Can face fat be lost?
Absolutely, but not by doing facial exercises you find online and in magazines. The way to lose cheek fat and avoid a double chin involves strategic diet and exercise.
My background is training fashion models.
I’ve never had a single one do specific facial exercises to get a slimmer face.
I have a special nutrition exercise suggestions that work rapidly and blows away “puffing your cheeks” or doing “fish face” exercises.
There is only one study that sort of showed a positive effect of facial exercises, but even they think that the results of their study were inconclusive:
The evidence to date is insufficient to determine whether facial exercises are effective for facial rejuvenation.
Your time is much better spent doing things that work.
I’ll discuss approaches that I’ve used over the years with clients.
Here are some helpful tips to reduce face fat.
Tip 1: Increase Potassium to Reduce Face Bloat
This isn’t a way to lose fat in the face, it is a quick hack to reduce water retention in your body and face.
Most people probably know that sodium can increase water retention, so they REDUCE their intake of salty foods so they don’t look smooth and puffy.
This helps, but INCREASING potassium takes this a step further.
You see, potassium opposes sodium.
Typically, when you increase potassium you decrease the effects of sodium.
Here is a partial list of face slimming potassium-rich foods.
- White beans
- Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes
- Swiss Chard
- Oranges & Bananas
These are the my main go-to sources of potassium, but here is a site with a more extensive list.
Potatoes top my list when it comes to flushing out water.
The protocol I would now recommend before a photo shoot?
Reduce sodium for about 48 hours while increasing water intake.
This may sound odd, but I also recommend eating an all-potato diet for these 48 hours (or potatoes with cooked spinach or other greens).
This will push out any water retention you may be experiencing and will have you looking your best.
Obviously, most of us aren’t models…
This is a great strategy for any special event.
Make sure you don’t cut sodium too early. Your body adapts to sodium intake and normalizes after a few days.
The magic in cutting sodium a day or two ahead of time is that your body will hold less water for a few days before it adapts to lower sodium intake.
A side benefit of eating potatoes is that it makes your muscles appear full. The combo of full muscles and less water retention will make your body appear leaner than normal.
Tip 2: Increase Fiber Intake to Slim Your Face
This is another tip that isn’t really about losing face fat, it is just another tip for a quick fix for a special event.
Fiber is a crucial part of our diets.
It’s actually one of my criticisms about the keto diet. People following a ketogenic diet are typically eating a low-fiber diet.
Fiber reduces water retention because it absorbs water to allow for the fiber to pass through your intestines.
Fiber also plays a role in reducing the risk of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.
According to the Mayo Clinic here are daily fiber recommendations.
Women should try to eat at least 21 to 25 grams of fiber a day, while men should aim for 30 to 38 grams a day.
The Mayo Clinic has an extensive list of high fiber foods, but here are some common high fiber food items.
- Whole wheat spaghetti
- Whole wheat bread
- Green peas
The nice thing about potatoes is you get a double whammy, high potassium and decent fiber.
Eat the potato skins to get even more fiber from your potatoes.
Tip 3: Strategic Cardio to Reduce Face Fat
I always find the cardio bashing amusing, because it is such an effective fat loss tool.
Yes, your diet needs to be dialed in.
Yes, lifting weights is important to look your best.
If you master cardio, you gain the ability to dial in your physique (and face) in a way that is close to impossible with weight training and diet alone.
Cardio is a killer tool to combat chubby face syndrome.
The best way to approach cardio, in my opinion, is to use a combination of HIIT with slow steady state cardio.
Intense exercise like HIIT and/or CrossFit circuits are incredible for burning a ton of calories.
Something else also happens when you train with intensity.
Your fat cells release stored body fat into your bloodstream.
Here’s a chart from my cardio course:
You still lose fat with HIIT and other intense exercise, but you will lose quite a bit more if you follow all intense exercise with low-intensity cardio.
Much of the released fatty acids will get re-deposited as body fat if not used for fuel.
Walking at a brisk pace for 20-45 minutes will use a large portion of these free fatty acids.
Instead of re-depositing that fat, much of it will be used to fuel the low intensity walking.
This does take more time.
(If people are honest with themselves it is probably just cutting into TV time.)
What I like to do is listen to books on tape on audible during this time.
This is a way to have a great mind to go along with your attractive face.
Tip 4: Resistance Training for Definition NOT Bulk
This isn’t as much of a face thing, but in my experience people who are looking to slim the face down are typically after the same thing for their body.
The common advice for getting slim is to do high rep training to failure.
Here is the problem with high rep training:
Training to failure, regardless of rep range, has been shown to increase the size of a muscle.
So even with light weights, it is possible to greatly increase the size of that muscle if failure is reached.
Higher reps pump blood into the muscles and cause a pump, which builds size and vascularity.
This is one of the reasons why bodybuilders switch to high reps before bodybuilding competitions… they are after large vascular muscles.
This is fine if that is what you are after.
It is not ideal for fashion models or anyone who wants to be slim VS large.
What should you do instead?
Pretty much the opposite.
For people looking to create a slim and sleek physique, I recommend sticking to medium-to-low reps and stopping short of failure.
About 5 reps seems to be the sweet stop.
The idea is to pick a weight you are able to do for 7-8 reps and stop at 5. Perform 3-4 sets just like this for each exercise.
As far as HIIT goes, I prefer to do this on a treadmill vs doing intervals with weights or body weight.
The reason for this is that you can lift weights in the way I describe above for firm, tight and compact muscles… and use cardio machines for fat loss.
When you try to lift weights to simultaneously burn fat AND increase strength and definition, you aren’t able to do either 100%.
It reminds me of Pert Plus 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner.
I’m bald now, but at one point I did have hair.
The problem with this stuff is that it never cleaned your hair as well as shampoo or conditioned your hair as well as regular conditioner.
When you try and use weights as your cardio, you are unable to focus on hard quality contractions.
Quality contractions are what creates firm muscles.
When you don’t rest enough in between sets you will be unable to create maximum contractions since your lifting is being compromised by fatigue.
I recommend lifting for maximum contractions and strength… and using a separate cardio portion of your workout for calorie burning and fat loss.
Separating weight training from cardio gives you the ability to fine-tune your physique better than resistance training alone.
Tip 5: Maintain an Ongoing Calorie Deficit to Lose Face Fat
To lose face fat, you need to lose body fat.
The way to lose body fat is to create a calorie deficit by eating fewer calories than you burn.
I already covered the way to effectively burn calories.
Here are some dieting strategies.
There are countless dieting strategies that work, I’ll cover some of the more popular approaches.
Intermittent fasting is a dieting approach that involves fasting for a period of time followed by a feeding window.
People can continue to eat a variety of foods and lose weight by cutting the time they eat down to 4-6 hours.
A common approach is to fast and allow food from Noon to 8:00 PM (called 16:8 Intermittent Fasting).
There are other ways to do this.
I have had my best success by eating normally all week and picking 2 days per week, where I only eat one meal.
I’ve been doing this on and off for 18 years and have an article about my experience here:
Note: You can use the intermittent fasting strategy with other dieting approaches. Right now, keto intermittent fasting is especially popular.
If It Fits Your Macros
If it Fits Your Macros (IIFYM) is an approach of eating whatever you want as long as you hit your protein, fat, and carb goals for the day.
This is an approach I’ve also used for years (we just never had a name for it in the 80’s and 90’s)
The nice thing about this approach is you just need to figure out your macronutrient goals and how you hit them is up to you.
Here’s a calculator that will give you protein, carb, fat, and calorie suggestions based on your height, age, current weight, goal weight, activity level and gender:
The Ketogenic Diet
This is a high fat, moderate protein, and ultra-low carb diet. If carbs are restricted for a long enough time the body reaches a state of ketosis and begins using fat for fuel instead of glucose from carbs.
There is absolutely nothing that matches the ketogenic diet for rapidly losing scale weight.
Since carbs bind to water, you lose a ton of water weight in the first week when you drastically cut back on carbs. Over a 2-3 month period, the keto diet is pretty awesome for losing weight.
I’ve been friends with a lot of the “online keto gurus” for 10+ years.
I wrote about success stories with this diet along with some of the challenges:
High Carb Low Fat
This is almost the opposite of the ketogenic diet. Since carbs and protein rarely get converted to body fat and stored as body fat, fats are drastically cut to 10% or less of daily calories.
This is my preferred approach to getting lean because it allows for starches like pasta, bread, rice, and potatoes.
*This dieting approach is also beer-friendly.
Increasing carbs means the body holds more water, so you won’t lose as much scale weight at first compared to the keto diet.
After about 2-3 months the fat loss on this diet catches up and surpasses the keto diet.
I wrote a post about it here:
Fasting Mimicking Diet (FMD)
This is a 5-day diet plan using specific foods in a way that puts the body in a similar state as fasting.
This is a more aggressive approach than intermittent fasting. It’s a low-calorie approach meant to only be used once every 6 months.
The biggest benefit is that it directly targets visceral fat (belly fat).
It also has anti-aging and anti-cancer fighting properties.
For full details, here’s my article about it:
Pick whatever dieting approach makes it easy for you to eat fewer calories than you burn.
You need a caloric deficit to lose body fat and face fat.
Get Rid of Face Fat (Summary)
I was compelled to write this post after seeing so many articles focusing on facial exercises.
Studies don’t show much promise when it comes to slimming the face by doing various face exercises.
At best, they can possibly slightly improve your appearance.
For drastic face slimming improvements, simply reduce your body fat with diet and exercise.
This isn’t what a lot of people want to hear.
The benefit of using diet and exercise to lose face fat is that it will improve the appearance of your entire body.
It will also make you a healthier person overall.
So choose a diet and exercise strategy that you can stick to…
…and make the world a more beautiful place.
As a former fitness coach to fashion models, I can teach you how to increase muscle definition without adding size.
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