How to Reduce Cellulite Without Miracle Products
by Maia Appleby
You don’t have to be fat to find
cellulite on your body. Just about any woman
can squeeze the front of her thigh with her
finger and thumb and see it, while men are more
likely to find it on their bellies. We all have
it, but some of us don’t have to pinch
anything to make it appear. Here’s a crash
course for these people:
What is cellulite,
exactly? Well, it’s actually
fat deposits that are trapped within connective
(adipose) tissue beneath the skin. The area
becomes somewhat hardened by waste products
that haven’t been removed from the body
(like fats, retained fluids and toxins). Since
the fibers surrounding it are very weak, it
bulges out and shows itself to the world. As
you age and your skin becomes thinner, the cellulite
becomes more pronounced.
Cellulite is different from smooth body fat.
Cellulite is lumpy. Body fat is like an organ,
protecting your cells, cushioning your organs
and storing energy. Cellulite is just lumpy.
Body fat is distributed all over your body.
Cellulite only shows up in the thighs, belly,
buttocks, breasts and neck, and there’s
nothing even about it. It does nothing…
and it’s lumpy.
It’s unbelievable what people will do
to get rid of cellulite. There are products
that claim to help you shake it off, burn it
off, brush it off, rub it off, treat it with
drugs, shock therapy, herbs and surgery, but
like weight loss products, nothing really seems
to do the trick.
Contrary to popular belief, even liposuction, which is both risky
and expensive, removes deeper fat deposits, but hasn’t been
found to erase cellulite directly beneath the skin. Daniel Berg, M.D.,
Director of the University of Washington Dermatologic Surgery Center,
tells us, “Liposuction of the thighs, while improving the silhouette,
does not usually eliminate the subtle puckering of the skin often
The best approach to take is, of course, common
sense. What’s causing your connective
tissue to harden? It may be a combination of
things. Look at the healthiest people you know
– the people who practice good nutrition
and exercise regularly. They probably have little
or no visible cellulite.
The key to decreasing the appearance of cellulite
pockets is to improve the way your body eliminates
its excess fat. It’s that simple. The
methods you can use are practically infinite,
but here are ten great places to start:
- Drink two liters of water every day – more if you exercise vigorously and even more
if you exercise outdoors in a hot climate.
- Give up caffeine. It makes you retain water, promoting cellulite
- Don’t eat anything fried. The less grease you consume,
the better. This includes butter. If you tend to put butter on everything,
change your ways. After a few months of shunning butter, margarine
and fried foods, you won’t even like greasy stuff anymore
- Get moving. It’s been found that poor circulation can cause
cellulite to stay put. Suggestion: indoor bicycling is an excellent
way to get the blood in your legs circulating efficiently.
- Researchers have found that Vitamin C, which helps the body rid
itself of toxins, plays a role in reducing cellulite, so make sure
you have plenty of it in your diet. Get at least three servings
a day of fresh fruits.
- Avoid sodium, which also causes water retention. Be cautious
about Chinese food!
- Stay real. Chemical additives in your food may seem like a fact
of life, but the more you can stay away from them, the healthier
(and less lumpy) you’ll be. Read labels. If a product has
more ingredients than you could read in fifteen seconds, it’s
far from pure.
- Yoga is a terrific way to improve your circulation and increase your
strength. An added bonus of getting into Yoga is that you’ll
be surrounded by “all-natural” people who will be a
good influence on you. Another plus is that it may give you patience,
which you will need, as you won’t see results for a while.
- Take up weight
training. Although it won’t, in itself, remove the cottage
cheese look, you’ll speed up your metabolism, which decreases
body fat all over your body, proportionately lowering your cellulite
level in the process.
- Do what you can with your genes. Enough said about that.
A word about creams:
They’re not a solution to the problem,
but there are some creams and lotions out there
that “plump up” the skin –
in a good way! If you think your cellulite is
an eyesore (on your thighs, for example), a
good cream might mask it somewhat.
Beware of creams that claim to eliminate cellulite,
though. Remember that using a cream is simply
a cosmetic approach and it would be impossible
for a topical product to seep into your skin,
zap the cellulite and make it disappear. All
you’re doing is hydrating your skin and
creating a temporary mask to hide the lumpiness.
Dr. Bonita Marks, assistant professor of physical
education, exercise and sport science at the
University of North Carolina, participated in
a six-week study on “thigh-reducing”
creams. After finding that neither these creams
nor regular moisturizers reduced the thigh circumference
of any of the volunteers, Marks concluded, "Manufacturers
of these creams rake in the bucks for a product
that doesn’t work."
Another way to "hold things in" while you're working patiently
to reduce your cellulite is to wear cellulite
compression hosiery to eliminate bulges. This may train your cellulite to compact itself
a bit , but also will not eliminate it.
Don’t let the media tell you that having
cellulite means that you’re fat. It’s
normal and healthy. In fact, even supermodel
Kylie Minogue bravely admitted, “Cellulite
is there already. It's only faint, but if I
squeeze my thighs I can see it. I just make
sure my lights are in the right place."
Cellulite, as you probably know, is stubborn.
It takes a long time to smooth things out, and
we Americans are impatient people. The first
thing you need to do is to accept the fact that,
as of yet, there is no quick fix for cellulite.
Remember the irony, though: getting rid of it the hard way is much
quicker (and more economical) than trying a dozen “speedy”