Life is too short to spend time dwelling on so-called imperfections. Instead, we believe that celebrating your body – and anything that makes you you, for that matter – can go a long way towards self-love. That said, if you’re particularly frustrated by one area in particular and are determined to see improvement, we also are here to support you.
Many people consider their thighs to be that “trouble” spot, and this area can be notoriously challenging to slim down. But there’s no need to throw in the towel just yet. We connected with experts, who broke down all the options to targeting this specific part of the body. Keep reading to discover their recommendations for reducing thigh fat.
Be Flexible (and Forgiving) with Your Diet
Unfortunately, there aren’t any special foods that can help slim down the thighs. Instead, you should concentrate on having an overall healthy diet. “Eating well has many benefits to working out, like boosting energy levels, which can assist in improving endurance during exercise,” says registered dietician and nutritionist Stacy Leung, RN. In anticipation of a workout, the Mayo Clinic® advises the consumption of a light meal made of carbohydrate-rich foods, such as whole-grain cereals, a banana, or a low-fat granola bar.
Leung also stresses the importance of having a diet that isn’t too restrictive. A healthy one certainly can involve eating out once in a while and indulging in snacks (after all, that’s part of socializing and most people’s lifestyles). “Rather than thinking of how long you can go without having certain foods or drinks, permit yourself to have ‘bad’ or triggering foods whenever you want,” she says. (Within reason, of course – moderation is key to success here.) “While this sounds counterintuitive, over time, you may find these foods less appealing because you may hold them less on the pedestal from having allowed yourself to eat these foods in the first place.” And ultimately, that could result in whittled-down thighs.
Focus on Low Weights and High Repetition
According to Equinox® trainer Andrea Somer, women tend to hold more fat in their lower body, making them curvier than men, but it also means it’s harder to get rid of excess fat in that area. That said, it can still be toned with a little effort because it is a large muscle group.
Somer says it’s all about how much weight and how many repetitions you’re doing when doing lower body exercises to reduce fat in this area. She advises that you focus on lower body movements, such as squats and lunges. “Your thighs consist of more than one muscle group.” she explains, “Make sure you’re targeting your adductors, hamstrings, and quadriceps.”
If you’re want to avoid bulky muscles, she suggests opting for lower weights with a higher repetition count. “A lot of women are scared to get ‘bulky’ and do not want to use heavyweights, but it takes more than you think to get big muscles,” she says. “Most of us do not grow muscle that easily, especially women. Sometimes using a bit more weight will be more beneficial to tone your legs than you think.
Freeze Off the Fat
Another non-invasive treatment that helps contour the body is CoolSculpting®, which reduces fat cells in treated areas by freezing them. It can be an option for people with hard-to-slim areas that are resistant to diet and exercise. It works by adhering a special applicator to the thighs that freeze the unwanted fat cells in the area to the point of cell death. (Don’t worry, the surrounding cells and skin remain unaffected.) Your body eventually eliminates those dead fat cells, resulting in a slimmer look.
Side effects are minimal and there is little to no downtime needed post-treatment. Houston-based plastic surgeon Dr. Paul Vitenas says the area may feel firm, tender, numb, or start to tingle as the tissue starts to warm up, but serious complications are rare. Because CoolSculpting is not a weight-loss method, Vitenas stresses maintaining a healthy diet and working out regularly to maintain results.
“This is important because while CoolSculpting will eliminate fat cells [in the treated area], the surrounding fat cells still remain,” he says. “With weight gain, these fat cells will expand, reducing, and detracting from the results.” Interested in learning more about fat freezing? Get real aesthetic answers right now from our trained aesthetic specialists!
[Editor’s note: The CoolSculpting treatment is a non-invasive fat freezing treatment that effectively reduces fat in certain self-proclaimed “problem spots” in the submental and submandibular areas, thigh, abdomen, and flank, along with bra fat, back fat, and underneath the buttocks (you know, those bulges that just won’t go away, regardless of how much you sweat it out on the treadmill). While it isn’t a weight loss solution, fat freezing can reduce pouches of fat. As with any procedure, there are risks and side effects, so talk to your doctor to see if it’s right for you.]
Or Burn off the Fat. (Literally.)
If you feel like you’ve been hard at work in the kitchen and the gym and reaping a few rewards, you could look to in-office procedures for an assist. VelaShape®, a non-invasive body contouring treatment, uses a combination of a vacuum, infrared light, and bipolar radiofrequency energy to help reduce the appearance of cellulite and fat in the thigh area. Depending on the size of the region being treated, a session can take anywhere from about 20 minutes to a couple of hours, and typically, you’ll want to go three times, two to three weeks apart. But it’s essential to know that this is not a weight-loss method.
“Individuals should understand that this technology is not for permanent fat and cellulite reduction and is not a surgical tummy tuck,” says Bay Harbor Islands, Florida-based dermatologist Stacy Chimento, MD. “It does not replace liposuction or surgical means, but it is [an effective] non-invasive alternative for getting a more [slimmed] body and [smoother] skin texture.”
However, there is a bit of protocol to follow before treatment. Chimento suggests avoiding excessive sun exposure two weeks prior to your appointment, in addition to eschewing topical products with potentially irritating ingredients (such as alpha-hydroxy acids or retinol) one week prior. To help minimize potential side effects, she says to avoid alcohol and any systemic substances leading up to it and after. Downtime is minimal; you may notice some redness, but she says patients can continue with their daily activities following treatment. Best results occur with follow up treatments, paired with a healthy lifestyle.