One of the many questions I get asked by clients is how to get rid of cellulite. Even many of my fitness clients are affected by that dimply skin around their hips and thighs. So if you want to get smoother legs, hips, and butts read on..
What is Cellulite?
Cellulite does exist. It is also known as adiposis edematosa, dermopanniculosis deformans, and status protrusus cutis. Most of us are familiar with what cellulite looks like: bumpy fat deposits that often appear on the legs, butt and hips and in some cases may also appear on the arms too. These enlarged fat cells place pressure on the surrounding fibrous tissue. This drags the skin downward creating those noticeable dimples and pitting that makes the skin look uneven.
The Role of Hormones
One of the key reasons women suffer with cellulite more than men is down to our fluctuating hormones. Both monthly fluctuations and longer term changes as women age are responsible. This can weaken the fibrous tissues surrounding fat cells affecting the the skin’s structures. As oestrogen levels begin to fall from your 30s onwards these effects become more pronounced. Oestrogen is protective for our vascular system and supports circulation. So as levels decline there is a reducion in circulation to these areas – particularly hip and thigh. As a result, excess fluid is retained with the dermal and subcutaneous tissues. This loss of the capillary network is thought to be the result of engorged fat cells clumping together and inhibiting venous return. This leads to weaker skin and connective tissue, reduction in collagen which affects the appearance of the skin. To make matters worse hormone fluctuations over the menstrual cycle results in the release an enzyme before menstruation that breaks down collagen further weakening the skin.
There are also gender differences in fat metabolism. Women generally have a higher fat mass than men particularly in the “stubborn” regions that are most affected by cellulite. Unfortunately Cellulite gets worse with age as the connective tissues stiffen and the skin loosens, making dimpling more pronounced. Genes may also play a role which explains why some women may suffer more than others.
Can you get rid of Cellulite?
I don’t know of any cellulite cream that actually works despite their claims. If we want to reduce its appearance then we need to address the underlying causes. Here are some key ways to make a real difference.
Improve circulation (blood and lymph flow). As it appears that poor circulation and lymph drainage leads to inflammation and swelling then look at ways to improve overall circulation. This includes dry skin brushing and adding in nutrients to support circulation. Examples include horse chestnut, polyphenols, Ginkgo biloba, gotu kola, bacopa and turmeric.
You also need to exercise – aim to include at least 30 mins of cardio daily to improve circulation. HIIT training is particularly effective.
Support 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. So consider adding in key nutrients to support connective tissue – hydrolysed collagen powder, vitamin C, sulphur (MSM) and fish oil.
Lose body fat and improve muscle mass. The more fat you have in the affected areas, the more exaggerated the cellulite will look. Aim to increase muscle mass and reduce overall body fat mass. This will make a dramatic difference to the appearance of your skin, legs, hips and butt. So get in the gym and lift heavy weights. Include plenty of compound exercises like squats.
Try Fasted Exercise. If you are struggling to get rid of stubborn fat around the hips and thigs then try fasted exercise – this normally means exercising first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.
Keep Hydrated. We all know the importance of plenty of water through the day and this is equally true if you want to improve the appearance of your skin. Don’t add salt to your food and increase electrolytes like potassium and magnesium – tomato juice, coconut water are great options. Try adding green tea which is a known fat burner and keep topping up your water bottle through the day.
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