While some celebrities may have 24-inch waists, this isn't an easy feat to accomplish and isn't necessarily healthy for everyone. Although it isn't possible to spot reduce and just lose fat from your midsection, a combination of diet and exercise can help you shrink your waistline along with the rest of your body. Avoid fad diets, waist training and weight-loss supplements, which are associated with potential health risks, and check with your doctor before starting any new diet or exercise plan.
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Determining Whether a 24-Inch Waist Is Healthy
Models and actresses with 24-inch waists are often abnormally thin, with a body fat percentage between 10 and 15 percent. The healthy body fat percentage for women is 22 to 26 percent, noted a report by the British Medical Association in 2000. Determining your waist-to-height ratio can help you figure out whether or not your waist is at a healthy size. Having a WHtR that's too large indicates you have an increased risk for heart disease and diabetes, but a WHtR that is too small isn't healthy either -- it indicates you're underweight. Being underweight also increases your risk for various illnesses and health problems.
Women should have a WHtR between 0.42 and 0.48, and men should have a WHtR between 0.43 and 0.52. To calculate your WHtR, divide your waist circumference in inches by your height in inches. According to this measurement, a woman would have to be 4 feet 9 inches tall for a 24-inch waist to be healthy. Any woman between 4 feet 10 inches and 5 feet 8 inches with this waist measurement is considered extremely slim, and a woman 5 feet 9 inches tall or taller would be underweight.
Cardio for Shrinking Your Waistline
To lose weight, you may need to do as much as 300 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio exercise each week. This type of exercise helps you build up the necessary calorie deficit for weight loss, and may increase your metabolism slightly for a short time after you finish working out. A study published in "Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise" in 2003 noted another potential benefit for losing weight through exercise -- this type of weight loss appears to be more likely to reduce abdominal fat than weight lost through diet alone.
Strength Training for a Smaller Waistline
Muscle burns more calories than fat, helping to increase your metabolism, so exercises to add muscle are beneficial for weight loss. Doing abdominal exercises tones your stomach, but won't get rid of fat. For weight loss, it's best to do strength-training exercises that target all of the different major muscles in the body, not just the abs. Do eight to 10 different exercises each eight to 12 times, and do this workout at least twice a week on nonconsecutive days for the best results. Strength training also makes it more likely that any weight you lose will come from fat and not muscle, leaving you with a healthier body composition after your weight loss.
Diet for Healthy Weight Loss
You need to cut about 500 calories out of your diet each day to lose about 1 pound per week, or 1,000 calories per day to lose 2 pounds per week. But don't eat less than 1,200 calories per day if you're a women or 1,800 calories per day if you're a man, as this could slow down your metabolism and limit your weight loss. Don't skip meals, which could cause you to get so hungry you overeat later. Eat smaller portions and base your diet around whole foods like fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, whole grains and lean proteins. Limit your intake of highly processed foods and foods high in salt, added sugars or fat. These foods don't tend to be very filling or rich in nutrients, but are usually high in calories.
Waist-Minimizing Methods to Avoid
Fad diets don't give you long-lasting results, and could have serious adverse effects because they are often too low in calories and nutrients for good health. Some celebrities credit waist training for their tiny waists. This involves wearing a corset to train your waist to be smaller. This isn't the safest way to go about getting a smaller waist, however, as it can lead to difficulty breathing, constipation and damaged organs, according to gynecologist Dr. Sara Gottfried in an article published on the ABC News website in 2012. It may also increase symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux, urinary incontinence and irritable bowel syndrome, and may cause skin infections. Dr. Gottfried particularly advises young women under 21 not to wear corsets, because their bodies aren't fully developed.
There isn't enough evidence to recommend any supplements for weight-loss purposes, according to a review article published in the "Journal of Obesity" in 2011. These supplements also often come along with unwanted side effects, which may include increases in blood pressure and heart rate, liver damage, constipation, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, seizures and dizziness.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- American Council on Exercise: Trimming Off the Fat
- WomensHealth.gov: Physical Activity (Exercise) Fact Sheet
- British Medical Association: Eating Disorders, Body Image & the Media - A New BMA Report
- ABC News: My Life in a Corset: Squeezing Into a New Dieting Strategy
- New York Magazine: So, Is Shapewear Going to Kill Us All or What?
- International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition: Six Reasons Why the Waist-to-Height Ratio Is a Rapid and Effective Global Indicator for Health Risks of Obesity and How Its Use Could Simplify the International Public Health Message on Obesity
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Determining Your Waist-to-Height Ratio and Associated Health Risks
- FamilyDoctor.org: What it Takes to Lose Weight
- American College of Sports Medicine: Metabolism Is Modifiable With the Right Lifestyle Changes
- Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise: Exercise-Induced Weight Loss Preferentially Reduces Abdominal Fat
- Journal of Obesity: An Evidence-Based Review of Fat Modifying Supplemental Weight Loss Products
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Dietary Supplements for Weight Loss
- ShapeFit.com: Waist To Height Ratio Calculator – Assess Your Lifestyle Risk