Cellulite is one of the most frustrating issues for women of all ages, sizes and ethnicities, and if you have it, welcome to the “over 80% of women above 20 years of age” club that develop it at some point in their lives.
Unfortunately for women it’s not only due in part to our hormonal profile and an excess of estrogens, but it’s also related to how many toxins our bodies are holding on to, and to the anatomy of our skin and the way in which our fat cells and receptors are distributed.
Fitness and health expert Alexa Towersey, listed by Lifestyle Asia as one of the Top 5 Toughest Personal Trainers in 2013, knows there is no miracle overnight cure to getting rid of cellulite. But there are ways to combat cellulite naturally by making some lifestyle changes. Here’s how:
1. Minimise your exposure to environmental toxins and pollutants
Go organic with your cosmetics and household products (check out www.ewg.org to find out how toxic your favourite brands are), don’t reheat your food in plastic containers, avoid soy products, and buy organic produce when possible. If you’re on a budget and need to prioritise, watch out for the pesticide laden “Dirty Dozen”: apples, celery, strawberries, peaches, spinach, nectarines, grapes, capsicum, potatoes, blueberries, lettuce and kale.
2. Eat nutritionally dense, high fiber and low GI foods to manage your blood sugar and reduce bodyfat
The worst offenders for cellulite are alcohol, caffeine and refined sugars. If you just can’t do without your glass of wine with dinner, stick to Sardinian and Spanish red wines, pinot and merlot which have some beneficial anti-oxidants.
3. Cellulite isn’t just a fat issue, it’s a skin issue
One of the reasons it may be so visible is that the collagen in your skin lacks optimal connective tissue structure. Eat foods that are rich in Vitamin C, high in collagen strengthening and anti-inflammatory vitamins and minerals, and have lots of essential fatty acids. Citrus fruits such as lemons, grapefruits and oranges are good choices, as are nuts and seeds. Plant based omega oils are a great supplement to increase fat burning, decrease inflammation and improve the health of our cell membranes.
4. Support your digestive system
Learn to love your cruciferous veges (broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, kale, cabbage and bok choy) which contain compounds that draw out excess estrogens, and include plenty of fiber which will then bind to and eliminate the waste products (flaxseeds, dark green leafy veges, fresh fruits, beans and lentils, steel-cut oats, buckwheat and barley). Raw apple cider vinegar in warm water is a strong digestive aid, and a really cheap and effective way to kickstart your system first thing in the morning. I’m a fan of includng a good quality probiotic and a plant based digestive enzyme.
5. Use resistance training to help rebalance your hormones and reshape your body
Hormonal imbalances can often show up as stubborn fat on different parts of your body, with estrogen dominating the hip and thigh region. You can effectively lean out your legs by telling your body to turn on your fat burning hormones and turn off your fat storing hormones. I recommend women include weights as part of their training program using a circuit style of high reps (15-25), moderate weight and low rest. For fans of spin classes, I’m sorry I’m about to ruin your day, but research has shown that spinning actually increases the intramuscular fat stores in the legs!
6. Reduce the appearance of cellulite by improving your circulation
Lymphatic drainage and detoxification channels using alternative body treatments such as acupuncture, lymphatic drainage massage, Epsom salts baths, body brushing and infra-red saunas will all help to reduce cellulite. Drinking plenty of water is also important for flushing out toxins.
What are your best tips for reducing the appearance of cellulite?