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12 Ways to Lose Inches Off Your Waist

By Chrissy Arsenault, MBA, RDN, LD

Reviewed by Briana Rodriquez, RD


Updated: September 25, 2022


Dealing with that stubborn fat around your waist despite losing weight in other body parts? If so, how to lose inches off your waist may be something you’re wondering about!


Beyond the confidence boost, a smaller waist circumference is associated with a lower risk for chronic disease and metabolic syndrome.


While there is no surefire way to lose targeted fat around your waist (hint: doing crunches isn’t the magic solution), there are many strategies for lifestyle changes that can help you healthily lose weight and body fat. And when you lose weight, you’ll lose some inches off your waist.

So how fast can you lose inches off your waist?

There isn’t an overnight solution when it comes to losing weight off your waist.  


Give yourself at least a couple of weeks to start making small changes to your lifestyle and be patient. All your hard work will pay off!

12 tips on how to lose inches off your waist

1.  Follow a healthy diet

Eating balanced, nutrient-rich meals has benefits beyond inches off your waist. An easy way to start eating healthy meals is to make half your plate non-starchy veggies, then fill up the remainder with lean proteins and whole grains. And don’t forget to eat healthy snacks in between your meals such as a piece of fruit, unsalted nuts or nonfat Greek yogurt.


Not sure where to start? Consider intermittent fasting  one study found that an intermittent fasting eating pattern may help reduce waist circumference in just three months.1 You can also consider starting a 30-day meal plan for weight loss so that you can make it easier to make and eat meals that will aid your weight loss journey.


Jenny Craig’s newest and most effective program ever  Max Up  follows an intermittent fasting pattern. Max Up can help you lose up to 18 pounds and 5 inches off your waist in your first 4 weeks.*

* Average weight loss on the Max Up program in a study was 15 pounds in the first four weeks and 1-2 pounds per week thereafter.


2. Eat more fiber

Constipation is a common medical issue that also prevents people from reducing their waist size. Eating foods that contain more fiber can help you maintain regularity!


Soluble fiber absorbs water and bulks up your stool  which makes you feel fuller for longer.2 Insoluble fiber comes from fibrous foods like fruits and veggies  which make you feel like you’ve eaten a lot of food despite being fewer calories. Both types of fiber can help with weight loss by helping you feel fuller for longer and less hungry.3

3. Cut back on your calorie intake

Reducing your calorie intake helps contribute to losing body fat, which is likely to be accompanied by a reduction in your waist size. To lose one pound, you would need a 3500-calorie deficit over time.


This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to cut back on the foods you love. Make small changes daily like replacing that chocolate chip cookie with a piece of fruit – small changes all add up over time!


Reclaim a healthier, happier you.

4. Drink more water

Water helps you stay full and supports regularity! Aim for at least eight, 8-ounce glasses of water per day to stay hydrated. Learn how much water you should drink to lose weight.

5. Limit sugary foods & drinks

Refined carbs with lots of added sugar may contribute to belly fat while fruits, lean proteins and veggies may help with how to lose inches off your waist.4


For healthier options, check out these stomach fat-burning foods.

6.  Cut back on sugar-filled bubbly drinks

Carbonated beverages can be part of a balanced diet, as long as they are sugar-free.


However, if you’re wondering how to reduce your abdominal fat and waist size, these sugar-filled fizzy beverages won’t help. Not only can soda and sugary bubbly beverages be filled with empty calories, but they also contain carbon dioxide infused with water, that same gassiness may make your stomach look bigger due to bloating! Choose unsweetened tea or fruit-infused water instead.

7. Lift weights

Contrary to popular belief, strength training won’t make you look ‘bulky.’ Rather than doing hundreds of crunches and sit-ups, try incorporating more compound exercises like squats, deadlifts and bench presses that require  abdominal muscles and enlist other muscle groups.


To get started, try doing some body weight compound movements at home. As you build up strength, you’ll be able to do movements with heavier dumbbells, kettlebells, and barbells.


8. Break a sweat

Current guidelines recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week.5 According to the ‘talk test,’ moderate intensity means that you should be slightly out of breath and only be able to state a couple of words.


Regular aerobic exercise including walking, swimming and cycling can help you burn some extra calories and help you feel better. Walking up and down the stairs, parking a little farther away from the grocery store and taking your dog for a stroll all count!

9. Manage your stress levels

When you experience chronic stress, your body releases higher levels of the ‘stress hormone’ — cortisol. One study found that overweight and slender women who had more stored fat around their belly secreted higher levels of cortisol than women who stored weight around their hips. The hormone has been linked to storing more visceral fat (also known as belly fat) around the mid-section of the body.6,7


Look for a relaxing activity that helps you cope with stress and reduce potential weight gain. Some ideas include deep breathing, meditation, practicing mindfulness, yoga, reading a book and stretching.

10.  Hit the snooze button

Getting enough is so underrated! If you don’t get enough sleep, your body will produce more cortisol, which then may prevent you from losing weight around your waist.8


Sleep needs vary from individual to individual. In general, aim for seven to nine hours of sleep every night so that you can wake up restored and refreshed.


Check out these 10 sleep hygiene tips to help you get more rest tonight.

11.  Track your measurements

If you’re looking to lose or manage your weight, you may not see immediate changes on the scale. But you’ll see changes in your waist size over time. People who track their progress typically see more success than those who don’t.


Use a measuring tape to check the inches on your chest, waist, arms, thighs and hips. Incorporating strength training may even mean that you may gain weight, but your waist size may be smaller.


Learn how to track your measurements with a weight loss tracker. Or, if you’re not a big fan of measurements, you can try using your favorite pair of jeans as a barometer — those jeans may feel looser as you lose inches off your waist!

12.  Set a goal and make a plan

Plan and visualize your success. Think about how much more confident you’ll feel as a result of the healthy lifestyle changes you make in addition to learning how to lose weight around your waist.


For example, a common goal could include a plan on how to reduce waist size from 36 to 32 inches. To achieve that, you’d want to monitor your diet, activity levels and lifestyle over the next couple of weeks.

The bottom line

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to losing weight around your waist or how long it can take to lose an inch off your waist. However, with changes to your diet and lifestyle, you can achieve a trimmer waistline this summer! Learn more about our weight loss success stories!


Ready to make a healthy change? Jenny can help. Start our most effective plan ever and you can lose up to 18 pounds and 5 inches off your waist in your first 4 weeks!*


*First 4 weeks only. Average weight loss in a study was 15 pounds and average waist size reduction was 3 inches for those who completed the program.



[1] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31766465/

[2] https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/fiber/art-20043983

[3] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11396693/

[4] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17023705/

[5] https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/physical_activity/index.html

[6] https://news.yale.edu/2000/09/22/study-stress-may-cause-excess-abdominal-fat-otherwise-slender-women

[7] https://journals.lww.com/psychosomaticmedicine/Abstract/2000/09000/Stress_and_Body_Shape__Stress_Induced_Cortisol.5.aspx

[8] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4688585/



This article is based on scientific research and/or other scientific articles and was written by an experienced health and lifestyle contributor and reviewed by certified professionals. 
Our goal at Jenny Craig is to provide the most up-to-date and objective information on health-related topics, so our readers can make informed decisions based on factual content. All articles undergo an extensive review process, and depending on the topic, are reviewed by a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) or Nutritionist, to ensure accuracy. 

This article contains trusted sources including scientific, peer-reviewed papers. All references are hyperlinked at the end of the article to take readers directly to the source.


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Chrissy Arsenault, MBA, RDN, LD

By Chrissy Arsenault, MBA, RDN, LD

Chrissy Arsenault is an Indianapolis-based Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Licensed Dietitian, and writer with over seven years of experience in health and wellness. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University and a Master of Business Administration from Indiana University. Chrissy is passionate about creating engaging nutrition content and believes all foods fit! In her spare time, she enjoys international travel, competitive powerlifting, reading, and hanging out with her husband and pups.


Favorite healthy snack: eggs and avocado on a bagel, with everything bagel seasoning
Briana Rodriquez, RD

Reviewed by Briana Rodriquez, RD

Briana is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Personal Trainer for Jenny Craig, based in Carlsbad, California. She is passionate about utilizing food as functional and preventative medicine. Guided by a simplistic and optimistic approach, Briana’s philosophy is to help people improve their health and achieve their goals through the development of sustainable habits to live a healthy life. In her free time, you can find her strength training, indoor cycling, coffee tasting, and at local eateries with her husband and two dogs.

Favorite healthy snack: peanut butter with celery alongside a grapefruit-flavored sparkling water (so refreshing!)


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