What are the causes of Cellulite?

What is it, why do we have it and why doesn’t it just go away…

Cellulite. Yup, even the word sounds unpleasant. A condition that if used in a round of ‘word association’ might result in a following response of ‘eugh’, ‘gross’ or just a general sound of spontaneous gagging. Yet, it afflicts around 90% of women and creeps into conversation when anyone is chatting about keeping their butts or thighs, nice and trim. So, what is cellulite and most importantly what is it caused by?

Well, unlike a lot of myths plastered on the internet, cellulite is not contagious, it is not a disease and you don’t need a cosmetic procedure to get rid of it.  However, whist it is one of life’s irritating problems, the good news is, you don’t need the bank balance of a Kardashian or have an Olympic athlete as your personal trainer to combat cellulite. As with many things in life, the balance of healthy diet and exercise, (with a few handy tips in this blog post) is really all you need.

The truth and lies of cottage cheese thighs…

So, let’s get a few facts down as to what cellulite actually is; well, in a nutshell, cellulite is nothing more than fat beneath the skin. However, it is important to know a little bit more about what type of fat this is, as fat (a little bit like people) comes in all shapes, locations and different sizes.  Without diving into too much medial jargon, we can break down our fats into ‘brown fat’, ‘white fat’, ‘visceral fat’ and ‘subcutaneous fat’.  I know, the last one almost sounds like a bad, teenage hip-hop group dreamt up by Simon Cowell…

So which one of my fats, are phat?

To provide a simple explanation, brown fat is often termed as ‘good’ fat, as its main role is to burn energy and produce heat. For example, studies have even found that a person’s amount of brown fat is more active in those cold Boston winters; furthermore, infants are born with rich stores of brown fat (about 5% of total body mass) to keep their little bodies warm. Brown fat also has a far greater resemblance to muscle than that gelatinous, jelly-like stuff we all associate with the attributes of ‘fat’.

Indeed, when we think of fat, we are often thinking of ‘white’ fat; it was what stores our energy, but of course too many deposits of ‘white fat’ may well leave anyone looking, well, a little… fat. However, as ‘white’ fat has traditionally had quite a poor reputation, let’s not forget that white fat is an essential energy reserve in the body, although, it’s all about moderation. Too many calories consumed and not enough calories burnt off, and suddenly your body is having a party lead by ‘white fats’ waller and his band – ‘the obesity jive’. 

However, there are two further types of fat – visceral (which frequently arises in the abdominal region) and the one that is directly related to cellulite – subcutaneous.

Subcutaneous -  Fat or Extinct Dinosaur?

So, what is subcutaneous fat? Well, very simply, this is the type of fat that is trapped under the skin – commonly found on a woman’s thighs.  To give you a lovely culinary analogy, that lovely ‘dimpled effect’ associated from cellulite comes from connective tissues, that tie the skin to the underlying muscle, with our pesky subcutaneous fat deposits trapped in between like a sandwich.  And that’s not a pleasant sandwich…  

A subcutaneous sandwich?  

Unfortunately, there is no easy answer or magic wand to wave away those cellulite deposits; it takes, as you may have guessed, a healthy diet and lifestyle.  All those creams might minimize the look of dimpled skin, but they are not going to actually combat the trapped skin beneath. 

Nonetheless, it is important to recognize that having cellulite does not necessarily mean a woman is overweight; unfortunately, some women are more predisposed to cellulite due to hormone imbalances and having a slow metabolism.  However, dehydration, poor diet and a lack of physical exercise are factors that directly relate to increased levels of cellulite and can be controlled.   Understandably, specific foods can worsen the problem of cellulite; a diet that is low in nutrition and high in fat, calories or starches will, most likely, lead to the onset of development of cellulite.

Furthermore, while it may seem simple, the importance of hydration and drinking clean fresh water regularly should not be underestimated. Poor hydration will result in the body not effectively ridding itself of excess fat and other forms of waste; as you can imagine, this will result in an increase in the body’s storage of fatty deposits beneath the skin, noticeably in the tush and thigh region.

However, one of the key elements in the battle against cellulite is being overweight; while it is not uncommon for thin women to develop cellulite, not being in shape will undoubtedly increase the odds of its development.  As cellulite is essentially, ‘fat’, if you engage in a focused exercise regime, this will help in firming the muscle underneath the skin and crucially losing excess body fat.  Furthermore, a good-anti cellulite exercise program will also boost your circulation and blood flow; the better your circulatory system the more your body will be equipped to breakdown those connective fibers that cause cellulite.

Plenty of water, exercise and a balanced diet.

So, as with many things in life, you can’t escape the essential benefits of hydration, flexing those muscles and eating up all your greens. However, there are some ways that you can still further increase your battle to combat cellulite. As mentioned earlier, one of the key elements in combating cellulite is an improved circulatory system, that can often be stimulated by cardio-vascular workout.

Well, a unique way to increase blood flow has been created in innovative ‘Vacu-Magic’ machine.  Imagine a mix between a treadmill and an astronaut’s body suit; now that might sound a little scary, but essentially, the machine is an encapsulated treadmill, where a vacuum is created below your waist to further stimulate blood flow to fat tissue. 

Furthermore, while someone uses the machine, special lamps (LED therapy) will also be working to enhance collagen production. Now, using a machine like this, doesn’t mean you can dash down the shops and guzzle down a large cheese pizza; however, if you are effectively following the holy trinity of cellulite reduction – Plenty of Water, A Healthy Diet and Exercise – then tips like this can help you on your way.

Similarly, another special tip is using a specialized massage ball, such as the ‘Roll-Magic’ which is a lymphatic massage roller. Again, a massage roller works to remove toxins and break down skim firmness caused by subcutaneous fat, through deep and smooth massage movements.

Some handy tips:

Again, these little tips won’t necessarily be at the forefront of tackling cellulite; however, when added to our holy trinity of anti-cellulite regime: Plenty of Water, A Healthy Diet and Exercise, they can certainly have greater benefits.

Ultimately, as with many things in life, there is no substitute for dedication, focus and discipline. So, don’t be fooled by expensive creams, liposuction; if you want to reduce any cellulite build up, keep drinking plenty of water, watch what you eat and make sure that you are getting some exercise to give those butts and thighs a good cardiovascular workout.

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