Flab around your midsection can damage your self-confidence, but it can also be the catalyst for weight loss through a healthier lifestyle. Unfortunately, no television commercial gimmick or quick-fix gadget is going to give you the skinny waist of your dreams. To start the journey to a body -- and waistline -- that you love, you’ll need to eat healthful foods, stay active and keep yourself motivated.
Why Spot Reduction Doesn’t Work
If you’ve considered crunches or some other targeted exercise to burn fat from around your waist, you’ve considered spot reduction. The spot reduction myth is that exercising a certain muscle group burns fat around the area. This is not how fat burning works, though. According to Yale Scientific, fat that’s used as fuel for intense exercise can come from anywhere on your body. Jogging for 30 minutes three times a week, for example, is more likely to help you get a skinny waist than doing 200 crunches each day. The reason jogging will help more is it burns more calories and thus more fat.
Work on Your Diet
According to the Health Status website, despite the numerous diets available, calories are still the bottom line. A pound of fat weighs in at about 3,500 calories, so if you cut 500 calories from your daily diet, you should lose about 1 pound of fat per week. Before you start to cut calories, record the calories in every food and drink you consume each day for a week. Add the days together and divide the result by seven to find the number of calories you eat daily. Subtract 500 calories from this number, and you have your new daily calorie goal for a healthy rate of weight loss. Eating more lean meats, vegetables, fruits and grains in place of processed foods can help you cut calories from your diet without eating significantly less. Calorie-counting programs or keeping a notebook to record what you eat can make meeting your goals easier. The saying “abs are made in the kitchen” has some merit -- if your diet is in check, you’ll have a much easier time achieving a svelte waistline. Never eat fewer than 1,200 calories per day without doctor supervision, though.
The two primary goals of exercise, at least as far as getting a skinny waist is concerned, are to burn calories and tone your muscles. Burning calories accelerates your weight loss, and toning your muscles will make them more visible as you shed the layers of fat covering them. Aim to exercise three to five days a week, and pick something you enjoy. Jogging, swimming, in-line skating, aerobics and full-body exercises like using a rowing machine burn calories quickly and will yield fast results. Strength training, power yoga and any other exercises you enjoy enough to do regularly can be effective choices too. If you hate set exercise routines, pick things like hiking, rock climbing, dancing or cycling that double as exercise and a fun hobby. The more active you are, the faster you’ll have the waist of your dreams.
Seeing progress from your modified lifestyle should provide all the motivation you need to keep going. Instead of relying exclusively on the scale, pick a different way to see how much smaller your waist is becoming. For example, if you have a shirt that fits too tightly or makes your stomach look bad, you can take progress pictures in it every week to show steady improvement. Measuring your waist at its largest point and recording the results every week will show you how well you are doing and keep you on the right track.