Cellulite. For those of you who don’t know what it is, then pinch a bit of thigh with two fingers. If the flesh lumps, bumps, and dimples into curds, that means you have it. You’re not alone. In fact, those fatty curds mean you are a real, live, normal and natural member of the female sex! (Cellulite is more common in women because we have thinner skin and higher body fat than men.)
Medically speaking, there is no such thing as cellulite. It is a made-up term for plain, old fat that clumps and bumps on the thighs, tummy, and hips in up to 90% of women. It results when subcutaneous (just below the skin) fat forms pockets between the meshlike webbing of connective tissue that holds fat in place, much like stitching forms squares in a down comforter. The more stuffing, the more puckered the texture. Everyone has a different body type and some people, whether they are overweight or lean, have inherited the genes for dimply fat. Genes or no genes, it ain’t pretty and most women would love to be rid of it! Which explains why we have tried every ridiculous gimmick from supplements, wraps, and brushes to machines, creams, and massages.
Hey, is there any good news here? Yes!! You can stack the deck in favor of losing and keeping that cellulite at bay for the rest of your life if you exercise and eat the right foods at the right times of day.
There are 4 tried-and-true cellulite diet rules:
1. Lose weight gradually. Cut 100 to 600 calories from your current intake that, when combined with the 400 calories you will burn daily in exercise, will result in a one to two pound weight loss each week. This ensures you lose the fat in those dimples (you will be losing water and muscle if you drop weight more rapidly!). Cutting 100 calories can be as simple as eliminating a tablespoon of butter or margarine from your daily diet.
2. Cut out the junk. The more processed a food, the higher its calories, fat, and/or sugar and the lower its fiber. Compared to fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and other “real” foods, many processed foods are “calorie dense,” that is – they pack a big calorie bang for their nutrient buck. The combined effect of more calories and less fiber means these foods are less likely to fill us up, so we gobble more and gain weight In short, the combination of daily exercise plus a low-fat, fiber-rich diet places the body in a calorie deficit that promotes fat loss.
3. Watch portions. Heap the plate with produce and watch portions of everything else. Too much of anything (except vegetables) can cause weight gain if you end up consuming more calories than you burn in exercise. Vegetables and fruits are Mother Nature’s perfect “diet” foods, packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals and low in fat and calories. Fruits and vegetables are the tried-and-true core, the very basis, of a successful weight-loss diet. They fill you up without filling you out, which explains why study after study shows – the more colorful produce a person adds to the diet, the easier time they have managing their weight and the lower their risk for all major diseases. Aim for at least 9 servings a day.
4. Graze, don’t gorge. Space meals, starting with breakfast, so that no more than four hours goes by between a light meal or snack. Definitely do not skip meals! You will overeat later in the day, and be tempted by all the wrong foods!