Confession: I have cellulite. A lot of it.
No really, I do. Even when I was at my leanest of 12% body fat, my posterior still had cellulite, and quite a bit. Did this used to bother me? Oh. Yes. Enough that I have researched every possibility to get rid of it.
For those of you who have also wondered how to escape cellulite, I present to you the following research, but stay tuned to the end for my own personal solution to this problem.
What is Cellulite?
Everyone can have cellulite, even those who are not overweight. Because of the way fat is structured in our bodies, women are more likely to have the cellulite appearance, although men can have it too.
Cellulite is caused by the positioning of fat cells with connective tissue underneath the skin, causing the “dimpled” appearance. This can occur because of genetics, changes in metabolism, diet, hormones, and other issues . As we age, our skin tends to become thinner and less elastic, which can make the appearance of cellulite more pronounced.
Some research seems to indicate that estrogen breaks down collagen in our skin, specifically in our thighs and buttocks (or belly area for men), which then causes the fatty cells to “unpack” and rise to the surface. The fat in women’s bodies tends to collect around the hips and thighs, which is hormonally controlled in this manner to create reserves for pregnancy and lactation.
Getting Rid of Cellulite
So inevitably, now you want to know how to make the stuff vanish. While I couldn’t find any studies with definitive answers (the only ones I could find had conflicts of interest, meaning the researchers were compensated in some manner, and I didn’t feel comfortable posting those), here are some popular recommendations and their claims:
- Exercise – any exercise that promotes fat loss will in turn reduce the size of fat cells in your body, and eliminate some of the appearance of cellulite. Exercise can also increase blood flow to the area with cellulite, which can help to strengthen the connective tissue that causes the dimpled appearance.
- Nutrition – a diet rich in protein can aid in repairing collagen and connective tissues and could possibly lead to a reduction in cellulite. A high quality, nutritious diet will also promote fat loss, therefore decreasing cellulite.
- Skin Cream – now a billion dollar industry, multiple skin creams are available that claim to tighten skin or shrink fat cells in these areas, thus reducing the appearance of cellulite. Critics of the creams say that they actually cause swelling, thus reducing the dimpling appearance temporarily. I’ve used them, and none worked for me. Many of these creams contain stimulants, so buyer beware.
- Loose Clothing – some believe that cellulite appearance is aggravated by tight underwear, which inhibits circulation to the buttocks. This one makes me laugh a little but OK.
- Laser Treatments – These expensive treatments involve laser therapy that is supposed to liquify the fat and force it into your body’s lymph system for elimination. Again, results have shown to be minimal and temporary.
- Dry Brushing – dry brushing involves “brushing” the skin with, well, a brush while your skin is dry. There are those who swear by it, saying that it opens pores, sloughs away dead skin, and improves circulation and lymphatic drainage.
- Massage – proponents claim that like exercise, massage promotes increased circulation to the areas of cellulite, helping to decrease the dimpled appearance.
- Hydration – drinking plenty of water certainly improves the appearance of skin and allows the body to rid excess fluid, which could in turn improve the appearance of cellulite.
- Liposuction – surprisingly, liposuction may actually worsen the appearance of cellulite, because it removes the deep layers of fat rather than the cellulite-causing fat directly under the skin. Without the “padding” of the deep layers, this can worsen the dimpling effect. Aside from this, it is a major surgical procedure requiring anesthesia, and very costly.
- Self-Tanner – darker skin seems to have a camouflage effect on cellulite. I do have to say that the dimples seem to look a little better when I have a tan.
Do Your Best, Then Get Over the Rest
As I said earlier, I used to obsess over the dimples on my rear. It was the one part of my body that I wasn’t thrilled with after so much hard work in my diet and exercise routine.
I became obsessed and let it take away from the accomplishments that I had achieved. It didn’t matter that I was at 12% body fat, because obviously that wasn’t low enough.
Until one day, I grew exhausted, and just stopped caring.
Let’s face it…I’m not trying to win any figure competitions. It became apparent (even more so after researching this article) that getting rid of my remaining cellulite would require a ton of additional energy, attention, and even money, and still wouldn’t be guaranteed to go away.
So I accept it. I have done my best, I am healthy, I am in top shape at 37 years old, and I have balance in my life. Could I diet down to a ridiculously low body fat and reduce the cellulite even more? Probably. Do I have any reason to and would it be worth it or sustainable? Nope.
So here’s what I think. Treat your body well – you’ll lose fat and excess fluid, and therefore cellulite if you eat the right foods, exercise, and stay hydrated. But if you don’t lose it all, rock it anyways. Pretend like everyone else missed the “cellulite is awesome” memo and you’re the cool one.
The fastest way to drive yourself crazy is to devote yourself to changing something that is nearly impossible to change. Acceptance is liberating and frees your attention to the things that really matter in life. I know we all want a smooth butt, but in the grand scheme of things, is it really worth all the energy we spend worrying about it?