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Having trouble fitting into your running shoes?
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If you're having trouble fitting into that cute pair of shoes that once fit so well, your first instinct may be to blame your so-called "fat feet." Through a regular exercise and weight-loss program, it is possible to get rid of the excess fat that you may be carrying on your feet. However, that may not be the only cause of your problem, and it's important to consider other causes before you begin.

What Foot Swelling Can Mean

Talk to your doctor if your feet have become "fatter" or more swollen only recently. Swelling in the feet, ankles and legs, also called edema, can be a result of certain medications, pregnancy, infection, poor circulation, aging and obesity. If your doctor tells you that your problem is due to being overweight, get her OK to start an exercise routine, and ask about any restrictions that might keep you from doing standard exercises.

How Cardio Can Help Foot Swelling

Start exercising, ideally doing at least 150 minutes of cardiovascular exercise each week. Not only will cardio help you lose weight and burn off overall body fat, but it can also improve your circulation, which may reduce any swelling in that area. If you don't already exercise regularly, start walking for 15 to 20 minutes a day and gradually increase the time to at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Walking is great exercise for the body and mind -- and it's the best exercise for your feet, reminds the Foot and Ankle Resource website.

What Else You Can Do to Reduce Swollen Feet

Monitor your calorie intake and cut down when you need to. To lose weight, you have to create a calorie deficit. In other words, you have to burn more calories than your body takes in. Calorie-tracking apps such as LIVESTRONG's MyPlate Calorie Tracker app can help you track the calories you're burning through exercise and the number of calories you're consuming each day, as well as helping you set a daily calorie goal. If you find that you're going over your daily goal on a regular basis, try reducing your portion sizes and cutting out sugars, sodas, desserts and alcohol.

Also, reconsider your footwear choices. If you've gained overall body weight recently, you may be able to get rid of excess fat and then fit into those shoes once again. However, aging does cause people's feet to get wider, which means shoes that once fit well may not longer be appropriate. This is normal, and the only option may be to choose wider shoes that fit your feet and don't cause pain. When you're walking around in comfortable shoes, you may no longer have the perception that you have fat feet.

Consider These Health Implications

If your doctor tells you that you have swollen -- not fat -- feet, try elevating your feet above your heart for at least a few minutes each day. Also avoid restrictive pantyhose or other clothing, and try sticking to a low-salt diet, as recommended by the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Cosmetic surgery can also reduce the amount of fat on your feet, but since any surgery has inherent risks, that should be a last-ditch effort.

More About MyPlate

The free LIVESTRONG MyPlate calorie tracker app for iPhone and Android has helped millions of people lose weight the healthy way -- by getting support from an active community as they track their eating and exercise. Consistently a top-rated app, MyPlate offers the latest technology in an easy-to-use tool that includes millions of foods and recipes, 5-minute in-app workouts and a robust support community.

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