The human capacity for self-criticism spans far and wide — fingers, included. But we all have insecurities, and if you're dreaming of longer, thinner fingers, you're definitely not alone.
Losing weight may help make your fingers skinnier along with the rest of your body. But if your digits feel a little larger than usual, you may be experiencing some fluid retention. As it turns out, there are measures you can take right now to help minimize these symptoms.
1. Lose Weight
Unfortunately, spot-reducing fat in specific areas of your body isn't possible. Different bodies tend to hold fat in different areas. But dropping some body fat and achieving a healthy weight may help make your fingers slimmer.
Create a Calorie Deficit
Whether your goal is slimmer fingers or leaner legs, the fat loss process is the same. First, establish how many calories you need each day to maintain your current weight (hint: either use a calorie-tracking app or food diary to monitor your daily intake over the course of a week or two).
Once you have a general idea of how many calories you eat each day, you can safely trim around 500 a day to burn more calories than you consume — also known as a calorie deficit, according to the Mayo Clinic. A calorie deficit will help you lose weight, but bear in mind that your fingers won't necessarily slim out right away.
Choose Nutritious Foods
To cut calories from your daily diet, start by minimizing the processed foods you eat each day. Fill your plate with whole foods instead, including plenty of fruit and vegetables of different colors. Plant foods are a good choice because they're dense in nutrients and low in calories, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
When it comes to carbs, prioritize healthy, whole grains, like quinoa or brown rice, and cut back on refined options like bread and cereal. Similarly, limit your red meat intake and focus on lean proteins like chicken, fish or low-fat dairy.
When cutting calories for weight loss, people assigned female at birth shouldn't fall below 1,200 calories per day, while those assigned male at birth should stay above 1,500 to avoid nutritional deficiencies, according to Harvard Health Publishing.
2. Do Finger-Focused Exercises
As mentioned above, you can't exactly spot-reduce fat to make your fingers thinner. However, in some cases, building a little strength in your hands can give them a stronger, leaner look, according to Carolina Araujo, CPT, a California-based personal trainer.
Try Carry Exercises
Your hands are made up of a bunch of tiny muscles and tendons. And working on your grip strength is one way to give them a little more attention, Araujo says. She recommends incorporating farmer's walks into your workout routine to build muscles in both your hands and entire body.
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand (or one on one side). Choose a weight that's heavy enough to challenge you yet light enough that you can maintain good posture while walking.
- Engage your core, pull your shoulder blades down and back and stand tall.
- Take a step forward and begin walking. Walk quickly while still keeping your spine tall, shoulders back and head up.
- Continue walking movement for a specified time or number of steps.
Use Grip Tools
You can also find specific workout tools geared toward strengthening your hands and fingers, Araujo says. Resistance bands and hand grips are two she recommends if grip strength is a top priority.
"Usually these are pretty inexpensive and they isolate the muscles in your hands specifically," she says. "These aren't necessarily guaranteed to make your fingers look skinnier but they can help build strength."
Grip Strengthening Tools We Love
3. Reduce Swelling in Your Fingers
Another reason your fingers may feel or appear larger is due to swelling or fluid retention, also known as edema, according to the Mayo Clinic. Excess fluid can get trapped in your body's tissues and can be especially prominent in the hands, arms, feet, ankles and legs. In some cases, fluid can gather in your fingers, making them swollen or puffy.
Edema occurs when tiny blood vessels in the body leak fluid. More mild cases of swelling can be caused by:
- Sitting in the same position for a long time
- Eating too much salty food
- Premenstrual symptoms.
In other cases, edema can be the side effect of medications used to treat high blood pressure or inflammation.
It can be hard to pinpoint one single cause of fluid retention, but if you're otherwise healthy, it could come down to sitting at a desk for long hours and/or snacking on processed foods. Read on to learn how to make your fingers skinnier in appearance by reducing swelling.
If swelling or fluid retention is accompanied by shortness of breath or chest pain, see a doctor immediately.
Cut Back on Sodium
To make your fingers thinner and reduce swelling, start with the foods you eat. Especially if you're salt-sensitive, watch your sodium intake by reading food labels, recommends Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, author of Read It Before You Eat It: Taking You from Label to Table.
Try to avoid eating more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day, which is about a teaspoon, recommends the American Heart Association. Cut back on foods that are particularly salty, Taub-Dix says, including:
- Snack foods like chips and crackers
- Canned soup
- Cold cuts
Opt for low-sodium versions of these salt-laden options.
Increase Your Movement
Also, try to get some more movement in your hands to help push excess fluid back toward your heart, recommends the Mayo Clinic:
- Elevate the swelling above your heart several times a day to help ease symptoms.
- Massage your hands and fingers to help move excess fluid out of the area.
4. Allow a Little Pampering
While the measures above may help reduce temporary swelling and slim your fingers a bit, the size of your fingers is ultimately determined by your genetics, so it may be best to work with what you have:
- Accessorize with bracelets or rings, which can give your fingers a slimmer appearance.
- Give yourself a fresh manicure (yes, men can get them too!). This won't necessarily make your fingers appear thinner or slimmer, but it may help boost your confidence if you're insecure about this particular body part.