If you're looking to lose a few extra pounds around your waist, you don't necessarily need a new gym membership. You can lose weight at home with exercise and a few lifestyle tweaks. But remember that while you can lose weight at home, you can't control just where the weight will come off.
You can't spot reduce any area of your body, including your waist. However, if you lose total body weight and do exercises to build strong core muscles, your waist may get smaller.
How to Lose Weight
Weight loss is not always the easiest feat to achieve. According to the Boston Medical Center, an estimated 45 million Americans start a diet each year and spend close to $33 billion on weight-loss products. However, about two-thirds of the population is overweight or obese.
This is not a new issue facing Americans. An older but still valid study helps to emphasize that the issue of starting and stopping a diet is not new. This study, published in September 2010 in the International Journal of Obesity, found only about one in six Americans who are overweight or obese actually lose weight and are able to maintain that loss.
In order to help you beat the odds and lose weight, the Mayo Clinic provides the following tips:
- Get ready to commit: Weight loss is a long-term commitment, not a quick solution.
- Find your own motivation: If you don't know what motivates you, you may not hold yourself accountable.
- Set realistic weight-loss goals: For example, if you can't exercise six days a week, just do your best and make sure your goal makes sense for you.
- Find healthier foods that you enjoy eating: Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are a good place to start.
- Start moving and stay active: Choose exercises and activities that will keep you engaged.
- Change your outlook: Understand your challenges and learn to move forward with your goals despite setbacks.
Part of setting realistic expectations is to understand what "safe and effective weight loss" means. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), healthy weight loss happens at a rate of about 1 to 2 pounds per week. The CDC also indicates that even a modest weight loss of 5 to 10 percent of total body weight can produce benefits for blood cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
The University of Michigan Health Service suggests adopting the following strategies to help you lose weight at home:
- Eat a variety of plant-based, minimally processed foods.
- Eat regular meals.
- Keep a food and exercise journal.
- Stop eating once you feel comfortably full.
- Eat desserts less often and in smaller portions.
- Learn your daily dietary needs and attempt to stay within them.
- Limit alcohol consumption.
- Prep your meals and snacks ahead of time.
- Get at least eight hours of sleep a night.
- Wait 10 minutes after a meal before eating more food if you have a craving.
- Decrease screen time.
Home Workouts for Weight Loss
Exercise does not need to happen at the gym to be effective for weight loss. There are several exercises you can do at home, even in a small space, that can help you lose weight.
When you work out at home, you can use body weight, free weights or bands. Depending on your goals for the workout, you can engage in cardio or resistance training without leaving your house. If you want to lose weight around your waist, doing only crunches and ab workouts won't necessarily help. It's important to do full-body exercises to improve fitness and attain your weight-loss goals.
The National Academy of Sports Medicine recommends that you do a combination of cardio and resistance training for best results. The home exercises listed below could be effective for weight loss because they combine some cardio, core work and resistance training. Repeat the circuit one to three times, depending on your fitness level.
Move 1: Standard Push-Up
- Do a plank by keeping your back flat and butt down as you balance on your hands and toes, engage your core and make sure your elbows face slightly toward your shoulders.
- From the top of the plank, bend your elbows as you lower your body; stay in a straight line from your neck to your hips to your heels.
- Straighten your arms to come back up while maintaining the straight line.
- Do 2 to 3 sets of 10 reps, switching from your toes to your knees if needed.
Move 2: High Knees
- Start with your feet hip-width apart.
- Jog in place, lifting your knees to hip height.
- As you lift each knee, pump the opposite arm.
- Switch your knees and arms at a fast pace.
- Repeat quickly, spending as little time on the floor as possible.
- Continue for a minute and repeat 2 to 3 times.
Move 3: Standard Burpees
- Start in a standing position with arms over your head or straight out in front of you.
- Place your hands at shoulder-width apart on the floor and step or jump your feet straight back, forming a straight line.
- Do a single push-up while keeping your core engaged and your back and legs straight.
- Bring your feet forward either by stepping or jumping them underneath your hips.
- Stand up, bringing your hands above your head, and do a jump.
- Do 2 to 3 sets of 10 or challenge yourself by doing as many reps as you can in one minute and repeating 2 to 3 times.
Read more: 7 Moves to Help You Build Up to Burpees
Move 4: Standard Mountain Climbers
- Start in a high plank position with your hands aligned with your shoulders and arms straight.
- Place your feet hip-width apart and rest your weight on the balls of your feet.
- Tighten your core to keep your body straight.
- Drive your knee to your chest, tightening your abs as you bring the knee in.
- Quickly move the leg back to the start position.
- Immediately drive your other knee to your chest and bring it back to your start position.
- Quickly alternate driving your knees to your chest.
- If you're new to exercise, start with 10 reps for each leg. You can work yourself up to higher numbers as you build more stamina.
Move 5: Forearm Plank
- Get down on your hands and knees and then lower yourself to rest on your elbows and forearms.
- Straighten out your legs to rest on the balls of your feet.
- Use your core to hold your body straight.
- When you are first starting out, hold the position for 10 seconds. As you progress and get stronger, try to hold the pose for 20 to 60 seconds.
Move 6: Standard Jumping Jack
- Stand with your knees bent slightly, feet and legs together and arms at your sides.
- Jump both feet apart and swing your arms out to the side and up until you are reaching over your head.
- Jump back to the start position.
- Do 20 to 30 repetitions.
Move 7: Concentration Biceps Curl
- Sit on a chair with your knees spread out a bit and feet flat on the floor.
- Pick up a medium to heavy weight that you can lift with one arm.
- Place your right elbow against your inner-right thigh.
- The weight should be between your legs, hanging just above the floor.
- Slowly curl the weight up toward your chest.
- Slowly lower the weight back to the starting position.
- Repeat 10 to 12 times for each arm.
Move 8: Standing Shoulder Press (With Barbell or Free Weights)
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Lift medium to heavy free weights or a single weighted barbell up to your shoulders, keeping your arms and elbows tucked into your sides and your palms facing up.
- Keep your back straight and lift the weights straight up toward the ceiling.
- Return the weights to just above your shoulders.
- Repeat 10 times for 2 to 3 sets.
Move 9: Single-Leg Squat
- Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart.
- Move one foot out in front of you.
- Keep your chest up and back straight and sit back into a squat by bending your back knee.
- Straighten back up to a standing position.
- Repeat 10 times on each leg.
- Boston Medical Center: "Weight Management"
- Mayo Clinic: "Weight Loss: 6 Strategies for Success"
- International Journal of Obesity: "Long-Term Weight Loss Maintenance in the United States"
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Losing Weight"
- University of Michigan Health Servivce: "Weight Reduction"
- National Academy of Sports Medicine: "30 Minute Workout Programs for Busy Clients"
- American Council on Exercise: "Single Leg Squat"
- ExRx.net: "Jumping Jack"
- American Council on Exercise: "Standing Shoulder Press"