INSHAPE NEWS Q ‘N’ A
Reader Aston Bernert asks:
“Hi. I am a slim girl, but I have noticed that my thighs are developing this dimpled appearance. I think it is cellulite. Is this harmful to my health and how do I get rid of it?“
Sigrid de Castella – ‘Half the Woman I Was’ Author
Cellulite is common in women of all body shapes and sizes. In fact up to 90 percent of post pubescent women have some cellulite in the pelvic region, lower limbs, or abdomen. And although it may be unwanted, it’s completely normal.
Cellulite’s ‘dimpling’ effect are little protrusions of fat pushing through the fibrous connective tissue that lies beneath the surface of the skin. As a result, an orange peel or cottage cheese appearance occurs.
Unfortunately, it’s genetic – if your mother had it, then you’re likely to get it as well. And although there’s no permanent solution for cellulite, there are a number of things you can do to help reduce the appearance of it.
Lotion, Potions and Surgery
Most of these will do nothing including the array of new fad machines which don’t have any scientifically proven results despite their marketing tactics. The only exceptions to reduce the appearance are:
- Creams with 2% aminophylline – drains water from fat cells temporarily.
- Liposuction – the physical extraction of fat cells.
However, neither of these provides any permanent solutions. So let’s now look at what can.
The presence of toxins from over processed and fast foods exacerbates the appearance of cellulite. Stick to a healthy diet of fresh vegetables, lean protein, complex carbohydrates and fresh fruit, and you will avoid cellulite.
As a general rule fat cells don’t multiply, they just enlarge when you gain weight. And enlarged fat cells tend to give a more dimpled appearance, so reducing your weight will help lessen the severity of cellulite.
If you don’t need to lose weight, then toning up helps to decrease the appearance of cellulite by converting any excess fat to muscle. Make sure you include resistance training twice week into your exercise routine.
Those with circulation problems, including lymphatic issues, will tend to have a more extended ‘cottage cheese’ look. Keeping active and mobile will help to improve your circulation and reduce the appearance of cellulite.
More Water, Less Salt
Drink at least 3 litres of water every day, more if you’re exercising, flushing the excess toxins out of your body. Also reduce your salt intake, as this minimises any water retention which can make the cellulite more noticeable.
Stress produces the chemical catecholamine, via adrenaline, which is an increases cellulite. So, keep your stress levels down.
Sigrid de Castella is an internationally published author, speaker, and coach in the fields of health and business. Her book “Half The Woman I Was” – How I lost 70kg naturally, reclaimed my life … and how you can too!” has received international acclaim and has been hailed as the most comprehensive weight loss book on the market. Sigrid has also studied Personal Training with the Fitness Institute Australia and has a keen interest in whole food nutrition, natural therapies and all aspects of physical and mental health. Sigrid and holds a BBA from RMIT University and is a member of both the Australian Institute of Managers and the Australian Society of Authors.
Kris Etheridge – Sports Movement, Strength Conditioning and, Balance and Agility Trainer
What is Cellulite? To keep it short, cellulite is fat showing through the skin. It gives skin a dimpled appearance.
The reason for the dimpled appearance is that your body fat is pressing against the skin. This dimpling effect becomes more evident where your skin is thinnest.
The areas affected most commonly include, the upper thighs and arms and the buttocks.
Is Cellulite Bad for Your Health?
The good news is that storing body fat around the thigh area is the least detrimental to your health. In fact, you are far better off carrying your body fat around your thighs than around the midsection.
Men that have a waist circumference greater than 94 centimetres and women who have a waist circumference larger than 80 centimetres are at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and even some cancers. So in this case, no, cellulite is not bad for your health.
How Do You Get Rid of Cellulite?
Unfortunately when it comes to cellulite, you are somewhat at the mercy of your genetics. Your genetics determine your skin thickness, and those with thinner skin may show some slight signs of cellulite even with a lower body fat percentage. With that said there are things you can do to reduce the signs of cellulite.
Firstly, you need to reduce your body fat. Many people find that when they reduce their body fat, their cellulite reduces or even disappears. A good weight loss plan that includes a healthy balanced diet, plenty of water, vegetables, protein and exercise will reduce the signs of cellulite. Increasing your muscle mass is also an excellent way to tone up and lessen the appearance of cellulite especially if you are of a smaller build.
To reduce cellulite by increasing your muscle tone and dropping body fat, you need a calorie controlled diet that creates a calorie deficit. In regards to exercise, I suggest three full body resistance training workouts per week, plus 30 minutes of cardio five to six times per week for the best results.
Kris Etheridge is a Melbourne based health and fitness expert that has delivered over 20,000 personal training sessions in the last 10 years. Kris has worked with world champion athletes and numerous well known celebrities. He is currently working on his first female weight loss book, which is due out later in 2012.
As a fitness expert, Kris is always looking for ways to help more people live a healthier life. He is a certified personal trainer, sports movement, strength conditioning and, balance and agility trainer, a level one and two boxing and Thump boxing trainer, level one and two kettle-bell instructor, a Rip 60 certified instructor and a certified Cirq instructor.
Nick Jack – CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coach and Personal Trainer
Hi Ashton. The dimpled appearance is what is commonly known as cellulite. On its own it is not harmful to your health, although it can be a sign of something not being right with your body.
The fact you mention that you are a slim girl, yet you feel you have got cellulite forming on your legs could indicate that your hormonal system is under stress. The first thing girls, like you, can do to get rid of the dimples is to exercise. Thigh and butt exercises like lunges and squats are very beneficial. These are great activities and will work the muscles in this area and in a big way that will help you.
But, doing this on its own will not solve your problem. Other people will devote hours to cardio workouts such as running, power walking and cycling. These will help short-term.
Getting Rid of Cellulite Long-Term
To get rid of cellulite long-term you need to create a faster metabolism. And the quickest way to do that is by building muscle. Thus, weight training is the key to cellulite reduction.
The amount of lean muscle you have in your body derives from approximately 66 percent of your metabolic process within a 24 hour period. So cardio workouts, although they use energy, do not build muscle, they offload it. Hence, this means that this type of exercise will begin to slow your metabolism over time.
Now when it comes to weights, many girls tend to think that they will get big like a guy. However, this is not the case. Why? Well, it is impossible, as females do not have enough testosterone in their bodies to build muscle like a male. Women have about 1/10th the amount of testosterone as a male.
Therefore, if you are not doing a well-structured weight training program that focuses on squats, lunges and step-ups, and you using all types of equipment at various angles and planes of movement. Following this line of attack, you should notice a marked improvement in your cellulite.
But don’t go thinking that this is all you need to do. Two of the biggest contributors to cellulite are what you eat and the amount of stress you endure. So it is important for you to look at your nutrition and decrease your levels of stress.
Eat Lean and Clean
Begin by eating clean, healthy foods and then turn turning yourself into a fat burning, metabolic machine. How? Well, you must start eating more frequently. Six to eight, smaller meals per day will help speed up your metabolism.
Never, skip meals as this will slow you down. Also, try to eliminate or reduce the amount of high energy carbohydrates, such as bread and cereals, you eat.
Also, eliminate sugar from your diet. I also recommend that you eat protein at every meal, and high-quality protein, such as whey, straight after a weight workout. This approach will help you build muscle.
Drink Lots of Water
In addition, drink plenty of water and avoid caffeine and alcohol. Water helps to flush impurities from the body whereas caffeine and alcohol are stimulants that add pollutants to the body.
Lastly, look at how much stress you are under and work out ways to reduce it. Make sure you get enough sleep. You should be in bed by 10 pm each night to enable to body to build and repair.
If you follow these guidelines, then you will begin to see changes, which you should be able to maintain for the rest of your life. But, just remember that these are not quick fixes and that they require effort, determination and commitment to succeed.
Nick Jack is a qualified CHEK Exercise Coach, Level II Holistic Lifestyle Coach and personal trainer. He runs a personal training business called NO Regrets Personal Training.
Nick likes to lift weights, cycle, run and triathlon. He has played almost every sport at one time in his life. Now, he enjoys spending time walking his dog and relaxing with his wife and friends.
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