How to Lose Face Fat: 5 Tips to Reduce Facial Fat
Authored by Elliot Reimers, M.S.(C), CISSN, CNC
Get Rid of Face Fat with these 5 Tips
Targeting excess facial fat is tricky as evidence that you can spot-reduce body fat remains limited . The good news is there are a handful of studies suggesting facial exercises can help define and rejuvenate facial appearance by strengthening muscles of the cheeks and jaw .
However, training your facial muscles won't necessarily make you lose face fat; you'll need to focus on systemic weight loss to get rid of face fat. Hence, a healthy diet, cardio exercise, and resistance training are all prudent if you want to burn excess facial fat.
Here are five evidence-based tips that can help reduce facial fat and assist with overall weight loss.
#1 - Eat a Balanced Diet and Reduce Calorie Intake
Priority number one when you want to lose face fat is calorie control. Research makes it clear that you need to consume fewer calories than you burn to shed fat . The second priority is eating a balance of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates from wholesome foods and limiting processed foods, particularly those rich in added sugars.
That being said, it's impossible to provide a one-size-fits-all diet for everyone — the best advice is to use trial and error and see what works best for you. For example, you might start with a diet comprising 35% protein, 35% carbohydrates, and 30% fat (as percentages of total calorie intake) while maintaining a sufficient calorie deficit. If you don't lose body/face fat at a reasonable rate, you can try lowering your carbs a bit and increasing protein intake.
Experiment, try new things, and listen to your body. Effective weight-loss diets work because they allow people to control their energy intake, not because they contain magic foods or restrict/eliminate certain macronutrients.
#2 - Perform Facial Muscle Exercises Daily
It may come as a surprise that humans have more than two dozen muscles on each side of their face, 20 of which are essential for chewing, making facial expressions, and talking . A certified facial exercise instructor is the best person to consult for learning the proper technique for facial exercises.
Facial muscles are typically omitted from traditional resistance training programs, but they can hypertrophy like any other muscle in the body. Some companies make facial training devices that add resistance while performing facial muscle exercises and have been shown to improve facial rejuvenation with just 30 seconds of use twice daily .
Bear in mind there is virtually no evidence showing that facial exercises promote facial fat loss . At best, they can help improve facial aesthetics by developing underlying forehead/jaw/cheek muscles.
#3 - Limit/Cut Out Alcohol
Alcohol consumption isn't intrinsically "bad" for losing weight and face fat; drinking a can of beer or glass of wine now and then won't make or break your results. However, getting "smashed" on the regular certainly won't do you any favors when trying to lose face fat.
Ethanol contains roughly seven calories per gram, and most alcoholic drinks also have sugar/carbs that can tally up your calorie intake in a hurry. Be sure to track your alcohol consumption so you don't overshoot your calorie needs.
#4 - Lift Weights 3 to 5 Times Per Week
In a previous article, we discussed why resistance training should remain a priority even when your main goal is to lose weight. The salient takeaway from that article is that cardiovascular exercise is mostly just a way to burn calories. In contrast, moderate-to-intense resistance training helps "expand" your metabolism over time — making it easier to shed excess body fat in the long run .
Of course, doing some cardio is prudent to promote fat burning on a weight-loss regimen, but there's no need to toil away on the treadmill for hours every day. Make it a habit to pump some iron three to five times per week; it's one of the best ways to get lean.
#5 - Do Cardio to Support Total Body Fat Loss
As mentioned in the previous tip, moderate doses of cardio help tip the energy balance scale in favor of a deficit, ultimately contributing to weight loss. Assuming you lift weights a few times per week, you shouldn't need to do tons of cardio to reduce body/face fat. Start by performing four to five 30-minute sessions of moderate-intensity, steady-state cardio. Alternatively, get outside for a brisk 40-60 minute walk every day.
If you're capable, try implementing high-intensity interval training (HIIT) into your cardio workouts; it will save you time and increase your resting metabolic rate for quite some time . We did a deep dive on this topic here: HIIT vs. Steady-State Cardio
Is a Keto Diet Best for Facial Fat Reduction?
Carbohydrates are probably the most misunderstood and vilified macronutrient. They tend to get a bad rap because many people overeat sugar-laden, processed foods while leading a sedentary lifestyle. This combination eventually manifests itself into type-II diabetes due to impaired insulin sensitivity.
People assume that cutting out carbs, a la the ketogenic diet, will make it easier to lose weight — but that's not necessarily the case. Carbohydrates are protein-sparing and can help revive energy-balancing hormones like thyroid hormones and leptin during a weight-loss phase [8, 9].
Moreover, eschewing carbohydrates altogether is an impractical long-term solution to lose fat (and keep it off). Maintaining a balanced weight-loss diet will give you more freedom with your food selection, and you'll be more likely to stick to your plan over time. It doesn't make much sense to follow a super strict diet even if you lose face fat because you'll eventually return to old habits that lead to weight gain/excess fat.
Key takeaway: Don't fear carbs when trying to lose weight/face fat — be smart about your food selection and portion control. Someone who sits behind a desk all day and doesn't exercise much will need fewer carbohydrates than a very active person who works in manual labor. Likewise, individuals with diabetes need to be more stringent with carbohydrate intake than those who are highly insulin sensitive.
Does Botox Promote Facial Fat Loss?
In short: No. Botox (botulinum toxin type-A/B) is a paralytic neurotoxin derived from the bacterial species Clostridium botulinum and related microbes . Theoretically, Botox treatment of the face would make it harder for you to train your facial muscles.
As such, Botox won't help you lose facial fat, but it can significantly improve facial aesthetics and reduce signs of aging (e.g. wrinkly skin and forehead lines) . Nonetheless, don't rush to get Botox treatments if your primary concern is to get rid of face fat.
Again, the best way to lose fat in your face is to concentrate on whole-body weight loss through lifestyle adjustments. In due time, your face will lean out and appear slimmer.
For further guidance, check out: How Many Calories Should You Eat to Lose Weight?
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