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The truth about cellulite

Summer is nearly here and when the sun comes out the last thing you need to be worrying about is exposing your legs to the world.

There are so many treatments available now that it is hard to know what actually works and what doesn''t. Perhaps we should start by looking at what cellulite is and how it is caused.

What is cellulite

Cellulite is excess fat trapped in pockets beneath the skin which lead to a dimpled or uneven appearance, sometimes likened to cottage cheese. The more fat there is, the more likely cellulite is to show. It affects more than 80% of women at some point in their lives - even celebrities such as Sharon Stone are afflicted! We all have some body fat, so no matter how skinny we are, we''re still susceptible. Usually found around the thighs and buttocks, the bumpy texture on the skin is unsightly and, frankly, we''d rather it wasn''t there.

Cellulite can affect women of all ages and sizes and there are many contributing factors. Women who get cellulite are unfortunately destined to develop it from their genes. Hormonal levels vary throughout our lives and are also a big factor which explains why far more women are affected than men. At times such as puberty, pregnancy and menopause, hormones change dramatically and there is a build-up of fat reserves. This tends to worsen with age as the layer of fat below the skin which gives the smooth appearance starts to break down. Cellulite also forms from taking medication such as birth control pills and diet pills as these increase the amount of oestrogen in the body which inhibits the flushing away of toxins.

A lack of exercise contributes to the formation of cellulite as tissue gets blocked and toxins build up. Eating a bad diet won''t help a cellulite problem either. Fatty foods, as well as alcohol, caffeine and fizzy drinks all produce toxins that get trapped in the fatty tissue, and so make a cellulite problem worse. As well as this, not drinking enough water means toxins can''t be flushed away. Smoking weakens the skin, and even tension and stress can block the tissue which can prevent waste elimination. With so many causes of cellulite, it can be hard to prevent.

So what can we do to help fight cellulite?

  • keep active - try doing a combination of cardiovascular exercise to burn fat and resistance training to tone up
  • cut out fatty, fried, sugary and spicy foods
  • increase the amount of fibre in your diet
  • eat at least five portions of fruit a day
  • limit your intake of alcohol, caffeine and fizzy drinks
  • aim to drink seven glasses of water a day
  • keep your calorie intake in moderation by eating smaller meals regularly
  • try to limit taking medication to when it is necessary for your health and wellbeing
  • quit smoking.

There are several options you have for fighting cellulite other than purifying your body through diet and exercise. These are skin creams, anti-cellulite pills, massage, body wrapping and liposuction. But do they really work? As to whether you try them really depends on how much money you are willing to spend and what you are willing to endure in pursuit of a "perfect body". As cellulite comes from inside the body it is hard to believe that creams you apply on to the skin can actually work. They might give you smooth skin but what they won''t do is banish cellulite forever. Massage may work if it is extremely firm but even then it would only be a temporary measure. The most effective cosmetic treatment would be liposuction but it is a very drastic way to get rid of cellulite. The best possible things you can do are to eat healthily and remain active!

Courtesy of Fitness Professionals UK

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