Why Your Thighs Are Stubborn

A common question many women (including me) ask themselves: Why can’t I get rid of fat on my thighs?

We know a nutritionist will say to eat better and a fitness trainer will say to work out more, but are there other reasons why our thighs are such a troublesome area to keep slim and toned? We turned to Miami plastic surgeon Sean Simon, MD, for the inside scoop.

Why are the thighs such a difficult area of the body for women to lose weight?
This is a problem that has been examined over and over. There are certain “trouble spots” that women have that will not respond to exercise and/or diet like other areas will. The typical areas for women are the thighs, hips and buttocks. Fatty deposits (collections of fat cells, adipocytes) are not all the same throughout different areas of the body, and the distribution of these trouble spots varies from person to person.

Is targeted fat reduction (doing workouts that specifically focus on the thighs) the answer?
The commonly held misconception that targeted fat reduction through specific exercise is just completely false. Your body’s physiology will determine where fat will be burned for energy. In other words, if you have stubborn fat on your abdomen and try to exercise this away with sit-ups, crunches, core work, etc., this will not work. The muscles in these areas will become stronger and more toned, but the fat in this same area will not necessarily be affected—your body will likely burn fat from many areas of the body at the same time for the production of energy while not burning very much from your particular trouble spots.

Are genetics to blame?
These areas that do not respond well to exercise are genetically based and not acquired. Of course a healthy lifestyle with good nutrition and exercise will minimize these trouble spots and completely eliminate them for some people.

When diet and exercise don’t help, what are other options?
The only way to specifically target fat removal is through some type of procedure designed to destroy and/or remove the fat cells from the thighs such as liposuction. This technique has been improved and refined over the past 30 years, including the introduction of laser and ultrasound technologies. In my opinion, there is nothing that comes close to liposuction in terms of effectiveness and results.