Why Do I Have a Hard Time Losing Weight in My Thighs?

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A woman is doing lunges outside. (Image: fizkes/iStock/Getty Images)

Everyone has problem areas when it comes to weight loss. For many women, this area is often the thigh. This is at least partly due to genetics, but age, method of weight loss and weight-loss plateaus can also lead to problems losing weight in the thighs.

Genetics

Genetics is most likely the biggest culprit to why you have difficulty losing weight in the thighs. Your genes determine the pattern of your weight gain, and the same can be said for weight loss. If you tend to gain weight along the thighs first, losing weight from this area of the body can become difficult. According to the American Council on Exercise, any area of the body where you gain weight first is often the last place you lose it. With time — and a little patience — you will eventually reduce the size of your thighs.

Age

Age can also play a significant role in your ability to lose weight in the thighs. As you get older, you tend to lose muscle. Since muscle burns more calories than fat, muscle loss reduces your body’s caloric need, so the tactics previously used to lose weight no longer provide you with the same results. You may need to even further reduce your caloric intake or increase your level of physical activity to trim your thighs.

Method

Besides genetics and age, another potential factor contributing to your problem is the method you are using to shed the weight. If you devote all of your time and attention to working out the legs, you may be building muscle and not burning as many calories as you think. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, there’s no way to “spot-reduce” any area of the body. Squats, lunges and leg curls can all strengthen and tone muscles, but these activities don’t burn calories the way cardio can. You need to generate a deficit of 3,500 calories to lose a pound of fat. Instead of focusing solely on lower body exercises, increase aerobic activity and reduce your caloric intake.

Plateau

During weight loss, everyone eventually hits what’s known as a weight-loss plateau. As you lose weight, your body requires fewer and fewer calories to function. If you continue with the same caloric intake and exercise regimen, you begin to strike a balance between calories in and calories out. This means you’re taking in the same number of calories as you are expending, which causes weight loss to come to a stop, making it difficult to lose those last pounds.

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