The Best Ways to Improve a Petite Body

If you are a petite woman —standing at 5 feet 4 inches or shorter — you have probably experienced weight-loss frustration at some point. While the basic principles of weight loss and fitness remain the same for women of all sizes, petite women face additional challenges because of their small stature. By incorporating a few size-specific tips into your diet and fitness routine, you can be on your way to a better body.

Focus on Strength Training

According to Jim Karas, author of “The Petite Advantage Diet,” petite women should limit aerobic exercise, opting instead for strength training. Karas explains that aerobic exercise increases appetite, which can cause petite women to overindulge following their workout, resulting in weight gain instead of weight loss. An interval-based strength training program that improves posture, targets core muscles and has the same calorie expenditure as aerobic exercise is recommended by Karas for maximum impact. If you don’t have access to a gym, pushups and squats are effective exercises for petite women that target muscles in both the upper and lower body.

Limit "Good" Fats

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Karas explains that many women overindulge in healthy foods, including olive oil and avocados. While these foods can be part of a healthy diet, they have a high calorie content, which can be counterproductive to weight loss. Instead, Karas recommends lean protein sources and vegetables that contain high amounts of water and fiber to promote satiety.

Change Up Your Portions

Research supports the claim that women who eat breakfast weigh less. To reap the most benefits, Karas recommends eating a 300- to 400-calorie breakfast that contains plenty of protein and fiber. Balance your daily calorie consumption by eating a smaller lunch. Karas says calorie cycling, which involves eating 1,100 calories for two days and 1,600 calories every third day, is an efficient way for petite women to keep overall calorie consumption low while preventing the pitfalls of low metabolic activity, which can occur when calories are restricted.

Prevent Hormone Spikes

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When you feel stressed, you might experience a surge in appetite that occurs due to hormonal changes. For petite women, these hormonal shifts can have a more detrimental effect on weight. Karas advises getting seven to eight hours of sleep at night and performing 10 minutes of deep-breathing exercises each day to help keep stress hormones at bay.