I’ve heard many complain to me about jeans growing tighter after starting lower body training. This is not necessarily bad, this means it is working.
Of course, thigh fat is hard to shred and muscle takes up less space but both together can create unwanted bulk.
Exercise like the Stairmaster, high resistance elliptical or stationary biking, hill walking, HIIT, sprinting, squats, deadlifts, and CrossFit tend to work out the legs and add bulkiness. Of course, I love sprints and HIIT over long distance running so I still do but try to mix in more swimming, pilates, walking, and dancing which are lower impact on the legs.
So should leg lifting be avoided? No! If you want a great pair of legs, you need to work those babies, but less than other parts of the body. Try working the glutes for that awesome Kim K booty, and avoid the rest of leg exercise. Any workout with body weight, machine, or free weight exercises to “slim legs” or “spot treat thighs” is bullshit and will grow muscle to tone, not lose fat.
Specific lower impact cardio must be paired with some higher impact cardio (because HIIT and the like are great for fat burning) and resistance training that targets where you want to get toned. It takes a lot for a woman to get bulky, so don’t worry too much, stay patient, and work hard.