Getting rid of fat in the thighs and belly is a concern for many woman as fat commonly accumulates in those areas. While crash diets and extreme exercise programs can make you lose weight quickly, they are not healthy and can lead to weight gain once you resume your normal routine. Trim the thighs and belly safely and effectively with a comprehensive weight loss plan, then target them for toning.
Contrary to popular opinion, exercising a specific area of the body -- what's referred to as "spot reduction" -- doesn't work for fat loss, according the American Council on Exercise. In other words, you can't lose fat in just one area of the body. Working the thighs and belly with targeted exercises will help give them definition and shape, though.
The main goal in any weight-loss regimen is to use more calories than you consume. This will create a calorie deficit and cause your body to burn fat to make up for the lacking calories. To burn 1 lb. of fat, you need to burn 3,500 more calories than you consume. If you are consuming as many calories as you are burning, you can drop 500 calories a day from your diet and lose 1 lb. in a week. The rest of the calories can be burned through exercise. The Mayo Clinic recommends losing no more than 2 lbs. a week.
Eat a healthy diet that includes lean meats, whole grains, plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and low-fat dairy products. Eating nuts, eggs, fish and beans while avoiding foods high in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt and extra sugars will help ensure you're getting the protein and other nutrients you need to maintain and build lean muscle.
The best exercises to burn fat are cardiovascular exercises. Running, jogging and biking work the heart and lungs and tone the legs, thighs and buttocks in addition to burning hundreds of calories per hour. The American Council on Exercise recommends exercising at a moderate to high intensity for 45 minutes, five to six days a week to lose weight. If you are just starting to exercise, start slowly and gradually build your way up to longer time periods and greater intensity.
Working the muscles of the abdomen and thighs will not burn as many calories as cardiovascular exercises, but they will build muscle and tone the area. Exercises such as situps and crunches are great for the abs, while lunges, squats and leg lifts work the thighs and other muscles. Do resistance training, with or without weights, two times a week, but not on consecutive days to allow for muscle recovery. Do one set of eight to 12 repetitions of each exercise and gradually work your way up to doing two to three sets.
Consult a doctor before beginning any weight-loss regimen, especially if you are exceedingly overweight. A daily caloric intake that is too low can cause you to go into starvation mode, which will cause your metabolism to slow. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that women get 1,600 to 2,400 calories per day. Your doctor or a registered dietitian can make recommendations tailored to suit your specific needs.
- American Council on Exercise: Why is the Concept of Spot Reduction Considered a Myth?"; Cedric Bryant; February 2004
- USDA: Dietary Guidelines for Americans
- MayoClinic.com: Fast Weight Loss: What's Wrong with It?"; Donald Hensrud, M.D.; November 2009
- American Council on Exercise: Three Things Every Exercise Program Should Have
- Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.