Anti-Cellulite Options: Exercises, Healthy Diet Tips, and Other Home Remedies for Cellulite
Cellulite is a pox on your thighs, hips, and hindquarters. When talking about cellulite, people tend to make less-than-flattering comparisons to food: cottage cheese, orange peels, lumpy mashed potatoes. Personally, I prefer Tracy Morgan's "bag of wet clothes" line from a Saturday Night Live sketch 10 years ago.
If the internet has proven anything, it's that even celebrities are no strangers to cellulite. Everyone from Beyoncé Knowles and Kim Kardashian to Kate Moss and Paris Hilton has had photos of their not-so-lovely lumps turn up online. Perhaps the most notorious of these paparazzi cellulite pictures is of a bikini-clad Mischa Barton. Her representative later claimed the photos were doctored.
There are a number of expensive creams and cosmetic treatments available that claim to eliminate cellulite. Yet many body wraps provide only temporary results. Creams cannot sufficiently penetrate the skin to rearrange the fat deposits underneath. Even liposuction can't guarantee that cellulite will vanish completely. To date, there is still no conclusive scientific evidence that any cosmetic treatments or products can effectively eliminate cellulite. There are, however, a number of home remedies and simple lifestyle changes one can make to help smooth away some of those unwanted dimples.
Causes of Cellulite
The appearance of cellulite is caused by the fat cells in women's bodies and the connective tissue that holds the fat in place. Since this connective tissue is generally inflexible and honeycomb-shaped, the fat bulges out through the connective tissue in lumps, thus causing the dimply, cottage cheese appearance on the skin. An estimated 90 percent of all women have cellulite to some degree. The connective tissue in men is structured differently, which makes it less much likely for men to develop cellulite.
Genetics also plays a major factor in the amount of cellulite one will develop. In general, if your mother had cellulite, so will you. The amount of cellulite your mother had may also indicate the amount of cellulite you may develop. Stress, poor circulation, high fluid retention, smoking, a poor diet, and a lack of exercise can all contribute to the development of cellulite.
Fighting Cellulite with Exercise
One of the surefire ways to reduce the appearance of cellulite is to stay in shape. According to the American Council on Exercise, experts recommend people get daily cardiovascular exercise combined with two to three strength-training sessions a week in order to combat cellulite. Combining cardio and strength training will help you shed fat and build muscle. Fitness researcher Dr. Wayne Westcott developed a 40-minute long, three-day-a-week exercise program designed to eliminate cellulite. The program involves 20-minutes of strength training for both the upper body and lower body and 20-minutes of cardio.
Any cardiovascular exercises are helpful, though some good ones to consider include jogging, walking, cycling, and swimming. Swimming is particularly good since it is a total body workout. Cardiovascular exercises will help improve circulation and burn away excess fat. It's best to start slow and within reasonable limits with regards to cardio, particularly if you're just starting an exercise program.
When doing strength training exercises, remember that "spot reduction" is a myth. Spot reduction refers to the idea that you can work out a specific muscle group (e.g., the abs, the buttocks, the thighs) to decrease the amount of fat in that specific area. Rather than lingering around the leg machines or just doing lunges to eliminate cellulite, be sure to give your upper body and lower body a good workout.
Good exercise habits don't need to be expensive. Just look at Rocky IV or The Karate Kid. A comfortable pair of running shoes or walking shoes, some free weights, an exercise ball, and resistance bands may be all that's required. Even the caveman exercises of yore--push-ups, crunches, pull-ups--can a go a long way to helping you sculpt and tone a healthier body. If you need any help determining a good exercise program to meet your needs, you can always consult your physician or a certified physical trainer on the best solution for you.
Reducing Cellulite with a Healthy Diet
It's a bit of a no-brainer that having a healthy diet will help decrease fat and hence help reduce the appearance of cellulite. Since cellulite affects people who are of all weights and body types--from overweight to slim--anything one can do to cut body fat will help reduce cellulite.
One thing to consider is fluid retention. It's been suggested that areas of cellulite have a high concentration of cells that attract water. Any excess fluid in the body will have a tendency to gravitate to those parts of the body, causing swelling. Reducing salt intake and drinking eight glasses of water a day should help deal with this problem.
A good anti-cellulite diet is just like any healthy diet. Ideally you should exercise proper portion control and eat foods that are high in fiber and low in saturated fat. You should eat plenty of raw fruits and vegetables and seek out good sources of protein, such as lean meats that contain essential fatty acids. Many of these healthy foods are said to cleanse the body, hastening the removal of toxins and other waste products from the system and thus improving complexion while reducing cellulite.
The following foods are considered beneficial for an anti-cellulite diet:
- Bell peppers
- Bran and oat cereals
- Low-fat dairy products
- Oily fish (e.g., salmon, trout, sardines, anchovies)
- White fish (e.g., halibut, catfish, red snapper, sea bass)
While eating right is important, remember that dieting alone is not enough. The proper combination of diet and exercise is necessary to help reduce cellulite and ensure overall health. And while the results of regular exercise and a healthy diet won't provide immediate results, the gradual improvement of one's physique and overall health should limit the amount of cellulite in those problem areas of the body.
Tanning as a Cellulite Treatment
A combination of exercise and a healthy diet are the most sensible ways to deal with cellulite and have lasting health benefits down the road. There are also a number of other cellulite treatments floating around the internet, many of which vary in effectiveness.
One of the remedies I found on the internet involved tanning. While tanning will do nothing to eliminate the fat beneath the skin, it was suggested that tanning may help mask some of the texture of the cellulite. Tanning only conceals cellulite temporarily and excessive sun exposure can lead to sunburn and more harmful skin conditions such as UV damage and skin cancer. One site I stumbled on even suggested that excessive tanning can potentially thin the skin and make cellulite appear worse. It's best to exercise caution while sitting under the sun or in a tanning booth for prolonged periods of time.
Another home remedy for cellulite involves massaging parts of the body where cellulite is prevalent. The theory is that massaging an area with cellulite helps improve blood circulation while stimulating the lymphatic and circulatory systems responsible for breaking down fatty tissue.
The massage techniques vary from one source to another, but generally one starts at the lowest point of the affected area and works up from there. Rather than using a single motion, it is recommended that one varies the massage technique, using long strokes, kneading motions, circular motions, and light pinching motions. Each problem area should be massaged for at least five minutes every day with lotion.
One site on anti-cellulite massage techniques suggested adding black pepper, rosemary, geranium, and ginger to your lotion. These ingredients will supposedly improve circulation to the affected areas and detoxify the body. Replace the lotion with olive oil, add a little vinegar, and you may wind up with a decent salad dressing as well.
Reducing Cellulite with Coffee Grounds
The most peculiar home remedy for cellulite I found involves massaging coffee grounds onto the problem areas. You can't use decaf, though. The claim is that caffeine is an ingredient in a number of cellulite treatments. The caffeine helps constrict blood vessels, giving the skin a tighter appearance.
There are a number of variants to this coffee remedy for cellulite. One involves mixing coffee grounds with warm water and massaging the dimpled areas. Another variant is to mix the coffee grounds with lotion prior to massaging it into the skin. Yet another involves mixing the coffee grounds with olive oil prior to application. Surprisingly, there is no variant of the coffee remedy that involves coffee grounds, milk foam, and ground cinnamon sprinkled on top.
According to a number of online testimonials, this coffee remedy does work, but the results are only temporary. If anything, the coffee remedy can be used as part of a cellulite treatment routine that involves a healthy diet and exercise. And really, what else were you going to use those coffee grounds for? Compost?
Relaxing the Cellulite Away
Since stress can be a contributing factor to cellulite, a common home remedy I noticed involved relaxation techniques. Taking time to take it easy is sound advice whether you have cellulite or not. Warm baths, yoga, stretching, and meditation may not have any immediate tangible affects on your cellulite, but if you combine a healthy diet with regular exercise and a bit of relaxation, it could go a long way to making you look and feel better overall.
Now if you could only do something about that persistent smell of coffee.
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