This article was written by Jenny Sugar and repurposed with permission from POPSUGAR Fitness.
Full disclosure: There's no one exercise or food that specifically helps you lose weight in your legs—spot reducing fat doesn't work—but keep reading to find out what can help you trim down.
KICK UP THE CARDIO
Burning calories is key to reducing your overall body fat, and heart-pumping cardio is going to make that happen. Choose the types that burn the most calories, such as biking, running, and jumping rope. As a bonus, these also tone the legs while you're doing them. Do 60-minute sessions five times a week to really notice a difference.
With your incline, that is. Pump up the treadmill's incline, find some hills to bike or run up, or take the stairs outside or in your home. You'll instantly feel your heart rate increase, which means you're working harder and burning more calories than if you were to stick to a flat surface. Incline also targets the thighs, hamstrings, and tush, toning your lower body.
With all the cardio you're doing that's stripping away that extra layer of fat surrounding your lower body, you want to reveal strong, toned muscles underneath. Doing moves that sculpt your inner and outer thighs, hamstrings, and butt will make your legs look leaner and slimmer.
FUEL YOUR DAY
Definitely don't skip the first meal of the day since it'll jumpstart your metabolism, which helps to reduce your overall body fat to reveal your leaner legs. Pass on sugary meals with refined carbs, and opt for a combo of protein and fiber-filled complex carbs. The protein will give you energy so you'll feel pumped for that early-morning cardio workout. As an added bonus, it also helps build muscle. The carbs will sustain that energy and keep you feeling full.
Eating a little something every few hours will prevent hunger from causing you to overeat, so be sure to eat a snack in between meals. Keep it under 150 calories, and choose foods high in protein and fiber to fill you up and offer energy.
RECORD YOUR MEALS
You can't slim down by exercise alone. It's important to cut calories as well and to know your daily calorie intake. Though it may seem tedious, keeping a food journal works—in fact, one study found that those who logged what they ate six days a week lost twice as much weight as those who only kept track of a day or less.
In order to lose a pound a week, you need to cut 500 calories a day—250 through exercise and 250 through diet is a good breakdown. Just be sure not to dip below 1,200 calories. Writing it down will keep you accountable for every bite.
DRINK MORE WATER
Choose water every time you reach for a drink, and you'll save hundreds of calories by avoiding sodas, fruit juices, and other sweetened beverages. Aside from being zero calories, H2O will keep you hydrated, which also helps with weight loss. Keep water close by, and sip it often, especially before meals—filling up on water before eating helps encourage portion control.
Getting enough rest is also proven to aid in weight loss. Sleepiness makes people snack more, while also making them too tired to work out.
CONSIDER YOUR GENETICS
If you're blessed with a pear-shaped body (and so is your sister, mother, aunts, and grandmother), there's not a whole lot that exercise, eating right, and taking care of yourself can change. Do what you can, but don't obsess or stress about it. Enjoy life in the body you were given—thighs and all!