Cellulite is characterised by fat accumulation, water retention, skin looseness, inflammation, connective tissue deformity and toxin infiltration on the superficial tissues of the female thighs and hips. Cellulite is caused primarily by lifestyle factors, with heredity playing a minor role. Cellulite is impossible to develop if an 100% healthy lifestyle is followed – admittedly a tall order in today’s artificial world. However, any step towards an ideal healthy lifestyle does help towards cellulite prevention and reduction, andcellulite expert Georgios Tzenichristos has produced 40 steps towards a smoother, firmer, slimmer body.
1. Eat plenty of oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, halibut or trout. Highly unsaturated omega-3 fat found in oily fish has been proven by multiple studies to help reduce body fat in humans.
2. Practise interval running. Interval running is more fun and much more effective than continuous running, helping boost your metabolism in addition to burning calories fats and providing mechanical stimulation to your cellulite tissues. For a low impact interval-type exercise, opt for spinning classes at the gym or cycling at variable speed in the park.
3. Sugar is the number one cause of cellulite today, causing fat accumulation, skin ageing and inflammation. Avoid all types of sugary foods, including those containing fructose, glucose, high fructose corn syrup, maltose, dextrose, honey, brown sugar etc. There is simply no such thing as “good sugar”.
4. Do squats and lunges on a vibration platform twice a week. Vibration provides valuable mechanical stimulation that helps keep your collagen cells productive. Do not do any other exercise on the vibration platform though, as these exercises are either ineffective or dangerous for the joints.
5. Forget all sweeteners such as sucralose, aspartame and stevia. Your body is not fooled by sweeteners and using non-calorific sweeteners perpetuates your cravings for sweet food. Instead, it is preferable to detoxify yourself from the sweet taste altogether.
6. Try to walk to and from work, at least partially, especially if your work requires you to sit in front of the computer all day. Inactivity is a major cause of cellulite.
7. Replace sweet, fattening fruits, such as bananas, grapes, pineapples, mangos and dates, with berries, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries etc. Berries contain an abundance of flavonoids that support your connective tissue and contain very few calories.
8. If you like swimming, try to swim fast for a whole hour, 2-3 times a week. Fast swimming micro-massages your thighs and hips, in addition to burning fat.
9. Replace normal salt with low sodium/high potassium salt, which can now be found in all supermarkets. Sodium causes water retention, while potassium is a known diuretic.
10. Hormonal contraception (pill, patches, coil etc.) is a leading cause of cellulite. 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.
11. Avoid fruit juices, as well as carrot and beetroot juice, which supply the body with too quickly assimilated calories. Opt for whole fruits instead – or at least fresh, home-made thick smoothies that are digested more slowly. Vegetable juices are great, however whole vegetables are still preferable as they provide you with much needed fibre.
12. Massage your thighs and bum for ten minutes every day. A simple kneading action is all that is needed, as long as it is vigorous. Only use a small amount of cream or oil for better grip. Do not bother with body brushing, which contrary to popular belief is largely ineffective.
13. Remove bread, jacket potatoes and white rice from your diet for the next 40 days. White rice, jacket potatoes and almost all types of bread (including almost all types of brown bread) behave like sugar in your body. This is because they contain high glycaemic index carbs that, unless you exercise, will go straight into your bum.
14. Cut down on smoking. Smoking impairs circulation and damages your connective tissue.
15. Do not eat any carbs or sweets up to two hours exercise, as this increases insulin levels and blocks fat release from muscles during exercise. The best time to eat carbs is immediately after exercise.
16. Dancing is a great way to tone your body and spend calories. Take up dancing classes and when you go out make sure you dance the night away – instead of just drinking, smoking and talking.
17. Eat carbohydrates only immediately after one hour of vigorous exercise. This is the only time carbs will end up in your muscles, instead of your bum. The best types of carbs to eat are brown rice, pasta, hard-boiled potatoes and German “pumpernickel” bread.
18. Learn to love contrast showers. Hot and cold showers are rejuvenating and immediately boost circulation and lymph drainage. After 4-5 hot-cold cycles finish with mildly warm water and apply a good anti-cellulite cream for best results.
19. If you really, really need to have a piece of chocolate, the best time to have it is within thirty minutes after exercise or five minutes before exercise.
20. Do not waste your time on old-fashioned manual lymphatic drainage massages that only provide temporary relief from water retention. Opt of vigorous, cellulite-specific lymphatic stimulation massages instead, that provide long-term results, in addition to working on the connective tissue and adipose tissue of the cellulite layer.
21. Avoid all caffeinated drinks and prefer decaf tea, decaf green tea, decaf coffee and cocoa. These drinks are packed with antioxidants but without the caffeine burden. Caffeine is helpful when applied locally in cream form, as it boosts fat loss and circulation, but it is not that great when consumed internally, as it leads to the excessive elimination of minerals and it’s overly stimulating for most people. Do not bother with coffee bean brushing either, as coffee beans do not contain enough readily absorbed caffeine to have any effect on cellulite.
22. Spice up your life. Spices and herbs contain anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and other ingredients that typically support connective tissue health and discourage fat cell expansion – perfect for your figure. Just go easy on the chilli if it irritates your digestive system.
23. Receive regular anti-cellulite treatments that work and are good value for money. Such treatments include strong, cellulite-specific massages, pressotherapy, certain ultrasound cavitation treatments (depending on equipment used) and some radiofrequency treatments (depending on equipment used). Most other types of anti-cellulite treatments either do no offer good value for money/time or simply do not work.
24. Learn to love vegetables and salads. The more your fill your stomach with vegetables, the less space there is in it for carbs and fat. In addition, vegetables, provide you with flavonoids, vitamins, minerals and fibre. A typical western meal contains a large plate full of carbs, some protein and a side dish of salad or vegetables. Try to reverse this and have a large bowl of salad or cooked vegetables, a good serving of lean protein and a small side dish of carbs.
25. Save you money and do not bother with gimmicks like the so called “anti-cellulite” pants, jeans and trainers, “detox” foot and skin patches and “detox” foot baths. Cellulite can not be reduced by these methods and the only thing you will lose is money.
26. A pot of low fat yoghurt, sprinkled with berries and a 4-5 pistachios or almonds is the ideal snack – and only takes a minute to prepare. Much better than biscuits, muffins or chocolate…
27. Do not fall for the hype of overly expensive, “lunchtime cellulite removal procedures”. The only thing these “procedures” will remove is your cash. Cellulite cannot be reduced in two or three very expensive sessions – regardless of how expensive those sessions are. Typically 10-15 sessions are needed for best results – regardless of equipment or technique used. Your body needs repeated stimulation for a period of time to change – it cannot change overnight.
28. Make sure you eat enough lean protein. Your skin and blood vessels are made of protein – if there isn’t enough protein those tissues will suffer – and most women simply do not eat enough protein to maintain optimum skin health. Examples of lean protein include fish, chicken (without the skin), lean cuts of beef, pork and lamb, and eggs. Vegans can opt for pulses such as lentils, peas, beans and chick peas.
29. Avoid cooking and/or eating food, especially liquid food, contained in cans, plastic containers or cartons. The plastic lining of many of those containers typically contains BPA or other endocrine disrupting chemicals (xenoestrogens) which can act as artificial estrogen in your body. Prefer fresh produce instead.
30. Cellulite creams do work if they are concentrated and if they contain several synergistic ingredients. Apply a good anti-cellulite cream twice a day for at least two months – ideally one that contains several natural anti-cellulite ingredients in high concentration.
31. Avoid all fats and oils, except extra virgin olive oil (sparingly used) and oily fish (consumed freely). Cheese, fatty cuts of meat, butter, margarine, nuts, seeds and oils are all very fattening.
32. Avoid eating out too much. Most restaurant food is laden with an excess of fat, sugar and salt to make it more palatable. In addition, most restaurants do not use the quality ingredients you would use at home.
33. Consume liver-supporting foods to aid detoxification. Examples of such foods are artichoke, extra virgin olive oil (in moderation), lemon juice, milk thistle, dandelion root tea, phyllanthus (amla), turmeric, and lecithin.
34. When eating out opt for grilled food and vegetables or salad, and avoid sauces, starchy food and desserts.
35. A small glass of wine every second day is absolutely fine, especially if you follow a low carbohydrate diet, but any other type of alcohol or higher consumption will undermine your cellulite reduction effort.
36. Never consume hydrogenated fats (trans fats) which cause inflammation and are implicated in the development of cancer and heart disease. Always look at the label for trans fat content or, better still, buy fresh food that does not contain nasty, man-made fats.
37. Eat foods rich in soluble fibre such as flax seeds (linseeds) and oats with plenty of water, to aid with digestion, elimination and detoxification.
38. Plastic surgery does not remove cellulite – it only removes deep fat. Cellulite is an integral part of your skin, which of course cannot be removed. Opt for liposuction (especially vaser liposuction) if you want to remove deep fat, but do not expect your cellulite to change. Also, make sure you budget for post-liposuction recovery treatments for maximum results.
39. Do not binge-drink or binge-eat. Your body cannot metabolise excessive amounts of calories and dumps them on your hips instead. Bingeing is a major cause of cellulite and overweight.
40. Never ever fry – fried oils are damaged, oxidised oils that act as toxins in your body. Limited stir-frying with a very small amount of extra virgin olive oil or extra virgin coconut butter is fine though.
Georgios Tzenichristos has specialised in cellulite reduction since 2000 and has helped more than 1,000 women reduce their cellulite in that period of time. Georgios and his assistant offer a high quality boutique service from their practice in South Kensington, London, catering for a demanding, international clientèle. www.LipoTherapeia.com contains an abundance of free information on everything about cellulite. Readers can even ask their own question which is answered within 72 hours.