Fat isn’t the only cause of an expanding waistline. If you want a smaller waist but don’t need or want to lose body fat, there are other ways to trim inches. The key is understanding and addressing the non-fat causes of unwanted girth, such as bloating, poor posture and weak abdominal muscles.
Shut off the Gas Line
A common complaint, bloating is caused by gas buildup in the stomach. It can give you a feeling of abdominal pressure and cause the stomach to bulge outward. The main cause of bloating is indigestion; however, other causes include dairy intolerance, carbonated drinks, high fiber foods and chewing gum, which causes you to gulp air. Smoking can also be a cause of stomach gas, as well as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), a chronic inflammation of the digestive tract -- in fact, bloating affects about 90 percent of people with IBS.
Then there’s chronic constipation, a problem for as much as 25 percent of the U.S. population, though women are more likely to be affected than men. Constipation can cause the stomach to distend. Laxatives can be a short-term solution, but fiber supplements that keep you regular by bulking up the stool are a healthier alternative. Psyllium fiber is the most common bulking agent found in over-the-counter fiber supplements, such as Metamucil, and has been shown to speed up and improve the elimination process. Even more effective is increasing the amount of whole grains, vegetables and fruits that you eat.
Strengthen Your Core
If you’re not overweight but your waist is wide, you may need to develop your muscles around the core. These are the muscles that stretch from rib cage to the hips, supporting the lower back, pelvis and abdomen. Strengthening these muscles may well tighten your waistline, but the benefits of doing this go beyond looking better. Core muscles are the foundation for balance, posture and a steady gait. A strong core also protects you against injuries to the lower back.