If you’re like most of us, your midsection is naturally where you pack on weight and develop belly fat.
While a little bit of fat around your midsection isn’t troubling, having too much abdominal fat can be harmful to your health.
If you have too much belly fat, it’s time to reduce it and get a slimmer waistline for better health.
Belly Fat Types
There are 2 kinds of abdominal fat. Visceral fat is the type that collects in your abdominal cavity under your stomach muscles and surrounds your internal organs such as your kidneys, liver, and pancreas. It’s known as “harmful belly fat”.
It’s linked to insulin resistance and systemic inflammation (1).
The second type is subcutaneous fat. This is the type that is soft, stored directly under the skin, and the type you’re probably most familiar with.
While not strongly linked to the risk of disease, having too much fat can develop type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers.
So what can you do to slim your waist and reveal your flat tummy? Check out these 6 tips and lifestyle changes to shrink your waistline!
Working out doesn’t have to be a boring and repetitive cardio workout on a treadmill. Remember the hula hoop?
This great exercise tool is one of the best exercises you can do for abs, waist size, and fat loss.
It sculpts your waist by targeting your abs, obliques, hips, and lower back. This activity increases your heart rate (cardio) and makes you feel like a kid again!
The American Council on Exercise found that you burn about 7 calories per minute while hula hooping. That’s 210 in a 30-minute workout! (2)
For an advanced version, try a weighted hoop!
Skip the Sit-up
Sit-ups are not the most effective movements to target your deep core muscles.
Your deep core muscles are your transversus abdominis, your pelvic floor muscles, and your obliques, both internal and external. Your multifidus is a deep back muscle that is also important (3).
You want to target these deep core muscles when working towards a smaller waist.
Some exercises you can do to target your core are dead bugs, forearm planks, or Birddog crunches. Even lifting your pelvis in the reverse crunch is more effective.
You can also target your oblique muscles (the muscles on either side of your waist) with the oblique crunch, side planks, or forearms hip dips.
Beat the Bloat
Many people feel self-conscious about their stomachs, especially when it’s bloated.
Bloating is a digestion issue where your gastrointestinal tract fills with air or gas. Your belly can feel full, tight, and uncomfortable. Your midsection can physically look larger, give you a muffin top or your clothes may fit tighter (4).
It can happen after mealtime and/or from excess sodium in your body.
So what are some bloat-blasting foods?
Tea! Try peppermint tea, green tea, or ginger and lemon tea. The latter will speed up your metabolism and cleanse your digestive system. Talk about a win-win!
We also recommend upping your protein intake such as fish (hello magnesium!), tofu, or some protein powders. Note: a lot of protein (read: too much) can cause bloating so don’t overindulge.
Avoid processed foods such as white bread, pasta, or pastries. Shoot for slow-release carbs instead of whole grains, root vegetables, and beans.
A healthy diet or snack of lots of leafy greens, fresh fruit, and oats is always a good idea!
Foods dense in nutrients such as avocados, almonds, and yogurt are imperative for a balanced diet.
The best thing to do is find the right diet that matches your genetics, appetite, and fitness goals.
Increased stress levels and sleep loss makes your body produce a hormone called cortisol.
When you’re stressed or tense, your body releases cortisol. This is a part of your flight or fights response. Your body thinks you’ve used calories to deal with the stress, even when you haven’t.
This hormone causes higher insulin levels in your body and makes your blood sugar drop.
It can make you crave fatty and sugary foods aka “comfort food”. (5) Eating these will hinder your overall weight loss.
While eliminating all stress is impossible, the important thing to do is take a deep breath and slow down! Grab your yoga mat for a quick yoga or pilates class, read a book and get plenty of sleep. Don’t forget to take a day of rest after intense training sessions.
Note: this is not to be confused with adopting a sedentary lifestyle. Sitting for too long decreases lipoprotein lipase, an enzyme that helps us burn fat.
As a personal trainer, HIIT workouts are my go-to to blast belly fat and overall weight loss.
HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training. It’s the ultimate type of strength training to target your midsection.
Remember those 2 types of belly fat (Subcutaneous fat and visceral fat)? HIIT hits both!
This form of workout involves intense short bursts of effort followed by an equal or shorter period of rest.
Your body will continue to burn calories in what’s known as the “afterburn effect” or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). This speeds up your metabolic rate and continues to burn extra calories for up to 6 hours later! (6).
But that’s not all! HIIT builds multiple muscle groups, improves oxygen and blood flow, and can lower blood pressure and blood sugar.
The final slim waist tip is meditation.
Meditation is more than sitting in silence. It’s a great way to clear your mind and become more aware of your surroundings, the rest of your body, and your actions. This will help you stay on track and continue to make progress.
The popular app, Headspace, even offers mindful meditation for weight loss (7).
The Headspace blog states that “meditation can help us become more mindful eaters and even address any emotional eating issues that might persist.”
By meditating, you can:
- Remove the shame and guilt of emotional eating.
- Maintain weight loss and a healthy weight long-term.
- Lower stress and inflammation levels.
- Control your cravings.
- Decrease your stress and anxiety.
So here’s the thing. For better overall health and maximum results for weight loss and slimming your waist, you need to implement lifestyle changes and a sensible diet.
I’m not talking obsessively about counting your macronutrient calorie intake, crash diets, or restrictive diets. You don’t want obsessive cardio, biking, or a million abdominal exercises.
You’re not going to get a flat torso with waist trainers invisible wrap waist trainer tape, or waist slimming corsets.
You want a safe rate of weight loss for the best results.
It’s about adding more enjoyable exercises such as hula-hopping or upping your intensity with HIIT workouts. It’s about targeting your inner core muscles in your exercise routine to be more effective.
Meditation, reducing stress and mindful eating will also aid in revealing your flat tummy.
Remember, you are so much more than your hourglass figure or dress size.
Try adding these 6 tips on how to slim your waist to rid yourself of excess fat. You’ll be well on your way to a smaller waist, a healthy body weight, and achieving your fitness goals before you know it!
- Kubala, Jillian. “The 2 Types of Belly Fat and How to Lose It”. Healthline. 18 August 2021. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/types-of-belly-fat.
- Kumar, Karthik. “Can Hula Hooping Slim Your Waist?”. Medicine Net. 12 March 2021. https://www.medicinenet.com/can_hula_hooping_slim_your_waist/article.htm.
- “Abdominal Muscles”. Better Health Channel. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/abdominal-muscles.
- Bailey, Leisa. “Bloating”. Family Doctor. July 2021. https://familydoctor.org/condition/bloating/.
- Breeze, Jarrod. “Can Stress Cause Weight Gain?”. WebMD. 3 Feb. 2016. https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/stress-weight-gain#1.
- Burch, Kelly. “5 major health benefits of HIIT, or high-intensity interval training”. Insider Health. 5 Aug. 2020. https://www.insider.com/benefits-of-hiit.
- “Meditation for weight loss”. Headspace. https://www.headspace.com/meditation/weight-loss.