How to Get Skinny: What You Need to Know

The skinny on getting skinny, body type, and health.

How to Get Skinny: Your Body Type

Each of these three body types gain and lose weight with varying levels of ease.

When thinking about how to get skinny remember:

  • The ease or difficulty which it takes to lose weight will depend on your body type. Therefore, what getting skinny means to you should depend on your body type. If you have an endomorphic body your goal should not be to achieve the build of Taylor Swift or Kendall Jenner (ectomorphs).
  • Being realistic means that you will achieve your goals, lose weight and get fit. Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez, and Kim Kardashian are examples of endomorphs. Are you a mesomorph? Jessica Biel, Jennifer Garner, and Janet Jackson are famous examples. Determine your body type and set goals that are more aligned with your body. You can lose weight; just remember that what skinny, slim, or fit is should mean different things to different people.
  • Our bodies are complex, and we still understand so little about how they really work. Increasingly scientists accept that we don’t all respond the same way to diet and exercise. That our physiology is not all the same. That while we have some control, our body size is not something over which we have full control. That the way we respond to an environment in which high-calorie, convenience foods are everywhere all the time is different – due internal factors such as hormones that affect appetite and fullness.1234

A final note about body type. We live in a world in which no one would expect Audrey Hepburn to be able to boast the amazing curves of Marilyn Monroe. And yet the same doesn’t seem to apply when reversed. For some reason, we seem to expect Marilyn to be able to be as small and gamine as Audrey – if she just tried hard enough. Don’t accept that double standard. Embrace your body, and work with it not against it.

Healthiness trumps skinniness. Therefore, your first and overriding goal should be to maintain or improve health – physical, mental, and emotional health. Everything else should come second. Ensure that all your plans are consistent with this principle.

How to Lose Weight

Here are a few important tips to keep in mind before you start.

  1. Determine your body type. You can use the body type calculator to help you.
  2. Determine and keep track of your body fat percentage. Ensure that you maintain a healthy level of body fat. Too little body fat can be just as unhealthy as too much body fat, especially for women and even more so for young women. Ideally you should get your body fat percentage measured professionally. To get a rough idea you can use this body fat calculator – but still get measured!
  3. Determine your ideal weight based on your body type. We’re not all built the same. This calculator highlights that different people even of the same height, do not necessarily have the same “ideal” weight.
  4. Create a calorie deficit by lowering your caloric intake by 15 – 20% below what you normally need to maintain your weight. You can use the calorie calculator to find out your calorie needs. People often want to lose weight fast, but it’s best to steer clear of crash dieting and extremely low calorie intakes.5

    1 to 2 pounds (0.5 to 1 kg) of weight loss per week is a safe and healthy goal for most people. Any more than that, and you’re probably losing muscle or water weight. Furthermore, severely cutting calories leads to a greater slow down in metabolism than a moderate calorie reduction, and it takes longer for metabolism to return to normal.6 Plus, it’s very common to regain the weight after crash dieting. In other words, its just not worth it.
  5. When reducing calories adopt an eating pattern that suits you. Again this is the principle of working with your body, instead of against it. If you find you naturally eat more some days than others, zig-zag calorie intake (calorie rotation), i.e. change your calorie intake every few days, instead of strictly consuming the same number of calories every day. For example, you might have 3 low calorie days followed by 1 higher calorie day. This method is also thought to have the advantage of keeping your body guessing, helping to avoid weight loss plateaus and can reduce the likelihood of breaking your diet and giving up.78 You can also adopt “cheat meals” which is another way of giving yourself a break from strict eating.
  6. If you like to snack, think about adopting a strategy of eating 5 – 6 small meals throughout the day. This may also help keep your metabolism high, prevent you from feeling overly restricted, and reduce the urge to overindulge.
  7. Incorporate regular cardio into your workout routine. To get fit and toned, and maintain weight loss you have to exercise. While dieting is mostly responsible for losing body fat, it does not create a strong or toned body – exercise does. Cardio workouts will improve cardiovascular fitness and general health. Cardio also burns calories, helping you lose weight faster, and research shows that it is important in maintaining weight loss.9

    Try a weight loss exercise plan based around cardio. The cardio does not have to be intense, it can be as simple as walking to lose weight.
  8. Add strength training to help weight loss and improve fitness. Dieting causes the loss of muscle mass, which leads to a slower metabolism, because muscle is metabolically active. Strength training reduces this loss of muscle and helps your metabolism to go faster.10 Muscle also helps make a body healthy, as well as toned and shapely. For example, anyone with nice legs tends to have great leg muscles, which gives those legs shape.
  9. Try to include HIIT (high-intensity interval training). This type of workout involves alternating between intense, short periods of exercise and periods of recovery. HIIT generally clocks in at under 20 minutes. However, research suggests that HIIT is as effective for weight loss as a traditional moderate-intensity, 40-minute workout in which you keep the same pace throughout.1112

    HIIT is very intense. This means you should limit HIIT workouts to 2 to 3 times per week. For example, you might do 2 HIIT workouts per week on non-consecutive days, in addition to 3 traditional cardio workouts. Beginners should start with easier interval training, before doing tough HIIT workouts.

Remember, before you start a new nutritional or exercise program to clear it with your doctor. If you have any questions about how to lose weight and what a healthy weight is for you, your doctor will be happy to help.

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  1. This is a great article!
    Highlighting your body type at the beginning is a very good idea then you can work out a plan from there. Also having a target in place gives you something to aim towards.
    An activity as simple as running can burn fat. There are so many running groups which you could join for people who are just like yourselves!

  2. Thank you so much for the wonderful tips I will put these tips to great use. 🙂 I would say I’m skinny fat but I also have a lot of muscle mass. I’m glad I read these tips because I really want to get back into shape so I can sign up for sports.

  3. i really have a lot of belly fat and i really want to have a flat tummy,i hate de meat on the sides.the ”spare meat”as thy call it,its so big im never comfortable when wearing skinny shirts….i also want to loose the fat on legs…im a size 38,i would really love to see my self as a size 34 in October.please help

  4. i really have a lot of belly fit and i really want to have a flat tummy….i also want to loose the fat on legs…im a size 38,i would really love to see my self as a size 34 in October.please help

  5. How can u lose 5 kilos in 2 weeks????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

  6. wow guys all of your advice is amazing and i am taking it all on board so that i can loose weight and have fun at the same time. and yes Ashley you are right being skinny isn’t everything but it is better if you are some of the nicest people i know are obese .:P :):)

  7. Hello,

    To calculate calorie intake and to ensure that I am consuming the number of calories that I want to be, do I do this without including the calories burned during exercise? To clarify, I want to consume 1400 total calories per day; however, I am also exercising (running and strength training). So, at the end of the day, if I ate 1400 calories, but worked off say 600 calories during my workouts, I would be down to a total of 800 calories. So, would I eat 600 more calories to get up to my 1400?

    I don’t typically feel like I need the extra calories that I worked off, I just don’t want to eat too few of calories and put my body into the starvation protection mechanism.

    Thank you!

    • Hi Navi,
      Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you can’t spot reduce with exercise. When you lose fat by exercising you can’t lose it from the specific place you want. Most of the information out there, including from reputable fitness magazines, suggests that exercising a specific body part (e.g. lunges to burn leg fat, crunches to lose belly fat and triceps exercises to burn the fat at the back of your upper arms, etc.) can burn fat from those places. It doesn’t. The burn you feel when you’re doing exercises that target that body part doesn’t come from burning fat, it comes from working the muscles really hard. In other words you’re not losing fat, you’re gaining muscle. There’s nothing wrong with these exercises, in fact they’re an important part of any workout plan. Unfortunately, the burn you get from these exercises has been used to confuse people with fat burning.
      The only way to lose a significant amount of fat is by doing cardiovascular exercise such as running, jogging, cycling, dancing, swimming, etc. Body specific exercises are basically strength training moves and are primarily used to build muscle and strength. Like I mentioned earlier, you can’t lose weight from a specific place with cardio or with strength training exercises.
      However, there is an exception to this rule (isn’t there always!?). Research does suggest that you can sort of spot reduce with diet. A Mediterranean style diet has been shown to help reduce belly fat and slim the waist line. There are some foods that can help burn belly fat and other foods are thought to increase belly fat (read more about the best foods to lose belly fat here and food swaps to belly fat). I hope this helps!

  8. Thanks. This is a very useful and well organised site. I appreciate having all this info in an easy to follow format that’s easy to keep referring back to as I progress. I find it hard to stay consistently motivated during the time it takes to loose weight! I know it’s entirely up to me to make wise choices but this site, and particularly the poster/chart, goes a long way toward helping me stay focused. It reminds me that the goal I’ve set is realistic for my body type and how good it will be to achieve it. I very much appreciated there being no push to buy a subscription, program or potion! Just plain straight factual advice. Thank you :).

  9. Thank you so much for making this site. It’s incredibly helpful and explains everything so clearly. There’s nothing judgemental or superficial about it, just plain facts alongside sincere encouragement. I so appreciate all that you put into this.

  10. Thanks. Learned a lot for. This article. So keeping track of body fat percentage is more important than the weight itself. That’s good to know. I’m always obsessed with what the scale says. I knew there had to be a better way to gauge progress.

  11. Repeating food is a great way to NOT get all of your required nutrients. You need to eat a wide spectrum of foods, preferably in season, to get everything you need. Being skinny doesn’t matter if you’re not healthy. Skinny does NOT equal healthy!

    Get healthy! Your health is all you have.

  12. Hello! Well my type of body is an ectomorph, i’ve always been skinny, but 3 to 4 years ago I started running track (I was a sprinter) because of that I gained a lot of muscles in my thighs and claves. I was wondering what could I do to loose all that muscle? What type of exercises and is it ok to ride bike?
    Thank you very much for your help 🙂

  13. The only two I do not agree with are the “early dinner” and the “breakfast” part. I’m a night person, and by 8pm I’m still very much active. I usually have a brunch instead of a separate breakfast and a separate lunch. However, I do try to not eat a heavy dinner about two or three hours before going to bed, and that does works for me.

      • I would say dinner 2-3 hours before bed is fine. On a school night, it’s not realistic to eat dinner 5 hours before a student’s 8:00pm bedtime. A 3:00pm dinner is too early. (Even a 10:00pm bedtime would mean a 5:00pm dinner for adults who may not be home from work by 5:00pm.)

      • So you’re saying those who go to bed at 9 are supposed to have dinner at four and then clock in? No. It’s different for everyone and even so, only an idiot will tell you to not eat within the 5 hour span before sleeping. It’s recommended to eat at least 2 hours before sleeping and always have a light dinner. Thus the universally accepted dinner time of 6:30. Not eating for 5 hours before bed for people even with a ‘normal’ metabolism will make them feel starved as they try to sleep and make sleep harder to come by.

  14. I have been over weight for some time now, but I started to lose it when I documented my weekly diet and exercise routine with a goal sheet and included in my weight loss goal sheet protein bars for breakfast, lunch and sometimes a snack. I also started eating healthy low calorie meals for dinner. It is life saving. I was able to plan in advance my diet and exercise routine and it helped me to stay on track. I was also able to identify one of my biggest weight loss obstacles which was night time snacking. So once you start to recognize your pitfalls you can then find solutions to overcome them,

  15. Thanks so much! I am a cheerleader, soccer player, and a model so I try to keep slim. Not really loosing weight……… more like gaining muscle …should I quit soccer to loose muscle :l (dont know if thats good or bad) hahaha

    Also because my mom is always on my back saying thast I need to loose weight. I am 5’8 and 125. Is that normal?

    I didnt have enough time to read this.When I tryed to print it it only printed half the page…haha… But can you give me 10 or more big pointers for “Getting Skinny”

    Thanks ahead for who ever answers!

    • Hi Mikayela. Just wanted to let tell you that I am 5′ 7″ and the ideal weight for this height is around 145 pounds. So at your height and weight, you would be considered underweight. However, if this is YOUR happy weight, then you are just fine where you are at. Don’t ever let anyone tell you what you are suppose to weigh. Hope this helps!

    • Mikayela, back when I was 16 thru 23 years old, 5’8″ and 118-125 lbs I was medically considered underweight. Technically you can’t even donate blood because of that ratio! It sounds like you are active, having fun and staying healthy. Like Kat said Your Happy Weight sounds like it fits you right now. Soccer and cheerleading is keeping your heart and bones healthy for the future and giving you muscle to keep yourself strong. Don’t worry about trying to lose anything else on purpose! Keep eating and sleeping healthy, refer back to the ideas on this page and you’ve got it made. 🙂

  16. Being skinny isn’t everything 🙂 There is a lot more to being a happy, fit and healthy individual. You do have some really good advice but please don’t forget that being skinny really isn’t everything!

  17. Hey hey.
    Make sure to keep your liver healthy( it breaks down
    The fat). Drink water and put some lemon juice
    Virgin olive oil. And pure garlic oil.
    Drink once a day befor a meal to clean out
    Your liver

  18. I have a nice tip

    You can ride a bike about 10min it will help you to
    Lose weight,drink 6 cups of water a day,dont eat fast food
    Very much! There is some tips about losing weight}

    -jumping in the rope
    -riding th bike
    -eating special K Bar
    -green tea

      • McKenzie Moreno,

        I have been trying to lose weight without people noticing my diet changes also! its hard to do that, which is why I don’t! I have heard about so many water diets, but I didn’t want to starve myself in front of everyone thinking that I would lose weight, so I implemented the water part of the diet into my daily life. The only change people have been seeing is my lost in weight and the big water bottle that I carry around school! I would definitely NOT recommend going on diets and cheating yourself, because it makes you MORE hungry, but drinking a lot of water each and every day and increasing the amount of physical activity and exercise is an amazing start to losing weight and its very healthy for skin as well! 🙂 hope it helps

        • I definetly agree but, water actually makes you more full so drink a lot of water before lunch and you won’t be as hungry and after school or at recess for younger kids you can jump rope ride bike dance or play with a friend outsid and it will help a ton especially if you exercise at latest 25-30 minutes

        • could I ask about your diet? Is there anything else you eat? This is the hardest part for me because i”m never sure what’s good and bad to eat… If you’ve got a diet that worked for you, I would love to hear it! Im so glad to hear your story was a success and it gives me hope^^


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