A trim midsection goes beyond making you look good. While fat bellies and a fuller figure may have been considered a sign of prosperity, that’s no longer the case now. So, how can you go about to get a smaller waist?
While larger waistlines may mean more body weight, instead of worrying about how much weight you carry. Therefore, you should be concerned about where you carry your excess body fat.
Here’s What Your Waistline Tells You About Belly Fat
Your waist measurements can be a good yardstick for determining if you are in danger of carrying excess fat in the mid-section. From time to time, most of us accumulate extra body fat. As a result, you might carry that extra fat in your thighs, arms, or buttocks. But if that extra fat piles up around your midsection, you could be in trouble.
Medical practitioners observe that in general, women with waists measuring 35 inches or more could be too much weight in the mid-section. Comparatively, waist sizes in excess of 40 inches, are the tell-tale signs of excess fat in the mid-section for men.
4 Reasons that could be causing your waistline to expand
In addition to inherent causes such as genetics causing fat to pool around the mid-section, there are multiple factors that can contribute to stubborn abdominal fat.
Many people consume more added sugar and fat daily without realizing it. For example, common foods in the diet that can be high in added sugar and trans-fat could include baked goods and packaged food. Even daily must-have beverages such as sodas and specialty coffees could be hiding large amounts of sugar.
Drinking your calories — particularly from sugar-sweetened beverages — can lead to a temporary spike in blood sugar followed by a crash, leading to you feeling hungry quickly and needing to drink or eat soon again1.
A sedentary lifestyle coupled with little exercise is one of the biggest factors that contribute to weight gain. Bacause it involves prolonged sitting throughout the day (e.g., watching TV, sitting at a work desk, long commutes, playing video games, etc.).
Even if a person is physically active, meaning they engage in physical labor or exercise, prolonged sitting may increase the risk of negative health events and weight gain2. Studies have shown that both physical inactivity and sedentary lifestyle have been associated with a direct increase in both visceral and subcutaneous abdominal fat3.
Alcohol can have both beneficial and harmful effects on the body. While studies have shown that when consumed in moderate amounts, especially red wine, it is associated with a lower risk of heart disease4. However, a high intake of alcohol could lead to many potential health risks, which include excess weight gain5. A recent review of 127 studies has also found a significant dose-dependent relationship between alcohol consumption and abdominal fat storage6.
Stress and sleep deficit
People unconsciously turn to food as a stressbuster. When hit by stress over prolonged periods, the body produces a hormone called cortisol because it helps the body respond to a physical or psychological threat or stressor. Consequentlt, these stressors increase the risk of negative health events such as increased appetite. Hence, leads to overconsumption of foods high in fat and sugar, physical inactivity as well as poor sleep.
There are also many potential causes of weight gain that come with inadequate sleep, which include increased food intake to compensate for the lack of energy, changes in hunger hormones, inflammation as well as a lack of physical activity due to fatigue7.
How to Reduce Your Waistline
Knowing you need to reduce your waist circumference is a lot easier than actually doing it. There are several effective ways to address the problem of an expanding waistline. To have your best chance at trimming that waistline, here’s some tips that you could integrate into your daily routine:
Eat what your love, but in moderation
While all foods and drinks can be enjoyed in moderation, it’s best to limit sugar-sweetened foods and beverages to more special occasions. As mentioned, there are high amounts of sugar and trans fats lurking in processed foods, therefore, try incorporating more fresh ingredients into your diet.
Foods like fresh vegetables, fruits, meat protein not only ensure a nutrient-dense diet, it also does away with additional additives. That said, we need not cut out foods that don’t fall under the ‘fresh’ category – when unsure, simply check the nutrition label on the packaging.
Sleep like a baby
Getting adequate, quality sleep is an important part of a healthy weight loss plan. Try keeping a regular sleep schedule – big swings in your sleep schedule or attempting to ‘pay off sleep debt’ after a whole week of late nights and cause changes in metabolism8.
Exposure to light while sleeping also affects the quality of sleep, therefore try to sleep in a dark room. Lastly, avoid eating right before bed. Studies have shown that eating a meal too close to bedtime may actually harm your sleep, especially if it’s a large amount of food. As eating prompts the release of insulin, this process can shift the circadian rhythm or your body’s sleep-wake cycle9.
Out with the stress
While we can’t change the body’s natural response to stress, what we can do is learn to manage our stress. Instead of eating your feelings away, try using alternative methods that can help relax the mind through meditation, yoga, sports, or even playing a video game – anything that helps take your mind off things temporarily.
In addition to a healthy lifestyle, non-invasive fat reduction treatments are also an ideal option that could effectively target and trim the stubborn fat in the waistline. These non-surgical procedures remove stubborn fat deposits that are resistant to diets and workouts.
The most popular procedures include laser lipolysis which uses targeted heat energy to bust the fat cells. Cryolipolysis is also a popular procedure where sub-zero temperatures are targeted at the stubborn fat cells which causes them to freeze which is then eliminated from the body.
Trimming that Mid Section is Easy, Here’s How to Get a Smaller Waist
Reducing your waistline is not an impossible feat. With the right lifestyle changes, it is possible to reduce the fat pockets. Some also tend to take better care of themselves after their non-surgical fat removal treatments, almost giving them extra motivation to take on a healthier lifestyle.
1. Appelhans, B. M., Bleil, M. E., Waring, M. E., Schneider, K. L., Nackers, L. M., Busch, A. M., Whited, M. C., & Pagoto, S. L. (2013). Beverages contribute extra calories to meals and daily energy intake in overweight and obese women. Physiology & behavior, 122, 129–133. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.physbeh.2013.09.004 2. Fazzino, T. L., Fleming, K., Sher, K. J., Sullivan, D. K., & Befort, C. (2017). Heavy Drinking in Young Adulthood Increases Risk of Transitioning to Obesity. American journal of preventive medicine, 53(2), 169–175. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2017.02.007 3. Golzarand, M., Salari-Moghaddam, A., & Mirmiran, P. (2021). Association between alcohol intake and overweight and obesity: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of 127 observational studies. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition, 1–21. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1080/10408398.2021.1925221 4. Panahi, S., & Tremblay, A. (2018). Sedentariness and Health: Is Sedentary Behavior More Than Just Physical Inactivity?. Frontiers in public health, 6, 258. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2018.00258 5.Depner, C. M., Melanson, E. L., Eckel, R. H., Snell-Bergeon, J. K., Perreault, L., Bergman, B. C., Higgins, J. A., Guerin, M. K., Stothard, E. R., Morton, S. J., & Wright, K. P., Jr (2019). Ad libitum Weekend Recovery Sleep Fails to Prevent Metabolic Dysregulation during a Repeating Pattern of Insufficient Sleep and Weekend Recovery Sleep. Current biology : CB, 29(6), 957–967.e4. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2019.01.069 6.Golzarand, M., Salari-Moghaddam, A., & Mirmiran, P. (2021). Association between alcohol intake and overweight and obesity: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of 127 observational studies. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition, 1–21. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1080/10408398.2021.1925221 7. Whitaker, K. M., Pereira, M. A., Jacobs, D. R., Jr, Sidney, S., & Odegaard, A. O. (2017). Sedentary Behavior, Physical Activity, and Abdominal Adipose Tissue Deposition. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 49(3), 450–458. https://doi.org/10.1249/MSS.0000000000001112 8.Branson Peters, MD. How Circadian Rhythms Impact Sleep. The Sleep-Wake Cycle and Its Role in Health (2020) https://www.verywellhealth.com/the-science-of-circadian-rhythms-3014832