Many women tell me that every stray calorie seems to migrate to their hips and thighs. This is not a figment of their imaginations. And many women are looking for ways to get slim hips and thighs.
Before menopause, many women's bodies store excess fat predominantly in this area, creating what's come to be known as the "pear-shaped" body. For thousands of years, fat storage in these areas greatly helped cave-dwelling women survive during times of drought and famine. And women who could easily store fat in their hips and thighs tended to be able to give birth and feed a baby during a drought—during pregnancy and breastfeeding, the body needs as many as 1,000 extra calories a day—thus passing on their thigh-fat-storing genetics to future generations.
This is one reason why thigh fat is so difficult to get rid of. Genes left over from your cave-dwelling ancestors cause hormones and enzymes in your body to direct every extra calorie into waiting fat cells in your hips and thighs. For example, your levels of the female sex hormone estrogen may be a tad higher than other women whose bodies don't store excess fat in these areas (or as much of it).
But there are ways to coax these fat cells in your thighs to release their contents, and to coax your muscle cells into burning it up! So don't despair.
Besides excess fat in their thighs, many women complain to me about a certain type of fat known as cellulite. They tell me that no matter how much weight they lose, they can't seem to smooth out the tiny lumps of fat on their thighs. Indeed, some of the most slender women have cellulite. Cellulite is created when fat manages to push its way through tiny holes in your connective tissue, the thick web of interwoven fibers just underneath your skin. Strong and healthy connective tissue forms a tighter web of interwoven fibers, preventing fat from pressing its way through. Weak, unhealthy connective tissue, on the other hand, more easily stretches apart, allowing tiny fat pockets to poke through. Many factors can weaken your connective tissue, setting the stage for cellulite. They include:
High Hormone Levels Women with higher-than-normal levels of the female hormone estrogen tend to suffer more often from cellulite. Other than directing extra calories to fat cells in your thighs, estrogen also weakens connective tissue. When estrogen softens connective tissue around the womb, it makes childbirth possible. Unfortunately, estrogen softens all of the connective tissue in your body, not just that around your womb.
Poor Blood Circulation Usually, high estrogen levels alone won't trigger cellulite to form. Many experts believe that you must also have poor blood circulation to your connective tissue, which tends to cause swelling. The swelling stretches the connective tissue apart, allowing the fat to bulge through.
Fluid Retention Many people think that fluid retention takes place only in the abdomen. That's not true. It actually occurs all over your body, including your thighs. If you've ever pulled on a favorite pair of pants and found them tight in the thighs one day and loose the next, you've experienced the ebb and flow of fluid retention. Any type of swelling in your thighs--particularly on a chronic basis—will stretch out and weaken connective tissue.
A Frenzied Lifestyle Emotional stress has also been shown to weaken connective tissue.
Written by Jorge Cruise