Cellulite appears when fat accumulates between the fibrous connective cords that tether skin to muscle. It is most common among women, with eight of 10 having some degree of the dimpling skin. It becomes more common with age as the skin loses elasticity. Thighs and hips are the most common areas to get cellulite, but it can show up on the belly too. While theories abound, there’s no known cause or quick cure for cellulite. Lifestyle and diet changes can help sufferers firm the belly and reduce the appearance of cellulite.
Boost the health of your lymphatic system. A sluggish lymphatic system encourages the body to retain toxins, which are stored in fat that can show up as cellulite, according to nutritionist Ann Louise Gittleman’s book, “The Fat Flush Fitness Plan.” The lymphatic system serves as the body’s drainage system and works with the liver, which is the body's filter for toxins. Drink plenty of fluids and eat a good balance of low-glycemic index carbs, lean proteins and healthy fats. Keep up good posture to help lymph channels flow, quit wearing tight clothing and sitting for a long time. Try yoga, dry brush massage or lymphatic massage. Avoid pesticides, additives, solvents and other toxins.
Detoxify your liver. This is crucial to shedding unwanted cellulite and fat. When your liver gets overloaded, it does not metabolize fat properly. Make food and beverage choices that support the liver. Consume cranberries or drink 100 percent cranberry juice, choose cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, eat eggs, drink lemon juice in hot water and consider using whey as a protein source, Gittleman recommends. Remove things that stress your liver and lower your metabolism, including trans fats, soda, processed food, all forms of sugar, artificial sweeteners, caffeine and many carbohydrates in general.
Swap trans and saturated fats for omega 3s, omega 6s and omega 9s. Omega 3a are in chia seeds, flaxseed oil and fish oil. Omega 6s include gamma linolenic acid found in black currant seed and evening primrose oils. Omega 9s are found in olive and macadamia nut oils. These monounsaturated fatty acids, or MUFAs, are high in oleic acid which keeps yeast from overgrowing in the body and causing belly bloating, which can push on abdominal cellulite making its appearance worse.
Focus on weight loss via regular exercise and a healthy diet. Strengthening your abdominal muscles and shedding pounds will improve the belly’s appearance. Exercise also keeps lymph channels flowing.Try interval training to ramp up your fat burn. This involves bouts of high- and low-intensity cardio, such as running or biking faster for one minute and then slower the next. Also tone and strengthen your abdominal muscles. The most effective overall abdominal exercise is the bicycle maneuver, according to a 2001 study at the Biomechanics Lab at San Diego State University. Do this by lying flat on the floor. Press your lower back to the ground. Place your hands by your head. Move your knees to a 45- degree angle. Slowly make bicycle pedal motion. Meanwhile, touch your right elbow to your left knee. Then touch your left elbow to your right knee. Start with two to three sets of 10 repetitions.
Take a breath and reduce your stress. Your cortisol levels stay high with frequent stress, and cortisol activates body enzymes to store fat. Try an aromatherapy bath or deep breathing techniques to relax. Also note that stress can be caused by lack of sleep, so make sure to get your rest.
- American Council on Exercise: Exercise and Cellulite
- Acefitness.org: New Study Puts Crunch on Ineffective Ab Exercises
- "The Fat Flush Fitness Plan;" Ann Louise Gittleman; 2004