Can office work cause cellulite, loose skin and water retention?

Technology causes cellulite, skin sagginess and distorts body shape

For the majority of office workers, work today is almost totally sedentary, most of the time involving just finger movement on the computer. At the same time there are lots of opportunities for the consumption of calorific snacks, with the abundance of vending machines in offices typically dispensing crisps, fizzy drinks and chocolate bars.

  • Lack of movement has a direct effect on skin tightness. Your body needs mechanical stimulation to keep collagen production and collagen cell population high and this mechanical stimulation naturally comes from walking or other types of movement (running, swimming, dancing etc.). Without mechanical stimulation skin gradually becomes loose and muscles lose their tone and strength (even bone loses it's density). This effect is in addition to the effect of inactivity on calorie balance, which makes us fat.
  • On the other hand, consumption of sugar-rich food, such as chocolates, crisps, croissants and fizzy drinks feeds and stimulates the brain throughout the day, helping you complete your tasks on the computer, but it also leads to fat accumulation. Glucose, derived from sugar, fruits and starchy foods, is the main fuel for the brain, but not all glucose extracted from food finds it's way to the brain. Unfortunately, most of it ends up on your butt, thighs and stomach. Eating too much and moving too little also leads to fat accumulation, even if the foods consumed are not fat and sugar.
  • Excess fat accumulation also leads to skin sagginess. This is because when fat tissue accumulates fat it breaks down collagen tissue to make room for it's expansion. This is the reason why the areas where fat grows become loose and flabby: firm-giving collagen is broken down to make way for those soft and squishy fat cells. This effect is in addition to the flabbiness created by the loss of collagen due to inactivity, mentioned above.
  • Furthermore, sitting down all day is proven to inhibit circulation and lymphatic drainage, especially on the legs, with the consumption of sugar and fat making the situation even worse (sugar and fat are detrimental to lymphatic function). The end result is water retention.
  • Water retention is also fertile ground for the appearance of low grade inflammation. Furthermore, sugar and fat are also responsible for low grade inflammation, which leads to water retention, creating a vicious cycle. Furthermore, an excess intake of oxidised fat, trans fatty acids (hydrogenated fat) or omega-6 fat also lead to low grade inflammation (contrary to popular belief, our diet contain a dangerous excess of omega-6 fatty acids, especially in relation to omega-3s and this has a pro-inflammatory effect on our bodies).
  • Moreover, sugar causes glycation, which is defined as a deterioration of protein in the body due to it being combined with sugars. Glycation of collagen, the most important protein of the skin, ages and deteriorates the quality of the skin and the connective tissue underneath it.
  • Drinks after work entertaining clients or with colleagues add to the calorie load of the day and undermine the detoxification function of the liver.

Cellulite is defined as Oedematous Fibrosclerotic Panniculitis, which basically means inflammation of the superficial fat tissue associated with water retention and sclerosis (degeneration) of the connective tissue. It is evident that the sum of the consequences of computer-based work on the thighs and buttocks fits exactly the description of cellulite.

It is very simple: unless you do something about it, working for 8, 10 or 12 hours in an office in front of a computer will lead to cellulite, excessive local fat deposits, skin laxity and overall skin ageing - sooner or later.


Technology at home is also to blame

Today we spend more and more time on Skype, Facebook, Twitter and other social media instead of meeting people in person, which again means one thing: we sit on our bum too much and this leads to skin looseness, fat accumulation, puffiness and cellulite.


The Freeze Protocol: stop computer work-related body shape deterioration in it’s tracks

However, all is not lost. There are simple ways with which this body shape "decay" can be reversed or even stopped, without sacrificing your career or throwing away your iPad at home.

The Freeze Protocol comprises small simple actions that aim to "undo" most of the negative effects our computer-based lifestyle inflicts on our bodies: fight glycation, boost collagen production, improve circulation, reduce local fat accumulation and reduce inflammation.


15 lifestyle changes to prevent your work from damaging your body

  1. If possible, take small 1-2 minute breaks every hour to walk and thereby restore circulation on your legs. This will also improve your productivity in the next hour, by boosting circulation in your brain.
  2. Try to have a 30' (or even 60') exercise session during your lunchtime. This will boost circulation, metabolism and collagen production, especially if the exercise includes 20' squat training on a whole body vibration machine, such as powerplate etc.
  3. If you are seriously chocoholic, this is the time to get your chocolate reward: for about 30' after the end an hour of vigorous exercise you can have some chocolate or cake (not the whole cake!) or similar food, without any of it reaching your bum (your hormonal environment immediately after exercise ensures that this does not happen)
  4. Always keep berries, "live" yoghurt, nuts (be easy on nuts!) and other healthy snacks in the work fridge, to avoid the temptation of visiting the crisp/chocolate vending machine. Berries support your collagen tissue and contain very few calories.
  5. Avoid sugar in your coffee / tea or opt for green tea / herbal tea instead that do not require sugar
  6. Avoid more than 2 caffeinated drinks a day but drink as much decaf coffee/tea/green tea as you like
  7. A lunch consisting of salad and grilled fish/chicken/lean meat or one based on pulses will keep you productive throughout your working day, provide you with the protein needed to maintain your collagen levels and ensure you do not take in more calories than you need.
  8. Oily fish will also help fight fat accumulation, provide you with valuable anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty fats and boost circulation in your body.
  9. Take 500-1000mg of the aminoacid carnosine a day to fight glycation caused by the reaction of sugar and proteins in your body (consult your health care professional first)
  10. Replace cola and lemonade with sparkling water which contains no sugar or excessive acids. The carbon dioxide contained in sparkling water is completely harmless - the problems with fizzy drinks is the acidity, the sugar and other chemicals, not the bubbles themselves!
  11. Try to partially or fully walk to and from work: this will boost your metabolism, help you burn a few extra calories and provide you with some necessary mechanical stimulation to help maintain your collagen levels and consequently your firmness
  12. Try to exercise in the morning before work or in the evening after work to undo the effects of work inactivity. Even if you have energy for 20' of exercise, this is far better than landing on the sofa and letting your body down. Even 1-2 times a week is better than nothing.
  13. If you are too tired to do much exercise during the week, try to have double exercise sessions in the weekend when you have more energy.
  14. Have a quality anti-cellulite treatment every week. A good anti-cellulite treatment will help boost circulation and lymph drainage, stimulate collagen production, release local fat and initiate the early death (apoptosis) of fat cells, thereby acting on all causes of body shape decline. 
  15. Have a quality anti-cellulite cream. A good anti-cellulite cream, i.e. one with high concentrations of active ingredients will help boost circulation, lipolysis (fat release), skin repair and collagen production and fight inflammation, oxidative damage and glycation, all important causes if cellulite.


The good news: technology can also be used to fight cellulite and body shape decline

We have mentioned above that technology causes cellulite. However, technology can also be used to reduce cellulite. Quality cellulite treatments and highly concentrated anti-cellulite creams can help prevent or reduce office work-induced cellulite and skin looseness:

  1. Monopolar radiofrequency (RF) is an ideal treatment for this purpose, as it stimulates fat release and fat cell apoptosis, results in huge circulation increase in the "cellulite tissues", stimulates collagen production, collagen cell proliferation and collagen tightening. Make sure you choose a strong, monopolar RF treatment as many RF treatments are simply not powerful enough.
  2. Ultrasonic cavitation also helps with fat reduction. Make sure you choose a strong, cavitation treatment as many cavitation treatments are simply not powerful enough.
  3. Electro-Mesotherapy can also help by providing the skin with natural anti-cellulite, circulation-enhancing, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, glycation-fighting agents, as long as the cream/gel used contains high enough concentrations of these actives - unfortunately most don't, so make sure you do your research before you sign up for a treatment)
  4. Strong manual anti-cellulite massage can also help, but again make sure you do your research before you sign up, as most such massages are simply not strong or not skilful enough
  5. A good anti-cellulite cream, rich in the types of active ingredients mentioned above can help keep your collagen-rich tissues in good shape, maintain a good level of circulation and keep fat accumulation at bay. Today's technology means that a quality anti-cellulite cream can contain several natural active ingredients in high concentration for better results, faster. However, for profit maximisation purposes, most such creams simply do not contain high enough concentrations of active ingredients, so do your research before buying.

Treatments once a week (for the worst cases) or once a month (for most office workers) can help keep cellulite at bay and maintain body firmness, especially if combined with daily application of an anti-cellulite cream and the above lifestyle measures.


Not a miracle, but the only way

Barring quitting your job and becoming an exercise/diet freak, the Freeze Protocol is the best thing that can be done to keep your body young, smooth, slim and firm, while working hard and maintaining a home.

It is not a miracle but it comprises all the major steps you can take: increase activity levels and improve your diet during the working day and add to this effort by having regular "anti-office" treatments and applying anti-cellulite creams to prevent or undo the damage caused by sitting down and staring at a screen all day.

It will not work if you drink two bottles of wine on the weekend or if you don't do it. It is amazing how many people don’t do much exercise, do not properly follow a diet, do not regularly apply their creams or do not regular with their treatments, or they give up too early and then go on to complain that that said exercise/diet/treatment/creams do not work.

So the simple advice is "be patient" and "just do it": if you get organised and put the effort the Freeze Protocol will work and you will feel proud of your firmer, younger body and your increased energy levels and confidence.

And at the same time, you will also fight overweight, heart disease, diabetes and cancer, i.e. all the conditions known to be affected by poor diet, excess calorie intake and inactivity.