It’s hard to keep track of how much we eat. But a lot of research shows that when we keep track of intake, we eat less. This is called self-monitoring, and why writing down what I ate and weighed helped me.4,5,6 There are so many ways to do this nowadays: from the old-school paper-and-pencil method, to apps like MyFitnessPal, or the Weight Watchers points system.7
This snack-busting tip comes from Tricia Minnick, who lost a whopping 128 pounds by cutting soda and processed carbs from her diet, filling half her plate with veggies at every meal, and brushing her teeth after eating. "It'll help stop night snacking," she says. "Fresh breath makes you less tempted to eat more." Wise up on other ways to stop mindless snacking with these tips.
Some scientists and journalists have concluded from this body of evidence that there exists a ‘metabolic advantage’ associated with ketogenic diets. In other words some believe that ketogenic diets cause a greater expenditure of energy (aka, calories) than non-ketogenic diets leading to the claim that ‘a calorie is not a calorie’ (Feinman 2003, Taubes 2007). However this flies in the face of a standard tenet of nutrition and dietetics that in order to lose weight, we always have to eat fewer calories than we burn – i.e., ‘a calorie IS a calorie.’
Stop treating your kitchen like an all-night diner and you’ll stop seeing those unwanted pounds piling onto your frame, too. The results of a study published in Cell Metabolism found that mice who only had access to food during an eight-hour period stayed slim over the course of the study, while those who ate the same number of calories over a 16-hour period gained significantly more weight, particularly around their middle. When you’re finished with dinner at night, shut the fridge and don’t look back until morning — your belly will thank you. When you do head back to the kitchen in the A.M., make sure the 40 Things Healthy Cooks Always Have in Their Kitchen are there waiting for you.
Want to lose that belly fat? In your dreams! Seriously, though: a good night’s sleep is one of the best ways to get rid of that extra fat around your waist for good. Among the 60,000 women participating in the Nurses’ Health Study, those who snoozed for fewer than five hours a night were at the greatest risk of becoming obese and gaining 30 or more pounds over the course of the 16-year study period when compared to those who slept for seven or more hours.
Your parents weren’t kidding about how important veggies are for a healthy body. What they probably didn’t tell you, however, was that snacking on veggies is also one of the easiest ways to shed unwanted belly fat, too. According to a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, opting for non-starchy veggies, like cauliflower, broccoli, and cucumber, as snacks helped overweight kids shed 17 percent of their visceral fat while improving their insulin sensitivity over a five-year period. Think snacking on veggies will leave you hungry? The 20 Most Filling Fruits and Veggies will have your belly satisfied in no time.
About: The truth is we all love a good success story — they show us what other people, real people that went through the same things we did, were able to achieve. They also give us ideas on how we can kickstart our own weight loss journey and succeed. The Weigh We Were is a one-stop shop for all those stories, real stories from other people who lost weight, plus how they did it. It’s just the place to get ideas from similar people to see what might work and what won’t.
My son was competing nationally and had to cut almost 20 pounds in 2 days… and he had to wrestle 3 hours after weigh in… (he had two classes to wrestle in 175 or 200 – he though he was 185 and just needed 10 pounds but when he stepped on the scale Wednesday night (friday weigh in) he was 192. He spent a lot of time in the hot tub and ate chicken and broccoli and made weight – then he drank too much too fast and ate two peanut butter, honey and banana sandwhiches… but couldn’t really recover in time… he lost his first match, won his next 4, but getting into the losers column means you wrestle almost every 25 minutes and he couldn’t gain back the stamina… suggestions when you don’t have 24 hours? I think he did pretty good on the cutting weight part (he could have drank more water earlier in the week) but gaining it back along with his energy never really happened – he was done within 24 hours of weigh in…
I had the pleasure of meeting (and rooming with!) Beth at FitBloggin'. In person, she is just as sweet, down-to-earth, and motivated as she seems on her blog, which she launched to document her weight-loss progress online. Beth also shares what she’s learned along the way, including healthy recipes she creates at home. In two years, Beth has dropped 90 pounds, reached her goal weight, and run two half-marathons, among other road races.
Meditate. If stress is inhibiting your weight loss efforts, try yoga! Or learn to meditate. Research suggests yoga is positively associated with decreased stress, increased fat loss, and improved mood (36, 37, 38). The practice of yoga is centered around controlling your breath and being more conscious of how you react to the word around you, helping you channel your stress in a more positive way.
Before we get into how to lose thigh fat, let’s take a moment to discuss why spot-reducing fat doesn’t work. If you’ve ever wondered how to lose leg fat or how to get rid of thigh fat, listen up. Plain and simple, you can’t spot-reduce body fat because you store fat cells all over your body—where your fat cells happen to be concentrated is often a genetic predisposition. If your thighs are covered in a little extra fat, you need to lose weight all over and THEN tone that specific area. You can’t spot-reduce, but you can spot-tone. Does that make sense?
Keep busy. Cutting calories can have you constantly thinking about food. And the fear of temptation can make you want to cut yourself off from social engagements. But studies suggest keeping your mind active, especially while dieting, can strengthen your willpower (89). And stress can affect your mental capacity to hold strong (90). Try to enjoy your days as much as possible and find activities that allow you to be creative, think strategically, or release stress.
My body went through a slow weight gain throughout the years and because it was so slow, I didn’t really notice too much, or really, I noticed once it had already happened and the weight was there. I remember the times getting frustrated in dressing rooms, when older clothes didn’t fit, feeling terrible in my body, and the comparison of feeling like there were so many people around me that ate more unhealthy foods than me and exercised less that were somehow still so much smaller than I was. I thought that my body would stay the way it looked forever, no matter how hard I tried to change it. I wondered if I would ever accept how my body looked or be comfortable in it. For all of the years building up to this one, I was not quite hopeless, but always a little let-down in myself, specifically the choices I made, the way I felt, and the way I looked. I didn’t feel the best in my body and wanted peace.
About: Jessica started blogging in 2012, but it really slowed down in 2014 and 2015. Now, she’s back at it, with a blog about all things weight loss, fitness, healthy recipes and healthy living, sure. But it’s also much, much more than that. Jessica is the kind of woman you can relate to, who will inspire you (without even meaning to) and who gets that being a mom is tough — and that it’s even tougher to fit in exercise and healthy eating. But she also shows you that it absolutely can be done. And that’s what makes her so special.
I try my very hardest not to compare myself to others. Everyone is going to have a different journey. It’s hard when I can look at people that seem like they can eat whatever they want and not have to work hard to look great. I get that. But my journey is about the progress I an making and discovering my best self. I found a community to celebrate accomplishments together, which was a game changer. It is helpful, fun, and encouraging having buddies to journey with.
Some studies point to 0.45 to 0.55 grams/pound body weight as the minimum intake (72,73,74,75,76). And when looking at weight loss in specific, some studies argue that even higher protein intake at 0.6 to 0.72 grams/pound, and meals providing at least 25 to 30g of protein, are associated with decreases in appetite and better weight management overall (77). Furthermore, studies looking at athletes who are cutting calories, suggest that intakes as high as 1 to 1.4 g/pound to minimize their loss of lean mass (78,79,80,81).
With blood sugar spikes contributing to obesity and health problems, it’s no surprise that you need to cut the sugar to get thinner thighs. According to the American Heart Association, the average American eats 20 teaspoons of sugar per day. With one teaspoon of sugar being 16 empty calories, it’s easy to see how fast this can add up. Instead, make sure you eliminate added sugar and sweeteners like corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup.
It's not just what you eat that can make you pack on pounds—it's also how much. Before dropping 102 pounds, DeGennaro did not have a grip on proper serving sizes. "Sitting down to dinner with my husband and three kids, I'd scarf down mounds of pasta and endless rolls," she says. "Adjusting to smaller portions was tricky at first; I'd round out meals with extra veggies to keep from getting hungry."
Or skip your favorite early-morning show—whatever it takes to grab a few more minutes of sleep each day. When researchers at the University of Chicago studied men who were sleep-deprived, they found that after just a few days, their bodies had a much harder time processing glucose in the blood—a problem common in overweight diabetics. When the individuals returned to a more normal seven to eight hours of sleep a night, however, their metabolisms returned to normal.
Women are also thought to burn fat and store fat more efficiently than men. Translation, women are more efficient at using fat for energy during exercise and all day long, but they tend to store more body fat than men due to the hormone oestrogen (115). In fact, even though women tend to eat less than men, they have on average 6 to 11% more body fat. But this doesn't mean women are more likely to be overweight than men, it just begins to explain why biologically they tend to carry more weight int he form of fat.
About: Nicole’s just a regular ‘ole girl that occasionally likes to try new fitness and, as she puts it, only gets up to work out at 5 a.m. if she’s under duress. And it’s that attitude that makes her so gosh darn appealing. She’s not the in-your-face runner, the strict “paleo-diet-only” recipe blogger. She’s just an average girl doing average things — much like the rest of us. Plus, she’s pretty darn funny and not afraid to use self-deprecating humor. Love it.
hey wow this is inspiring! im in my mid 20s and although have been slightly over weight here and there i usually stay within a BMI of 24-26. coming from a family that eats relatively healthy yet can eat what ever they want and still struggle to gain weight i am definitely the black sheep. i figured this was just my body since my parents have put me on diets since the age of 1 (doctors orders). This past February i decided to get fit for the summer after looking at a terrible photo of me on the beach and decided to count calories to see where i was going wrong. although i was eating my suggested calories a lot were bad (overdoing things with olive oil, cheese, salad dressing- all things i thought were good). so i recently decided to stick to a 80% clean plan, which is easy for me since i love my veggies. except cutting out oils and cheese made me realize i was slightly and mostly eating vegan 60-70% of the time. after losing 10 pounds i hit a plateau for a few months until i cut another 100 calories. as i am in health care i worry about enough nutrients, calcium, protein ect so i spoke to my doctor who told me to eat more! he sent me to both a dietitian and nutritionist who both told me not to worry as my BMI was now 22.8 and that calorie shouldn’t matter but i know theres something wrong. im not going to count calories for the rest of my life but i do believe it is important at beginning stages. im currently consuming 600 calories per day! i know its scary when i say it but its mostly raw veggies and im actually full but my energy level is still low so ive had to stop exercising as much. i now struggle to eat more without felling stuffed or bloated, did you have this issue too? was it hard to eat more and was it a gradual increasing of calories? and when you went from 900 to 1500+ did you gain weight initially with the added calories and then start losing or did you just start losing from where your current weight was?
Thank you so much, Cindy! You should absolutely document your journey! It makes such a big difference to have people to cheer you on and especially for you to have those pictures to look back on your journey. You can do it, one small change at a time. If you decide to document your journey on a blog or social media, please share it with me. I’d love to cheer you on!
Following all these tips won’t do your thighs much good if you don’t pay attention to how much you are eating of any given food. Using portion size is a great tool for controlling calorie intake. Portion sizes of foods are often based on regular household items that are easy for you to visualize. To get a better idea about portion size, click here.
Michelle Vicari’s weight loss journey began the day she made the decision to do gastric bypass surgery. Michelle struggled with obesity her entire life—and with BMI of 54, several health issues, severe GERD, and obstructive sleep apnea, the surgery saved her life. Not only is she down 158 pounds, but she no longer needs any of the 8 medications she was on prior to surgery and only needs to visit the doctor on her annual checkups. On her blog, you can find recipes and menus for post-surgery lifestyle, health tips, product reviews, and ramblings about her life post weight loss surgery.
The results: estrogen isn’t an angel or a demon; it’s a hormone that should ideally be within a healthy range, and too much or too little can be dangerous. So far, some studies suggest that a high-fiber, lower-carb diet might be useful in treating estrogen overload, but the best advice for anyone with PCOS or another serious problem will come from a real endocrinologist.
About: Who is Kristin? It can be tough to tell. The “about” section of her blog is empty, and finding her name so we could peg an author involved a deep dive into the blog archives. But one thing we do know...Kristin’s blog is deep. Very deep. It’s her innermost feelings, struggles, emotions with how her weight makes her feel, her low self confidence and her constant highs and lows. It’s the kind of blog that sucks you in from the moment you start reading, the kind of blog that tells you, “whoa, this person is really pouring her heart out.” And it’s Kristen’s level of vulnerability that makes her so appealing, that makes her one of the most powerful weight loss bloggers on our list. Whatever pain your weight loss struggles have caused you, you’re sure to relate to Kristen.
As noted above, our bike racer study (Phinney 1983) involved 9 lean men locked up while eating a precisely controlled ketogenic diet for 4 weeks. In addition to daily weights, three methods were used to determine changes in body composition. As a group, these subjects lost 1 kg of body weight in the first week of the ketogenic diet, all of which was attributable to reduced muscle glycogen stores (which were directly measured). After that, their weights were stable for the next 3 weeks. Unfortunately in this study we did not have the opportunity to measure metabolic rate, but based on our body composition data, anything over a 3% increase in energy expenditure associated with the ketogenic diet would have shown up as non-water associated weight loss (by implication, a loss of body fat). Clearly these 9 men did not demonstrate an obvious increase in body fat loss in the first 4 weeks of keto-adaptation.
I found your story very inspiring! I am 57 years young and about 70 lbs overweight. I have been on some kind of a diet for most of my life. I would love to find a quick fix ,but I know it does not exist. With that being said, I love what you said about the help available to us from God, I never considered the spiritual component to weight loss. Thank you for sharing your story, I will be looking forward to your tips in my email.
“Muscle building” is not exclusive to bodybuilders or beach bums; it’s the base requirement for human function. And building muscle means more than just “growing muscles big” by lifting weights and eating egg whites all day. In fact it’s separate. It’s for all of us no matter our gender, race, ethnicity, athletic ability, flexibility, Netflix-ability…muscle moves life! The heart is a muscle. We do not function without muscle movement, whether ours or someone else’s. And muscles need conditioning. They’re not self-sustaining or “neutral” responders to activity or inactivity. They’re living things, like plants in a garden. When cared for the garden produces food, and when neglected it not only doesn’t produce, it’s overtaken by weeds (fat).
This is also commonly referred to as “cheat days”. But remember, it takes 3,500 calories to lose one pound. This also means it takes 3,500 calories to gain a pound – and it is a LOT easier to eat 3,500 calories than to cut the same amount. Having a full-blown cheat day can unravel all your hard work for the week if you’re not careful. Instead, have cheat “events” or cheat meals.
Focus on cardiovascular exercise. Cardiovascular exercise is one of the best ways to lose weight. Studies show that cardiovascular exercise like walking, jogging, and running is highly effective at any degree of intensity. That's because cardio/aerobic exercise works the muscles in your arms, legs, and hips, and increases blood flow to all sets of muscles. Effective cardio exercises include:
Patty, it doesn’t matter if you have 10 pounds to lose or 100. You know when you need to make changes to get back to feeling better. I’m so glad you’re taking the action to make it happen! Diet-wise, definitely try to avoid sugar, alcohol, and refined carbs as much as possible (those are big contributors of belly fat!). Unfortunately, losing weight in one specific area isn’t something we really have control over, so it’s going to be tough to target your stomach. Sometimes it’s just genetics that decides where those extra pounds decide to cling. So, as far as exercise goes, the cardio you’ve been doing with your bike rides is great! And with strength training, try to target your big muscle groups to boost your metabolism to burn off that fat. This is a great article on burning stomach fat – https://www.bodybuilding.com/content/the-truth-how-to-burn-abdominal-fat.html . And I highly recommend HASfit workouts! https://hasfit.com/
If you want to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you take in. Simple as that. Heart-pumping cardio is a great way to up your calorie burn, and many forms of cardiovascular exercise also focus on toning the legs simultaneously: think running, cycling, or jumping rope. If you’re only doing a few light cardio workouts per week, increase that number to burn more calories. The CDC recommends 2 hours and 30 minutes of heart-pumping cardiovascular exercise per week. You should also be mixing up your workouts by incorporating High Intensity Interval Training, which helps burn fat fast and has you doing calorie-torching plyometrics, in addition to strength training, which will get into in a little bit for its metabolism-boosting benefits!
Becky Duffett is a contributing nutrition editor for Fitbit and a lifestyle writer with a passion for eating well. A former Williams-Sonoma cookbook editor and graduate of San Francisco Cooking School, she’s edited dozens of cookbooks and countless recipes. City living has turned her into a spin addict—but she’d still rather be riding a horse. She lives in the cutest neighborhood in San Francisco, spending weekends at the farmers’ market, trying to read at the bakery, and roasting big dinners for friends.
Whether you’re falling victim to chub rub, hate hearing the thunderous round of applause your legs give you when you run in shorts, or just don’t like going to battle with your jeans day after day, there are plenty of good reasons to make slimming down your lower half a top priority. They say thick thighs save lives, but strong, toned ones may be the key to a longer, more active life.