If you're wondering how to go down a pants size quickly, be warned: Losing weight rapidly can be dangerous to your health and potentially result in weight regain. Instead, shedding pounds at a safe pace is the most sustainable way to drop a pant size, if that's your goal.
Below, we share tips for how to lose a pant size (or even how to drop two sizes) without jeopardizing your health.
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Weight Loss Basics
If you've ever googled "lose two dress sizes in two weeks" or "how to lose two dress sizes in two months," odds are you've encountered fad diets that promise speedy weight loss.
While fad diets may lead to some initial weight loss, they can be harmful. Many of these programs require that you follow a rigid menu, eliminate entire food groups and don't include exercise as part of the plan, per the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics — this may deprive you of essential nutrients and doesn't support long-term weight loss.
Instead, the best methods for how to lose a jean size involve losing weight and keeping it off the safe way. According to the Mayo Clinic, this means slimming down at a rate of 1 to 2 pounds per week. You can do this by creating a daily calorie deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories by eating fewer calories and/or exercising more (more on that below).
Just make sure your calorie intake doesn't dip below 1,200 per day for people assigned female at birth or 1,500 per day for people assigned male at birth (unless under the supervision of a doctor), per Harvard Health Publishing. This may not provide enough nutrition and fuel.
People lose weight at different paces depending on factors like genetics, age, sex and activity level, per the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Avoid comparing yourself to others, as how long it takes to lose a pant size is different for everyone.
Modify Your Diet
One of the primary ways to create a calorie deficit is to switch up your eating habits, according to the Mayo Clinic. Focus primarily on eating foods like:
- Whole grains like whole-wheat bread, oats and barley
- Low-fat dairy products like yogurt and cottage cheese
- Lean protein sources like skinless poultry, nuts and beans
Per the Cleveland Clinic, at the same time, limit or avoid foods like:
- Processed, salty snacks like chips
- Baked goods like cake and cookies
- Fried foods
It's also important to include foods that you like in your weight-loss diet — that way you can enjoy your meals, which may help make your eating plan more sustainable in the long term, per the Mayo Clinic.
Diet isn't the only trick for how to go down a pants size. Whether your goal is to go from size 8 to size 4, lose three sizes or maintain previous weight loss, physical activity can help create a daily calorie deficit by encouraging extra calorie burn, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend adults get 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio exercise per week, plus two strength training sessions.
You can also do 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, like high-intensity interval training (HIIT), a form of exercise that alternates bouts of high-intensity effort with short rest periods to maximize calorie burn and cardiorespiratory fitness.
Cardio activities to consider include:
- Playing sports
You can also dabble in different types of strength training, like:
- Weight lifting
- Isometric weight training
- Body-weight exercises
- Circuit training
- High-volume training
How to Go Down a Pants Size Using Circuit Training
While any exercise is better than none, circuit workouts are an effective way to lose weight if you're wondering how to drop a pant size or how to fit back into your jeans, per the American Council on Exercise. They involve doing resistance exercises for all of the major muscle groups with minimal to no rest between each exercise.
Create a circuit-style workout by choosing six to eight weighted or body-weight exercises that target the upper and lower body. Do 10 to 12 repetitions of each exercise with little to no rest in between. Rest for 30 to 60 seconds after the entire circuit, then repeat two or three more times.
- American Council on Exercise: "Circuit Training for Weight Loss"
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: "Staying Away from Fad Diets"
- The Mayo Clinic: "Fast Weight Loss: What's Wrong With It?"
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: "Factors Affecting Weight & Health"
- Mayo Clinic: "Diet plans"
- Cleveland Clinic: "Weight Loss: The Lowdown on Losing Weight"
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: "Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Calorie counting made easy"