The Cellulite Solution
Tabloids love to expose celebrities’ less-than-perfect derrieres or thighs because they, like a lot of people, have cellulite. Of course, no one wants to have cellulite, but chances are most of us do, at least to some degree.
Just because so many of us have cellulite doesn’t mean everyone knows what it is, much less why it occurs. But even more importantly, do you know what to do about it? It can be confusing because there are a lot of myths and misnomers out there.
Well, I think it’s time to know the truth about cellulite.
What is it?
First of all, it’s not a medical condition. Cellulite is nothing more than fat lying directly beneath the skin. What happens is there’s only so much room for these fat cells and they get pushed up toward the skin. This action puts pressure on the surrounding fascia.
Fascia is a web of connective tissue surrounding muscles, blood vessels, and nerves. Think of it like the netting of a tennis racket with the strings representing the fascia. Over time, though, those strings or tissues lose their collagen and elasticity or too much fat develops and the fat gets pushed through the netting. That’s what gives a dimpled appearance, or what we call cellulite.
Cellulite doesn’t just appear. There are different grades or degrees:
• Grade 1: Detection at this stage is nearly impossible with the naked eye because it’s happening on a microscopic level.
• Grade 2: Some symptoms appear, such as a loss of elasticity in the skin and a cooler temperature to the touch.
• Grade 3: This is the look we most commonly associate with cellulite because there’s visible dimpling, but it has the other characteristics, too.
What causes it?
There’s no one answer to this question, but here’s a list of contributors:
The naturally occurring chemicals estrogen, insulin, noradrenaline, thyroid hormones, and prolactin have been linked to cellulite creation.
Did your mother, aunts, grandmothers have cellulite? Then chances are you are predisposed to it, too.
The more sedentary you are the greater the likelihood of developing cellulite. Also, smokers run a higher risk for cellulite.
Because cellulite involves fat cells, it only makes sense that what you eat would contribute to its buildup. Too much fat, carbohydrates, and salt, which leads to water retention, are the biggest culprits.
How do I banish it?
There’s an entire multimillion-dollar industry of creams, pills, and procedures claiming to remove cellulite; however, none of these has passed the scientific community’s standards. In fact, some are designed to treat unrelated conditions, like asthma, and others may cause serious side effects, like allergic reactions. Some methods, like massage, have temporary benefits, and others simply hide the cellulite, like compression garments. The keys words here are “temporary” and “hide.”
The good news is that there are three key ways to effectively minimize cellulite for the long-term:
1. Increase circulation
2. Maintain a healthy weight
3. Eat high-fiber and diuretic foods
• Increase circulation
Let’s face it, we just sit too much. It’s not enough to work out for 30 to 60 minutes at a time, we need to keep blood flowing to the lower body throughout the day. If your job demands you sit at a desk, get up to walk around every 20 minutes to increase you circulation. Or swap out your chair for a stability ball. Just sitting on the inflated ball requires you to engage your core, but with every slight movement, you have to shift to regain your balance. This constant balance challenge gets your body moving much more than sitting in a traditional office chair that does the balancing for you.
Strength training keeps cellulite from settling in, too. Because it tends to form in the buttocks and thighs, I like the Pop Squat: Lower into squat position as if you’re sitting down in a chair, abs engaged and making sure your knees don’t pop out past your toes. Push yourself to standing, but don’t stop there: Without locking your knees, add a little jump into the air. When you land, lower yourself right back down into the squat. Grab weights for added difficulty. Repeat for 30 seconds.
Also, certain foods help boost blood flow. Circulation Journal reported that dark chocolate (yes, chocolate), which is full of natural flavonoids, improved blood circulation compared with white chocolate. Sunflower and pumpkin seeds are known to increase circulation, too.
• Maintain a healthy weight
The more weight you carry the more fat cells pushing through the fascia. Losing weight can result in a noticeable reduction of cellulite.
• Eat high-fiber and diuretic foods
When the body holds onto extra fluids, it adds more pressure to the fascia. If I’m feeling bloated before a photo shoot, I eat something I know will help my body get rid of extra water—my favorite is egg whites and asparagus. Well, if you’re feeling like your cellulite is more noticeable or you’re getting ready to wear something that shows a little skin and you want to minimize dimpling, then fill your plate with foods high in fiber or natural diuretics.
Fiber-rich foods take longer to digest and will keep you feeling full longer so you’re less likely to reach for a sugary or fatty, salty snack. Diuretics help the body release excess water, usually through urination. Some foods serve double duty, both high in fiber and a diuretic, such as steel-cut oats and artichokes. Even flavor enhancers, like parsley, ginger and garlic, assist the body in getting rid of water. Finally, green tea, one of my all-time favorite beverages, can give relief from bloating.
On the other hand, not enough fluids or dehydration also contribute to cellulite. So stay hydrated throughout the day.
While you may not erase cellulite completely, being active and eating healthfully is the best way to control it. And as ReShape subscribers, I’ll provide you with delicious and healthy recipes as well as effective exercise suggestions.
Make it happen!
2-in-1 Workout / Thighs and Butt
It’s no secret that most of us women want toned, thin thighs and tight, perky butts, but getting that may often seem out of reach. With a busy schedule and everything in between, you may find yourself sitting on your glutes and thighs more often than working them out. But even when life gets in the way, I’ve got a go-to 2-in-1 exercise that you can do in the comfort of your own home with no equipment needed! And, best of all, when you use my tips to work two body parts with just one exercise, you are able to gain maximum results in minimum time.
Now, you may be asking, how do I do it? When you perform Compound and Functional movements, this allows you have a more comprehensive workout with less time and effort. Compound movements are movements that force you to work multiple parts of your body and multiple joints at one time, while a Functional motion is an exercise you mimic in your everyday life, like the motion of sitting down in a chair.
It’s not that there is anything wrong with isolating muscles and training them as you would in, say, a bicep curl (not a compound movement). But there are limitations with that kind of training. You are not getting the improved function, balance, flexibility and coordination that come only when you treat the body like an integrated whole. In daily life, muscles work together. When you get on an airplane, for example, you must bend, twist and stretch in the narrow aisle to hoist your luggage and place it overhead. That twisting, bending and placing is an example of the Compound, integrated movements that occur every day at the grocery store, when taking out the trash, or when putting the kids in the car. This holistic style of training ultimately protects you against the aches, pains and risk of injury that may accompany age.
Try these 2-in-1 exercises to strengthen and tone your hamstrings and butt:
• Back Flye With Balance –
Stand on your right leg, holding light weights. Lift your left leg off the ﬂoor behind you and balance. Start with your hands directly under your body, palms facing each other, then lift the weights and squeeze the shoulder blades together. 12 repetitions on each side
• Squat Sit With A Rotating Twist –
Stand with feet hip distance apart, holding light weights in each hand. Push your hips back until your knees are bent to about a 90-degree angle, pulling weights to the chest. As you rise keep the left foot and hip parallel but pivot on the right toe, turning your whole body to the left. As you pivot on the right toe, squeeze the right glute while bringing the weights overhead toward your left side. 12 repetitions each side.
When you think of the famous sculpture of David, the butt and the hamstring are a blended area, not completely separate. You can’t have a strong butt and saggy hamstrings or vice versa — they go hand in hand. So working them together is how you get results – not working a single muscle over and over again. So let’s get started!
Here’s to your health!