What does it really take to get rid of cellulite naturally? Creams? Massages? Medical procedures? Magic?
I want to do some posts specifically for women, starting with a question I get asked often: how do you get rid of cellulite naturally and safely?
Ironically, cellulite was once respected as an attractive symbol of wealth. It meant you could eat rich foods and didn’t have to physically labor. Well, these days almost all women have cellulite to one degree or another, and it’s generally considered a blight–a sign of a lazy, unhealthy lifestyle.
Millions of women spend tens of millions of dollars per year on all kind of cellulite treatments looking for a cure, and aren’t any better for it. Is there anything you can do, really? Fortunately, there is.
Now that summer is here, it seems like a good time to dive into the subject and help you sort the BS from the truth, and work out what you can do to get smoother, sexier legs, hips, and butts.
We all know what cellulite looks like–it’s the bumpy fat deposits that often appear on the legs and butt, but can also show up in the hips, stomach, and arms. Sometimes it’s severe, and sometimes it’s quite mild, only visible when you pinch the skin.
Well, what you’re actually seeing are swollen fat cells putting pressure on the surrounding fibrous tissue. This then pulls the skin downward and creates the telltale pitting that makes so many women self-conscious.
Women are more prone to develop cellulite than men for three primary reasons:
Hormonal changes that weaken the fibrous tissues surrounding fat cells and negatively affect the skin’s support structures. These effects are normally seen between the ages of 25-35, when women’s estrogen levels naturally decline. This causes a loss of blood vessel receptors in the thigh and hip regions, and less circulation means less nutrition to the area, which blunts collagen production (resulting in weaker skin and connective tissues). Menstrual cycles also play a role, because women’s bodies release an enzyme before that breaks down collagen.
Cellulite also gets worse with age. The fibrous connective tissues (septae as they’re known) stiffen and the skin loosens, making the “mattress look” becomes even more pronounced.
How to Test Yourself For Cellulite
The percentage of women with cellulite is staggeringly high–between 85-98% according to some research, and it’s medically classified into four stages:
Stage 0: No noticeable dimpling while standing or lying, and the pinch test shows folds and furrows, but no mattress-like appearance.
Stage 1: No dimpling while standing or lying down, but the pinch test shows mattress-like appearance.
Stage 2: Spontaneous dimpling when standing, but not when lying down.
Stage 3: Spontaneous dimpling when standing and when lying down.
What is this pinch test, you might be wondering? It’s very simple.
Using your index finger and your thumb, pinch the skin on your outer thigh, buttocks, or abdomen, and look for dimpling.
If you can only see some dimpling when you pinch, but want to make sure it doesn’t get worse over time, then I recommend you start taking simple, preventative actions now.
Ineffective Cellulite Treatments
Before I talk about what works in the treatment of cellulite, I want to save you the money and frustration of wasting your time with snake oils and other scams.
The following “cures” for cellulite don’t work:
Cellulite shoes. These ridiculous looking sneakers will make walking a chore, causing you to wobble around like a drunk. What they won’t do, however, is help treat cellulite.
Cellulite creams. These products contain various substances that are supposed to inhibit fat storage in the areas where cellulite is worst. Well, it’s BS–if we could only rub a cream on our body and inhibit fat storage. Instead, these creams usually just induce temporary swelling, which reduces the appearance of cellulite…until the effect wears off.
Cellulite massage contraptions. These are supposed to “break up the fat cells” and while they may temporarily improve the appearance of the areas, they don’t deliver long-term results.
So, what does work for reducing the appearance of cellulite?
Effective Cellulite Treatments
Notice that I said reducing the appearance of cellulite, because genetics do play a role here. You may not be able to completely “cure” yourself of all vestiges of it, but there certainly are things you can do to help make cellulite less noticeable.
Reducing the appearance of cellulite requires that you do three things:
Address the health of the connective tissues and the collagen in the skin. The weaker and stiffer these tissues are, and the looser the skin is, the more prominent cellulite becomes. By improving the health and elasticity of these tissues, you can reduce the visibility of the cellulite.
Lose body fat. The more fat you have in the affected areas, the more exaggerated the cellulite will look. By losing fat, you’re taking the pressure off the surrounding tissues, which naturally reduces the severity of the pitting.
Increase blood and lymph circulation. Poor circulation and lymph drainage (lymph is a substance your body uses to dispose of waste) can lead to inflammation and swelling, which directly aggravates the problem, and it also inhibits the reparation of the connective tissues and collagen that play vital roles in the appearance of the skin. If blood and lymph flow remains decreased for extended periods of time, hardened collagen bands can actually form around the fat globules, further worsening the cellulite and making it even harder to get rid of.
So, let’s get to what you can do to accomplish these three goals. Fortunately, it doesn’t require spending a fortune on lotions, supplements, fancy devices, or medical procedures.
This is more important than many women realize.
According to Dr. Murad, author of The Cellulite Solution, the more frequently you move blood and lymph around in the affected areas, the more you can reduce the visibility of cellulite.
Another cellulite-related benefit of weightlifting is that as your muscles grow, every area of your body naturally tightens, giving you a smoother, fuller look (and avoiding the dreaded “skinny fat” physique).
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Fish oil is one of the few supplements that I highly recommend you take every day, and here’s yet another reason for me to promote it.
Diet to lose fat, and particularly the stubborn fat
Reducing your body fat percentage can obviously have positive effects on your cellulite, but it’s not the end-all cure as some believe (as evidenced by the many skinny girls out there with cellulite).
That said, if you’re overweight, bringing your body fat into a normal, or athletic range, will definitely help.
And even if you’re not overweight, you can still carry quite a bit of stubborn fat, which is the type worst affected by cellulite. By reducing this fat in particular, you can alleviate the cellulite.
How to do this is bit beyond the scope of this post, but head on over to my article on how to lose stubborn fat to learn more.
Two other supplements to consider
As you may know, I’m not into pushing pills, but I want to mention two other supplements that are commonly recommended in conjunction with handling cellulite. Don’t count on them to be more effective than weightlifting and fat loss, but they’re cheap, and they just may help.
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