Exercise and Diet Tips for Losing Wide Hips

It's not unusual to have body parts you'd like to change. Even if people tell you that you're beautiful just as you are, if your wide hips are making you feel self-conscious and you'd like to do something about them, there's nothing wrong with wanting to improve your body image.

Healthy eating can help you lose hip fat. (Image: fcafotodigital/E+/GettyImages)

While you can't expect to get skinnier hips through spot reduction methods, you can lose hip fat by losing overall body fat. You can accomplish this by doing regular, sweaty cardio sessions, burning more calories than you consume and toning your core and lower body.

Why Do I Have Wide Hips?

According to a study published in the American Journal of Physiology, estrogen may influence where you store fat. Women often store fat around the pelvis, buttocks and thigh area to act as reserve storage for the energy demands of lactation in the event of pregnancy. In other words, as a woman, you may have wider hips than your male counterparts for biological reasons.

Ways to Make Your Hips Smaller

If you want to lose weight on your hips, it's important to note that you cannot do so through targeted exercises because spot reduction doesn't work. To get skinnier, narrower hips, you'll need to lose body fat from all over your body. Once you start losing overall body fat, you can focus on specific exercises that will help tone your hips.

To effectively trim your hip fat, Harvard Health Publishing recommends engaging in at least 30 minutes of high-intensity activity per day like cycling, swimming, jogging or even brisk walking. Combining regular cardio with strength training (exercising with weights or your own body weight) a few times per week will help you shed weight, lose body fat and look slimmer all over.

Eat a Healthy Diet

In addition, eating right is key in the quest for thinner hips. Avoid foods that can result in added belly and hip fat like processed foods and foods with added sugar. And cut back on foods with saturated fat, which occurs naturally in some animal products.

Rather, replace these foods with healthy fats (nuts, seeds, avocados), beans, grains, low-fat or fat-free dairy, oils, lean protein and fruits and veggies, as recommended by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Eat smaller portions throughout the day (as opposed to three big meals) and closely monitor your caloric intake; remember that creating a calorie deficit (eating fewer calories than your body burns) is the trick to losing weight.

Exercises for Toning Up

In addition to implementing fat-burning physical activity and a well-balanced diet into your routine, Harvard Health Publishing recommends toning and sculpting your lower body by doing squats, which can help you strengthen your core and tone your hips and glutes, all at the same time. To do a squat, follow these steps:

  • Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart.
  • Push your hips and buttocks backwards and lower down into a squat position, like you're sitting into a chair. Keep your knees over your ankles and reach your arms straight out, as needed, to help keep your balance.
  • Lower down so your thighs are as parallel to the floor as possible.
  • Hold this position for a couple seconds and then press down through your heels as you return to standing.
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