Your waistline affects your overall health

How to Get a Slimmer Waist: Healthy Hacks

Stubborn fat around your waistline can impact more than just your self-image or your pant size. It also has big implications when it comes to your overall health and well-being.

Let's face it: slimming down your waistline isn't exactly easy or fast. However, with a little persistence, coupled with a well-balanced diet and daily exercise, plus supplementation, you'll be well on your way to a slimmer waist—and healthier you.

The hourglass figure: How to size down my waist in a healthy way

Healthy woman with hourglass figure

The truth is, your waist won't magically size down overnight, and it might take a couple months before those once-beloved jeans can be worn again. It's going to take a lot of patience and hard work on your part to adhere to the healthy steps required to make changes to your overall diet and lifestyle. Here are some quick tips on setting yourself up for success on your weight loss journey:

  • Journal daily and track your calories and food intake
  • Increase your water intake and make sure you are drinking at least eight 8 oz. glasses each day
  • Exercise for at least 30 minutes most days, with targeted exercises that help blast belly fat
  • Eat fruits, vegetables, proteins and healthy fats that help support your weight loss goals, while eliminating foods (and beverages) that will derail your progress
  • Reduce sugar intake and instead opt for fruit as a sweet treat
  • Get at least seven hours of restful sleep each night
  • Reduce your overall stress through yoga and meditation
  • Incorporate belly fat burning nutrients into your wellness routine to support your cellular health and metabolism
  • Set weekly goals and track your progress

5 foods to get a smaller waist

Fruit and high-fiber foods can help slim your waistline

Did you know the secret to a smaller waist is actually eating? It's true! You can slim and trim your waistline by incorporating a variety of fruit, fresh veggies, protein packed meals, and fiber-rich foods into your daily meals—while watching your calorie count. Here are some tips to get you started:

1. Fight excess fat with fruit

Be mindful about sugar intake and find new ways to satiate your sweet tooth. Lucky for you, certain fresh, whole fruits contain natural sugars and fiber— the perfect combination for those looking to say buh-bye to excess belly fat this summer (or any time of year!). Fruits like strawberries, blueberries, apples, pineapple, peaches, grapefruit and oranges have been shown to help manage excess body fat. Keep in mind, though, that some fruits like grapes, bananas and mango are higher in sugar than berries and other lower-glycemic index fruits, so portion control is important.

2. Hello, veggies, and goodbye, belly

Remember when your mom used to tell you to "eat your veggies" when you were little? She was on to something! In fact, studies have shown that higher intake of vegetables may promote weight loss and management over time. Increased intake of whole veggies is a primary contributor to weight loss in women and the effect is enhanced when you replace calorie-dense and high-fat foods with vegetables. That's because consuming whole vegetables can help curb your appetite and provide a healthy, low-calorie alternative to other, not-so-healthy foods.

3. Incorporate more protein

What do salmon, lean ground beef, turkey, poultry, Greek yogurt, quinoa, white kidney beans and lentils all have in common? They are all high sources of protein and the perfect addition to any weight loss diet. High-protein diets are popular among people at a healthy weight because eating foods high in protein can help increase feelings of satiety, while decreasing feelings of hunger. Protein also requires more energy to metabolize and break down than carbohydrates and healthy fats. If your goal is a smaller waist, incorporate higher amounts of protein during your morning and afternoon meals. It may keep you full longer throughout the day, which may help you avoid overeating and might even keep your hand out of the cookie jar.

4. Feel full with fiber

Depending on your weight loss goals, you may be consuming less calories than you were before, which may leave you craving more food between meals. However, incorporating fiber-rich foods is the key to success in curbing your cravings and achieving a smaller waist. Foods like beans, broccoli, avocados, whole grains, apples and other fruit all contain a high amount of fiber, which will help you feel full longer and make you less likely to snack throughout the day or overeat at mealtime.

5. Fresh foods for the win

The secret to a smaller waist is how you shop at your local grocery store. If you are focusing on a slim waist diet, you'll want to shop the perimeter—and only the perimeter—of the store. That's because those center aisles are often stocked with packaged, processed foods that will derail your weight loss goals. By shopping the perimeter, you'll be filling your cart with lean protein, nuts, dairy, whole grains, fresh fruit and veggies.

In fact, a study with 20 weight-stable adults over a two-week period found that those who ate foods that were ultra-processed and high in carbs and fat, but not protein, saw a significant weight gain. On the other hand, participants who consumed an unprocessed diet with fresh foods saw a decrease in weight.

5 foods to avoid for a smaller waist

Refined carbs are  no good for your waistline

With so many good-for-you foods that will help fight belly fat and reveal a slimmer waistline, you won't need to fill up on what you shouldn't be eating, like refined carbohydrates, trans fatty acids, sugar-filled snacks and even alcohol. Here are just some of the foods you should avoid if waist trimming is your goal:

1. Ditch fad diet foods

Unless you've been living on another planet the past few years, you've likely heard or attempted fad diets, like keto, which promote high amounts of fats throughout your daily meals—or crash diets, where you eat very little at all. These diet plans can be short-sighted, resulting in immediate results but not panning out over the long term. Troublingly, many people who follow keto fill up on the wrong kinds of fats, such as high saturated, fatty foods like butter—which can be a slippery slope when it comes to achieving a smaller waist. Instead, follow a weight loss plan that allows you to keep your macronutrients well-rounded. You want to consume adequate amounts of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats for optimal weight loss success. This means that when consuming dairy, opt for low-fat options or smaller full-fat portions for a well-balanced diet.

2. Rule out refined carbs

White bread, breakfast cereals, tortillas, bagels and pizza dough may taste good going down, but they can wreak havoc on your waistline in the long run. These foods all contain refined carbohydrates and processed grains which can contribute to stored belly fat. This doesn't mean you can never go to your favorite bagel shop or pizza place again. Instead, be mindful when ordering and opt for whole grain variations of your favorite foods.

3. Forget the trans fats

When it comes to fats, you'll want to stay far, far away from trans fat, which are considered the worst kind of fat for your health and your waistline. Fried foods, frozen pizza, commercial cakes, cookies, pies, margarine and microwavable popcorn are common sources of trans fats. Not only can these unhealthy fats throw your diet plan off, but trans fats can impact heart health. Instead of unhealthy trans fats, consume more healthy fats, such as those found in nuts, avocados, eggs, chia seeds and even dark chocolate.

4. Adios, alcohol

Drinking alcohol can have consequences when it comes to your waistline and diet plan (not to mention consequences to your liver, safety and judgment). Alcohol provides your body with empty calories and no nutritional value. And while alcohol isn't technically a "food," there's a good reason why it's on our list of foods to avoid for a slimmer waist: many people don't make the healthiest food choices when they drink—whether it's a late-night trip to the Golden Arches, or overindulging at brunch the next day.

5. So long, sugar

Similar to alcohol, sugar contains empty calories that can trip up your weight loss plan. However, for those who can't live without a little indulgence, there are healthy alternatives to your favorite cookies, cakes, pies, ice cream and more. Rather than sweetening your baked treats with cane sugar, get creative in the kitchen with monk fruit, stevia, agave nectar or honey. These sweeteners can satisfy your sweet tooth but have fewer calories. Another alternative is to enjoy those full-sugar treats rarely, such as for a special occasion or a treat while you're on vacation.

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Best exercises to reduce waist size

Abdominal workouts can help you meet you slim-stomach goals

A good, well-balanced diet is only going to get you so far toward a slimmer, healthier waistline. If you really want to kick your weight loss goals into high gear, you're going to have to break a sweat. Luckily, when it comes to exercises for a slimmer waist, you have plenty of options, from planks and downward dog to HIIT, or high intensity interval training.

Here are some of the best workouts to perform to shed some serious pounds.

  • Yoga

    : If your goal is to fit into your favorite pair of jeans, yoga might be the answer. Yoga incorporates cardio and targeted stretching that help strengthen and tighten parts of the body while encouraging relaxation through heavy breathing and meditation. The proof is in the pose! A clinical study found that women who wanted to fight abdominal fat who practiced yoga over a 12-week period saw a significant reduction in waist circumference compared with those who did not practice. Those who did the workout also saw a decrease in body weight, BMI and body fat percentage as well as an increase in the percentage of body muscle mass.
  • Abdominal workouts

    : If you'd rather nama-stay away from yoga, you can plank, sit-up, crunch and twist your way to a smaller waist with a belly fat burning abdominal workout. Studies suggest that a targeted abdominal workout performed twice a week for 60-80 minutes over a three-month period may yield significant results when it comes to the circumference of your waist, when this routine is accompanied by a restricted calorie diet.
  • Aerobic exercise and resistance training

    : Nothing slims and trims your waistline quite like some good old sweat equity at the gym with an invigorating waist workout. In fact, a combination of aerobic training and resistance training (vs. resistance training or strength training alone) has been shown to produce significant decreases in belly fat. Choose machines and exercises that target your waistline and start slow, but make sure to increase difficulty and repetitions over time. To round out your workout, complete your sweat sesh with aerobic activity on a cardio machine, like a treadmill or stationary bike, to get a heart-pumping workout!

Can hula-hooping slim your waist?

If you think hula-hooping is just for kids, think again! A hula-hoop provides a beneficial workout, especially for those looking to slim their waistline. A single session of hula hooping lasting 30 minutes can burn between 165-200 calories. A study showed women who hula hooped with a weighted hoop over a six-week period lost an average of 1.3 inches around their waist and .6 inches around their hips. Now that's something to shake your hips to!

Supplements for waist reduction: How do they work?

Supplements provide targeted nutrition for your weight loss goals

Even if you are following the healthiest diets and planking your way to a tighter, firmer core, you still may need some extra support from waist trimming supplements. These supplements add even more benefits to your already healthy weight loss regimen by not only promoting fat breakdown but also inhibiting fat production. In clinical trials, waist trimming supplements that contain the extract of Moro blood oranges were shown to have positive effects in healthy overweight adults when consumed over a period of 8 or 16 weeks. The studies found significant reductions in body weight, BMI, hip circumference and waist circumference.

With so many waist trimming supplements on the market, which ones are the best for your health and wellness goals? Take a quick healthy weight quiz to determine which nutrient is the best for your body and weight loss goals, or keep reading!

Best supplements to lose fat around my belly

  • Lemon verbena & hibiscus

    : If you are looking for a little more when it comes to your weight loss regimen, look for weight loss supplements that contains these two ingredients. A clinical trial of healthy overweight subjects who took 500 mg of lemon verbena and hibiscus extract daily for 2 months found reductions in overall body weight, abdominal circumference, and body fat percentage.
  • AMPK

    : AMPK helps support your metabolism and jumpstart energy production on a cellular level. By incorporating an AMPK supplement, you can promote your body's breakdown of fat for energy production. When choosing an AMPK activator, look for a key nutrient like hesperidin, which is a powerful plant flavonoid that can help activate AMPK and reduce belly fat.
  • East Indian globe thistle & mangosteen

    : If a smaller waist is your goal, this combination of plant extracts has produced both weight loss and waistline reduction in clinical studies when combined with diet and exercise. A 16-week study of a patented blend of Sphaeranthus indicus flower and Garcinia mangostana fruit rind extracts resulted in participants losing 3 inches around the waist and just over 4 inches around the hips.  

Waist trainers: Do they work?

Waistline trainers may work against your weight goals

If you're after a tiny waist like Kim Kardashian or just about any celebrity on the red carpet, unfortunately a waist trainer might be more of a waste than a benefit to your body and your weight loss goals.

Wearing a waist trainer puts pressure on your stomach, sending signals to your brain that you are satiated, when in fact you are anything but! Wearing one for a prolonged period may mean depriving yourself of nutrients you need to thrive. The bottom line is, as soon as you stop using a waist trainer, your "old" waist will return and so will your appetite.

For long-term health benefits that include a slimmer waist, you're better off working with your doctor or dietitian on a long-term weight loss strategy that includes a proper diet, exercise and weight loss supplements.

How to measure success

Taking your body measurements before, during and after your weight loss journey is a great way to track progress and measure success. Taking weekly measurements helps give you an idea if you're losing fat, and if so, how quickly. You can measure yourself with or without clothes, but make note of what you're wearing the first time so you can wear the same clothes the next time you measure yourself. To measure your hips, place the tape measure around the biggest part of your hips. It's important to take measurements the same time and day each week to ensure your results and measurements are accurate.

If you aren't keen on weekly measurements, instead opt for feeling. Stick to a routine with healthy eating, exercise and supplementation, and watch how your clothes fit differently over time. Choose one pair of pants that are tight and try them on each week to see how they fit differently. Make notes where they feel loose or tight—keeping in mind that if you wash and dry your clothes in a dryer, it's possible that a snug waistline might have less to do with your efforts and more to do with too much time on the high heat cycle!

About the Author: Andrew Davis is a graduate of Pace University NYC with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. He has more than a decade's worth of experience in content and social media in the health and wellness space. An avid traveler, Andrew also has volunteered as an English teacher and humanitarian in countries throughout Asia.