Six-step plan to busting CELLULITE

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Orange peel, dimples, puckering – by whatever name you call it, cellulite is real and simply ugly. And, unfortunately, most women get them. But the good news is that you can eliminate them. We tell you how.

Cellulite is excess fat stored specifically in the hips, thighs and buttocks that is unevenly distributed beneath the skin. It represents irregular fat deposits clumped together, and it is these deposits that make the skin look bumpy rather than smooth. As we age and become less active, we gradually lose muscle and gain increasing amounts of body fat. The average woman loses about five pounds of muscle and gains about 15 pounds of fat every ten years.

Muscle is dense tissue and gives the body shape and form, while fat is soft tissue that gives the body a dimpled look. When there is too little muscle to provide a firm foundation for the overlying fat, the skin will take on the lumpy look that is referred to as cellulite. When more fat is stored on less muscle, the appearance of cellulite is unavoidable.

Collagen is also part of the equation. We all have a layer of fat underneath our skin through which collagen fibres run and collect the fat into pockets. When collagen is damaged, for example by the free radicals from air pollutions, alcohol, cigarette smoke and other toxins, the skin shrinks. This reduces the first layer of fat, making any overfilled ‘pockets’ of fat more visible.

There is no magic cream, pill or patch that can ‘dissolve’ fat, so no matter how much money you spend on those expensive products, you are unlikely to see lasting results. The only thing that can dissolve fat is your own body when it chemically breaks down stored fat and uses it for energy. And that requires effort in the form of regular exercise.

Research shows that the real secret to shedding cellulite lies in strength training exercises. Like dieting, aerobic exercise helps reduce body fat, but does not have a positive effect on muscle maintenance, which is most useful for permanent weight management. That is why strength training is essential in improving body composition and enhancing physical appearance. It is an important ingredient in cellulite eradication plan.

There are some cellulite remedies that do have a temporary effect and can improve the appearance of your skin. Creams that contain the following ingredients seem to be the most beneficial.

*Aminophylline. Research suggests this may help break down, but not dissolve, fat cells.

*Centella aciatica. Research suggests this herb, also known as gotu kola, increases the production of new collagen and improves skin tone when it is applied topically.

*Retinol. A vitamin A derivative, it works by speeding up cell renewal and increasing the rate of collagen production.

Creams, supplements and massage can’t provide a permanent solution to cellulite. The best approach is to reduce the underlying fat stores through sensible dieting, burning additional fat with aerobic exercise, and replacing lost muscle tissue through strength training. The following six-point plan will help you shift cellulite.

1.Exercise

To develop more muscle tissue and lose the fatty dimples, you need to do strength training, gradually increasing the weights as your muscles get stronger. Pick a weight that tires the muscle that you are targeting within 30-90 seconds of lifting it. For each exercise, move the weight in a slow, controlled manner for up to 15 repetitions. Don’t forget aerobic exercises, too. You will need to do at least 20 minutes of aerobics, three times a week.

2.Watch your diet

Sugar causes collagen to harden, making the collagen fibres to pull down on the skin and the fat more visible, so try to avoid it. The same goes for refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, pasta and cakes as they provide less fibre and may result in sudden spikes of insulin, which may push glucose in the body’s fat stores. Choose wholegrain alternatives. Too much salt can make fluid retention and bloating worse, and may even encourage cellulite formation. Handle alcohol with care because after one drink, fat levels in the blood start to increase, slowing circulation.

You should also avoid saturated fat, as it puts a strain on vein and artery walls, leading to circulatory problems and is also calorie-dense and fattening. Instead, a diet rich in antioxidants will provide vital nutrients needed for skin cell regeneration. Brightly coloured fruits and vegetables are the best source. Brown rice and pasta, wholegrain bread, pulses and beans are also good to include, as they keep the digestive system working efficiently, helping prevent water retention and formation of cellulite.

Omega-3 fatty acids, found in oily fish such as tuna, salmon, seeds and nuts, are helpful too, since they lower cholesterol. By helping to keep veins and arteries clear, they boost the circulation, as well as having an anti-inflammatory effect. You should also try to drink at least eight glasses of water a day to reduce fluid-retention.

3.Take supplements

Although diet is the best bet for getting the nutrients you need to combat cellulite, certain supplements may help too. These include vitamins C and E.

4.Get a good cream

Choose a good body or cellulite cream and apply it every night. Be careful not to massage vigorously as this could damage the collagen fibres and the lymph flow, but the right movements can help reduce cellulite. The most beneficial technique is the manual lymph drainage, which is a mixture of long, gentle strokes with pushing techniques to stimulate the flow of the lymph.

5.Brush your skin

Spend five minutes every morning skin brushing. This is one of the most simple and effective remedies for cellulite and works by stimulating blood circulation and lymph flow. Do it before showering in the morning when your skin is dry. Choose a natural bristle brush with medium-hard bristles.

6.Take a bath

Bathing boosts circulation and lymph flow and this aids in weight loss. If you prefer a shower, at least have a bath once a week. To create your own hydrotherapy bath, soak for five minutes in the bath, and then use the showerhead underwater to massage your body with warm water from the feet up and repeat with cold water.

Published on May 2013

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