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If you tend to collect more fat on your outer thighs than the rest of your body, you're considered a pear shape. And while you may be annoyed by the extra padding down there, it's much healthier than carrying your weight around the middle, like apple-shaped people. That's because a large waist circumference indicates dangerous levels of visceral fat, which is linked to high triglycerides, high cholesterol, diabetes, dementia and other serious illnesses. No matter where you carry your fat, you can't spot reduce with exercise. Thus, you must lose fat all over before your thighs will get any thinner.
Eat a healthy, reduced-calorie diet of mostly whole foods. Losing a single pound of fat requires consuming 3,500 fewer calories than you burn, so cut 750 calories from the number needed to maintain your current weight. To ensure proper nutrition, don't eat fewer than 1,200 calories a day. Choose foods high in nutrients while low in fat and calories. Eat fruits and vegetables in an assortment of colors, whole-grain products like corn tortillas and brown rice, and low-fat proteins like garbanzo beans and salmon.
Get 300 minutes of moderate cardio exercise each week, spread over five to six days. If your schedule is tight, break sessions down to as short as 10 minutes at a time. Walking, jogging, swimming and rollerblading are all good choices, but you can also get cardio in nontraditional ways such as mowing the lawn or dancing.
Do thigh kicks. These tone the muscles of your outer and inner thighs. Stand with your hands on the back of a chair, and shift your weight to the ball of your left foot, lifting your right leg. Cross your right foot past your left, right toes pointed out, and hold for five to 10 seconds. Swing it back out to the right to a 45-degree angle, and hold again for five to 10 seconds. Don't twist your hips as you swing your leg back and forth. Repeat 12 times, then switch legs and do 12 more reps.
Use the thigh abductor machine at the gym. Press your outer legs against the pads, and then spread your thighs as wide as possible. Perform two sets of 12 repetitions.
Do lunges to tone your thighs and buttocks. Stand with your hands on your hips. Step out with your left leg, and lower yourself down by bending both legs to 90-degree angles, leading with your left leg. Keep your back straight. Use your left leg to push back up to starting position, and repeat for 12 repetitions. Switch feet, and perform another 12 reps.
- It is harder to lose subcutaneous thigh fat than visceral stomach fat, so it may take weeks or longer to see results.