Thigh fat— or any kind of body fat for that matter —isn’t easy to get rid of. In fact, it can be downright frustrating. You may feel like you’re doing everything right— eating healthy, working out regularly —but those stubborn pounds just won’t seem to budge! Most women store fat in their thighs because that’s where they are most likely to gain weight as they age and their metabolism slows down. Hormones that promote fat storage can also cause trouble losing weight. So what can you do to lose thigh fat? First, understand that spot-reducing, or targeting specific body parts with exercises, isn’t possible. You can’t just do a bunch of leg lifts and hope that your thighs will slim down. The most effective way to lose weight is to create an energy deficit by burning more calories than you consume. This means you need to focus on overall weight loss. How to lose thigh fat in 2 weeks? Read on for some specific strategies that can help you slim down your thighs and keep the weight off for good.
How Do You Lose Thigh Fat In A Week?
You don’t! Fat loss is an intricate, slow process that happens when you create an energy deficit by eating fewer calories than you burn. There’s no way to lose significant amounts of weight in just a week or two.
Here’s how it actually happens.
When you create an energy deficit, your body starts to burn stored fat for energy (4). However, it doesn’t happen overnight as it takes time for your body to tap into its fat stores.
That’s why sustainable weight loss is slow and steady— usually 1 to 2 pounds per week (7). And that’s also why crash diets or other quick-fix solutions are rarely effective in the long run.
Here’s what will help you lose 3 or more inches off your thighs and maintain a toned appearance:
1. Cut Calories To Lose Weight
The most important step in losing weight— and, really, the only step —is to create an energy deficit by burning more calories than you consume (4). This means that you need to focus on overall weight loss.
To do that, you’ll need to cut calories. The best way to do that is by following a healthy diet and ensuring that you’re eating fewer calories than you’re burning (18).
- Determine your daily calorie needs. This will give you a starting point for how many calories you should be eating each day.
- Cut 500 to 750 calories from your daily intake. This will help you create the energy deficit needed to lose weight.
- Cut back on high-calorie, low-nutrient foods. Processed foods, sugary drinks, and refined carbs– are empty calories that can add up quickly (15).
- Limit your intake of saturated and unhealthy fats. These can contribute to weight gain and increase your risk of chronic diseases (5).
- Eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. These are nutrient-rich foods that will help you feel fuller and more satisfied (9).
2. Exercise Regularly To Burn Calories And Tone Your Thighs
Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio per week. This can include activities like brisk walking, biking, swimming, or jogging.
If you want to see more specific results, add 2 or 3 strength-training sessions to your weekly routine as well. This will help you build muscle, which can make your thighs look toned and shaped (12).
Some exercises that target the thighs include:
Barbell squats are a great exercise for toning the thighs. They work the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes— all of which are large muscle groups in the thighs.
How to do it:
- Position a barbell on your upper back and stand with your feet hip-width apart.
- Keeping your chest up and your core engaged, lower into a squat until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
- Push through your heels to return to a standing position.
- Repeat for 8 to 12 reps.
Lunges work the same muscle groups as squats, but they also target the adductor muscles— the muscles on the inside of the thighs.
How to do it:
- Start by standing with your feet together.
- Step forward with one leg and lower into a lunge, keeping your front knee behind your toe.
- Push through your front heel to return to a standing position.
- Repeat with the other leg.
- Continue alternating for 8 to 12 reps on each side.
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Leg presses are a great machine-based exercise for toning the thighs. They specifically target the quadriceps, which are the large muscles on the front of the thighs.
How to do it:
- Sit in a leg press machine with your back flat against the pad and your feet hip-width apart on the footplate.
- Release the safety lever and lower the weight until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
- Push through your heels to return to the starting position.
- Repeat for 8 to 12 reps.
Sumo squats are similar to regular squats, but they place a greater emphasis on the inner thighs.
How to do it:
- Start by standing with your feet wider than hip-width apart, toes pointed out at a 45-degree angle.
- Lower into a squat, keeping your weight in your heels and your knees behind your toes.
- Push through your heels to return to standing.
- Repeat for 8 to 12 reps.
3. Incorporate HIIT Into Your Workouts
In addition to traditional cardio and strength training, you may also want to incorporate high-intensity interval training (HIIT) into your workout routine.
HIIT is a type of exercise that alternates between short bursts of intense activity and periods of rest. It’s an effective way to burn calories, which can help you see results more quickly (6).
To try HIIT, you can do any type of cardio workout such as running, biking, swimming, rowing, etc. The key is to alternate between periods of all-out effort and active rest.
For example, you might sprint for 30 seconds, then walk for 60 seconds. You can do this for 10 to 20 minutes at a time, depending on your fitness level.
4. Consider The Role Hormones Play
For example, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that’s characterized by high levels of testosterone. PCOS can lead to weight gain and difficulty losing weight, particularly in the thighs and lower body (8).
- Cushing’s syndrome
- Estrogen dominance
If you suspect that hormones are playing a role in your weight gain, talk to your doctor. They can order tests to determine if you have a hormonal imbalance.
There are also some hormones, not specific to the female population, that play a role in how body fat is distributed.
For example, insulin is a hormone that helps the body use blood sugar for energy. When levels are high, it can lead to weight gain, particularly in the form of belly fat.
Cortisol is another hormone that’s closely linked to stress. High levels of cortisol have been linked to increased appetite and cravings, as well as weight gain (13).
5. Practice Sleep Hygiene
Lack of sleep can lead to an increase in the hunger hormone ghrelin and a decrease in the satiety hormone leptin, which can make you eat more and gain weight (10).
To promote healthy sleep habits, aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night and practice good sleep hygiene. This means setting a regular sleep schedule, avoiding caffeine and electronics before bed, and creating a relaxing bedtime routine.
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6. Manage Stress Levels
Like poor sleep, stress can also contribute to weight gain. When you’re stressed, your body releases the hormone cortisol. As mentioned earlier, high levels of cortisol have been linked to increased appetite and cravings, as well as weight gain (3).
To manage stress, consider incorporating some or all of the following into your routine:
- Deep breathing exercises
- Spending time in nature
- Spending time with friends and family
The Bottom Line
Stubborn thigh fat can be tough to get rid of. However, by making small changes to your diet and lifestyle, you can see results more quickly. Try incorporating some of the tips above into your routine and be patient as you work towards your goals. Remember, slow and steady wins the race.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Association between Reduced Sleep and Weight Gain in Women (2006, academic.oup.com)
- Cushing’s Syndrome Effects on the Thyroid (2021, mdpi.com)
- Effects of Chronic Social Stress on Obesity (2012, link.springer.com)
- Fat loss depends on energy deficit only, independently of the method for weight loss (2007, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Fats, Cholesterol, And Chronic Diseases – Eat for Life (1992, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise and Fat Loss (2015, hindawi.com)
- Losing Weight | Healthy Weight, Nutrition, and Physical Activity (2022, cdc.gov)
- Obesity and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: Implications for Pathogenesis and Novel Management Strategies (2019, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Optimising foods for satiety (2018, sciencedirect.com)
- Short Sleep Duration Is Associated with Reduced Leptin, Elevated Ghrelin, and Increased Body Mass Index (2004, journals.plos.org)
- Sleep and obesity (2013, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Strength training: Get stronger, leaner, healthier (2021, mayoclinic.org)
- Stress, cortisol, and other appetite‐related hormones: Prospective prediction of 6‐month changes in food cravings and weight (2017, onlinelibrary.wiley.com)
- The Estrogen Hypothesis of Obesity (2014, journals.plos.org)
- The Hidden Dangers of Fast and Processed Food (2018, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- The influence of sex hormones on obesity across the female life span (1998, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- The Role of Exercise and Physical Activity in Weight Loss and Maintenance (2015, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Weight-Loss and Maintenance Strategies – Weight Management (2004, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)