Cell-u-lit?

I was having a conversation with a female friend about the dreaded c-word. Many of the girls who are a part of the boarding house I work in have been asking me about how to get rid of it, and I was just about to explain the response I gave when a male co-worker interrupted me and said: ‘Exercise more, obviously.’

We both stared at him for a moment before exploding with a cacophony of protest. I will not try to emulate that here, but instead, I will tell you my truths on the matter.

  • I exercise 3-4 times a week. Mainly strength training, occasionally HIIT. I have cellulite.
  • I have had cellulite since I was a teenager.
  • I have been able to reduce it, but never completely remove it.
  • I have also realised that this is the case for almost every woman. Including Beyonce.

Recently, I have noticed a lot more people speaking out on social media about having cellulite. One lady I follow on instagram, (@getfitjules) as well as others I’m sure, has been pointing out that you can’t spell ‘cellulite’ without ‘u lit’. So this summer, unlike most summers previously, I am not going to drive myself insane trying to get rid of something that is natural and normal.

In previous years, I have tried:

  • Drinking lemon juice and water with 3tsps of cayenne pepper in it 3 times a day. (Supposed to improve circulation – all I can say is I went through hella amounts of cayenne pepper, and the drink was so hot and sour it was painful to get down.) Effect on cellulite? Nothing noticeable. I would absolutely NOT recommend you try this.
  • Dry body brushing – morning and night. This works as long as you keep it up, but once you stop your cellulite becomes noticeable again. It doesn’t completely remove it – only reduce it. It exfoliates and improves circulation. I might pick this up again if I can be bothered.
  • Cellulite reducing oil. I have purchased many creams and oils which I would rub all over my thighs religiously. I would say they make a negligible amount of difference, but if you have invested, use them after the dry body brush for maximum effect.
  • Collagen hydrolysate, or gelatin. I do have this most days in coffee, hot lemon water or smoothies. It’s a nice source of protein and is good for skin, hair and nails in general. It also helps for cellulite apparently, although I wouldn’t think that taking it alone would work wonders.
  • Plyometrics, or jumping. Apparently, bouncing on a trampoline is good for your cellulite. I incorporate plyometrics into my HIIT routines anyway, because it’s fun.
  • Coming off the pill. I hesitate to recommend this because everybody is different, but being on the pill gave me so much cellulite. When I took the decision to come off of all hormonal supplements, my cellulite decreased after only a few months.
  • Drinking more water. This is never going to do you any harm, and it’s something we should all pay more attention to. It might be a placebo effect, or just normal daily/monthly fluctuations, but I do think I can notice an improvement in the appearance of my thighs when I stay well-hydrated.

I have finally got to a place where I can say I am doing all things sensible to keep cellulite at bay. I eat fairly clean, I work-out. I am not going to beat myself up about the super stubborn remaining cellulite on my thighs and I am certainly not going to resort to a super-restrictive diet or crazy supplements to try and get rid of it. In fact, nothing I do is primarily aimed at getting rid of cellulite. I exercise because I enjoy it and because I want to be stronger and fitter. I eat intuitively, and I allow myself treats when I want them, because that is the best way I have found to keep my mind and body healthy. I am not going to cut sugar, or alcohol, or coffee out of my life, because restricted eating makes me ill.

I would strongly advise anyone else who is becoming obsessed with a particular part of their body to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Is it really worth it? Is it worth spending lots of money on lotions and potions, obsessively working out and having to avoid meals and drinks out with friends in case it ruins your progress? Do what feels right for you, and don’t beat yourself up if you don’t think you have been ‘healthy’ enough.

Enjoy the summer, and wear what you want – without letting something as natural as cellulite hold you back.

(In case you’re wondering, I told the girls in my boarding house that we all had cellulite, it was nothing to be ashamed of and aside from drinking plenty of water and getting a balanced diet, there was nothing more they should worry about.)

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