If you’re overweight, you may be able to reduce excess facial fat by undergoing a sensible nutrition and exercise program for sustainable weight loss. Spot-reduction isn’t possible; you can’t, for example, direct weight loss efforts at your cheeks. But if you lose excess fat all over your body and maintain that loss over time, you should see a difference in the appearance of your face.
After your health care provider gives you the go-ahead, gradually work up to 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous cardiovascular exercise, 5 times a week. Activities like brisk walking, running, hiking, swimming, bicycling will fit the bill, as will using machines like the elliptical, treadmill, rower, stair climber, and cardio-focused group fitness classes. Cardiovascular exercise builds fitness and burns calories, enhancing your weight loss efforts.
Strength training is another important type of exercise for long-term weight control. This involves using free weights, dumbbells, weight machines, or other equipment to challenge your muscles; as a result, your muscles become stronger and more defined; and with more muscle tissue, you’ll burn more calories, even when you’re just sitting around. I’m not aware of any specific exercises for facial muscles; and recommend avoiding products marketed for this purpose.
Fat distribution patterns are largely genetic; so look around at your close and extended family members — and photos of ancestors — to see if a round face is a frequently shared trait. This will help you determine if your goal for a leaner, more slender or chiseled face is realistic — or not.
Long-term use of certain medications — like prednisone — can cause a significant increase in facial fullness and roundness, even in people who are lean and fit. If this is the case for you, share your concerns with your health care provider.
We all want to look our best, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But there are some things about our bodies we can change, and others we can’t; the best we can do is adopt a healthy lifestyle, focus on the positive, and move to a place of acceptance around the things we can’t change. In addition to boosting physical health, good nutrition and regular exercise can have a profound effect on mood, body-image, confidence, and overall well-being.
For best results, work with a certified personal trainer for an exercise program tailored to your needs and goals. For a personalized approach to weight management, consult a registered dietitian.