Cellulite: a woman's most feared enemy! Most of us have it at some point in our lives and are not proud with it. It is stubborn and very difficult to get rid of at times, but I am happy to tell you that there are some things that you can do to improve your skin's appearance. The root of the problem concerning cellulite goes deeper than the skin will tell!
So what is cellulite exactly?
Cellulite is defined as persistent subcutaneous fat causing dimpling of the skin that resembles an appearance of that of an orange peel. It frequently occurs more so in women than men due to the fact that women carry more body fat than men. Cellulite occurs most frequently in the hip, thigh, and buttock region; however it can occur on your upper extremities as well. Cellulite is simply a sign that your body is being polluted!
So what causes these unflattering dimples to happen?
There are a number of factors:
Women who smoke and are over 35 years of age are the typical candidates for cellulite; however it can occur in any age, smoker or nonsmoker. The age reasoning is due to the fact that as we age, we lose elasticity within our skin that keeps it supple and young looking. This is another reason why we gain wrinkles! But, I personally had developed cellulite around the age of 20 once I had stopped working out and indulged in fast foods and alcohol.
Estrogen has been known to cause cellulite because it breaks down the skin's collagen during cellulite formation. This is also why women are more prone to cellulite than men! Also, women with lower estrogen levels are not as prone to cellulite.
During pregnancy, you gain cellulite due to the increase in Estrogen. Your body clings to those fat deposits for dear life!
This is why some women are left wondering why their bodies are changing the way that they do. Even fitness model Jamie Eason stated she gained cellulite towards the end of her pregnancy-and she is a bodybuilder! Blame the hormones!
· Poor Nutritional Diet
Sorry to put a damper on your fast food cravings, but you might want to put the fries down for this one! Junk food is one of the most common causes of cellulite primarily because it raises your total body fat percentage with excess, empty calories. Chemicals found in non-organic foods have also been blamed for cellulite formation.
Also, not eating a well-balanced diet can cause cellulite. During my weight loss journey, I have noticed that a large intake of carbs turns into sugar when not burned, which turns into fat, which shows up as cellulite.
· Lack of Exercise
Not exercising regularly can lead to the appearance of cellulite. This is primarily due to the fact that when you exercise, it flushes toxins out of your body, and gets your blood pumping. Remember, fat cells are transported away through the circulatory system as we learned in elementary school. So when you stay stationary, your fat cells tend to “sit” in the same location, never moving yet possible adding more and more fat cells to the group.
Another reason is that when you exercise, of course, you gain muscle. Muscle is a big helper here with cellulite because it literally “eats” fat away by taking the place of it. Muscle also burns more calories for a longer period of time. This is why strength training is stressed to so many women, but women are more reluctant to give it try due to the fear of looking like a man or becoming bulky. This is impossible! It is always necessary to pair weights with cardio to decrease cellulite appearance. It works!
This is a biggie. This was probably MY biggest battle of all besides the fast food challenge. Fat cells are transported through your blood, but you need to be hydrated enough to properly “flush” the fat away. How much water should you get a day?
Take your body weight and divide by 2. That is the amount in ounces that you should drink per day, minimum! So if you weigh 120lbs, divided by 2, would be 60oz of water daily at least! Carry a reusable bottle that has the ounces labeled for you so you can keep up. This is what helped me. But I will warn you that you may have to make frequent trips to the bathroom, however, it is worth it! Soon enough, by the end of my 45lb weight loss, I was drinking around 100oz of water a day!
· Total Body Fat Percentage
This is the overall reason for cellulite right here. Total body fat percentage depends on the amount of fat versus muscle within your body. The best way to decrease cellulite is to limit your overall body fat percentage. Remember, gaining muscle is great and will reduce the look of dimples while decreasing your total body fat percentage.
An important thing to remember is that a low number on the scale does not always equal a beautiful body. Being “skinny” does not always mean cellulite free either.
Diet plays a HUGE role in decreasing cellulite! Without a good diet, your body fat percentage would not decrease. If your body fat percentage would not decrease, your cellulite wouldn't either. You get it. It’s a vicious cycle.
What are the best things to eat to prevent or decrease cellulite?
Here are a few things that help a lot!
· Green tea-high in antioxidants, this is actually a natural fat burner and detoxifier. Remember, cellulite is a buildup of toxins. Drinking green tea helps to flush these toxins away.
· Water-this is a no brainer. A cause of cellulite as mentioned before was dehydration. Add a little lemon to your water like I do, to aid in detoxification.
· Apple Cider Vinegar-this stuff is a miracle! I drink a couple of tablespoons every morning. Not only does it boost your energy levels, it relieves water retention in your tummy, buttocks, and thighs. Another natural detoxifier.
· Avoid added or extra salt! Salt loves to cling to water, and retain water in your most unflattering places. Instead, try using Mrs Dash salt free seasoning as an alternative-if you are a big salt lover! Salt also dries you out, making the appearance of cellulite even worse.
· Berries-filled with antioxidants!
· Salmon-the Omega 3's and good fats in fish can actually rev up your metabolism, helping to burn that stored fat, which in turn, smooths things out.
· Cayenne or Cinnamon-sprinkle a little of these spices on your food! These are known to speed up your metabolism.
· Whole grains-packed with fiber, whole grains will not only keep you full longer, but keeps your insulin levels at bay. Refined carbs or “white flours” actually send your insulin levels soaring after you eat them, telling your body to store fat, rather than burn it! That’s why we avoid refined carbs and stick to the good ole whole grains.
· Grapefruit-The wonder breakfast for most! Its enzymes and bioflavonoids help improve circulation. It aids in the flushing of fat cells, particularly the dark brown “stubborn” fat.
· Eggs-another wonder breakfast and a favorite of mine! Some might be concerned about cholesterol, but the amount of vitamins and minerals, not to mention good fats and high protein levels, outweigh the cholesterol con.
Here is a sample diet that has helped me rid my cellulite personally.
· ½ cup whole grain oats
· ½ cup fresh berries
· 1 tsp cinnamon
· 1/2 cup almond milk
· 2 scrambled eggs
· ½ grapefruit sprinkled with cinnamon
· 1 cup Green Tea
Mid Morning Snack
· ½ cup almonds
· 1 medium green apple
· 1 low-fat mozzarella string cheese stick
· 1 salmon filet
· 2 cups Spinach leaves
· Homemade dressing created by mixing apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and garlic powder.
1. Toss spinach leaves with homemade dressing, top with fresh baked salmon. I like to bake mine with olive oil, reduced sodium soy sauce, sesame seeds, and cayenne pepper.
2. Top with fresh veggies if desired.
· Homemade tuna salad created by mixing one can tuna, ½ cup Greek yogurt, ¼ cup mustard, sliced pickles, onions, apple, or celery, pepper, and Mrs Dash seasoning.
· 1 Whole wheat pita
1. Stuff tuna salad mixture into the pita bread.
2. Enjoy with a side of homemade sweet potato slices. To make this simply slice up a sweet potato, toss in a zip lock bag with 1 tbsp olive oil, Mrs Dash seasoning, and pepper. Bake at 425 degrees till done.
Mid Day Snack
Fresh fruit with cottage cheese
Veggies with hummus
· 1 chicken breast-baked or grilled. I marinate mine in fat free Italian dressing and it is delicious! Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until juices run clear.
· Broccoli-I toss mine with sesame oil, sesame seeds, and garlic pepper. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
· 6 oz sirloin-grilled or baked. I season mine with Mrs. Dash, pepper, garlic, and a little reduced sodium soy sauce. When I bake it, I do so at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.
· Asparagus-Marinate in olive oil and lemon juice. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes
· 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
· 1 tbsp peanut butter
1. Mix the peanut butter with the yogurt and enjoy!
Let me get one thing straight. There is no ONE workout that will target ONE specific problem area-especially when it comes to cellulite since the reduction of cellulite is an all-over type of process.
The best exercises to combat cellulite are the ones that get your heart pumping-CARDIO!
· Bike Riding
However, you do need strength training to gain muscle so that the appearance of cellulite virtually disappears. That’s why most personal trainers suggest the cardio/weight mix since you need cardio to cut the fat. The strength training builds the muscle that helps to eat fat while raising your metabolism. It’s been proven that muscle burns 3 times more calories than fat!
Best basic exercises to combat cellulite are (and its an added bonus to add some weights):
- Romanian Deadlifts
- Single leg hip extensions
As you can see, there is no real “one way” to combat cellulite. It takes an army of factors! A clean diet, a good workout, and hard work are the best ways to get the body you have always wanted. Old fashioned as it may be, it is the simple truth! It will not happen right away, but please do not get discouraged or give up. Anything that is worth the effort takes a little time. Be patient and stay positive!
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