A recent study found the average woman’s waist has increased by seven inches since the 1950s – from a toned 27 to a solid 34
The sun is out and the holiday season is upon us which means only one thing – flashing the flesh.
And we’re not just talking about in a bikini but in the latest trends for bearing your midriff in crop tops too.
But while TOWIE’s Lauren Goodger was showing off a tiny waist on holiday last week, a recent study found the average woman’s waist has increased by seven inches since the 1950s – from a toned 27 to a solid 34.
And according to the NHS, a waist over 34.5 inches puts you at greater risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and type-2 diabetes.
But it’s not too late to lose the extra padding – try our waist-whittling tips to feel healthy and look hot!
Victoria Beckham may do 200 sit-ups a day to keep her ant-like proportions, but most of us are in agony after five.
And it’s not surprising – Canada’s University of Waterloo found old-style crunches can damage the spine. The more effective version is the curl-up.
Lie on your back with your hands palm-down, tucked under the small of your back. Bend your knees and slightly lift your head and shoulders.
You don’t need to crunch up much to get the desired response from your entire abdominal muscle complex, says the University’s Professor Stuart McGill. Which means a flatter waist in a shorter time.
If that’s still too much, buy a hula hoop. Just 15 minutes hooping a day will result in a waspish waist.
If you’re a fan of fizzy diet drinks, you could unwittingly be widening your waistline.
ll fizzy drinks have gas in them which causes gas in your intestinal system, says Dr Mehmet Oz of Columbia University, who also recommends avoiding sorbitol, an artificial drinks sweetener which the body can’t break down properly.
Instead, swap your diet drinks for water. Equally, if you enjoy an alcoholic treat, avoid beer, prosecco and fizzy mixers – a glass of red wine or a plain vodka is less likely to cause bloating.
Finally, drink peppermint tea. Some studies suggest it can ease the symptoms of IBS and reduce bloating.
Tried everything but your waist won’t shrink? Bloating with no obvious cause is known as dysbiosis and refers to an imbalance of bacteria in your stomach, usually caused by excess yeast – known as Candida. Too much boozing, being on the Pill or HRT, or even taking antibiotics too regularly can all trigger the problem.
Think of yeast rising in your gut says Mary-Lou Harris, head nutritionist at New You Boot Camp. (http://newyoubootcamp.com) . Avoid high sugar foods and go easy on beans, potatoes, sprouts, lentils, broccoli, bananas and raisins, which can all make bloating worse, she warns.
Stick to berries, kiwi fruit, plums and other low-sugar fruits. Eat more eggs and pumpkin seeds to support your stress levels as they have calming properties – and take a daily probiotic.
If you’ve not got time to launch a sensible diet and exercise programme before an event or holiday, you can cheat.
Head for your local Caci salon (www.caci-international.co.uk) where from around £40, the therapist will place electricity-conducting pads on your flabby areas. These will emit a current that contracts your stomach muscles.
A 20-minute session supposedly equals around 300 sit-ups – and you can lose up to an inch per session.
Other treatments include FLABLOS, a machine that provides a whole body workout through tiny vibrations and starts from £5 a session. If you just need to lose an inch or two for a big occasion, it’s a painless quick fix.
If it’s good enough for Jessica Alba, it’s got to be worth a try.
The stunning actress reportedly wore an elasticated corset for two months to help shed her baby weight – the idea being that you’re more likely to notice overeating than if you’re wearing comfy trackies.
But rather than Cousin Violet-style whalebone, you’re better off slipping into the Waist Cincher by Miraclesuit. This smoothing control lingerie has flexible bones, double-layer panels and flat hook-and-eye fastenings, and it really does hold in excess flab, whilst ensuring you can still breathe.
It comes in sizes 12-18 and is £37.95, cheaper than a fridge full of salad (www.rigbyandpeller.com) .
Or try the Malory band – a simple waterproof cord worn under clothes. Fasten it round your waist, and as you shed pounds, you tighten it so you’ll know if you’re expanding again ( £25, www.maloryband.com)
Every celeb swears by Pilates and it is a brilliant way to flatten your waist. Most classes begin with the hundred – so called because you hold the position for 100 beats.
It works muscles to create a strong and stable core, and tone your waistline, says Nahid de Belgeonne, the founder of www.goodvibesfitness.co.uk .
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat to the floor. Then lift your feet off the ground and bend your knees to a 90-degree angle.
Your shins should be parallel to the floor.
Reach your arms towards the sky. As you exhale, bring your arms back down towards the floor while lifting your head and very top of your shoulders off the mat.
“Continue this movement, breathing in and out to a count of five. Aim to keep your head and torso still and flatten the abdominal area.
You should see results in a week.