Like Marilyn Monroe and Beyonce, the hourglass-figured woman is curvy and voluptuous, and filled out in all the right places. Unfortunately, the hourglass-figured woman lacks muscle tone and tends to gain weight all over, according to "Women's Health" magazine. While you can't pick and choose where you lose weight, a reduced calorie diet and exercise can help you lose weight all over, and help bring back your womanly curves.
Whether you're hourglass, pear or apple-shaped, to lose weight you need to limit the number of calories you eat, and increase the number of calories you burn through physical activity. One pound of fat contains 3,500 calories, and to lose 1 pound a week you need to create a daily calorie deficit of 500 calories through diet and exercise. When it comes to losing weight, you should not lose more than 2 pounds a week. If you lose too much weight too quickly you are most likely losing muscle mass and water, not fat.
As an hourglass-shaped woman, you can lose weight following a 1,000- to 1,200- calorie-a-day diet. If you weigh more than 165 pounds, you get to eat a little more, and still lose weight, following a 1,200- to 1,600-calorie diet. When following a low-calorie diet, it's important that you eat nutrient-rich foods that keep you full while helping you stay within your calorie limit. That means loading up on fruits and vegetables, eating more whole grains and including lean sources of protein such as poultry, fish, beans and low-fat or nonfat dairy foods.
To burn calories for weight loss you need to start moving. Getting 30 to 60 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise most days of the week can help burn calories, trim you down and enhance your curves. Brisk walking, bike rides and swimming are examples of moderate-intensity exercises. A 160-pound woman can burn more than 300 calories in an hour walking at a pace of 3.5 miles per hour.
Building muscle not only improves your muscle tone, but it also helps turn your body into a calorie-burning machine. However, that doesn't mean you should only focus on your problem areas. A good strength-training program includes exercises that work out all the major muscle groups, including shoulders, arms, chest, abs, hips and legs. Not working out all your muscles can cause problems with your posture and strength, and does not help improve your curves. You should work out each muscle group two days a week with two days off in between.
- Women'sHealth: Curves Ahead: Toning Your Hourglass Figure
- ExRx.net: Fat Loss & Weight Training Myths
- National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: Healthy Eating
- FamilyDoctor.org: What It Takes to Lose Weight
- MayoClinic.com: Exercises for Weight Loss: Calories Burned in 1 Hour
- The American Council on Exercise: Strength Training 101
Jill Corleone is a registered dietitian and health coach who has been writing and lecturing on diet and health for more than 15 years. Her work has been featured on the Huffington Post, Diabetes Self-Management and in the book "Noninvasive Mechanical Ventilation," edited by John R. Bach, M.D. Corleone holds a Bachelor of Science in nutrition.