Posted by: Carolina | 2008/09/10

The " C"  word

Hi Doc –  or anyone who would be able to assist me.

I have three questions!

First I would like to know what exactly causes cellulite? I’ m a 22year old female, 1,87m tall and I weigh about 66kgs. I am not overweight at all, I’ m actually pretty skinny except for a few places that needs work (little tummy fat, thighs… ) but I have so much cellulite and it just seem to worsen. During school I was real skinny, but my legs and especially my knees had cellulite, and now 4 years later, it has spread to all over my legs, even my calves, also to my upper arms, stomach, bum… 
Is there possibly any way I can prevent it to worsen even more?

Is there a way to make it better? I’ m too shy to wear summer clothing… And I’ ve never been able to wear any pants of skirts shorter than my knees. I just don’ t understand what is causing it.

Another thing I’ d like to know is, how effective is body brushing? I’ ve heard numerous times that it works well to brush effected areas with a dry brush, after or before bathing/showering. I’ ve been doing it for about two weeks now, and I’ m wondering if I should continue and if it’ s just all in vain?

Some advice would be great, thanks!

Have a lovely day!

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageFitnessDoc

Hi Carolina

Cellulite is caused by the fat stores beneath the surface of the skin, which are then "packaged" into compartments that create that orange peel effect - it's actually the connective tissue that packages the fat cells that does this. It's notoriously difficult to shake, as you can imagine, and many people will relate to your current situation.

THe solution is unfortunately not things like body brushing or the creams or any other fancy inventions. It comes down, really, to exercise and diet. Diet is crucial, and if you're not 100% on top of that, I'd suggest seeing a dietician and making sure about it. In terms of exercise, it is the cardio training, like cycling, running, stepping, aerobics, walking etc. that is most helpful in losing weight. All these activities cause heart rate to go up, and are increasing your body's metabolic rate, which ultimately causes you to lose weight by burning more fat (again, assuming you are also eating well).

So I would say you should look at your routine and see whether exercise can be incorporated. It really is important. I think that 4 times a week is the minimum you should aim to exercise, five is probably the ideal number, but four is fine too. The intensity you train is also very important. A lot of times, people train a little too easy, perhaps. I am not saying you should go out and push super hard and exhaust yourself every day, but stepping up the intensity once or twice a week is certainly a good thing. You should aim for a total of 45 minutes or so (anything between 30 and 50 minutes is a good average), and you should finish each session feeling tired, but not exhausted. If you do that, and you eat well, then you should lose weight.

Finally, the weight training is also beneficial, though it has a different effect - by doing weight training, you increase your muscle mass, and that means that you body's metabolic rate is lifted. The effect of this is that once you begin to lose weight, you keep it off more than you would by simply dieting. So it is important to do some resistance training, though one or two sessions a week is plenty for the goals of fitness and weight loss.

So just keep it up, give it a few months to work - remember, you have to be consistent, one month of training, one month resting is not really that effective, it should be a steady training period over many months to really see great results.

Good luck

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

Our users say:
Posted by: anon | 2008/09/11

hi there
not sure if this will work for you but i went on a high raw food diet - basically i ate loads of fruit and veg and would start all meals with something raw, and i cut out all caffiene, sugar and highly processed foods and my cellulite improved so much in 2 weeks!
I' m going to be doing this again pre Dec beach holiday!
let me know if it works for you!

Reply to anon

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