Where your body stores fat has a lot to do with genetics. Some people easily pack on the pounds around their midsection, while for others it collects around the chin and jawline. Some people may not be overweight but still have more fat deposits around the jawline than others.
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If your jaw fat is due to being overweight, losing weight will help. If you are at a normal weight, getting even leaner can help define your jawline. Keep in mind, you can't spot reduce, and no amount of jawline reduction exercises will help burn fat.
Jaw fat is usually a result of excess total body fat. A healthy diet and exercise can help you reduce total body fat and jaw fat.
Reduce Total Body Fat
You're not happy about your jaw fat, but how does the rest of your body look to you? Do you have a few — or many — extra pounds you'd like to lose? If so, the cause of your jaw fat is most likely excess total-body fat.
Although some people naturally have chubbier necks and faces, if you lose extra body fat, some of it will come from your face. Just look at before and after photos of people who have lost weight. It's easy to see that losing total body fat leads to a slimmer jawline. You might still have more fat on your jawline than you'd like, but it will be slimmer than it was before.
Reduce Body Fat Even More
On the other hand, you may be at a healthy weight but feel your jaw fat is in disproportion to the rest of your face or body. This could have to do with your face shape and features. If you have a less prominent chin and jaw bones, it may appear that you have more fat around your jawline than you actually do. Your features are determined by your genetics, so there's not much you can do about that without a surgical procedure.
However, you can still trim your jaw fat by reducing your body fat percentage even more. Leaning out enough so that you can see a lot of muscle definition throughout your body will make a big difference. According to fitness expert and author Michael Matthews, who has guided hundreds of people through transformational weight loss, men need to achieve 10 percent body fat and women need to achieve 20 percent body fat in order to have sharply defined features.
Getting to Your Desired Weight
Fat loss is no easy feat, especially when you want to get really lean. It takes commitment and perseverance. If you really want to define your jawline, you'll have some tough work ahead of you. So think about whether a slimmer jawline is really worth it.
That's not to say you shouldn't try to lose weight. If you're overweight, losing body fat will not only define your jawline, but it will also improve your health and well-being. And the healthy diet and regular exercise necessary for fat loss are good for anyone regardless of whether or not they want to lose fat.
Achieving a "Normal Weight"
A normal weight is a body fat percentage that is healthy for you, and that's different for everyone. But according to "Sport Nutrition" by Asker Jeukendrup and Michael Gleeson, an acceptable body fat percentage for men is 15 to 20 percent and 24 to 30 percent for women.
If you are currently over those numbers, getting to the acceptable range may be enough for you to see a slimmer jawline. However, a slightly lower body fat percentage is more ideal both for health and for seeing a difference in your facial features. To get into a "good" body fat percentage range, men should lower their body fat to 11 to 14 percent and women should aim for 16 to 23 percent.
According to Matthews, the lower end of this range should be enough for women who have face shapes that tend to look chubbier than the rest of their bodies.
Read more: The Best Way to Lose Weight in One Month
Achieving an Athletic Weight
Men who are at a normal weight but still feel their jawlines are not as lean as they'd like will have to get their bodyweight into the athletic range, which is 5 to 10 percent for males. For women, the athletic range is 8 to 15 percent.
Women should be careful not to reduce their body fat too low. In fact, according to the University of Pennsylvania, a body fat percentage below 14 percent for women can increase health risks. UPenn also warns that a body fat percentage below 8 percent for men could increase the risk of health problems.
Healthy Fat Loss
Just getting to the low end of the athletic body fat range for men and women can be healthy if you lose fat the right way. Even if you just want to get into the good range, you should still follow the same guidelines for healthy fat loss.
Do regular cardiovascular exercise. Thirty to 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous cardio exercise five or more days a week will greatly aid your fat-loss efforts. Doing cardio helps burn a lot of calories, which, in addition to a reduced-calorie diet, will help you burn fat stores in your jawline and other places in your body.
Strength train. To lose fat, and especially to get very lean, you have to engage in regular total-body resistance training. Muscle mass is four times more metabolically active than fat mass. The more muscle and less fat you have, the more efficient your metabolism will be.
Eat enough calories, but not too many. For most people, losing fat means reducing their calorie intake. However, if you're exercising a lot more than you used to as you try to get very lean, you may need to eat more calories to support your activity and muscle growth. Consult your doctor or a nutritionist who can help you figure out how many calories you need each day to reach your goals.
Eat nutritious foods. How much you eat is not the only consideration for burning jaw fat. Eating lean protein aids muscle growth, fiber rich veggies and whole grains aid satiety and calorie control, and healthy fats help control blood sugar levels. Eating nutritious foods promotes energy so you can exercise more.
Avoid processed foods and sugar. Processed foods are high in calories and low in nutrients. They can sap your energy and make fat loss more difficult. As an occasional treat they are OK, but they should not be part of your regular diet.
Be realistic about your goals. Getting fitness-model or bodybuilder lean isn't realistic. Many of those images are enhanced, and bodybuilders only look like that for a period of time before competition. To get athletically lean is a lifestyle and very demanding.
Realize that being at a healthy weight is a great place to be and that with or without jaw fat, your health is what's most important.
Read more: 7-Day Weight Loss Eating Plan
- Muscle for Life: The “Secret” to Losing Your Face Fat and Double Chin
- Human Kinetics: Normal Ranges of Body Weight and Body Fat
- PennRec: Body Composition Information and FAQ’s Sheet
- University of New Mexico: Controversies in Metabolism
- WebMD: Healthy Fats Can Help Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
- Precision Nutrition: The Cost of Getting Lean: Is It Really Worth the Trade-Off?