SHINING A LIGHT ON CELLULITE
It doesn't matter if you're tall or short, young or old, fit or out of shape, cellulite can appear on any of us. if you have it, you know it's a bitch to deal with both mentally and physically. I've had it, at times worse than others, and currently still do in some areas. I've gone through those emotional ups and (mostly) downs, especially in those summer months when you put on a cute dress or pair of shorts and break a little on the inside as you sit down and know everyone can see it on your outer thighs.
In the past, I tried many different "tricks" to help reduce the appearance of cellulite, but nothing actually worked. Looking back on it, I knew very little about what cellulite actually was or why it was there. I always thought it was caused by excess toxins in the body due to poor diet and increased alcohol consumption mixed with lack of exercise. I have made a drastic change in all those areas and yet cellulite still exists for me... This is why I have decided to shine a light on cellulite. Here are some key lessons and myths that I have discovered about this fat faux pas.
Lesson 1: Poor connective tissue can equal more visible cellulite - Cellulite actually occurs because underlying fat deposits begin to push through layers of collagen fibers, or connective tissue, under the skin (often in the buttocks and thigh areas, but also on arms, stomachs). "Connective tissue can be weakened by hormones, lack of exercise and muscle tone, excess fat, and poor circulation", says New York City-based dermatologist Cheryl Karcher, MD.
Lesson 2: Affects women more than men - Only 10% of men have cellulite (this is probably the biggest reason they don't understand it and why we feel so ashamed about it). It doesn't happen to them. Why? Men naturally have stronger connective tissues than women and we naturally carry more fat in our thighs and hips. Safe to say the scale is drastically tipped in the favour of men on this one.
Lesson 3: Estrogen - Another thing we have more of than most men. As we age estrogen levels get lower. Lower estrogen can cause poor circulation which can lead to less collagen production and a breakdown of connective tissue (which we need to keep the fat from coming to the surface).
Myth 1: Cellulite only happens to people who are overweight and out of shape - I was never overweight when I had visible cellulite around my thighs and bum and now, in the best shape of my life, I still have cellulite.
Myth 2: Cardio is the Cure - Cardio is an important part of your workout, but it should never be the only thing you do, especially to rid your body of the appearance of cellulite. Focus on strength and resistance training and HIIT workouts to help build muscle and strengthen your connective tissues.
Myth 3: Topical creams can firm and tone to reduce the appearance of cellulite - Don't buy into the bullshit. There is no magical pill, there is no magic cream. I used to buy all the products - coffee scrubs, firming lotions, roller ball firming gels. Don't waste your money or your time. Clean up your diet, get in the gym, and stop smoking.
A few changes I have made to help with the battle of cellulite (other than diet and exercise):
I use body oil not body lotion - Creams actually contain emulsifiers and chemicals that do more harm than good. I'm not saying this will change your appearance of cellulite but it is just a better alternative to what is common practice.
- I take collagen - My favourite is vital proteins collagen peptides. It is tasteless and you can mix it into your morning cup of coffee or smoothie. It helps with hair, skin nails and collagen production - a key factor in the reduction of cellulite.
- I started dry brushing - It is a great exfoliant and it removes toxins and unclogs pores. Dry brush before you shower and move in circular motions towards your heart (feet up to heart, hands in towards chest).