Beating cellulite is a three-step process. First you need to reduce fat in the cellulite area (and disguise what doesn’t get reduced); reduce and repair free-radical damage and finally boost blood circulation and lymph flow.
To achieve this, you need to combine diet, exercise and external treatments. Each of these elements is explained below, together with a daily program that, if carried out for 6-8 weeks, will dramatically reduce the look of your cellulite.
Cellulite can be difficult to shift, but if you follow the following rules, you will maximize your body’s chances of reducing those tell-tale dimples.
Five Main Rules Apply
Eat your antioxidants. These are our number one defence against free radicals and are found in all fruits and vegetables. On the diet you should be aiming for at least five servings of fruit and vegetables a day. A serving constitutes: two tablespoons of vegetables; a 250g (8oz) slice of large fruits like watermelon; two tablespoons of small fruits like berries; and one piece of medium fruit like apples. As well as this, the antioxidant vitamins C and E play a part in strengthening the skin, and so you should take supplements of these. Take 3g of vitamin C (the most your body can store) in three 1g doses, daily, and 400iu of vitamin E daily.
Use other skin strengtheners. Foods other than fruit and vegetables have also been shown to have antioxidant properties – wholemeal cereals, for example. Green tea is also a powerful source and is essential in an anti-cellulite diet. Studies at the University of Geneva, Switzerland have found that it boosts metabolism, while French researchers have revealed that green tea cuts by a third the release of enzymes that cause the body to store fat. Drink at least three cups daily. Finally, according to research at the University of Pavia, Italy the herb gotu kola triggers the formation of healthy collagen, but does this without increasing numbers of water-attracting cells (which is good news). Take 30mg three times daily.
Supplement your circulation. The herb ginkgo biloba is used in many anti-cellulite creams, but taking it internally also boosts circulation. The recommended does is 120mg a day. Foods containing essential fatty acids also help aid circulation, so oily fish, nuts, seeds and oils such as flaxseed should be a daily part of the plan.
Eat some low-fat protein at every meal. Cellulite contains higher than normal quantities of water-attracting cells, which is bad news when circulation and lymph flow are blocked since this causes fluid to leak from cells and get trapped in surrounding tissues. Protein, however, contains a substance called albumin that helps prevent this leakage, helping reduce the fluid levels. Drinking plenty of water and cutting out salty foods will also help here.
Reduce your fat and sugar content. Both of these add to the free-radical load your skin is under, but high-fat and high-sugar foods are also loaded with calories. The more calories you eat the higher your chance of weight gain – and, remember, cellulite is just plain fat.
One Day’s Diet at A Glance
-Early in the morning take 1g of vitamin C, 400iu of vitamin E, 120mg of ginkgo biloba and 30mg of gotu kola with a glass of water. Drink water every hour.
-For breakfast, eat a bowl of bran cereal with skimmed milk. Top with a chopped banana and some strawberries. Drink a glass of orange juice.
-Round about mid-morning, have a cup of green tea and two pieces of fruit (fluid-filled fruits like watermelon, pears or grapes are good here).
-At lunchtime, take 1g of vitamin C and 30mg of gotu kola. Eat a salad of leafy green vegetables (rocket, baby spinach, alfalfa sprouts, shredded green cabbage, broccoli), topped with red vegetables (tomatoes, red onions, beetroot, red peppers), yellow or orange vegetables (carrots, yellow peppers) and white vegetables (radish, white cabbage, onions). This gives the ultimate mix of antioxidants. Add 75g (3oz) of lean protein: chicken, fish (particularly oily fish like tuna, mackerel, salmon), lean ham, beans, tofu, sunflower seeds or nuts. Also include one teaspoon of flaxseed oil.
-Mid-afternoon, have two more pieces of fruit with a low-fat yogurt. Drink another cup of green tea.
-At dinner time, take 1g of vitamin C and 30mg of gotu kola. Have 75g (3oz) of lean protein with 75g (3oz) of carbohydrates: choose wholewheat pasta, brown rice, jacket potatoes, couscous, new potatoes or wholegrain, rye or pumpernickel breads. Serve with two tablespoon portions of any vegetables.
-Before bed, try to drink another cup of green tea.