How to get a slim waist: top tips for toning your stomach

The lowdown on how to get a slim waist from nutritionists and personal trainers

How to get a slim waist
(Image credit: Getty Images)

On a quest to learn how to get a slim waist? A flat stomach is high on many people’s agendas, but it can be difficult to know exactly where to begin. Slimming down is a process that takes hard work, and should be carried out in a healthy and sustainable way so that you don’t hinder your health. We spoke to expert nutritionists and personal trainers to show you how you can work on your waist and see results. 

Toning your body is often part of the process of losing weight, which can best be achieved by entering into a calorie deficit. When you’re in a calorie deficit, you’ll be expending more calories than you consume, a method that is often supplemented by the best exercises for weight loss, as well as a healthy diet. That means that if you can burn more calories doing exercise you enjoy, you’ll find yourself closer to your goals. Popular workouts include high-intensity interval training (HIIT), yoga and pilates, the best ab workout, or even just making the switch to hitting your 10,000 step goal every day. 

When it comes to slimming your waist in particular, it’s important to note that the area is made up of two types of abdominal fat; visceral fat and subcutaneous fat. If those terms make you feel a little lost, then subcutaneous fat is likely the aesthetic area you can see, as it’s the visible layer underneath your skin, while losing visceral fat can help to lower the risk of long-term health conditions. Of course, losing weight in either of these areas won’t happen overnight, but with the tips below, you’ll feel one step closer to knowing how to get a slim waist.

Looking for more tips on fat reduction? Scroll through our guides on how to lose weight from your face, how to lose weight from your hips, and how to lose weight on your arms, once you’ve finished reading this piece.

Jen Skym

Jen Skym has been working as a personal trainer since 2010. After giving birth to her son in 2014 she gained first-hand experience of how hard it can be to regain your fitness following a pregnancy so she made the decision to train in pre and post-natal exercise helping new mums keep fit post-birth.

How to get a slim waist tip #1: Hula-hoop away fat

Remember how much fun hula hooping was as a kid? Guess what – it still is! Plus it's one of the best workouts for abs that you can do. "It's a brilliant way of working all your core muscles to clinch you in at the waist and help you lose weight," says personal trainer Jen Skym (opens in new tab)

"You need very little space to do it, and as well as a cardio workout, hooping is a fab core exercise. You can do it in front of the TV and a weighted hoop will help you burn more calories – and lose weight faster." 

In fact, one study (opens in new tab) found that women using a weighted hoop lost on average 3.4cms from their waist and 1.4cm from their hips in just six weeks! 

2. Forget sit-ups

"When looking how to get a slim waist, you need to focus on your deep core muscles," explains Jen. "Your transverse abs, located deep within the 'six-pack' area, act like a corset around your midsection. Strengthening your deep core muscles will help to 'tighten the corset' and slim down your waist."

Jen advises ditching sit-ups – which target a different stomach muscle – and instead trying core bridges, heel sliders and 'dead bugs', which are more effective for a slim waist. "Side planks are also great at targeting your obliques, the muscles either side of your waist." 

For more killer core moves, check out our 30 day abs challenge. We also love this lower abs 10-minute workout with Madfit...

3. Eat bloat-blasting foods

how to get a slim waist: salmon and asparagus

(Image credit: Christine Siracusa on Unsplash)

Often women feel self-conscious about their tummy, not because of the size or shape, but because it is bloated and sticking out, says nutritionist Becs Steele, from B Well Nutrition (opens in new tab)

Want to beat the bloat and get a slim waist? "Start the day with a cleansing cup of fresh ginger and lemon tea. Simply mix peeled and grated root ginger and freshly squeezed lemon juice with boiling water. This will rev up your metabolism and cleanse the digestive system," says Becs.  

Then up your protein intake. That means eating lots of fish like salmon, cod, haddock and mackerel, or a plant-based alternative like tofu if you're veggie. You could also supplement your diet with one of the best protein powders for weight loss.

Becs adds: "Avoid processed carbs like white bread and pastas, pastries and crisps that cause bloating and weight gain, and instead choose slow-release carbs from wholegrains, colourful root vegetables, beans and pulses. Add lots of leafy greens that are high in magnesium and micronutrients that aid digestion."

4. Chill out

If you're searching how to get a slim waist and trying to shred stubborn fat from your waist and stomach, stress is the enemy. The thing is, the more stressed we are, the more we produce cortisol, which inhibits fat loss. Because increased levels of this hormone also help cause higher insulin levels, your blood sugar drops and you crave sugary, fatty foods. 

Keeping your stress levels down can help with weight loss, but don't get too relaxed… sitting down at a desk or the sofa for too long decreases the activity of an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase, which helps us burn fat around the middle. Standing, on the other hand, burns twice as many calories as sitting.

5. Blast belly fat with HIIT

Want to know the ultimate exercise for how to get a slim waist? Evidence has found that high intensity interval training (HIIT) can specifically blast belly fat. A 2018 study (opens in new tab) found that HIIT significantly reduced total, abdominal and visceral fat mass (fat stored around your vital organs). 

The high intensity nature of a HIIT workout also means that you carry on burning calories even after you've finished your workout – this 'afterburn effect' helps to rev up your metabolism and torch calories for up to six hours! Try this beginner's HIIT workout with Joe Wicks...

6. Be mindful

how to get a slim waist: mediation

(Image credit: Getty)

Slimming down your waist isn't just about a healthy diet; it's about what's going on in your head, too. Interestingly, a study by Brown University (opens in new tab) found that people who practiced mindfulness and meditation had less visceral fat (the dangerous hidden fat stored around your vital organs). 

By contrast, those who are less mindful have, on average, an extra pound of fat inside their bellies than those who live in the present. New to meditation? Try the Headspace (opens in new tab) or CALM (opens in new tab) apps.

Maddy is a freelance journalist and Level 3 personal trainer specializing in fitness, health and wellbeing content. She has been a writer and editor for 22 years, and has worked for some of the UK's bestselling newspapers and women’s magazines, including Marie Claire, The Sunday Times and Closer. She also manages Fit&Well's Instagram account.


Maddy loves HIIT training and can often be found running on her treadmill or working out while her two young daughters do matching burpees or star jumps. As a massive foodie, she loves cooking and trying out new healthy recipes (especially ones with hidden vegetables so the kids eat them). She makes a mean margarita and has twice won awards in previous staff jobs as the “office feeder”.

With contributions from