Reader’s Questions: Cellulite

Ok, here’s the science bit. 🙂

Cellulite is described as being visible deposits of fat that generally appear on our lower limbs, abdomen and our bottoms/butts.  The lumpy ‘orange peel’ effect that bothers us all so much is apparently caused by fat pushing its way out between the web of connective tissues in our skin. 

There are a few reasons why women get it so much more than men; the fibers/elastic collagen in men’s skin doesn’t stretch out as much so the fat doesn’t ‘pop out’ in the same way, and we women also by nature have many more fat cells on those areas of our bodies. Which FYI  are what give us out fabulous curves and the rather impressive capacity of having babies 🙂 There also seems to be a correlation between the female hormone estrogen and the appearance of cellulite, which is why stopping oral contraceptives may have proven effective for some women in reducing it’s appearance.

What can you to reduce cellulite?  The experts all make similar recommendations in terms of our diet and lifestyle.  They think that the fibers of our skin are continually cleansed by our body fluids so poor circulation and dehydration is only going to exacerbate the problem. In turn, both of these issues can be partially the result of the build up of certain toxins in our body and by a diet that doesn’t encourage regular elimination (yes…I’m delicately referring to going to the bathroom).

Therefore what is recommended is a diet that is very high in natural fiber (lots of vegetables and some fruit), and low in saturated fats and trans fats which are mainly found in animal products and in cheap, processed foods. It is also suggested that you focus on reducing the salt in your diet as that is known to cause water retention (I eliminate it completely if I have a bikini shoot coming up), and excessive water can swell the areas around those fat cells, making them look even more prominent.  Salt is a hidden ingredient in ready-made meals etc as it is an inexpensive way to add flavor for the food manufacturers.

The sluggish circulation is also thought to be a result of a build up of toxins in our body’s system which are thought to accumulate in our fat cells, making them harder and less flexible and therefore much more difficult to shift. So it is suggested that we cut out (or at the very least reduce!!!) artificial sweeteners like aspartame found in diet sodas everywhere, smoking (you knew that one already!) and all the preservatives and additives that we can not pronounce but that are found in all pre-packaged, processed foods.  In addition they suggest ‘body brushing’ which I can personally recommend as well.  I think it’s much more common in Europe (where I’m from) than in the US (where I now live and write).  It basically consists of using a large, fairly stiff bristled body brush (they can be found in health stores, in “The BodyShop” and online) and literally brushing the skin in long sweeping motions up towards your heart ie from your feet UP your legs. Brush your abdomen in circular motions.  It apparently stimulates blood and lymph flow/circulation, while also exfoliating the skin and encouraging new cell growth.  I’m not going to lie, it can feel a little peculiar and rough to begin with but I’m quite into the pleasant tingling sensation by now 🙂

Last, but certainly not least; exercise.  You can’t ‘spot reduce’ fat (that is eliminate fat from one specific area of the body), nor can you spot reduce cellulite through exercise. BUT exercising regularly does reduce our overall body fat, reducing cellulite by proxy, it does develop stronger leaner muscles that can support our skin’s tissues more effectively which reduces cellulite’s appearance under the skin and it definitely enlivens our circulatory system, encouraging blood flow and sweat to help healthfully and naturally eliminate those pesky toxins from our body and our fat cells.  It’s a must!

So do I have cellulite? Maybe 🙂

Listen; in all honesty it is incredibly rare to see a woman who has absolutely no cellulite on her body, I think I’ve counted maybe three in my life and one was Gisele Bundchen, and one was Naomi Campbell, and they both have other things about themselves that are not their favorite. I can’t promise you that it’ll disappear from your body completely ever.  I CAN say that I had more cellulite years ago when my diet consisted of diet coke, cigarettes and other toxic substances that I’ve now eliminated, than I have now, even though I was thinner and younger then.  I CAN say that empowering myself through choosing to cherish the body that I have through healthful food and exercise has made me view my body differently, to be proud of what it can do, of how hard it works and of the parts of my body that I DO like.

And I can say that as women I think we overestimate how much others notice our cellulite.  From what I see, hear and have experienced; if a man or woman gets to see us naked… well they’re usually pretty damn psyched that they get to see us naked! And woman to woman: well I think that most of us are usually more concerned as to whether someone is noticing our OWN perceived flaws than whether we can spot it on another individual.

Here at SweatCity! our entire philosophy is that we work hard to be the best versions of ourselves. Perfection doesn’t come into it; to pursue perfection is set ourselves up for a sense of failure that we don’t deserve and that doesn’t serve us.  A strong, healthy, happy body is beautiful by definition.  So strut those legs, and appreciate the curve of your stomach, maybe treat yourself to a massage (hey it’s good for lymphatic drainage :)), know that there’s nothing candlelight and a little fake tan can’t fix and enjoy your body. It works really hard for you every day.





3 Responses to “Reader’s Questions: Cellulite”

  1. 1 cakelover
    October 8, 2008 at 9:43 pm

    I had a little “lightbulb moment” today, while talking to a dear friend that was having a bad day. Your last paragraph says it, too. I sometimes wonder, on our journey towards self improvement and awareness, it becomes an exhausting and unfulfilling quest for perfection? Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for being introspective – it’s a trait I value among my friends and loved ones. But maybe, once in a while, it gets a bit tiring? Wouldn’t it be something, to every now and then, stop, breathe in, and smile at the person we are right now? To celebrate that special being, for all his/her strengths AND weaknesses (and cellulite ;)), because I’m pretty sure that there are people out there that love us for who we are TODAY.

  2. 2 marya
    October 12, 2008 at 10:17 am

    Thank you jessica for the blog. Cellulite is for a woman as to go bald in a man, something none like but if it happens the world doesnt stop turnning.So get over it. ( I say that loud to myself )
    We decide ,as you say,of being of who we are with our imperfections and our virtues as the human being we are or maybe to try to be the perfection of gods. What it doesnt exist,you never get enough and finally the only thing you get is a long distance of who you were, being now a distorsion of yourself ( with a mix of silvester stallone face after 100 shoots of botox in ).
    I dont care about mine, i lie i care a litte but i think accepting one is human not a godess is the first step to be happy with who we are ( cause ladies there is more to life than this and i dont want to die without trying parachutes 😉 )

    life is too short plus a something great about lesbians is we use to pay more attention of personality in people ( not all but yes a hig percent of us do)
    Gosh,how complicated we are!!

  3. October 27, 2008 at 9:20 am

    Cellulite make women feel not confident. There not dare to wear bikini anymore.

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