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Losing weight can lower your risk for certain medical conditions such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes, improve your mobility, and increase your energy levels. The benefits of weight loss go beyond health though. Shedding pounds can boost your self-confidence and self-esteem and improve your mental health.  Those embarking on their weight loss journeys may be eager to lose face fat quickly. Although there is no quick trick for reducing facial fat, taking the following steps may produce results over time.

Focus on overall weight loss

Studies have revealed that the idea that you can somehow target one particular area for fat loss is false. One study followed the progress of people who participated in an upper-body strength-training exercise program and hoped to achieve spot reduction or targeted fat loss. After 12 weeks, the men and women had gained muscle mass but did not see any major spot reduction.

The findings of this research and other studies like it indicate that to lose fat in your face, you need to focus on overall weight loss. In response to diet and exercise, men often lose weight in their torsos first and other areas afterward, while women tend to lose fat all over but experience slower fat loss along the hips and thighs.

Your genetics, your starting weight and other factors will influence where you notice fat loss the quickest, but as you continue to lose weight, you will eventually begin to see changes in your face. Researchers at the University of Toronto found that men and women need to lose roughly 18 and 14 pounds, respectively, before noticing visible changes in their appearance.

Stick to a healthy diet plan

A healthy diet is key to weight loss, but that doesn’t mean counting every calorie. Reducing your calorie intake too much can actually undermine your weight loss efforts by slowing down your metabolic rate. Plus, you’re less likely  to maintain weight loss achieved through drastic dietary changes long-term

Instead of viewing weight loss as a numbers game, focus on improving the quality of your diet by eating:

  • Whole grains like whole wheat, quinoa, bulgur and farro
  • Lean proteins like fish, poultry, eggs and lean cuts of pork and beef
  • A wide variety of fruits and vegetables
  • Low-fat dairy products in moderation
  • Small amounts of healthy monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats like olive oil and corn oil

Practice portion control by filling your plate half full of vegetables and then filling the remaining fourths with whole grains and lean protein. Add a serving of low-fat dairy or fruit to complete your meal. Sticking closely to this type of healthy diet plan can naturally produce a calorie deficit to support weight loss.

Cut down on processed foods

What you cut out of your diet is every bit as important as what goes into it. Eliminating as many processed foods as possible can support your weight loss efforts. Processed foods often feature large amounts of sodium. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends limiting your sodium intake to 3,200 milligrams per day. Consuming too much sodium can cause you to retain water, which may make your face appear fuller than it is.

Some examples of processed foods to avoid include:

  • Potato chips
  • Fried foods
  • Frozen dinners
  • Canned vegetables, soups and sauces
  • Deli meats

Exercise regularly to support fat burning

Exercise is the second part of a successful plan to lose weight and reduce face fat. Moderate-intensity exercise supports weight loss by increasing the number of calories that you burn. When combined with a healthy diet, regular exercise can naturally increase your calorie deficit to encourage your body to burn stored fat for fuel. In addition, exercise can reduce water retention in your face and elsewhere.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. You can divide up the time any way you wish. For example, you could complete two one-hour workouts and one 30-minute workout per week or exercise for 20 to 25 minutes daily. Moderate-intensity exercise can include activities like brisk walking, swimming, sports, and even household chores, like vacuuming or mowing the grass.

Strength-training is anotheraspect of a complete fitness plan for weight loss. The CDC states that adults should complete two to three full-body strengthening workouts weekly for overall health. Strength training with weights or resistance bands encourages your body to metabolize fat rather than muscle when you exercise. Over time, building muscle mass through weightlifting and other exercises also raises your metabolic rate, making it possible for you to burn more calories even at rest.

Set goals to lose weight at a slow, steady pace

Goal-setting gives you something to strive for and a way to monitor your weight loss progress. When setting yours, opt for a slow weight loss pace, such as one or two pounds per week. Setting realistic expectations can keep you from becoming discouraged. Studies show that people who strive to lose weight slowly are more likely to succeed with weight management programs and to maintain their target weight.

When one of your goals is reducing face fat, slow weight loss is especially important. Losing fat in your face rapidly through extreme dieting can result in loose skin. One study found that fat loss contributed to how old a person looked and that increased fat loss made participants appear older over a period of 10 years. Losing weight at a slower pace may give your skin more time to recover to the changes in fat composition to offset some of these effects.

Give facial exercises a try

Although they’re unlikely to cause fat spot reduction, facial exercises can improve your appearance by strengthening your muscle tone. Researchers at Northwestern Medicine found that middle-aged women who did 30 minutes of facial exercise every other day or daily saw improvements in facial tone within 20 weeks and appeared more youthful as a result. Some facial exercises to try include the following:

Eyebrow lift

  1. Smile with your teeth showing.
  2. Place the tips of your index, middle and ring fingers under your eyebrows.
  3. Draw your fingers upward to open your eyes widely.
  4. Flex your brow to try and push your eyebrows down toward your fingers.
  5. Close your eyes and rotate your eye toward the top of your head.
  6. Hold for 20 seconds while maintaining your smile and remembering to breathe deeply.
  7. Release your fingertips and relax your face.
  8. Repeat three more times.

Chin touch

  1. Stick out your tongue.
  2. Extend it downward as if trying to touch your chin.
  3. Hold for 10 seconds.
  4. Relax.
  5. Repeat 15 times.

Cheek sculpting

  1. Make a closed-lip smile, extending your lips as wide as possible. You should feel slight discomfort.
  2. Place your fingertips at the corners of your mouth.
  3. Apply pressure to the corners of your mouth and push your fingertips toward your cheeks.
  4. Hold for 20 seconds, remembering to breathe deeply.
  5. Release your fingers and relax.
  6. Repeat 5 times.

Chin tightener

  1. Clench your teeth together tightly.
  2. Smile without releasing the tension in your jaw.
  3. Hold for 20 seconds.
  4. Release.
  5. Repeat five times.

Talk to your doctor

In some cases, weight gain in the face may not just be due to your diet and fitness level. Some health conditions and medications can cause a round, full face shape, also known as a moon face. One such condition is Cushing’s syndrome, a hormonal disorder that results in  the body making too much cortisol. Long-term use of prescription corticosteroids, such as prednisone, can also lead to the development of a moon face.

Your primary care provider can run diagnostic tests to determine if a medical condition is responsible for your change in appearance. If so, they can develop a treatment plan to improve your health as well as how your face looks. If a prescription medication is a factor, they can explore other  medication options that may have fewer visible side effects.

Even if diagnostic tests and assessments don’t uncover an underlying condition, ongoing visits with your primary care provider can still be beneficial during your weight loss journey. A doctor experienced with weight management can develop a program to help you lose weight safely and keep it off over time. Research shows that doctor-led weight loss programs may be more effective than dieting on your own. One study found that people who participated in an in-person or virtual program overseen by a physician lost significantly more weight than those who didn’t.

How Forward can help you lose weight and improve your appearance

Our 12-week, doctor-led Weight Management Program can help you make lasting changes that allow you to lose weight and keep it off for good. As your primary care provider, Forward can order the diagnostic tests and assessments needed to determine if an underlying medical condition is the cause of changes to your appearance, and our program begins with goal-setting, so you can have a clear picture of the results you wish to strive for from losing facial fat to improving your cardiovascular health. Our team acts as your partner throughout your weight loss journey, monitoring your progress and providing motivational support to ensure your success.

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