If the extra fat on your arms and back makes you so self-conscious that you jump out of the way any time a friend readies her camera to take a photo, then losing your fat might help you feel less self-conscious. Don't adopt a fad diet or shop for so-called "miracle" fat-burning products online. The most sustainable way to lose weight is to develop a healthy lifestyle, including a nutritious diet and regular exercise.
You Can't Target Fat Loss
No one specific type of food or exercise will help you reduce your arm and back fat because you can't choose the location of the body fat that you wish to burn. The theory that you're able to select the fat you wish to lose is called spot reduction, and it's simply a misconception. When you consume fewer calories than you burn and do so on a consistent basis, your body shifts into a state known as a caloric deficit. At this point, fat loss occurs, but you'll lose overall body fat, not fat from specific areas.
Make Healthy Meal and Snack Choices
Changing your diet can help you reach a caloric deficit. The key change to make is to reduce your caloric intake and you can do this by choosing healthy foods that are high in fiber and low in calories, and also by reducing your portion sizes. Make fresh fruits and vegetables the focus of each meal and supplement with small amounts of lean meats, fish, whole grains, nuts, seeds and low-fat dairy. Eliminate refined grain products, foods that contain added sugars and anything fried. Sip water or unsweetened tea instead of sugary sodas and juices.
Move Your Body
Exercise is also a vital component of any healthy lifestyle, and keeping active greatly improves your ability to reach a caloric deficit. If you're sedentary, simply add some exercise each day, such as walking, cycling or dancing, to help increase the calories you burn. Include total-body resistance exercises in your workout routine to build muscle, which will help raise your resting metabolic rate. Commit to a minimum of 150 minutes of cardio per week and two total-body resistance workouts each week.
Steady Wins the Race
You might not notice an immediate reduction in the amount of fat on your arms and back, but if you can sustain a caloric deficit, you'll lose weight. Your rate of weight loss depends on your caloric intake versus your caloric burn, but a deficit of 3,500 calories equals a loss of 1 pound of fat. It's reasonable for you to hope that you may lose this amount of weight in a week or two. As long as you're able to maintain this deficit, you'll continue to lose weight. Eventually, you'll notice a reduction in the fat in the areas you wish to change.
- American Council on Exercise: Weight Loss: Diet vs. Exercise
- American Council on Exercise: So, You Want to Spot Reduce? Here’s How
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Balancing Calories
- American Council on Exercise: Trimming Off the Fat
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Cutting Calories
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Losing Weight