While you may be interested in a quick drop in waist size, you’re likely to see more permanent changes by taking the time to lose fat gradually with healthy eating and regular exercise. Depending on the designer, a 24-inch waistline equates to a size 0 dress size or extra small or small in women’s clothing. While those with naturally petite frames may be able to achieve this size, focusing on lowering your body fat through healthy means to achieve an optimal waistline for you is more beneficial and realistic than being fixated on reaching a specific waist size.
To lower your body fat percentage and decrease your waistline, you need to change your daily habits so that you’re burning a greater number of calories than you’re consuming. This makes your body break down excess fat to use as fuel. Each 3,500 caloric deficit you create means one pound of fat loss. The fat will primarily come off from the area where your body has a tendency to burn fat first. Regardless of whether you burn fat first at your waist, with overall fat loss, you will at least see incremental decreases in your waist size. To decrease your daily caloric intake, make healthy eating decisions. To increase the number of calories you burn every day, incorporate regular bouts of cardio and resistance training into your schedule.
By consuming primarily healthy foods, you provide your body with the nutrients it needs while also limiting your calorie intake. According to osteopathic physician Dr. Craig M. Wax, replacing fatty and simple carbohydrate foods, like sugars and simple starches, with complex carbohydrates and foods high in fiber, like wheat bread, bran cereal, brown rice and oatmeal, you can make a significant impact on your fat loss efforts. In addition to complex carbohydrates, the American Council on Exercise recommends building meals around fruits, vegetables and non-fat or low-far dairy products. The health organization also notes that you can decrease your calorie intake by reducing each meal portion size by 10 to 15 percent and avoiding alcoholic beverages.
Cardio and Resistance Training
Adding in regular cardio workouts can make a big impact on how many calories you burn and help you create that caloric deficit that you need to lower your body fat. Exercises like walking, jogging, biking, swimming and riding an elliptical machine burn a high number of calories in a relatively short amount of time. Get in at least 30 minutes every day. Strength training can further your fat loss goals and help you become leaner. Fit in two full-body strength training workouts per week and perform two sets of 12 to 15 reps of each exercise.
Although you can’t target fat loss at specific areas of your body, you can build muscular tone in your abdominals and torso that will become visible once you lose excess fat around the tummy. While this increase in muscle may add to your waistline, it will provide you with a healthy appearance. Add in two to three sets of 20 to 30 reps of bicycle crunches, planks and leg lifts into your strength training workouts to work your abs and obliques.
Monitoring Your Waist
As your body fat percentage decreases, you’ll notice yourself getting slimmer throughout your entire body, including your waist. You can regularly measure your waistline to monitor your progress. Use a vinyl tape measure so that it wraps snugly against your waist. Start at one hip bone and wrap the tape straight around your waist so that it’s level with your belly button. Don’t wrap it too tight or hold your breath while measuring. Keep track of your progress in a journal to help you remain motivated and accountable to your healthy eating and exercise regimen.