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Do you ever think about cellulite? Do you have cellulite? Cellulite is the dimple effect seen on thighs up and down the land. And if you’re thinking, “What an earth could she possibly know about having cellulite?” Let me fill you in on a little secret: I have never trained with a woman who doesn’t have it, and, yes, I too am guilty of having a little cellulite of my own!
With the warmer months fast approaching, the dread of revealing all in a bathing suit or shorts has many men and women frantically dieting and exercising in an attempt to shape up. If you read my summer countdown post, you know that getting active today means you may see some improvement in your external appearance just in time for beach season.
Many people have heard of the ‘cottage cheese effect,’ but let me explain what cellulite really is. It’s simply subcutaneous fat. Fat squished under the surface of your skin. It has a dimpled appearance because bands of collagen fibrous connective tissue sometimes push outwards as fat cells expand. Males and females can suffer cellulite on their buttocks, thighs, and tummy—although more women experience the phenomenon. And, no, having cellulite is not a sign that you are necessarily unhealthily fat. Most people now recognize that cellulite is caused by genetics (and bad luck) and can appear regardless of weight, age or fitness level.
One of the things that I think makes people horrified by the thought of cellulite is the range of unfortunate names that describe the bumpy appearance: cottage cheese thighs, orange peel skin, chicken skin and bubble legs. It’s hard to embrace body confidence when you have these descriptive terms running through your mind. So, from now on, let’s just accept cellulite as a reality and choose to find the names amusing rather than hurtful.
This is a hot topic question and, sadly, if you ask most doctors or read the medical research, you will see that it is not possible to get rid of cellulite altogether. A healthy, active lifestyle is your best bet to reduce the appearance of cellulite, and if you couple regular exercise with a good dose of confidence, then you can banish cellulite worries! After all, there’s more to life, right? Having cellulite does not mean you’re unhealthy or overweight or undesirable—it means you’re human and many humans get cellulite.
Self-confidence and feeling beautiful regardless of what you can see in the mirror is the perfect fix for cellulite, because confidence is beautiful. The way you carry yourself through life, your posture and your attitude is ultimately what others around you can see.
To help build your confidence, try improving muscle tone in your legs and glutes by following a resistance-training program combined with quality daily nutrition. Personally, being active and healthy makes me feel more positive, and the internal and external benefits of being fit make me feel more confident.
While I’m busy baring all of my secrets today, here’s one more: after having my triplets I cried when I looked at myself in the mirror. I mourned the loss of my previously un-scarred and powerful athletic physique. I swore I would never wear a swimsuit again! My husband asked me—quietly, over the sound of snuffling babies—“Why would you be so upset about something you wear only a few times a year? And, anyway, what makes you think you have time for the beach?!” I had to laugh at his question as visions of trying to prevent four kids from eating sand came to mind.
I have since proudly built sandcastles and chased my kids around at the beach, while wearing a swimsuit. Cellulite was a reality as a professional sprinter and it’s still a reality as a mom. Only now I’ve added the extra beauty of a few scars to the mix.
I’m confident that if you see me at the beach, you will only notice my energy, smile and love of life. Because a healthy, active life combined with self-confidence has gotten rid of my cellulite and scars forever—metaphorically speaking, anyway.
Samantha Clayton is responsible for all activities relating to exercise and fitness education for Independent Herbalife Members and employees. Through in-person training sessions, educational tools and materials, and her blog (www.discovergoodfitness.com), she ensures that the important role of exercise as part of a healthy, active life is understood by all. She also helps create, organize and promote employee fitness programs and activities as an integral part of the company’s corporate wellness program.
A native of Liverpool, England, Samantha initially worked as a consultant for Herbalife for two years and led the Herbalife24-Fit program, the company’s first comprehensive fitness training program and DVD series.
Before joining the corporate ranks, Samantha was a professional athlete. She represented Great Britain in the 2000 Sydney Olympics in both the 200m and the 4x100m relay events. Prior to the Olympics, she won two medals in the Olympic AAA trials – a silver medal for the 200m and a bronze for the 100m – as well as a silver medal in the 4x100m relay during the European Junior Championships in 1997. Her personal records include 11.40 seconds in the 100m and 23.02 seconds in the 200m.
Samantha is a personal trainer and group exercise coach through the American Fitness and Aerobics Association (AFAA) and International Sport Science Association (ISSA).