every hour or so to walk for 5 or 10 minutes; pace while you take a phone call; opt for the stairs over the elevator; and assume an active hobby. These small strategies can add a considerable energy burn that increases your calorie deficit.
Quality sleep enhances your weight-loss efforts. Aim to get between seven and nine hours per night. A study published in a 2010 issue of Sleep showed that people younger than 40 were more likely to develop visceral fat, such as love handles, if they got too little or too much sleep. Too much stress can interrupt that sleep and cause you to release an excess of the hormone cortisol, which also correlates with increased levels of visceral fat. Delegate work tasks, seek out social support and take up yoga or meditation to help you de-stress.
- Rush University Medical Center: Is There 'One Trick' to Losing Belly Fat?
- Eat Right Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Staying Away from Fad Diets
- Centers for Disease Control and prevention: How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?
- American College of Sports Medicine: ACSM Position Stand on Physical Activity and Weight Loss
- American Council on Exercise: Myths and Misconceptions: Spot Reduction and Feeling the Burn
- Go Ask Alice: Ideal Caloric Intake?
- Sleep: Sleep duration and five-year abdominal Fat Accumulation in a Minority Cohort: The IRAS Family Study
- Harvard Health Publications: Abdominal Fat and What to Do About It