You’ve got just two weeks to shrink your belly and hips before swimsuit season or that high school reunion. You can certainly jumpstart a weight-loss plan and see some results in two weeks, but how much depends on your starting weight and commitment. You can’t target just your belly and hips for weight loss, but a low-calorie plan that focuses on whole foods along with dedicated exercise will help you look — and feel — better for your big event.
Understand Your Hip and Stomach Fat
You may want to lose weight primarily in your hips and tummy, but know that you can’t control which fat your body burns first. Fat is stored in fat cells throughout your body. Some people have more fat cells in certain “trouble” spots, which means these areas are more prone to plump up. When you reduce your calorie intake below what you burn, your body mobilizes stored fat and converts it to usable energy. You can’t point to your hips or belly and tell your body that’s where you want it to direct fat loss, though — you’re body loses in a set pattern determined by genetics.
Women tend to store extra fat in the hips to help support a baby during pregnancy. Hip fat is subcutaneous, which means it lies just under the skin, and it’s notoriously stubborn to lose. Pinchable belly fat that expands over your waistband as a muffin top is also subcutaneous and harder to lose.
If, however, your stomach is larger than 35 inches around as a woman, or 40 inches around as a man, you have an abundance of visceral fat. This fat is particularly insidious as it weaves around internal organs and secretes compounds that increase your risk of health problems, such as heart disease. Because visceral fat is more metabolically active, it is also more responsive to exercise. When you first drop weight through diet and exercise, you can lose visceral fat from deep in your belly sooner than you can drop the subcutaneous fat.