I want slimmer thighs!

Hi Alice,

I have always worked out regularly and I can't seem to get my thighs to slim down. I have been thinking about getting liposuction done on my inner and outer thighs, but I can't decide. I am not huge, but I am also not comfortable in a swimsuit. What do you suggest?

— Wandering

Dear Wandering,

Although it may seem like perfect bodies are everywhere, what you see is not always what you get. Many ads featuring toned supermodels with flawless skin are the work of talented artists using computer technology to alter and reshape bodies to an unrealistic ideal. This airbrushed body type may realistically be achievable for a fragment of the population. In reality, a "perfect body" is merely a technological illusion for most of us. Before making a decision about getting liposuction, you may also want to read Liposuction — Permanent fat removal?

Have you spent time thinking about what keeps you from accepting your body the way it currently looks? Is your envisioned shape and size realistic? Do you have family members with similar body shapes? If you find this to be the case, it might be easier to accept your body as a part of who you are. Try to shift the focus from the shape of your thighs to what they can do for you in terms of strength, movement, flexibility, pleasure, and other invaluable functions and sensations.

Women typically carry their weight in their hips and thighs and for many; it is difficult to lose weight in these areas. Although strength training exercises will help tone and shape your legs, spot reducing fat just isn't physiologically possible. An increase in physical activity combined with a decrease in calories consumed should help you gradually lose some fat and build muscle tone.

Yes, the old standbys — eating well and exercising — are two ways to help stay healthy and feel good about ourselves. Choosemyplate.gov provides some useful resources on both sound nutrition and physical activity. Consider consulting with a registered dietitian for a "nutritional check-up" to be sure you are getting all the necessary nutrients in the proper amounts.

Next, consider including cardiovascular and resistance exercise in your fitness plan (check out Minimum and maximum heart rate for aerobic exercise and What exactly does moderate intensity mean? for more information). Resistance training needs to include all muscle groups for the development and maintenance of lean body tissue. These exercises helps strengthen bones and muscles, and keeps your metabolism hummin'. Cardiovascular exercise provides numerous health benefits, including an increase in energy expenditure. A certified personal trainer, available in most campus and community fitness facilities, may assist you with proper techniques for both types of activity.

Realistic goals, some self-acceptance, and a little guidance may keep you moving in the right direction to becoming a superstar in your swimsuit and your own skin!

Last updated Jul 28, 2015
Originally published Feb 19, 1999

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