Side fat packs on inches to your waistline and pant size.

How to Get Thinner Sides

by Ashley Farley

Some women gain weight in their legs, rear or face, while others get chunky in their midsection right away. This extra fat on your sides, more lightheartedly called a "muffin top," can make you look lumpier than you want in your favorite jeans and tight-fitting dresses. Making healthy changes to your diet and performing regular aerobic exercise will trim fat from your body overall -- including those trouble areas on your sides. Add a bit of strength-training exercise to tone those muscles for a shapelier figure.

1. Eating Habits

1 Ditch any liquid calories you consume. This includes sweetened coffee drinks, sugary fruit-flavored juices and carbonated drinks. Aim for 64 ounces of water each day to stay hydrated and to avoid unnecessary calories.

2. Eating Habits

2 Make healthy snack choices. Reach for fruit, yogurt, veggies and nuts instead of cookies, chips and ice cream. Throw away any tempting junk food snacks and keep your kitchen stocked with healthier options. This helps you avoid binge-eating on high-calorie foods when hunger strikes between meals.

3. Eating Habits

3 Build each meal from nutrient-dense food choices that promote a healthy weight and muscle growth. This includes lean protein, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, fruits and whole-grain breads. Avoid foods that are pre-packaged and processed that come with additives and preservatives; choose food that is closer to the natural source as often as possible.

4. Exercise

1 Burn stored body fat and prevent new fat from accumulating with five weekly aerobic workouts. Choose a variety of exercises to combat boredom but select activities you also enjoy. Exercises like running, rowing, swimming, kickboxing, dance aerobics and the elliptical trainer engage your whole body and burn calories for fat loss. Work for at least 30 minutes at a pace that feels challenging but not so hard you can't carry a conversation. Remember -- you can't lose weight in just your trouble spots, so focus on burning fat all over.

5. Exercise

2 Perform strength-training workouts three days a week for your entire body. Increased muscle mass leads to a higher metabolism and more fat loss. Exercises like pushups, pull-ups and curls target the upper body muscles and squats, calf raises and lunges work the lower body muscles. Choose exercises and weights that you can do eight to 12 repetitions for each exercise.

6. Exercise

3 Focus on your abdominal muscles every other day to create a natural girdle and to isolate your sides. This includes exercises like crunches, sit-ups, bicycle crunches and side bends. Choose three to five exercises and work for two to three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions.

Tip

  • Add intervals to one or two of your aerobic workouts. Alternate working at a really fast pace for one minute with slower intervals that last up to three minutes. Intervals burn higher calories than standard cardio workouts, but are too physically demanding to do on a daily basis.

Warning

  • Talk to your doctor about healthy weight loss before starting a new fitness program.

Photo Credits

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