3 Tips for Reducing Your Waistline

Carrying extra pounds around your waist can be hard on your health. Here's how to reduce your risk.

Black man grocery shopping in produce section

Medically reviewed in February 2021

Updated on March 11, 2022

Carrying extra weight in your abdomen can raise your risks for diabetes, heart disease, and even some types of cancer. If you're looking to shed excess pounds from your waistline, though, it can be a challenge. Here are some of the reasons why.

  • You’re stressed. Stress hormones not only encourage your body to pack on more pounds in general, but also more belly fat in particular.
  • You’re getting older. With age, your hormones shift, and that can cause changes to the way your body stores excess energy in the form of fat.
  • You’re eating for speed. Packaged foods often contain too many simple carbs and excess sugars, neither of which are friends to your efforts at body shaping.

Three ways to get closer to your waistline goal
You can’t target one specific part of your body for shrinkage. To lose fat anywhere on your body, you’ll need to eat less and move more. Remember to be patient with yourself.

“This fat didn't come on overnight," says personal trainer Jeff Croswell, so it won't come off overnight, either.

Try these tips to speed your success:

  • Eat the right fats. Make sure your diet includes healthy monounsaturated fats, found in nuts, seeds, olives and olive oil, and avocados.
  • Watch your overall intake. It can be all too easy to take in more calories than you mean to. Watch portion sizes and steer clear of added sugars and empty calories.
  • Get more sleep. According to sleep expert Michael Breus, PhD, lack of sleep affects levels of several hormones that influence appetite. Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep a night.

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