Modern slang has given us all kinds of colorful names for the places people can gain weight, from the muffin top to man boobs. Yet another gem from the modern vernacular is the term saddlebags. Once used to refer to literal bags attached to the saddle of a horse, the term now often refers to fat deposits on the thighs, and usually on the thighs of a woman. You can get rid of saddlebags if you have them, but they are yet another of life’s more stubborn fat deposits and overcoming them can pose a bit of a challenge.
What are Saddlebags?
Saddlebags are fat deposits found on the outer thighs. Although anyone can have them, saddlebags on a woman are far more common than on a man. These fat deposits usually appear just below the buttocks but do sit higher in some women than others. The key is that the fat sits on the outer hip.
What Causes Saddlebags?
Saddlebags have several different causes. All of them involve an increase of fat in the thigh area, but the reasons why the fat accumulates vary. Fat can form on the outer thigh due to any of the following:
- Thigh muscle atrophy
- Hormonal imbalances (often a pregnancy- or puberty-related increase in estrogen)
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Excess weight accumulation
It’s no surprise that hormonal changes and excess fat can impact saddlebags. Our hormones can affect us in a myriad of ways and, as we discuss often, there is no way to choose where your body deposits fat. When excess fat occurs, your body will decide where to store it without regard to your personal preferences. Many people are surprised to learn, however, that thigh muscle atrophy can cause saddlebags.
The outer thigh muscles are often underutilized, especially as we age. When this happens, the muscles atrophy and shrink, essentially making room for fat deposits. Unfortunately, fat is not as smooth or toned as our muscles and so may poke out in unattractive lumps, bumps, and bulges.
How to Get Rid of Saddlebags
You can get rid of saddlebags but, like belly fat, they are stubborn and notoriously difficult to target with diet and exercise. If you want to get rid of your saddlebags quickly and without exercise, a plastic surgeon can help. Thigh liposuction is a great way to get rid of these stubborn fat deposits quickly and easily. If your saddlebags are comprised of a lot of fat and skin, a thigh lift may also be an option.
Plastic surgery can get rid of saddlebags quickly, but there are ways to rid yourself of your saddle bags without surgery. As is true with most health-related issues, diet and exercise are the keys. A healthy diet low in fat and sugar can help you lose any excess weight you are carrying, hopefully reducing the look of your saddlebags while reducing your overall body fat.
Eating better will help, but you’ll also need to do exercises that tone the thigh muscles and specifically target the outer thigh area. Squats, lunges, hip raises, and hip extensions all target the outer thigh area. A personal trainer can also help you formulate an exercise regimen that will target your thighs. Remember to incorporate cardio workouts into your routine as well, as getting your heart rate up will help you burn fat.
Does Walking Get Rid of Saddlebags?
If you live a very sedentary lifestyle, walking can help you get rid of saddlebags. It’s important to understand, however, that walking is not an exercise that targets the outer thigh area specifically, although it will help tone your legs overall. Walking works for saddlebags largely because it is an aerobic exercise that burns calories, which will help you burn fat and reduce your fat stores overall.
Does Running Get Rid of Saddlebags?
Running can help you get rid of saddlebags too, but it works under the same principle as walking. The benefit comes from the aerobic aspect of the exercise that helps you lose weight overall. Like walking, running won’t specifically target the outer thighs but can tone your legs and buttocks.
How Long Does it Take to Get Rid of Saddlebags?
If you start eating a healthier diet and exercising religiously, you may start to see an improvement in your saddlebags within 6 to 12 weeks. How long it takes to eliminate them, however, depends on just how much thigh fat you have to lose and how much toning you can do. Everyone’s body is a bit different, so there is no hard and fast timeline for eliminating saddlebags. Remember that although diet and exercise are the only ways to lose your saddlebags naturally, slow and steady wins this race. You can get results, but don’t expect them overnight.