Fighting the cellulite battle

Published 2:49 am Friday, April 25, 2003

By Staff
Question of the week: What is that horrible looking stuff on my legs that looks like cottage cheese? I am a thin lady who exercises constantly and I cannot understand why I have these unsightly marks. What causes it and what can I do to make it go away?
Cottage cheese, dimples, fat deposits, it all comes down to one word - CELLULITE. This is a problem that most women in this world (about 85 percent) unfortunately deal with.
Overweight, underweight, the ideal weight, tall, short, exercise fanatic, never has lifted a weight in their life person - it happens to all of us.
What about all those women on magazine covers or catalogs? Chances are they have it too but we just don't see it because of the fine work of being erased off the picture before it goes to print. Many runway models may go through surgery or have one darn good makeup artist.
Do not get me wrong, there are those extremely fortunate ones who will never see cellulite on their body.
What is cellulite:
Cellulite is as we stated before what most people refer to as the fatty deposits that form dimply skin, mainly on the thighs, buttocks and hips. When you lose fat, discouragingly enough, you will see cellulite go last. Cellulite is formed when connective tissues underneath the skin that shape the fat become weak and deformed. This connective tissue acts as an anchor for the muscles and the skin. When the connective tissues become weak, the body fat which lies under the skin (called Scarpus Fascia) bulges upward and causes that lovely cottage cheese looking stuff. There are also theories that the primary cause of cellulite is poor blood and lymph circulation. This theory explains that poor circulation causes high fluid density in the top layer of fat. This in return prevents the fat from being properly absorbed into blood and causes it to swell with excess fluids, which stretches the connective tissues and leaves us with once again that cottage cheese stuff.
Causes of cellulite:
Excess estrogen has been thought to be one of the most common causes of cellulite buildup in women. Estrogen is believed by some to weaken the connective tissues that allow the fat to bulge up into the skin. So does this mean that you should reduce the amount of estrogen you are producing? No. With doing so it will not take away the cellulite already built up plus there are many bad side effects by doing this. The role of your hormones is very complex and by messing with your estrogen level for the sake of cellulite it really is not worth it.
There are some professionals that believe the primary cause of cellulite is poor circulation. These professionals believe that regular exercise may prevent further cellulite. The theory is explained that lack of exercise causes poor lymphatic and blood circulation and poor lymph drainage. The skin becomes bloated with excess fluid. This excess fluid prevents the fat that is stored under the skin from being distributed back into the body.
By not eating a well-balanced diet you could be in trouble with cellulite. This comes into play with the high protein diets. Yes, the body needs protein but excess is hard for the liver to handle, it can only process so much before toxins start to build up. The first place the body stores toxins is under the skin; which in turn gives you cellulite. Protein is not the only culprit; think of all the other junk we are continually eating.
Exercise is an ideal way to help the appearance and onset of cellulite. Unfortunately once you have got it, it is hard to do much about it. Getting your blood pumping and lifting those weights will get you on track to help minimize cellulite. Try aerobics, swimming, jogging, or walking and lift weights that will target your lower body area such as squats and lunges.
So what about all those creams - do I believe in them? NO. Even if they can give you that miracle fix for a day, they do not cure the problem. What about surgery? I would never recommend it or do it. Will it work? Sure - but who has all that money to throw away and do you really want to risk all the dangerous effects of a procedure like that? It all comes down to how well you take care of yourself through exercise and diet.
Don't miss out - Last day for Adult Softball League sign up is Monday, May 5.
Thought of the week: If you always give, you will always have. - T.C. Lai
Reference: Vita Moor
Amy McKean is the adult programs director at the Niles-Buchanan YMCA. She can be reached at