Carrying around extra weight above your waist is taxing for your body and can place you at an increased risk of heart disease or stroke. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, a combination of aerobic exercise and eating modifications can help you lose weight. The addition of strength-training your upper body can tone the muscles of your chest, back, shoulders and arms to give you a slimmer appearance. By following a plan that includes all three, you can slim down above the waist.
Visit your physician to ensure your new diet and exercise plan is suitable for your health.
Consume a diet that's rich in complex carbohydrates and moderate amounts of lean protein to help lose upper-body weight, suggests the University of Pennsylvania. Select whole grains over refined white flour products, and eat plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits, along with legumes and soy products. Doing so is especially effective for "apple" shapes, who carry the bulk of their excess weight around the middle.
Lose 1 pound per week above your waist -- and all over -- by reducing your caloric intake by 500 calories per day. Avoid a reduction that places you below 1,200 calories daily if you're a woman and 1,400 calories daily if you're a man to prevent your metabolism from slowing down, which inhibits weight loss. Track your caloric intake to ensure you don't unknowingly consume more calories than you thought; hidden calories in dressings, sauces and beverages can add up quickly.
Hydrate your body and keep your metabolism up by drinking eight to 10 glasses of water each day, suggests the University of Maryland Medical Center. Dehydration can cause your metabolism to slow down, making it harder to lose weight above your waist and all over. Substitute hot or cold herbal tea for the water if you need some flavor.
Exercise for approximately 60 minutes per day, suggests the Harvard School of Public Health, to lose excess weight. Participating in an aerobic exercise you enjoy can help you reduce upper body fat for a slimmer appearance. Burn 500 calories daily through aerobic exercise and you'll lose an additional pound each week. Ride your bicycle, do circuit training, go swimming or skating for one hour to burn 500 calories.
Slim and tone your body above the waist with strength-training exercises. Perform butterflies on an exercise ball to tone the muscles in the chest and arms. Start out by resting your upper back near your shoulder blades on the top of an exercise ball. Bend your knees and plant your feet on the floor to form a 90-degree angle with your legs. Hold one dumbbell in each hand, using a weight that's heavy enough to tire your muscles after 12 repetitions. Extend your arms out to the sides with a soft bend in the elbow. Slowly bring the weights together, meeting in front of your chest. Hold for a count of two, and then return to the extended position slowly, using your chest and arm muscles to control the movement. Repeat for a total of 12 repetitions every other day.
Do wall pushups to slim and tone your back and arms; this upper-body strength training exercise is effective and doable for people who aren't ready for regular pushups. Stand about 2 feet away from the wall with your feet spread 2 feet apart. Place your hands against the wall at shoulder height, about the same width apart as your feet. Bend toward the wall, using your arm muscles to support your weight, until your upper arms are parallel to the wall. Hold for a count of two, and then slowly return to the starting position. Repeat for a total of 12 to 25 times every other day. Challenge yourself, if you're feeling stronger, by doing modified or regular floor pushups.
Perform triceps kickbacks to slim and tone the arms, shoulders and upper back. Stand straight, holding one dumbbell in each hand, with your hands resting by your sides. Bend forward at the waist by 45 degrees. Bring your elbows back so your arms are along your sides and your elbows are pointing behind you. Extend your lower arms back without locking your elbows and then return them to the starting position to complete on kickback. Repeat 12 times every other day.
Things You'll Need
- University of Rochester Medical Center: Healthy Strategies for Weight Loss
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Common-Sense Strategies for Long-Term Weight Loss
- Harvard School of Public Health: Ask the Expert-- Controlling Your Weight
- Shape Magazine: Nix the Turkey Wings-- Express Workout for Chest and Arms
- Georgia State University: Physical Activity
- Wishard Hospital: Where's Your Body Fat?
- University of Pennsylvania: Are You an Apple or a Pear?
Mary Ylisela is a former teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and mathematics. She has been a writer since 1996, specializing in business, fitness and education. Prior to teaching, Ylisela worked as a certified fitness instructor and a small-business owner.