How To Get A Smaller Waist | Best Foods + Exercises

Fitness, Training Advice, Training Tips

By: Chris Freytag, CPT // November 14, 2022

Wondering how to get a smaller waist? Or if it’s even possible? The answer is yes, you can—but it requires more than just diet pills or tummy shapers. Achieving a smaller waist is done through diet and exercise changes, which this article outlines.  Below are the best foods to eat and exercise that will help you reach your goals! 

These steps can help you lose belly fat and shrink your waistline, but since everyone is shaped a little differently, completely changing the ratio of your waist to the rest of your body is most likely not going to happen.

Let’s look at the real, scientific way to shed body fat and tone your waist, using two things your body was designed to do: eat and move.

How To Get a Smaller Waist With Food

What you choose to eat will make more of a difference in how your belly looks than anything else. It’s imperative that you are eating healthy, well-balanced meals that nourish your body without leaving junk behind that gets stored as excess fat in your belly! And while that concept seems fairly simple, we all know it’s definitely not easy.

Bad habits can creep in and eating food without thinking about the consequences is all too common. Here are some tips that might help you adjust to a new, healthier way of eating:

1. Plan Ahead For The Week

A big part of making poor eating choices is that you get hungry and simply eat what is easiest to grab. Of course, the easiest thing is often fast food. So take an hour on Saturday or Sunday and do a few simple things:

  • Bake or grill a few chicken breasts
  • Hard boil a dozen eggs
  • Buy a few cartons of Greek yogurt
  • Wash and chop your favorite fruits and veggies and get them into baggies for grab on the go.
  • If you like to cook, make a big pot of healthy chili or soup and divide it into containers for the freezer.

Anything you can do to prepare in advance is going to reward you with results. Spending a few hours on the weekend to plan for the week ahead can transform mealtime from stressful and fattening to simple and healthy.

Related: 8 Meal Prepping Tips For Beginners

2. Eat In Balance

Protein, carbs, and healthy fats go together in meals for a reason: to keep you balanced and satisfied. Try to eat them together every time you eat. If you are grabbing an apple for a snack, it might surprise you to know that pairing it with a tablespoon of peanut butter is BETTER.

By balancing the nutrients, you might take in more calories initially, but you end up eating less in the long run and your blood sugar will stay in balance, staving off cravings for the bad stuff.

This means you eat the good calories that get used up rather than stored in your belly. So what does well-balanced and simple look like?

  • Piece of whole-grain toast with peanut butter and ½ a banana.
  • Protein shake with fruit or veggie mix-in
  • Veggie sticks and hummus.
  • Full-fat Greek yogurt with berries
  • Try our Muffin in a Minute (it’s not what you think!)

None of these are complicated and each of them will satisfy your tummy for several hours.

3. Turn Down Unexpected Treats

We are often guilted into eating things that others offer us. It is just fine to splurge every so often and enjoy a treat.

I bet if you added up the free doughnuts at the office, slices of co-worker birthday cake, or oversized samples at the big-box store, you’d be surprised at how often it occurs. Oh, and don’t forget all the sips and bites you take from your kid’s plate.

Be intentional about what you eat and, if needed, keep track for a week and write it all down as you take it in. This will give you a reality check.

4. Crash Diets Are Not Your Friend

Restrictive meals and diets can cause your metabolic rate to drop. Evidence shows how hard it is for adaptive thermogenesis to begin the more you cut down calorie intake. In reality, a tightly restrictive diet can be counterproductive.

Wondering how do you identify a crash diet? Any protocol requires you to cut out a whole food group (also known as a macronutrient) or exercise excessively. We always advocate balance.

5. Eat Bloat-Blasting Foods

No one feels like their waist is trim and slim if they’re bloated. We recommend you add debloat foods to your diet. Add lots of leafy greens which are high in magnesium along with micro-nutrients for digestion. Avoid baked or processed foods. If it is salty food, definitely stay away if you want a flat tummy tomorrow. Here’s our list of debloat foods for some ideas.

6. Make Peace With Slow Steady Progress

Losing weight quickly is actually not what you should focus on. Working toward a safe rate of weight loss of 1 to 2 lbs per week will be much more likely to result in a permanent loss.

To make peace with slow weight loss, focus on small wins instead. Instead of “I must lose x lbs to achieve this bodyweight”, reset it to, “this week I’m going to walk 5 times and plan my meals every day” More tangible. Going too hard too quickly could result in burnout. You want your lifestyle adjustments to stick and your slim waist to stick around too!

How To Get Smaller Waist Through Exercise

Woman whittling her waist line

Want to get a smaller waist? You need to move more your body, period. We’ve become a sedentary society and frankly, that’s the opposite of healthy. Exercise has become a chore rather than a part of everyday life.

When you think of belly fat your mind might picture doing a load of crunches and planks. And while strengthening your abdominal muscles is important, there’s more to it than that. Let’s take a look.

1. Find A Form Of Cardio For Weight Loss

If you’re going to take off unwanted fat on your waist, calorie-burning cardio exercise is going to be your friend. But when you decide to get your move on, choose something you like to do. Too often we look at exercise as a punishment rather than another part of our daily routine. Our minds are a bit limited in what we view as calorie-burning cardio.

For example, there is absolutely no reason you should force yourself to become a runner if you hate running. Think of all the options to move your body: walking, volleyball, dancing, boxing, fitness classes, bicycling, swimming, kayaking, snowshoeing, paddleboarding. The list goes on.

Find things you actually enjoy and make sure to include them in your weekly plan for moving. Aim to get a cardio workout 4-5 days a week.

2. Try High-Intensity Interval Training

 If you want that weight to come off quicker, try swapping in a HIIT workout, Tabata training, or another form of interval training twice a week. Intervals help you work harder, not longer, and make your body burn more calories, even after you’re done. This will shed the pounds faster, guaranteed.

3. Lift Weights for a Slim Waist

Okay, so here’s one that you should do even if you don’t like it. Why? Strength training matters. Muscle is active tissue, meaning it burns calories even when you are sitting around. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn at rest, meaning the better your metabolism works.

The good news is that, much like cardio, strength training comes in many forms. Lifting weights in the gym is one way. So is using resistance bands, medicine balls, or even your own body weight. Find what works for you and incorporate strength work into your routine 2-3 times per week.

3. Work Your Core

We are talking about getting a thinner waist, aren’t we? So once you are eating well and moving more—which will take off the layer of fat covering your middle—it’s important to strengthen and tighten what’s underneath. Choosing specific moves that work your transverse abdominous, obliques, and rectus abdominus are all part of the picture. Try our GetHealthyU TV video Core Blast Pilates for a guided core workout you can do at home!

How to Get a Smaller Waist: The Best Exercises Routine

Designed by trainer Chris Freytag, here are 7 great exercises that target your core and help you flatten your stomach. Combined with cardio and clean eating, this small waist workout will help whittle your waist—no diet pills or waist trainers are needed.

Perform 8-10 repetitions of each move below, except the Pilates 100, which you perform for a count of 100.

Pilates 100

Click to learn how to do the Pilates 100. 

Oblique Crunch 

Do oblique crunches to work your waistline.

Click to learn how to do oblique crunches. 

Bend Extend Ab Tuck

Click to learn how to do the Bend Extend Ab Tuck. 

Side Plank Scoop

Perform a side plank scoop to whittle your middle.

Click to learn how to do a side plank scoop

Double Leg Stretch   

Click to learn how to do the double leg stretch

Side Plank 

Click to learn how to do a side plank


Click to learn how to do the bicycle exercise



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