The real truth about getting rid of cellulite

Cellulite shows no mercy to thighs of any shape, size or age. That dreaded orange peel skin can affect pretty much all of us, and when summer comes around there’s nowhere to hide.

So what can you do if you want to smooth out lumpy, porridge-like legs, and what’s just a big fat waste of your time and money?

We asked beauty expert Georgios Tzenichristos, founder of London’s only clinic dedicated to tackling cellulite, to reveal the secrets that will really help give you the slender, smooth thighs you’ve always wanted….

Eat to beat it

Lose the sugar

NOW Sugar is the number one cause of cellulite. It deposits itself straight into fat cells, and once accumulated in thighs and bum, it’s very difficult to burn with exercise. Sugar also ages skin and increases water retention by damaging collagen and elastin and weakening blood vessels. Eliminate sugar in all forms, including any syrups, sucrose, fructose, dextrose, maltose, glucose, concentrated juice, dates, raw cane sugar, molasses and honey.

Start juicing

Green vegetable juices and berry smoothies are low in calories and high in skin anti-ageing nutrients. Don’t include any other juice (eg, apple, carrot, beetroot, banana, grape) to avoid excess fructose, glucose or sucrose – aka sugar. Your legs will look less puffy and firmer.

Make shakes

Many women don’t eat enough protein, leading to skin looseness, ageing and cellulite. Make shakes with good-quality plant or whey protein powders, and add in high-flavanol cocoa and turmeric, which have amazing anti-cellulite and anti-inflammatory properties.

Rethink your diet

Eat a low-fat, low-carb, high-fibre, water-rich diet with lots of lean protein (skinless chicken, eggs, fish, pulses) and lots of vegetables. Include a BIT of olive/coconut oil, nuts, avocado and dark-coloured carbs (eg, black rice, adzuki beans, red quinoa). Drinking two litres of water or herbal teas is vital. Minimise alcohol, hydrogenated fats and fried food.

Feel the knead

Strong kneading, alternated with long upward strokes, for 20-30 minutes will improve poor circulation and help break down fibrous tissue. Massage doesn’t significantly affect fat tissue, so it won’t get rid of cellulite on its own, but it can help in combination with the other tips.

Double up

Lose weight and use cellulite treatments at the same time. Losing weight accelerates fat release from the areas you’re targeting with massage, cream or professional treatments. Doing both approaches together achieves quicker results. In my view, the most powerful anti-cellulite technology is Meso-CRF Body, a radiofrequency treatment that stimulates fat release and collagen production. It costs around £160 a session (LipoTherapeia.com),
and you’ll need a course of at least six.

Work off those lumps

Get active

The more vigorous the exercise the better. Running is great for legs, as the impact with the ground provides whole body vibration, which boosts skin firmness, plus it burns loads of calories. If you can do interval running, where you alternate between high and low intensity and ideally include uphill running, that’s even better. Interval cycling or uphill walking are good too.

If you have joint problems, do interval swimming instead. It’s equally important to be generally active and avoid long periods of sitting to avoid firm skin turning to bumpy mush. Get up and move every hour, and take the stairs and power walk as much as possible.

Squat and vibrate

Vibration tells your skin to produce more collagen and elastin, making training on a vibrating plate machine a great skin-firming, circulation-boosting exercise. A machine like the Power Plate – widely available at gyms and classes now – forces the muscles in your body to contract up to 50 times a second, so you automatically work harder when you exercise. Doing squats on a vibration plate firms and lifts your butt more than anything else.

Power up your shower

Alternating between hot and cold water every 1-2 minutes in the
shower constricts and dilates blood vessels, increasing metabolism and circulation. Start and end your shower with a few minutes of lukewarm water.

Cellulite myths busted

● Body brushing does little for lymphatic drainage. Normal upward massage movements with your hands and oil (any oil) is far more effective.

● No cellulite cream can get rid of lumps on its own, although concentrated formulas can help if they are used regularly.

● Scrubbing your skin with ground coffee beans won’t shift cellulite. Caffeine has some anti-cellulite effect, but it’s trapped inside the coffee and can’t be released by massage.

● You can’t spot-reduce cellulite purely by doing leg exercises. You need to do vigorous whole body exercise to burn fat and reduce cellulite overall.

● Drinking caffeine doesn’t affect cellulite. Having a couple of
cups of tea or coffee a day is fine.

● Liposuction can’t remove cellulite. It can only get rid of fat under the skin, whereas cellulite is fat inside the skin itself and can’t be sucked out.

● Fizzy water doesn’t cause cellulite, unless you drink one with added sugars.

● Cellulite isn’t something you’re cursed with by your genes. At least 50% of it is down to how much you eat, drink, smoke and move.

Always seek a doctor’s advice before starting any new diet, exercise or lifestyle programme.

Hair and make-up: Anna Gibson

Model: Kirstie Bennett at Nevs

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