Cellulite: Hold the Cottage Cheese, Please
By Stephanie S. Saunders
One of the most hated words in the English language must surely be cellulite. For the 90 percent of women who are plagued by the "cottage cheese" dimples that can run across the backs of arms and the entire lower body, it can seem like the ugliest thing in the world. Sure, you can hide it beneath clothing, but once bikini season hits, it's all over. From a self-consciousness point of view, it's as if you're back in middle school. You might as well make it a trifecta of humiliation by slapping on some braces and a lime-green prom dress. While there's no way yet to completely rid your body of cellulite, there are a few ways to help improve its appearance.
The term cellulite refers to the dimpled appearance of skin that can occur at any point on the body where the skin is thinner. Under the upper layer of skin, there's a layer of connective tissue that holds fat into place. In most women (and some men), this connective tissue has gaps in it, which allow the fat to push through, creating a bumpy appearance. The difference between fat and cellulite is simply where the deposit lies in relation to these gaps in the connective tissue. That, and the fact that even with weight loss and muscle gain, so-called "normal" fat may disappear, while cellulite seems to want to continue keeping your thighs company indefinitely.
Cellulite can occur in the thinnest of women and men (sorry, guys) and doesn't seem to discriminate based on nationality, financial standing, age, or weight. There are believed to be hormonal and hereditary issues that can contribute to causing cellulite. Other causes may include poor circulation, lack of exercise, and even too-tightly fitting undergarments. But no one really knows for sure why 10 percent of the female population is gifted with not having to deal with cellulite, while the rest of us have rear ends that look like a giant golf ball.
So when faced with the appearance of orange peel on your thighs, what should you do? Well, there's good and bad news. The bad news is that there is no actual way, surgical or otherwise, to get rid of cellulite completely at present. No amount of vacuuming, injections, creams, or painful massage will eradicate it permanently. But there are many things that can potentially improve the appearance of cellulite. The following is a list of options, ranked from the least to most invasive and/or expensive.
Remember, while many of these approaches can improve the appearance of cellulite, none seem to remove cellulite completely or permanently. Until a method is found that will accomplish the total eradication of cellulite, it might be better to spend less money on expensive creams and injections and more on nutritious foods and activities that support a healthy lifestyle. Not only will this help to improve your skin tone, but it'll make you feel better about your whole body, inside and out. And isn't that more important than a few extra dimples?
Is It Time to Eat?
By Mark Nelson
It probably is. Because if you're like many people, you don't eat often enough. According to Turbo Jam® trainer Chalene Johnson, you should eat at least five times a day. That includes three meals and two snacks. So why eat so often?
It helps prevent your body from storing fat. I kid you not. Our bodies are actually programmed to store fat, and this trait has helped us humans keep going over the eons. At many stages during our existence, it was critical to our survival. If you look back in time with me, I'll show you why.
Picture yourself wearing an animal skin or scratchy woolen toga, a few smears of mud and no hair product. (Don't feel bad—no one else looked good, either.) If you look in your hand, you'll see that you're carrying a spear that you made yourself. The reason for making it is that you're hungry.
If you throw well, you eat. If you miss, you don't. So being able to store energy in the form of fat will hopefully sustain you until your throwing improves.
This same survival tool remains part of our makeup today.
So the best way to avoid slipping into this fat-storing mode is to keep your metabolism going with small meals and snacks. Eating frequently prompts your body to efficiently keep working and burning the calories.
And if that weren't enough by itself, there's another good reason to avoid long waits between meals.
Eating regularly tames wild cravings. By eating smaller meals on a regular schedule, you'll help your body work comfortably on fewer calories, and stay in an energy (fat)-burning mode. This will help you feel more energetic, and keep your blood sugar stable, which will reduce carb cravings before your next meal.
Now let's say you need even more help controlling your cravings for the wrong stuff. What do you do?
Start your day with the right stuff. Chances are, you don't eat in your sleep. So when you wake up, your cells are ready to absorb essential nutrients and, in particular, protein.
Throughout the night, your body uses excess or circulating proteins to replenish your muscles, hair, skin, and nails. In addition, your body uses proteins to create millions of antibodies for defense against bacteria, which often attacks while you sleep. That's why eating a healthy breakfast packed with protein is good for you.
Starting your day with eggs, nonfat cottage cheese, a P90X® Peak Performance Protein Bar, or Shakeology can help you get a good serving of the protein and nutrients you need.
And a good rule of thumb for the timing of this meal is within an hour of waking up. If that's not possible, have a meal or snack as early as possible to get your metabolism revving. So what about the rest of your day?
Lift weights, then lift plates. Another smart time to eat is about 30 to 45 minutes after a workout. At this time, the enzymes responsible for energy production are in high gear, and the energy-storing hormones within our blood are suppressed.
This means less energy will be stored as fat. Carbs will be immediately taken up to replenish the low glycogen stores caused through exercising. Protein will be used for the recovery and growth of new calorie-burning muscle tissue. And the best news is, your body will burn most of the nutrients from the meal to fuel these reactions. That's why eating after a workout is a good idea.
Having protein late in the day, for perhaps your last meal or snack, will also provide your body with the protein it will use overnight to revitalize your muscles, hair, nails, and antibodies.
Of course, remember portion size. If you're not sure how much that might be, use the palm of your hand as a guideline. It's a good trick, since you probably have your hands with you.
As with most things in life, timing is everything. So when you're trying to drop pounds, don't just think about what you eat—think about when. This will enable you to get more nutrients from fewer calories. Of course, the fewer calories you eat, the easier it is to lose weight. So eat right. On time. On schedule.
Teri Lang Patterson
Certified Fitness Instructor & Coach specializing in Aqua Power Training, Kickboxing, Weight Training & Yoga.
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