Lose inches off your waist

Woman measuring waist with tape measure

Struggling to do up your jeans, or feel your skirt getting tighter? You’re not alone. According to the latest National Diet and Nutrition Survey, almost half of all women have a waist measurement that’s far too big. Carrying too much fat increases the risk of health problems, including type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease. Scientists have recently discovered that women with the highest waist measurements were almost twice as likely to have a fatal heart attack or die from cancer as those with the trimmest waists.

Combining our healthy-eating plan with belly-blasting activity will help you lose fat from all over your body, but proportionally more from your midriff. Start today and you can expect to lose 2in from your waist in just four weeks – time to search for a belt to hold up your jeans – or, better still, buy a pair in a smaller size!

The good news

Our bodies find it easier to burn fat from our tummies than our hips and thighs when we cut calories, reveals Dr Marie Savard, women’s health expert and author of 'Apples and Pears' (Vermilion, £10.99). ‘When women of any shape lose weight, the fat from the middle is the first to go,’ she says.

Do you need to beat the belly bulge?

To make sure you’re measuring your waist at the right spot, feel for your hip bone on one side, then move upwards until you can feel the bone of your bottom rib. Your waist is halfway between these two points – usually where your tummy button is. Ideally, your waist measurement should be below 32in (80cm).

How to follow the whittle-your-waist diet plan

● Every day, choose one breakfast, one lunch, one dinner and one snack from the choices given. It’s fine to swap meals around from the different weeks, just vary your meals to ensure a range of nutrients. Veggie choices are marked with a V.
● If you prefer to grab breakfast on the go, buy your lunch, want a more indulgent snack or don’t have time to cook and want a ready-meal, just stick with the following calorie count for that meal – breakfast: 250 calories; lunch: 350 calories; dinner: 450 calories and snack: 150 calories. Most ready-prepared meals and snacks provide calorie information.
● As well as your meals and snack, have 300ml/1⁄2pt skimmed milk each day to boost intake of bone-building calcium. Use it in hot drinks or blend with fruit from the plan.
● Add extra salad or veg to meals if you want it – it’s fine to toss salads with fat-free dressing or simply drizzle with balsamic vinegar.
● Build activity into your life – walk more, sit less and use stairs rather than lifts or escalators. The more calories you burn, the more fat you’ll lose.  
● Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated - you'll need to drink more when you're exercising.
● For maximum weight-loss benefits, build up to doing 150 minutes of intense aerobic activity, such as jogging, fast swimming or cycling, dancing or aerobics classes each week – that’s just 22 minutes a day, or 30 minutes five times a week.

Follow these simple diets for four weeks

Click on the links below for our weekly waist-crunching diet plans...
Week one
Week two
Week three
Week four

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