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Rosemary Conley’s Hip and Thigh Diet was first published in 1988. It rapidly became popular (particularly in the UK), staying at the top of the bestseller lists for years.
The title was a marketing coup – as so many women struggle with weight around their hips and thighs.
However, most research refutes the notion that fat loss can be targeted to specific areas. Fat usually leaves at the same order it went on.
Hip and Thigh Diet Basics
The Hip and Thigh diet is a very low fat, low calorie diet (approximately 1200 calories).
The books provide a series of different meal plans that can be chosen each day. There is no calorie counting involved.
The diet is fairly restrictive, with the following foods forbidden:
- All nuts and seeds
- All oils and lards
- All dairy (except skim milk, low-fat yogurt, low-fat cottage cheese)
- All butter and low fat spreads
A typical meal would be made up of lean meat, poultry, legumes, unlimited vegetables, and medium amounts of starchy carbohydrates.
Lose Hip and Thigh Fat? Not Likely
The title of the diet implies that it will specifically deal with fat in those areas. This premise is false.
It is extremely difficult to spot reduce certain areas. The body will burn fat from where it wishes (and this is typically from where the fat went in last). Usually Hip and Thigh fat are the last to go, with arms, abdomen, and bust disappearing first in most women.
The diet is is too low in healthy fats (overall fat ration probably about 15-20%. More recent nutrition research suggests that certain fatty acids (Omega 3 and Omega 6) are required.
A lower calorie diet can also be quite difficult to stick to, with frequent hunger pangs – potentially leading to bingeing.
It is also likely that most dieters would hit a plateau sooner or later.
By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)
- Schade, M., Helledrandt, F. A., Waterland, J. C., Carns, M. L. (1962). Spot reducing in overweight college women: its influence on fat distribution as determined by photography. Research Quarterly. American Association for Health, Physical Education and Recreation, 33(3), 461-471. link
- Kostek, M. A., Pescatello, L. S., Seip, R. L., Angelopoulos, T. J., Clarkson, P. M., Gordon, P. M., … Price, T. B. (2007). Subcutaneous fat alterations resulting from an upper-body resistance training program. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 39(7), 1177-1185. link
- Katch, F. I., Clarkson, P. M., Kroll, W., McBride, T., Wilcox, A. (1984). Effects of sit up exercise training on adipose cell size and adiposity. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 55(3), 242-247.
Last Reviewed: March 31, 2017