What To Do About Cellulite

At some point in their lives most women, and some men, will have to deal with cellulite. Cellulite is fat deposits in the skin which cause a dimpled appearance. Cellulite is not the same as other body fat that resides deeper in the body. Cellulite is not normally used by the body as an energy source making it next to impossible to get rid of. Short of surgery or expensive spa skin treatments, there isn’t much a woman can do about cellulite. She can reduce the appearance of cellulite by drinking plenty of water and engaging in aerobic exercise. Strength training can also help reduce the appearance of cellulite by increasing the size and definition of muscles. 
A diet rich in fiber and antioxidants can help reduce the amount of cellulite in the skin and improve skin appearance. Foods that nourish the skin cells includes eggs, peanut butter, olive oil, soy protein, nuts, fruits and  berries. Citrus fruit like oranges and grapefruit contain vitamins and minerals essential to healthy skin and other organs. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables to help improve collagen production and keep your skin cells healthy.

Diet alone is not enough to reduce fat cells in the skin. You have to exercise to help reduce the appearance of cellulite. Most women who have had children will see some cellulite on their hips and thighs. The best exercises are those that tone and firm the muscles of the buttocks and thighs. Squats will strengthen your entire lower body, and especially your thighs and butt. The most effective way to perform a squat is to stand with your feet apart, about shoulder width, and then slowly lower your body by bending your knees until you reach a seated position. Slide your back down a wall or hold onto a sturdy chair for balance if you are a beginner.

Lunges strengthen your thighs, buttocks and back and can help reduce the appearance of cellulite in the thighs. Stand up straight with your feet comfortably apart, about hip-width. Place your hands on your hips for balance, and then step forward on one foot as far as you can while lowering your upper body straight down.  Keep your other foot planted flat on the floor. Return to a standing position and repeat the exercise on the other leg.

Performing bridges can help strengthen your back and increase muscle definition in your butt, thighs and abdomen. To do the bridge exercise, lie on your back and bend your knees placing your feet flat on the floor. Keep your knees apart about hip-width. Slowly lift your back off the floor beginning at your buttocks and moving upward until your hips and legs form a diagonal line from the knees to the shoulder. Hold the position for a few seconds, lower your body back to the floor slowly and then repeat the exercise.

There is no magic pill to help reduce cellulite. Creams and drug therapies have demonstrated some effectiveness, but the results are usually temporary improvement in the dimpled appearance of the skin. Surgery is an option, but should only be considered after thoughtful consultation with your doctor.

For more information about causes and treatment of cellulite, see:

WebMD, Can You Beat Cellulite?, by Collette Bouchez, reviewed by Cynthia Dennison Haines, MD, 2005

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