This trick helps reduce facial swelling quickly

If your face seems a little swollen when you wake up in the morning, it’s likely no big deal. But if you notice constant puffiness, you may be Googling 'how to lose weight in your face' in hopes of reducing your facial swelling ASAP.

First, it's not possible to target specific areas of your body you want to lose weight in. Instead, you typically lose weight all over—not just from your hips, thighs, butt, or face. 'Targeting fat in your face and cheeks? Unfortunately, it's as possible as finding a unicorn at your local deli,' says Gina Keatley, CDN, co-owner of Keatley Medical Nutrition Therapy. 'Spot reduction is a myth, but overall weight loss can help slim your face,' she explains.

Trying to lose weight in your face is often more complex than prioritising a weight loss-friendly diet and ordering your cheeks to be smaller. In many cases, feeling puffy may also be due to water retention. That said, the following 10 tips can help you lose weight (or puffiness) in your face—and all over.

Meet the experts: Gina Keatley, CDN, is the co-owner of Keatley Medical Nutrition Therapy. Albert Matheny, RD, CSCS, is the co-founder of SoHo Strength Lab. Jessica Cording, RD, is the author of The Little Book of Game-Changers. Keri Gans, RD, is the author of The Small Change Diet.

Why am I gaining weight in my face?

Everyone gains weight differently based on genetics, says Albert Matheny, RD, CSCS, co-founder of SoHo Strength Lab. 'The fullness in your face is going to depend on your overall body fat percentage—there’s no way to specifically target it,' he explains. 'If it’s higher, your cheeks will be larger.'

Also, if your cheeks are a little fuller than you prefer, know that there could potentially be other reasons for that, including certain medications you’re on, as well as how much sodium and alcohol you’ve had lately, says Jessica Cording, RD, a nutritionist and the author of The Little Book of Game-Changers. So, if you wake up after a night of drinks and late-night bites, know that the booze and salty treats may be the culprit. Luckily, this puffiness usually subsides after a day and at-home tricks like a facial massage and ice roller can help speed up the process.

How to lose weight in your face

1. Keep track of your calories.

Weight loss 101: If you burn more calories than you take in, you’ll generally lose weight—in your face and other areas. 'Counting calories may be a useful tool for some individuals to lose weight because it helps them become more aware of the foods they are eating,' says Keri Gans, RD, author of The Small Change Diet.

Everyone’s calories needs are different, but you can get a good idea of what yours could be with this surplus calorie calculator. It has you enter in basic information like your height, age, weight, physical activity, and desired weight, and then gives you recommended daily calorie counts based on your goals.

2. Check your medications.

Some medications have a rep for causing your face to look swollen, round, or full. In particular, corticosteroids or ACE inhibitors and ARBs for high blood pressure can cause facial puffiness, Gans says.

If you’ve noticed your face looks fuller after starting a new medication and it bothers you, check in with your doctor. You may need to stay on the medication, but it’s always a good idea to talk with a doc about your symptoms and side effects as there may be an alternative drug.

3. Make sure you're getting enough fibre.

Fibre is a nutrient found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and it can play a major role in weight loss. Not only will it keep you fuller for longer without overloading the calories (which also limits mindless snacking), but foods rich in fibre, such as oats, legumes, fruit, and vegetables, also help improve digestive issues, such as bloating, gas, and constipation, Gans says.

Another reason to load on the fiber? It helps regulate blood sugar levels, prevent insulin resistance and diabetes, and is an excellent source of nutrition for healthy bacteria in the gut. You can get fibre in powder or supplement form, but your best (and healthiest) bet is from plants.

4. Rethink your workouts.

Exercise can help you lose weight, since you’ll be burning calories and expending energy, but if you’re taking in more calories than you’re burning, you won’t lose weight, says Matheny.

Aim to consistently do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week and try adding some lifting to your workouts (if you’re not doing it already), he says. Strength training has a significant impact on your metabolism and fat burning capabilities, studies show, so your best bet is to incorporate resistance training at least three days a week.

HIIT workouts are also worth your time since they burn a ton of calories and change your body composition while building muscle. In fact, women who incorporated HIIT programming achieved similar body composition and aerobic capacity results in half the time as women who did moderate-intensity workouts, per a 2017 study published in the Journal of Diabetes Research.

5. Monitor your sodium intake.

High levels of sodium can cause water retention and puffiness in your face, Keatley says. 'By reducing sodium in your diet, you help your body maintain a proper balance of fluids, leading to a slimmer face.'

As a general rule of thumb, the NHS's recommendation is having no more than 6g of salt a day (around 1 level teaspoon).

6. Drink more water.

Water supports your body in several ways that can lead to weight loss in your face, says Cording. Not only does it help fibre take up space in your stomach so you feel full, but sometimes we mistake the feeling of thirst for hunger, so staying on top of your water game can help reduce the chance of mindless snacking, she explains.

Dehydration can also cause your body to hold onto more water, leading to swelling in the process, Gans says. So, if you stay hydrated, this may help prevent any puffiness, she explains. Unsure if you’re hydrated enough? Check your pee! It should be a pale yellow colour.

7. Aim for at least seven hours of sleep a night.

'If you sleep well, you’re less likely to overeat,' Cording says. Why? Lack of sleep can mess with hormones like ghrelin that regulate your hunger cues, upping your risk of overeating, which can ultimately increase your daily caloric intake.

As for how much sleep you should get, the general recommendation is seven or more hours a night for most adults, according to the NHS.

8. Limit how much alcohol you drink.

Alcoholic drinks lack nutritional value and are usually packed with calories, but they also increase your risk of dehydration which can cause your face to puff up, Cording says. Plus, when you drink alcohol, it immediately goes to the liver where it’s prioritised as an energy source, so your body burns the booze cals first.

The general NHS guidelines recommend that women have no more than one drink a day and that men have no more than two drinks a day. But alcohol impacts everyone differently. If you notice you tend to look puffy the day after you have a drink and it bothers you, it’s worth scaling back.

9. Focus on eating a balanced diet.

'A balanced diet is key for a healthy lifestyle and to aid in weight management,' Gans says. 'Focus more on eating 100 percent whole grains, fruit, veggies, nuts/seeds, legumes, seafood, and staying hydrated to help meet your goals.'

If you feel like it’s a struggle to eat enough fruits and vegetables, Cording suggests filling half your plate with plants and building your meal from there. You can also try cooking at home as much as possible to eliminate sneaky fats, sugars, and processed ingredients that aren’t listed on the menu. Processed foods and packaged goods are also best to avoid since they’re typically packed with excess calories and carbs that can lead to overall weight gain.

10. Try to manage your stress levels.

In case your stress wasn’t stressful enough, it can also mess with the way your face looks. 'Chronic stress can lead to hormone imbalances, such as increased cortisol levels, which can cause weight gain and facial puffiness,' Keatley says. 'Incorporating stress-reduction techniques, like meditation, yoga, or deep breathing, can help alleviate stress and promote a slimmer facial appearance.'

Not into meditation or yoga? Matheny recommends taking up a walking routine. 'Just walking can help lower cortisol levels and help you de-stress,' he says.

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