When it comes to stubborn areas on our body that we wish would lose some pounds, many of us tend to fixate on belly fat. Now, while belly fat is the number one weight-loss problem for some, there is another area of stubborn fat that also tends to grab our attention – back fat.

Back fat is the stubborn layer of fat that often spills over the back of your bra strap or the top of your pants in the back. Back fat can also be the fat folds near the back of your waist.

What causes back fat?

Common causes include:

  • A diet rich in sugar and fats
  • Sedentary living
  • Poor posture
  • Aging
  • Genetics

3 Ways To Deal With Back Fat

Before we get into how to get rid of back fat, it’s important to point out that it’s impossible to spot-reduce fat. Therefore, if you really want to tone up your back and shed some back pounds, then you need to adopt changes that will help to decrease your overall body fat, as well as benefit your health.

Therefore, here’s how to safely – and sustainably – say bye-bye to back fat.

1. Dietary and Lifestyle Changes

a. Stay hydrated

Aside from keeping you alive and supporting your body’s natural processes, getting your daily dose of eight glasses of water can also help you manage your weight – and get rid of that stubborn back fat.

Sometimes when we think we’re hungry, we’re actually just thirsty, and quenching your thirst can help encourage weight loss. Water has been found to naturally suppress your appetite and stimulate your metabolism – all of which help to encourage weight (and back fat) loss.

b. Fill up on fiber

A 2020 review published in the journal Nutrients revealed that increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables can promote long-term weight stability or weight loss compared to those who don’t regularly consume produce.

What does this have to do with fiber?

vegetables
Photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels

Well, according to the researchers, the fiber content in produce is exactly why fruits and vegetables can help with weight loss.

“Low-energy-density foods like fruits and vegetables tend to be more filling due to their high water and fiber content,” explained registered dietitian and nutritionist Jamie McDermott, “Eating fiber slows down digestion and makes you feel more full with fewer calories, which aids in weight loss.”

Other fiber-rich foods include lentils, barley, chickpeas, and edamame.

c. Sip on green tea

A May 2020 study that involved over 1300 participants found that after administering green tea supplements over a period of 12 weeks, it found that participants experienced significant changes in both body weight and body mass. The researchers also noted a reduction in waist circumference.

“We suggest that the use of GT can be combined with a balanced and healthy diet and regular physical exercise in the management of obese patients.” wrote the researchers.

With that said, it would be a good idea to purchase green tea and enjoy all of its weight loss benefits.

d. Stay away from processed foods

Yes, they’re cheap. Yes, they’re tasty. And yes, they make us feel better after a breakup. But the truth is, they’re terrible for your health and weight (back included).

According to George Washington University (GW) researcher Leigh A. Frame, Ph.D., “The rising obesity epidemic in the U.S., as well as related chronic diseases, are correlated with a rise in ultra-processed food consumption…. Decreasing obesity and chronic disease in the U.S. will require limiting processed foods and increasing intake of whole vegetables, legumes, nuts, fruits, and water”

Therefore, if you really want to say bye-bye to back fat, then you’ll need to turn your back on processed foods like fries, burgers, pizzas, canned, and packaged foods as well as frozen foods. That said, there are healthier versions of these foods that include Beyond Meat burgers and pizzas that use natural ingredients.

sleep

e. Sleep well

A study published last year in JAMA Internal Medicine that tracked the sleep quality of 120 000 people for up to two years found that obese participants had slightly shorter mean sleep durations and more variable sleep patterns – they slept about 15 minutes less than participants who weighed less.

Poor sleep patterns can affect weight gain by increasing levels of the hormone ghrelin and reducing levels of the hormone leptin – this action raises your appetite.

“The ‘l’ in leptin stands for lose: It suppresses appetite and therefore contributes to weight loss,” explains Dr. Raj Dasgupta, sleep specialist and the associate program director of the Sleep Medicine Fellowship at Keck Medicine at the University of Southern California. “The ‘g’ in ghrelin stands for gain: This fast-acting hormone increases hunger and leads to weight gain.” 

If you’re having trouble getting some rest, try these sleep-inducing habits.

e. Perfect your posture

Poor posture can weaken your back and back muscles. Improving your posture won’t only strengthen your spine, but will also help strengthen and tone your back muscles.

back
Photo by Two Dreamers from Pexels

2. Exercises to get rid of back fat

a. Side Jackknife

  • Lie on your right side with your legs stacked over each other.
  • Put your left hand behind your head. Your right hand can rest wherever you feel comfortable.
  • Squeeze your obliques as you draw your left leg up toward your left arm, which should remain stable on your head. You’ll be bringing the bent left arm toward your left knee.
  • Repeat several times before switching to the opposite side.

b. Superman

  • Lie on your stomach (or a yoga mat).
  • Stretch your body out so that your legs and arms are lengthened.
  • Lift your hands and feet off the ground at the same time. Both your arms and legs should be about 6 inches off the ground.
  • If you can, lift your bellybutton off the floor and hold the position for several seconds. With control, lower your legs and arms back down before repeating the exercise.

c. Lateral raises with dumbbells

  • Stand with a dumbbell in each hand, facing forward. You can also modify this movement by doing it from a sitting position. 
  • Slowly raise the weights out to sides away from your body until your arms are parallel to the floor. Don’t squeeze your shoulders or “shrug” while you do this.
  • With control, return your arms to your body. Take a breath and repeat 10 to 12 times for one set.
dumbbells
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

d. Resistance Band Pull-Down

  • Hold the middle of the band with both hands.
  • Bend your elbows and separate your hands as you pull the band towards your chest.
  • Return the handles to the starting position with control.

e. Side Plank Variations

  • Begin lying on your side with your elbow under your shoulder, and feet and knees stacked.
  • Lift your hips up into a side plank, stretching your free arm towards the ceiling.
  • Then bring the free arm down and thread it through the space underneath the body while you rotate the shoulder and hips to the floor.

f. Planks

  • Assume a push-up position, with your hands about shoulder-width apart.
    find fitness

    Jacob Lund/Shutterstock

  • Your body should be as stiff and straight as a plank, forming a straight line from head to toe.
  • Hold the position for 30 seconds.
  • You can also try to lift one arm at a time to shoulder height and hold it for a few seconds.

g. Push-ups

  • Lie on the floor face down with your hands at your sides, just outside your shoulders, and your feet hip-width apart.
  • Raise your hips, thighs, and chest off the floor so your weight is supported by your toes and palms. 
  • Exhale as you straighten your arms and push your body up until your arms are straight. Try to keep your head, hips, and ankles aligned as though your body is a straight plank.
  • After a brief pause at the top, inhale as you lower yourself down.
  • Repeat ten times.

h. side fierce

  • Stand with your feet together. Inhale to bend your knees and lower your hips as you raise your arms overhead, coming into a Fierce Pose.
  • Exhale and cross your right elbow over to your outer left knee. Press your palms together and actively push your bottom elbow against your thigh to lift and rotate your chest up, increasing the twist. Pull your right hip back slightly, making sure both knees are parallel.
  • Stay for five breaths in Side Fierce, then inhale as you press into your feet and lift your torso, rising back into Fierce pose. Exhale to cross your left elbow over your right outer knee, holding for another five breaths on this side.

3. Aesthetic treatments

If you’ve decided that lifestyle changes and exercise aren’t for you, then you can reach out to a doctor and inquire about non-surgical ways to address back fat. This can include liposuction, laser lipolysis, and Coolsculpting.

That said, it should be mentioned that these treatments aren’t exactly cheap, and it would be better for you to try to achieve your goal with traditional methods like diet and exercise first. Once you’ve tried that, then you can reach out to a board-certified doctor to see which method would work best for you. As always, make sure to do your research.

References

Corney, R. A., Sunderland, C., & James, L. J. (2016). Immediate pre-meal water ingestion decreases voluntary food intake in lean young males. European journal of nutrition55(2), 815–819. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00394-015-0903-4
Dreher, M. L., & Ford, N. A. (2020). A Comprehensive Critical Assessment of Increased Fruit and Vegetable Intake on Weight Loss in Women. Nutrients12(7), 1919. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12071919
Jaiswal, S. J., Quer, G., Galarnyk, M., Steinhubl, S. R., et al. (2020). Association of Sleep Duration and Variability With Body Mass Index: Sleep Measurements in a Large US Population of Wearable Sensor Users. JAMA internal medicine, e202834. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamainternmed.2020.2834
Laster, J., Frame, L.A. (2019). Beyond the Calories—Is the Problem in the Processing?. Curr Treat Options Gastro 17, 577–586. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11938-019-00246-1
Lin, Y., Shi, D., Su, B., Wei, J., et all. (2020). The effect of green tea supplementation on obesity: A systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Phytotherapy research : PTR34(10), 2459–2470. https://doi.org/10.1002/ptr.6697
Pie Mulumba

Pie Mulumba

Pie Mulumba is a beauty and wellness writer who has a passion for poetry, equality, natural hair, and skin-care. With a journalism degree from Pearson's Institute of Higher Education, and identifiable by either her large afro or colorful locks, Pie aspires to continuously provide the latest information, be it beauty or wellness, on how one can adopt a healthy lifestyle on a day-to-day basis.

The content in this editorial is for general information only and is not intended to provide medical or other professional advice. For more information on your medical condition and treatment options, speak to your healthcare professional.

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