You can’t lose weight from particular parts of your body through exercise or diet. When you exercise, your muscles draw energy from fat stores throughout your body. When you do thigh exercises, you burn fat from your thighs, but you also burn fat from your stomach, butt, arms and everyplace else you store fat. Exercise helps, but the most important thing you can do to lose weight in your thighs is to decrease the amount of calories you eat and drink.
Set a goal to decrease or manage your daily intake. WeightWatchers.com recommends that kids under 7 maintain and grow into their current weight. Kids who are 7 to 13 should also avoid strict diets, but they can decrease their daily intake by about 120 calories -- which leads to a weight loss of about 1 lb. per month. Adolescents who are overweight or obese can cut as many as 500 calories per day, or 1 lb. per week. Crash diets don’t work -- you lose weight but then regain it when you stop the diet. Your goal is to make permanent changes in how you eat and exercise so that you lose thigh fat permanently.
Identify and eliminate the empty calories that you eat on a routine basis. “Empty calories” refers to foods that contain lots of calories but have little nutrition. Foods to drop include candy, chips, crackers, ice cream, baked goods and soda. If you drink one full-sugar soda a day, this contributes about 2 lb. a month and 25 lb. a year to your weight. Replace full-sugar soda with diet soda or water. For snacks, eat low-fat yogurt and fruit.
Reduce your fatty, fried and fast food intake. Where excess calories get stored is determined by your genes, according to Dr. Barry Starr from the Stanford School of Medicine. Given your genes, fatty, fried and fast foods are destined to end up on your thighs. Save burgers, fries, pizza and other fatty treats for special occasions. Avoid butter and margarine and replace whole milk with skim milk. Eat boneless skinless chicken and turkey breast instead of fatty meats.
Stop swallowing sweet and starchy stuff. Pasta, white bread, pastry, sugar, sweetened cereal and processed foods contain simple carbohydrates; they increase the levels of a brain chemical called serotonin that mellows your mood. Simple carbs make you feel good, but only briefly. Once the sugar rush wears off, you’re left with hunger pangs and, in the long run, fat thighs. Find other ways to make yourself feel good besides food.
Upgrade your food. Replace white bread with whole grain bread. Load your plate with low-fat salads and vegetables. You can eat a gigantic salad with 2 cups of Romaine lettuce and a cup or two of carrots, peppers, cucumber and celery, and log only 100 or so calories, so long as you’re careful with the dressing, cheese and croutons.
Do at least 30 minutes of cardio exercise, such as walking, running, dancing or biking, on most days of the week. Make it fun, so it’s something you’ll want to do every day. Mix it up, doing different activities on different days. Join a sports team, cheerleading squad, dance team or marching band. Play active video games, such as Wii Fit or Dance Dance Revolution. Bike or walk to school, and instead of sitting around with friends, go to a park or walk around town. If you can’t find a social way to burn calories, plug in your earphones and hit the treadmill or jog around the park.
Weigh yourself once a week, around the same time of day. If you don’t lose a pound or two, look at your diet and target some new foods to drop or replace. Review your daily routines to find new ways to inject more calorie-burning activities into your life.
- ABC News: Soda Stats: How Those Empty Calories Add Up; Yunji De Nies, et al; April 21, 2010
- CalorieLab: Romaine Lettuce
- KeepKidsHealthy.com: Weight Loss Guide
- “Obesity Research”; Brain Serotonin, Carbohydrate-Craving, Obesity and Depression; Richard Wurtman; Nov. 1995
- Stanford School of Medicine: Do These Genes Make Me Look Fat?; Barry Star