When women gain weight, there's always a spot or two that the extra padding seems to go to first. For some it's ; others their butts. Some may even feel like they're being called "baby cheeks" or "chipmunk cheeks" more often than before.
If you're in that last group — feeling like you often gain weight in your face — don't freak out about those puffier cheeks just yet. These are the all-natural steps experts say you should take to help you feel like you're putting your best face forward.
1. Talk to your doctor.
Before you can figure out how to lose weight in your face, you need to know why you're gaining it. While it could be genetics — they play a role in where you store fat — medications or bigger health issues could also be at play, says Pearl Dworkin, a licensed esthetician and holistic nutritionist at in San Francisco. So the first thing you need to do is chat with your physician about any recent changes to your treatment plans, or any other new symptoms you may be experiencing that could possibly be connected to your weight gain. They'll be able to help you determine the best course of action, whether that's figuring out the root cause of a bigger problem or simply switching to a new medication.
2. Analyze your diet.
While everyone knows that food can show up on your face in the form of , your diet could also be causing your face to puff up. "The same foods that [can] lead to the inflammation that causes arthritis and asthma [could also] inflame your face," says Melissa Eboli, chef and certified wellness counselor at .
If you're not sure what your specific food hangups are, an elimination diet like Whole30 could help you hone in on which groceries are causing problems. Common inflammation-inducing ingredients include soy, corn, gluten, dairy, shellfish, and processed foods, Eboli says. Other potentially problematic items? Salt, sugar, and alcohol, Dworkin adds.
To double your efforts, Eboli says you should also add in daily doses of anti-inflammatory foods. Ginger, turmeric, , coconut, lemons, and beets — not to mention plenty of high-quality H20 — can all be helpful, she says.
3. Exercise regularly.
While everyone loses weight differently, dropping as little as 3 to 5 pounds can show up on your face first, Eboli says. That's because when you exercise your whole body (and eat healthy), you burn fat all over. So while there's sadly no magical way to target face fat, a direct result of overall weight loss can be looking slimmer in the face.
4. Give your face a workout.
Way back in 1989, Cynthia Rowland began teaching , a regimen of 18 facial exercises that take 35 seconds each and require isometric contraction with resistance. "I teach you how to anchor the muscles on your face and inside your mouth to create contractions that lift, tone, tighten, and shorten sagging facial muscles," she says. While of the practice, Rowland's routine has been around for nearly 30 years now — so clearly she's onto something. And it can't hurt to try, right?
5. Get your beauty rest.
This isn't just a cliché: If you're sleep-deprived, it's likely puffing up your face, Dworkin says. It's simple: Your body repairs itself during sleep, which helps keep your endocrine system — something that influences almost every cell, organ, and function — healthy. So if you're not getting enough shuteye, then your body isn't able to do as many behind-the-scenes repairs. Pair that with the fact that your body processes slow down as you age, and you've got yourself a recipe for a less-than-lustrous-looking face.
6. Go for the massage.
"Our face, like the rest of the body, accumulates lymphatic fluid under its skin that leads to puffiness," Dworkin says. Getting a manual facial massage can temporarily flush that fluid, especially under the jawline, a lymph-rich area. "It will give you a thinner and more sculpted face," she says, though the results will only last if you're taking good care of yourself overall. Not into the idea of a professional treatment? are back in a big way, and they could help increase lymphatic drainage in the face while in the comfort of your own home.
7. Don't rush into surgery.
"In most cases, it's not a good idea to have facial fat removed, especially as you get older," says Dworkin, who's worked for a plastic surgeon. "Removing fat pads can remove structure from your skin, making you age oddly." However, she does admit she's seen good results with the surgical removal of hereditary, under-eye fat pads and extra fat that forms under the chin. "But if you choose surgery, don't bargain shop," she warns. "Carefully and find a highly-experienced one who makes you comfortable."