3 ways to lose belly weight.

Trim your middle with these body and mind strategies.

Trying to downsize your belly? There are no magic bullets. But a few tried-and-true basics may help you whittle your waistline.

You don’t need special fitness gear or fad diets or formulas. Small and steady changes to your everyday routine might help you trim down — and stay that way.

1. Make your move.

When it comes to exercise, think whole-body. Targeted muscle moves — such as crunches — help tone abdominal muscles. But they alone won’t crush belly fat. Along with resistance training, you need regular aerobic exercise to do that.*

Find ways to fit more fitness into your day:

  • Book yourself. Schedule workouts like meetings or other appointments. Or set your alarm early — and exercise before the day gets away from you.
  • Grab every opportunity. See those stairs? They’re calling you. How about parking the car — or jumping off the bus — farther from your destination and walking some extra blocks?
  • Squeeze in mini 10-minute workouts. Try shorter bursts of exercise, such as a few brisk walks scattered throughout the day. Watching TV? Do jumping jacks or march in place. Dance party, anyone?

2. Tweak your eating habits.

For a healthy waistline, you need to rein in overeating too. Take in fewer calories with small, doable changes:

  • Trick your eyes. Eat from smaller plates so modest portions look more generous. And fill most of your plate with fiber-rich veggies, fruits and whole grains.
  • Take the edge off hunger. Beginning meals with a clear soup or green salad may help you feel full and eat less.
  • Eat slowly — and savor. It takes 15 minutes or more from the time you start eating for your brain to get the signal that you’re full.1 And make eating the main event. If you eat while browsing the internet or watching TV, you’re more likely to munch mindlessly.

3. Take a bite out of stress.

When we’re chronically stressed, our bodies release hormones that may add to belly fat. And if you’re flustered and frustrated, it might also make it harder to stick to your good eating habits. Find healthier ways to help ease stress:

  • Move away from it. Exercise is a great stress reliever. So when you get up and go with that first belly-busting strategy, you help tackle this third category too.
  • Let it go. Try not to dwell on things you can’t control. If you’re struggling with that, turn to a trusted friend for support and to talk it through.
  • Practice peace — and gratitude. Do at least 1 positive thing every day that soothes you. Walk in nature. Sit quietly. Write in a journal. And remind yourself of things you’re grateful for. 

What to do next

Know your BMI. Your body mass index (BMI) uses your height and weight to estimate your body fat. A BMI of 25 or more may mean you’re at greater risk of serious health problems.

Calculate your BMI — and then talk with your doctor about your number.

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Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

*For safety’s sake, talk with your doctor before significantly increasing your activity level.

1National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute