9 more tips for a toned, cellulite-free body
More essential tips for cellulite reduction & skin toning
In the first part of these series, I presented the 10 hottest tips on how to remove your cellulite fast. On this page, I am presenting another 9 essential tips to help you get rid of cellulite, in time for Christmas. These are not as urgent and not as fast acting as the tips above, but they are absolutely crucial too and can make a huge difference in the mid and long term. I hope these prove useful to you.
1> Quit smoking. And if possible, vaping too.
Smoking and cellulite
In the only study examining heredity and cellulite, smoking was identified as a key factor for causing cellulite in a large number of genetically predisposed women. Clearly smoking may not affect all women the same in regard to cellulite, but it does affect SOME women quite severely and quite quickly, and ALL women to a greater or lesser extent over time.
Smoke components, such as tar, nicotine and additives, cause oxidative damage, inflammation and fibrosis on skin and blood/lymph vessels, thereby impairing circulation and lymph drainage and deteriorating the quality of skin collagen and elastin. Since fibrosis/connective tissue deterioration, poor circulation/lymphatic drainage and inflammation are all major causes of cellulite, it is easy to understand why smoking is so bad for cellulite.
On the other hand, smoking may indeed decrease appetite and reduce fat absorption by fat cells in the more "genetically gifted" women. However, in the long run the negative effects catch up with all women, regardless of genetics, wreaking havoc on skin, blood vessels and cellulite - not to mention overall health.
Despite the absence of tar, vaping is only marginally better than smoking, as it still delivers nicotine to the body, which directly affects blood vessels and cellulite in a negative way . So the best solution is to quit altogether.
2> Move your body!
Inactivity, lack of mechanical stimulation cellulite and loose skin
Sitting is the new smoking, scientists say, causing numerous health conditions, even if you exercise three times a week. Exercise is not enough, so leaving your desk every hour, taking the stairs instead of the lift and power walking as much as possible are essential if you want to prevent cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer - and the same applies to cellulite and loose skin.
Inactivity is a close second to sugar consumption as a leading cause of cellulite and number one cause for skin laxity. Inactivity upsets the calorie balance and encourages large amounts of calories to be stored as fat in the adipocytes, including the adipocytes found in the "cellulite layer" of the hips and thighs. This process is accelerated with sugar consumption and very quickly leads to cellulite creation.
Inactivity has a "double whammy" effect in cellulite creation: it does not just cause cellulite by upsetting your body's calorie balance. Inactivity derpives your collagen and elastin prodcuing cells (fibroblasts) of the valuable mechanical stimulation they need to stay functional and productive. Moreover, inactivity encourages your fat cells to proliferate at the expense of fibroblasts, thereby replacing your firmness with fat. And finally, as fat cells enlarge, they start breaking down your collagen network, further making your skin spongy soft.
In eight words: inactivity is the biggest cause of loose skin.
3> Train. At high intensity, if possible.
Exercise, cellulite and skin firmness
Now that we have established how bad inactivity is for you and how important movement and exercise are, let's quickly talk about exercise. As I discussed elsewhere on this guide, there are no specific "exercises" for cellulite, but there are indeed certain "types of exercise" which are better than others.
In a nutshell, the more vigorous the type of exercise, the better. The higher your heart rate or the more you are out of breath with a specific type of exercise, the more calories you burn - and the more you shrink cellulite. It is as simple as that. It doesn't matter if you achieve the high heart rate/breathing rate with swimming, running, cycling, uphill walking or any other method. As long as you produce adrenaline, you burn fat and you boost your metabolism. As mentioned elsewhere on this guide, interval training, i.e. intermittent high intensity training is preferred to continuous intensity training - be it swimming, running, cycling etc.
One last word: it is obvious from the above that slow/low intensity exercise, such as Pilates, Yoga or leisurely speed walking is not that effective for cellulite reduction. However, for those who for health reasons cannot do high intensity, these types of exercise are better than nothing.
4> Lose "the pill"
Estrogen, The contraceptive pill and cellulite
The birth control pill may have contributed to the liberation of women, uncoupling the issue of reproduction from that of sex, but it has also put a new word in our vocabulary: cellulite. There is no denying that the word cellulite appeared in our language (at least in the French language, to begin with) at roughly the same time that the use of the contraceptive pill became widespread.
And for good reason: estrogen is the main factor why women (and transexuals) develop cellulite and men don't. And excessive estrogen, provided by hormonal contraception in the form of pills, patches, injections and medicated coils, is one of the main reasons why cellulite is so prevalent today.
When combined with inactivity or excess calories, excessive amounts of artificial estrogen encourage fat cells in the subcutaneous layer of the skin in the thigh and butt area to enlarge and multiply out of control. This sets the foundations for the development of "pre-cellulite" first and cellulite-proper afterwards, as well as skin looseness.
I have seen thousands of women over the last two decades and I have found that women who have been for many years on the pill display what I call "the pill look": spongy-soft, puffy skin, pronounced cellulite and curiously, as excess fat not mainly on the back of the legs or the saddlebag area, but also on the front of the thighs, a kind of uniform fat deposition which one of my clients quite aptly calls "my fat trousers". Of course not all women react to the pill - or diet or exercise or anything else for that matter - in the same way, but this is the typical "pill look".
The effects of the pill on circulation and increased risk of blood clotting are already very well-known. Excessive, artificial. alien to the body estrogen is even worse than natural, ovary-secreted estrogen, both for cellulite and for water retention / overall health. Opt for other contraception methods that do not cause cellulite, such as the diaphragm or condoms, or at least talk with your doctor about low estrogen pill alternatives.
5> Cut down the booze
alcohol, cortisol and cellulite
Alcohol is very similar in it's effects to sugar, in that it provides the body with potentially cellulite-causing excess calories, plus the means to guide those calories straight into the fat cells.
This is because alcohol metabolites are preferentially used by the body as a fuel source, leaving the carbohydrates and fats to be stored as fat in the fat cells. Furthermore, alcohol increases cortisol, the stress hormone, which has a stimulating effect on fat absorption by fat cells, especially on the stomach, but also on thighs, arms etc.
Alcohol also increases appetite, tires the liver, reduces energy levels, and in the long run causes water retention and poor circulation - after an initial diuretic and blood vessel-dilating effect.
When alcohol is combined with sugars / refined carbs (as in beer and cocktails) the effects are magnified. Predictably, when alcohol is combined with hormonal contraception, inactivity, sugar/overeating and smoking things become even worse...
6> Go easy with...
Binge-eating, binge-drinking and cellulite
Overeating, especially in combination with inactivity, upsets the calorie balance in your body and can lead to excessive deposition of fat into your fat cells, including your cellulite fat cells. Mild calorie imbalance would not normally be a significant cellulite-causing factor, as your body can adjust it's metabolism to accommodate for a few extra calories. Or, alternatively, you could make up for mild overeating one day by exercising on the same or another day.
However, with serious overeating, or binge-eating, things are different. When you consume, for example 500 or even 1,000 calories more than you need on a single day, you body has no other option than to literally "dump" those excess calories straight into your fat cells, especially your hip and thigh cellulite layer fat cells.
We described above how these fat cells acts as a fat trap due to action of estrogen. The effects of overeating also become worse when it is combined with inactivity or when sugary foods are consumed.
As you have probably guessed, binge-drinking is similar in it's effects to binge eating, but much worse: moderate regular alcohol consumption (especially beer or cocktail consumption) may in itself be a cause of cellulite, but not as important as binge-drinking or binge-eating are.
Moral of the story: do not drink more than three glasses of alcohol on any given day. And do not binge on food either - even "healthy" food, such as "healthy carbs", "healthy fats" etc. Foods can be "healthy" but also very fattening.
7> Ditch the trans fats - and the frying pan
Hydrogenated / fried fats and oils and cellulite
The effects of hydrogenated fats/oils (also known as trans fats or trans fatty acids) and fried fats/oils are now very well described by science. These oils and fats act as toxins and cause inflammation and oxidative damage, thereby impairing the function of every single cell in the body, including mitochondria in all cells, where our energy is produced. In this way, hydrogenated / fried fats and oils indirectly, but significantly, contribute to cellulite formation. A more direct contribution, of course, comes from the excess calories that these fats and oils carry.
Cellulite can be defined as a combination of excess fat, poor circulation/lymphatic drainage, connective tissue deformity, skin looseness, inflammation, oxidative damage, glycation and toxin infiltration, and as you can see trans fats and fried oils tick almost all the boxes.
My advice is: just lose the frying pan, and forget sauteing, deep frying, pan frying, shallow frying, frying to lock the juices, frying anything. Every time you fry, your oxidise some fat that will ultimately be incorporated in the membrane of every cell and every mitochondrion in your body and cause havoc and ill health. Needless to say that oxidised fat (as opposed to pure, fresh, virgin fat) is what forms oxidised LDL (oxLDL) and causes heart disease...
Fried food is quite simply poison for your thighs (and heart). Especially fried hydrogenated fat, fried sugar and fried carbs, as in the donuts, pictured above, probably the worst type of food you can put in your mouth.
8> Drink lots of water - even fizzy water
Still and sparkling water and cellulite
This is so basic and so cliché, I avoided adding it on this guide for a very long time.
Of course drinking lots water is essential for cellulite prevention/reduction. Water aids kidney function, detoxification and lymphatic drainage and overall skin health, but most importantly large intestine function / elimination.
Did you know that the major function of the large intestine is to reabsorb water used for digestion back into your bloodstream? If you do not drink plenty of water, water is completely drained out of your digested food, turning your stools into rocks that refuse to be expelled. Stools should be moist, if you expect to be regular and healthy. Dried up, rock-hard stools are bad news for your digestion - and bad news for your thighs too.
Most women who come to our clinic suffer to a lesser or greater extent from constipation, with all the known negative consequences, including impaired detoxification, water retention and varicose veins.
So, yes, if you lived in a cave and have not heard that before, you should drink lots of water - anything from a minimum of 1.5 litres to a maximum of 4 litres per day. Less than that is criminal for your body and more than that can be overwhelming for your system or even dangerous - not to mention the hourly visits to the toilet.
And yes, sparkling/fizzy/carbonated water is absolutely fine to drink. Carbon dioxide, which makes up the bubbles in sparkling water, does not, of course, cause cellulite. What is wrong with "soda"/fizzy drinks (and "flavoured" water too) is not the bubbles, it's the sugar or sweeteners contained in them.
In summary, steer clear from "flavoured" water and soda/cola/fizzy drinks and just drink pure still or sparkling water instead, ideally filtered water or spring water. Add a slice of lime, lemon, orange or mandarin and a mint, basil or coriander leaf and enjoy!
9/ Maximise the results of your cellulite treatment or cream by losing weight at the same time
Treat your cellulite whilst you lose weight - not before or after
If you are going to lose weight, or even crash diet, do it while you receive a cellulite treatment or use a cellulite cream - not before or after.
If you are overweight or have a few extra pounds, you might think that it is a good idea to first lose the weight and then have a treatment or use a cellulite cream when you're "ready". However, this obsessive-compulsive thinking is the most counter-productive thing you can do, because this way you miss out on the maximisation of cellulite reduction that losing weight offers.
Effective cellulite treatments/creams work by stimulating the local release of fat from "stubborn" areas. This released fat must then be oxidised (burned) by the body, so that it does not return into the same fat cells. When you lose weight, you seriously accelerate fat release from the treated areas and you also ensure that the released fat is burned and eliminated from your body for good. For this reason, all cellulite removal treatments and creams work much better if you also lose weight at the same time.
However, if you wait to lose the bulk of your weight first and then embark on a cellulite reduction treatment, you lose the advantage that weight loss offers you and results are less pronounced and take more treatments to occur. This applies to all cellulite treatments and creams.
There is also another unexpected but very important reason why you should combine weight loss with cellulite treatments or creams: motivation. Having a treatment once a week and/or applying a cream twice a day will make you want to stay on track with your diet and exercise. You will want to make the most of your money so you will lose weight with more determination and you will more easily avoid distraction.
So my advice is, don't put it off and don't wait to lose the weight to deal with the other problems - work on all of them at the same time, for a synergistic effect and for extra motivation!
© 2017 Georgios Tzenichristos & LipoTherapeia Ltd