Well, I think there are many different answers to your dilemma. For ME, walking actually does WONDERS for my hips...
Sometimes genetics dictate how we lose or gain. I've read that women gain from the bottom up and lose from the top down!!! Isn't THAT depressing? Makes me want to quit losing and gaining and losing again. Now, I'm NOT saying that's true, but I've heard it several times...
I think the above poster makes some good points. And, I agree about resistance bands - there are almost endless exercises you can do with them.
I think hips hate all women, but the fact is every person is different! Every person stores fat tissue in a different way. I know that I have a pretty flat bum, but I have alot of fat in my arms, thighs and waist. When I started to gain weight I noticed that most of it gravitated toward my arms, and they will problem the last part of my body to catch up to the rest of me.
As for your hips and thighs you have to consider muscle mass on your thighs, if you do alot of walking you'll have some powerful legs, but when you start to gain weight your legs will be the thing you notice the most because the fat will sit ontop of the muscle making your legs bigger. The best thing to do to get rid of any fat is to exercise. A stair stepper machine will be great for your hammies as well as a steep incline on an eliptical. My favorite thing for toning my legs though is cycling, because it's all legs all the way. If you have a gym membership recumbant bikes are the best! I use one and depending on how I'm cycling I can work many muscles in my legs. Example is that if I turn my toes outward as I cycle I can feel the muscles on my inner thighs being pulled and stretched! If I turn my toes inward the outside of my thighs are worked.
The best thing to do is to just pay attention to your body while you work out. Be feeling which muscles are being worked and find what best suits your needs.
Also the more muscle you have the more calories you burn per day naturally! If your worried about building too muscle and becoming bulky (although this is quite hard for women to accomplish anyway) do very light weight and many many reps. Set a goal of how many reps you want to do, if your arms are not tired by the time you reach that number keep going till they are. Record the number in excel on a spreadsheet and try to go up 5-10% of the number per day till you feel like you are doing alot! I usually stopped at 250 reps and then upped my weight and started at around 25-50 or till I got tired.
Resistance bands are great for this and they have ALOT of other uses too! :)
Hope this helps
Oh my gosh - I hear ya. You know, I gain and lose weight and pretty much maintain the same proportion. I think most people are that way. So if you always have big hips & thighs (like me), then that will always be the largest part of your body.
Think just losing weight overall will help.
Heard also that if you think the lower half is too big, focus more on the upper half with your workouts and visa versa. Has anyone else heard this?