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The Truth About…Cellulite

The Truth About…Cellulite

A friend of mine recently asked me how to get rid of cellulite.

Now, that’s a good question. In order to get rid of it, though, we have to first know what it is.

First off, cellulite is NOT an accumulation of toxins that can be removed by “detox” procedures

Cellulite is fat.

Making cellulite go awayI like to compare cellulite to your sofa or chair pillows. You know, the ones with buttons on them. On your sofa or chair, the little puffy parts between the buttons help keep the pillow fully and lookin’ good. On your thighs or butt, however, the same effect doesn’t look quite as good.

Your fat deposits lay under you skin (thank goodness!) and are attached to the skin with little bands (or connective cords). When the fat levels increase, these little bands pull down on the skin at the connection points and small puckers form, “poufing” up the area between them. This, my friends, gives us the dreaded cellulite look. The more fat we have, the more “land” between the bands, the more pillow-y our thighs (and butts) look. Oh yay.

What can you do about this?

First, cellulite is often hereditary, and although you may be fairly thin, you might still have cellulite. Second, don’t despair! There are things you can do to combat or diminish the sofa cushion look.

  1. Lose fat (not just weight but actual fat). The less fat you have, more smooth your problem areas appear (i.e. less ‘banding’ and less pouffing between the bands).
  2. Exercise and add muscle. You can also ‘even out the area’ by adding muscle (while losing the fat). Muscle gives you a nice shape, too, which is really helpful if you have lost a lot of weight. Sometimes cellulite looks worse after weight loss because the skin sags. Filling some of the area with muscle give the skin a nice lift. Don’t be afraid to lift heavy. Lean muscular legs are better than thin cellulite legs. Deep squats, anyone?
  3. Drink lots of water and eat your veggies. Why? Because healthy skin retains its elasticity better, resulting in a smoother appearance.
  4. Scrub and moisturize your skin every day. The seaweed sponges are great to briskly (but lightly) buff problem areas. This does not reduce your actual cellulite, but it keeps your skin soft and helps brings a fresh blood (and oxygen) supply to the area, which can never hurt.
  5. Sleep more. I know, I know. Sleep is a challenge. But anything you can do to keep your body functioning in tip top shape will help improve all parts of your body, including reducing fat and keeping your skin youthful-looking and elastic.
  6. Surgery. Obviously. Liposuction and laser/light procedures, though you might want to think about those only after you’ve exhausted your other resources. It’s very expensive. And all surgeries carry risks (the light/laser procedures less so, of course).
  7. Temporary fixes. Caffeine creams, wraps, etc. provide temporary improvements by reducing the amount of fluids in treated areas, making it appear less puffy (and ergo less cellulite-y.) For a special event, by all means indulge in a cream or a wrap. Just remember the results are not permanent.
  8. Be happy and don’t worry so much about it. Just do the best you can, and that’s all you can do. I remember reading a quote in a magazine years ago from porn star Jenna Jameson. She said she wished women would fret less about what they looked like naked (and during, uhm, activities) and enjoy their bodies and lives more. Point taken, Jenna. Point taken.

New medical procedures are being researched and tested as we speak, and some day soon we might very well have a good more permanent solution for cellulite (new laser therapies or procedures like Cellulaze look super promising and are minimally invasive). But for now, only cleaner eating and exercising (both cardio and strength training)  is what will really help. Sorry. But it’s the truth.

~Onward (and do a few lunges while you’re at it!)

 

Photos: ©istockphoto

 

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