by Andrew Pacholyk, MS L.Ac. ~
Cellulite is a combination of fat, cellular waste and water. Another words, cellulite is simply fat. It forms a mass that is trapped in the tissue below the skin’s surface. This can cause visible bumps, ripples, and lumps in the skin. It is not “trapped toxins”, poor circulation or a product of old age. Cellulite can affect woman of any age, young to old and it is often genetic. But, it is true that cellulite CAN get worse as we age. Connective and muscle tissues change and thicken with age, meanwhile our skin gets thinner and weaker, which makes cellulite more apparent.
Unfortunately, the fat on women’s thighs and buttocks is arranged in large chambers separated from each other by columns of connective tissue. In women, these fibers form a honeycomb-shaped pattern, so any increase of fat tends to bulge outward. If these chambers are engorged with fat as a result of being overweight or if the connective tissue has slackened, the result is the classic pitting and bulging we have come to know as cellulite.
Men don’t usually develop cellulite because male skin is thicker and the fat cell chambers are divided into smaller, more tightly arranged areas. In men, their fibers run horizontally, forming a criss-cross pattern that prevents bulging or dimpling.
Many factors contribute to this such as hormonal imbalance, bad diet, poor posture, lack of exercise. Stress also plays a part. Dietary culprits such as lack of enough water, too much caffeine, salt, sugar, fatty foods could possibly attribute to this. All these factors can slow down lymphatic drainage and elimination. Therefore, cellulite can respond to various environmental factors such as diet and hormone balancing. I have found in my practice, that different approaches work for different people.
By working the lower body, you can reduce the look of cellulite to appear firmer, smoother and tighter. It is important to work your lower body from every angle.
Perform 3 sets of 10 to 15 repetitions of the following exercises 4 days a week. Lift slowly, counting 5 seconds to lift and 5 seconds to lower. Before starting, warm up with some gentle stretching.
1. Lunge Kick
Although this exercise is called a lunge kick, there is no kicking involved. Start in a lunge position (1) with your right leg forward. With your weight on your hands and left knee, draw back your right leg slowly behind you (2), keeping it straignt. The foot is turned out slightly as you pulse the leg up and back 10-15 reps (keeping it up behind you). Then bring the leg back down in front of you to return to the lunge position. Repeat for 2 more sets. NOW reverse this and repeat 3 sets on the other leg.
2. Butt Lift
You are already in a lunge position. For this next exercise, bring your body down and lie on your stomach. Legs are bent at the knee, heels touching (1). Arms are folded and in front of you. Slowly lift both knees off the floor, keeping your heels together (2), slightly pulse the legs up for 10-15 reps (keeping heels together, pulsing upward). Then bring the knees back down to the floor. Repeat for 2 more sets.
In a tabletop position, buttocks dropped (but not touching), fingers facing the heels, right knee is crossed over the left (1). Simply unfold the knee and reach the right heel far out to your right side, then return to starting position. Perform 3 sets of 10 to 15 repetitions. Repeat on the other side.
4. Booty Push
In the same tabletop position, straight arms behind you, buttocks off the floor (1). draw the right knee into your chest, bring the right ankle bone in line with the left knee. Now, slowly push the right heel out along the floor, (without touching the floor) the arms will bend as the leg extends. The buttocks always remains off the floor (2). Then return to starting position. Perform 3 sets of 10 to 15 repetitions. Repeat on the other side.
Food for Thought
In a 2012 study in the British Journal of Dermatology, tomatoes (in the form of tomato paste) or lycopene, were shown to reduce UV-induced sun damage, as well as prevent collagen breakdown (by inhibiting collagenase). While preserving collagen in your skin cells, you are creating a stronger top layer of epidermis overlying your fat cells, which reduces the puckering of underlying fat, making cellulite less visible.
Bromelain is a group of enzymes found in pineapple. These powerful anti-inflammatories promote fat cell metabolism as well, helping the body fight swelling and inflammatory issues.
Drinking 8-10 glasses of water is essential for anyone. Water helps to hydrate our skin and organs and allows the body to flush out. The more we drink, the better our body is able to release water we hold on to.
Stress has shown to be a complex reaction, which triggers stress hormones called insulin and cortisol. These hormones change the way fat cells behave. Eating whole grains rather than processed foods, which spike our glycemic index, raising blood sugar and insulin levels, is one way to regulate these hormones. Molecules called catechins, found in green and white teas, decrease fat cell insulin resistance.
Other foods that helps combat cellulite include egg whites (amino acids), oatmeal (fiber), cottage cheese (whey protein), beans (protein, fiber and antioxidants), Hummus (good fat and protein) and sweet potatoes (slow burning carb).