Six easy ways to lose an inch from your waist – in a week

Six easy ways to lose an inch from your waist – in a week It would require a 4lb weight-loss for an average-sized person to lose an inch around the middle

The calorie maths tells us that for an average-sized person to lose an inch around the middle, it would require a 4lb weight-loss – the equivalent of around 14,000 calories, or thetotal weekly recommended calorie intake for a woman.

Clearly, we can’t achieve this through calorie cutting alone, as our circumference is affected by many factors other than just excess belly fat, such as bloating, water retention and lack of muscle tone.

So here are six easy ways to whittle down your waistline in just seven days.

1. Wring out any water retention

Symptoms including abdominal bloating or puffiness, swollen legs, ankles and feet, and stiff joints all point towards water retention. If you think this may be adding to your girth, there are plenty of natural ways to ease this.

In traditional Chinese and Indian medicine, green tea has long been used for its diuretic benefits. If you don’t like green tea, coffee has a similar effect, but you’ll need to drink several cups a day to see any benefit.

Another dietary adjustment would be to increase your intake of the minerals magnesium and potassium. Magnesium acts as an electrolyte to help regulate fluid balance, while potassium-rich foods can increase urine production and decrease sodium levels, thus reducing fluid retention.

One food that contains both is bananas, along with a bonus 3g of fibre. Have one for breakfast along with that green tea or coffee, and you’re well on your way to a better fluid balance.

2. Get the gut going

Constipation and sluggish digestion can distend the abdomen, so it’s important to eat plenty of foods containing insoluble fibre to keep things moving. Roughage, as it’s known, acts like a chimney sweep, moving through the gut removing old cells and debris and keeping bowel movements regular.

Insoluble fibre is found in wholegrains, nuts, beans and fruits and vegetables, particularly in the skins. Aim for at least 30g of daily fibre (both soluble and insoluble).

Here are the amounts of fibre, in grams, contained in some high-fibre foods.

The following list contains just under 40g in total.

  • 75g (uncooked weight) wholegrain pasta: 7.5g
  • 30g almonds: 3.5g
  • ½ can mixed beans: 8.5g
  • 50g raspberries: 4g
  • 1 pear: 6g
  • 1 medium potato with the skin: 5g
  • 1 large slice of wholegrain bread: 4g

3. “Wall” pilates can tone your abs

Forget old-fashioned sit-ups, Wallpilates is the latest TikTok craze to help you achieve a honed waistline and the only equipment needed is – you guessed it – a wall.

There are numerous ab-toning exercises, but the basic wall crunch involves lying on your back with your bottom as close to the wall as is comfortable, with your legs extended up the wall. Place your hands behind your head, lift your shoulders, squeeze your abs and hold for 1-2 seconds. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat. Complete two or three sets of 15-20 repetitions daily, depending on your fitness level. If you wish to expand your wall pilates repertoire, many free routines are available on YouTube.

4. Calorie restriction will help

Although not the whole story, restricting your energy intake for a week will certainly go some way to losing that inch. If you cut your intake by 500 calories each day, you should lose at least a pound over the course of a week. A simple way to do this is by skipping a meal; have a late breakfast around 11am, skip lunch and finish dinner by 7pm and you’ll also reap the health benefits of a 16-hour overnight fast.

If this is too restrictive, another tactic is to ditch calorific drinks. If you are starting the day with a juice or smoothie, having a couple of lattes, and finishing up with a glass of wine, you’ll easily be taking in 500 calories in liquid form. Stick to water and tea, or coffee with a splash of milk, and your waistband will respond.

5. Bust away stress

That churning feeling in the stomach can be the first warning that our stress levels are high. Prolonged stress impacts our digestive function in various ways, not least because elevated levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) negatively impact our gut microbiome, leading to bloating.

Physical activity – it doesn’t have to be anything too onerous – is the most effective stress reducer. A brisk 10-minute daily walk has been proven to improve mood, draw a line under the working day, and usher in a more relaxed evening. In addition, studies have shown that gentle exercise helps to prevent gas retention, as well as being beneficial for gut microbes.

To further enhance gut health, experts agree that increasing our intake of plant foods is the best way to increase our gut bacteria diversity. Aim to have at least three different plant foods every meal, and this includes not just fruit and veg, but also herbs and spices, nuts, seeds, wholegrains and legumes.

6. Debloat with kiwi

When it comes to individual foods that can help reduce bloating, kiwi fruit comes up trumps. A 2020 study found that eating two kiwi fruit a day could lead to lower water and gas retention in the intestines. Conversely, there are some foods that can contribute to bloating and flatulence, such as beans and lentils, cruciferous vegetables like Brussels sprout, cabbage and cauliflower, garlic, onions and fizzy drinks, so these are best avoided if you are suffering from bloating.

An interesting way to eat kiwi fruit is to try making a tangy salsa to go with grilled or baked fish. Roughly chop 2 peeled kiwi fruit, 1 peeled small red onion, 1 yellow pepper, 2 tomatoes, 1 garlic clove, a handful of coriander, and place in a food processor along with 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, the juice of a lime and a pinch of salt and black pepper. Pulse to a coarse, salsa-like consistency. Eat immediately.

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