The quest for a slimmer waistline sometimes feels like wandering through a maze without a map. And with all the conflicting information online, navigating your way to a toned midsection can be downright confusing. But don’t get discouraged. We have some excellent news: You don’t need to go keto, paleo, vegan, vegetarian, carnivore, or whatever the latest fad diet is to lose weight. Instead, you can build healthy lifestyle habits that contribute to long-term weight loss. And the best part? These habits will set you well on your way to achieving your weight loss goals within 30 days. To find out the best habits to slim down a thick waist in 30 days, we spoke with Gianna Masi, CPT, RDN, a certified personal trainer and registered dietitian with Barbend.
While we won’t promise miracle transformations—because let’s be real: Every body is different—the habits covered here can certainly set you on the right path. You’ve likely heard of some of these, while others might be a fresh perspective. But they all have one goal in mind: slimming down your waistline. Keep reading to learn more, then check out these 5 Standing Exercises To Shrink Your ‘Armpit Pooch’ For Good.
NEAT stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. It’s basically a fancy way to describe all the calories you burn doing non-exercise activities, like walking around the office or tidying up your home. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), increasing your NEAT daily supports healthy weight management and can help prevent obesity.
“Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis is the movement we have in a day outside of structured workouts. Our total movement throughout the day makes up our total daily energy expenditure. Plan to go for walks or move around the house outside your structured workouts during the day,” says Masi.
Protein is often touted for its weight loss benefits, and for good reason. Not only does this macronutrient help keep you full, but it’s also crucial for muscle repair and growth—especially if you’re incorporating strength training. Research shows that eating more protein helps reduce body weight while preserving lean body mass. Choose lean protein sources like chicken, fish, and plant-based proteins.
“The recommended range may go up or down depending on your goals and how much protein you already eat. A good starting point for a healthy adult is 0.7 to 1 gram times their body weight to get a daily total,” says Masi.
No, lifting weights won’t make you bulky; it’ll make you toned and trim. Building up your supply of lean muscle is a key part of weight loss, as muscle torches a greater amount of calories than fat, even when your body’s resting. Plus, core-focused strength exercises can help sculpt that waist area.
Masi says, “Muscle mass allows you to eat more food, regulate blood sugar better, and feel stronger. Try to get a minimum of two to three days of resistance training per week.”
Veggies are a must if you want a thinner waistline. Packed with fiber, they help you feel full, regulate blood sugar, and keep those pesky sugar cravings at bay. And with so few calories, you can eat them in abundance. “Vegetables provide healthy micronutrients and high-value fiber to keep you full and regular,” states Masi.
Sweet, juicy, and delicious, fruits are nature’s dessert. They offer the sweetness you might crave with the added benefits of fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. Plus, fruit can curb cravings while helping you stay on track toward your weight loss goals. Research published in Nutrients found that eating fruit is associated with a 12% lower risk of abdominal obesity.
“Some people shy away from fruits, but they’re beneficial to your overall weight and well-being,” says Masi. “Fruits are high in fiber, water, and valuable antioxidants and nutrients your body needs.”
Research shows that screens emit blue light, which can mess with your melatonin (sleep hormone) production. A good night’s rest is crucial for weight management, as sleep helps regulate appetite hormones. Plus, quality sleep has been associated with increased fat loss.
Masi tells us, “While getting extra hours of sleep isn’t easy, control what you can control by shutting down your screens a half hour before bed. More sleep helps better satiation signals and will give you more energy.”
We all enjoy the occasional wine-down, but alcohol can be sneaky with its calorie content. It can also increase appetite and decrease inhibitions, making you more likely to choose unhealthy foods. Enjoy alcohol in moderation to help keep your waistline in check.
“Not only does alcohol directly impact your waist with empty calories, it also disrupts sleep and recovery,” says Masi. “Try a lighter version, reducing your consumption, or a mocktail, which is becoming increasingly mainstream and popular.”