We’ve Got 6 Foods That Fight Cellulite (And 3 That Encourage It)
No doubt about it. We over here at xoNecole are true fans of The Lip Bar founder Melissa Butler. So much in fact that we did a feature on her (see "How Lip Bar Founder Melissa Butler Went From 'Shark Tank' Rejection To The Shelves Of Major Retailers"). I also enjoyed a TED Talk that she did around this time last year on beauty and body image. As she was sharing about how easy it is to succumb to the pressures of other people's standards of what is beautiful, I thought about two things that a lot of us, as women, continue to struggle with—our body size (and type) and cellulite.
Isn't it something that, even though the current average size of women in the United States is between 16-18 and between 80-90 percent of us have cellulite, there are still so many of us who are either embarrassed or straight-up pissed by these realities? Even though curves and cushion are two things that make us look like grown ass women, oftentimes we want to find any and every way to get rid of what makes us…us?
As far as cellulite goes, I'm between a 10-12 and I have it on my thighs, right beneath my buttocks. Although I must admit that when I'm binging on junk, that's when it shows up most, even when I was smaller and pretty athletic, a dimple here and there would show up. I stopped stressin' about it once I read what cellulite actually is. Long story short, it's when the layer of fat that is right beneath our connective tissue starts to poke through the tissue itself.
Cellulite has grades of "severity". The first is also known as "orange peel skin" (because that's what it basically looks like), the second is cottage cheese skin and the third is called the "mattress"; it's when there are 10 or more depressions in any given area. As far as what causes cellulite, weight gain, hormonal shifts, age (due to a lack of collagen) and good old-fashioned genetics are all factors. Know what else is? Diet.
It's that last point that I'm gonna touch on today. If your cellulite is getting on your very last nerve, before you sign up for something like laser treatment or a procedure like carboxytherapy, see if you can soften the appearance of your dimples by simply altering your diet a bit.
I like bananas. Admittedly, I don't eat them a lot because I want to get to them before they get all brown and slimy. If you totally feel where I'm coming from, a cool hack is to wrap the stems in plastic wrap. When you do that, it helps to keep the ethylene gas from speeding up the ripening process. Anyway, bananas are good for you because they are loaded with potassium, manganese, fiber and vitamins B6 and C. Bananas also aid in improving digestion, keep blood sugar levels balanced, are packed with antioxidants, improve kidney health and can reduce muscle soreness after working out.
The reason why they are a smart fruit to eat if you're trying to prevent or reduce the appearance of cellulite is they also have zinc in them. Zinc is a mineral that improves the appearance of your skin overall. Another bonus with bananas is, thanks to the potassium that they contain, blood flow throughout your body increases whenever you eat them. The more flow that you have, the less of a chance that cellulite gets to form.
Best: Cilantro and Parsley
When it comes to things like cilantro and parsley, a lot of us don't think about their benefits beyond adding a little taste to a dish or garnishing our plates. But cilantro is good for you because it's an herb that fights inflammation, contains anti-cancer properties and protects skin from UV ray damage. Parsley is a winner because it's packed with antioxidants that supports bone health, strengthens your heart and has the carotenoids lutein, beta carotene, and zeaxanthin to protect your vision.
Add more cilantro to your meals in order to remove heavy metals that typically hide in fat cells and prevent normal tissue formation. Add more parsley because the vitamins A, C and E in it will smooth out the appearance of the cellulite that you may have while flushing your system of toxins that may have stored up.
If you adore avocados but you're sick of how short their shelf life are, I recently read that Krogers are starting to sell some that last longer (do some research on that; sometimes what's too good to be true is just that). Either way, avocados are a fruit (technically a berry) that have vitamins B5, B6, C, E and K. Avocados also contain folate and potassium (more than bananas) in them. It's the kind of fruit that has oleic acid to reduce inflammation and promote brain health, monounsaturated fatty acids to keep your heart healthy, avocatin B to prevent and reduce (leukemia) cancer cells and even properties that help to prevent food poisoning.
As we get older, our skin becomes thinner and less elastic. Something that can give our skin a bit more of a youthful appearance are foods that are rich in essential fatty acids (EFA). Avocados have a lot of these acids. The more tone our skin is, the less noticeable our cellulite will be.
Best: Cranberry Juice
Now before you get all excited about this one, just remember that Ocean Spray cocktail is not gonna get you the benefits that I'm about to share. To reap these rewards, you need to go over to the health food aisle and get that 100 percent unsweetened juice kind. Drinking it isn't exactly a cakewalk but still, if you make a point to consume a few glasses a week, cranberry juice is able to reduce the free radicals that are in your system, kill the bacteria that causes UTIs (urinary tract infections), support post-menopausal health, help prevent tooth decay from forming and decrease kidney decalcification.
Cranberry juice is really good for cellulite because the properties in it are able to emulsify fat deposits so that they are able to flush out of your system easier and quicker.
While it might not be the kind of food that you regularly pick up at your local grocery store, treat yourself to some homemade buckwheat pancakes every once in a while. They'll do your body good because buckwheat is the kind of seed (yep, there is actually no wheat in buckwheat) that contains antioxidants and fiber. Buckwheat is gluten-free, loaded with protein and 12 different amino acids and is able to strengthen your heart and protect your body from getting cancer.
On the cellulite tip, buckwheat is good for you because one of the amino acids that it contains is lysine. The cool thing about lysine is it helps to repair damaged skin tissue while also giving your collagen levels a boost.
Best: Dark Chocolate
How awesome is this? Not only does dark chocolate contain antioxidants, iron, magnesium, zinc, selenium, copper and manganese; not only is it able to lower your blood pressure; not only can it reduce your risk of heart disease and protect your skin from sun damage, dark chocolate is just one more food that fights cellulite. So long as you're eating a bar that's made up of no less than 75 percent cocoa, the antioxidants in it will break down the fat that leads to the dimples. As a bonus, the caffeine in dark chocolate is able to dehydrate fat cells so that cellulite is harder for you to see.
As much as I enjoy cheese, the older that I get, the less I consume it. Mostly because of the mucus that it produces in my system. But now that I know it's a cellulite trigger, that's even more of a reason to push the extra slice of pizza back. Processed cheese is high in sodium which can lead to water retention and bloating that can make cellulite more obvious in appearance. Plus, pretty much any kind of cheese (other than cottage cheese or perhaps feta) are huge sources of saturated fat; that can lead to slow blood circulation and that can ultimately result in the breakdown of connective tissue which can definitely result in more cellulite.
Worst: White Bread and Bagels
You might've heard that you shouldn't eat anything that's made out of white flour. If you never really knew why it's such a no-no, it's because it's a refined carbohydrate. When we eat this kind of carb, it breaks down into sugar and then glucose. When that happens, the collagen in our system can become damaged and that can make cellulite more apparent.
If you love nothing more in the mornings than a bagel, at least try and cut back on how many you eat. As much as I hate to be the bearer of bad news, bagels are one of the biggest sources of salt around. Matter of fact, some contain as much as 600 milligrams of sodium per serving before putting a single thing on them. Salt leads to water retention and water retention can create a more dimply appearance.
Worst: Barbeque Sauce
OK, I'm pretty sure that you didn't think that barbeque sauce was one of the healthiest condiments on the planet, but I'd be surprised if you thought it was a top-tier cellulite causer either. It is, though. Why? Basically, it's because it's loaded with the unhealthy combo of salt and sugar; more sugar than salt. How much more? I'll put it to you this way—two measly tablespoons of sauce equates to 15 grams of sugar; most of the sugar is fructose corn syrup. Yuck.
If you can't imagine eaten certain dishes without it, at least consider making your own with some honey or molasses. Asian plum sauce is pretty good too. Just remember, the less barbeque sauce you eat, the less cellulite you'll probably have. Some chicken or ribs with plum sauce and less dimples seems like a pretty good trade off, if you ask me.
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"Lose the weight and you'll be great," they said. "It's all about getting physically healthy and feeling better."
While shedding the pounds would bring a healthier me and a wardrobe that I had dreamed so long to have, what they didn't tell me about was the constant mental battles that I would encounter. Even 10 years later.
You see, I was overweight all of my life. As a child, I was constantly teased for being heavier than most of my peers. While the teasing hurt, I chalked it up to kids being kids. After all, I teased a few people myself. Kids would ask things like why is your stomach like that? Or they would point out and even pinch my chubby cheeks.
Courtesy of DeAnna Taylor
My weight was mostly due to eating lots of fast food and quick-fix meals. It's not that I necessarily overate, but I was never taught how to eat healthily and I wasn't the most active kid. As early as elementary, I took notice of my size in comparison to my peers; it was even more evident when they would come to school with new outfits from Limited Too. I begged and begged for the chance to buy clothes from there, but as reality would have it, they didn't fit me.
Things got worse as I got to high school. Not only were kids teasing me, but I also had my mother constantly pointing out that I was bigger than most girls in my class and for that reason, boys would never like me. It hurt like hell. But, I didn't know what to do to change it.
Fast forward to undergrad.
During my junior year, I went through a pretty bad breakup that sent me into one of the worst bouts of depression I've ever faced. The pounds packed on mostly due to not getting out of bed and emotional eating. At only 5 foot 4, I found myself weighing around 230 pounds. I was the heaviest I'd ever been and at that point, I was convinced I would be heavy forever.
The desire to get healthier didn't come for another 3 years, during my second year of law school. Surprisingly, my first thought wasn't to get in the gym to lose the weight, but to first get a breast reduction. I was convinced that the bulk of my weight came from my breasts being too big for my frame. Little did I know, the consultation would be the wakeup call I needed to get my health in check. It was there, at the age of 22 that I learned I was morbidly obese and for insurance to cover my surgery, I would need to lose at least 70 pounds first.
I thought the doctor was out of her mind. It wouldn't be until a year later that I'd take the advice to heart and start to take my health seriously.
In early 2010, I began incorporating regular exercise into my everyday routine. I learned to start making better food choices and even cooking at home. By the end of that summer, I had lost nearly 40 pounds and was determined to keep going. And well, keep going I did.
Courtesy of DeAnna Taylor
Seeing my body change week by week, month by month kept me going. Going into clothing stores and walking away with jeans a size smaller than my last visit was the exact push I needed to not let all my hard work go down the drain.
Over the next few years, I would lose around 80 pounds. But, unlike many who lose a significant amount of weight, I was also able to tone up and eliminate a lot of loose skin. In addition to steady cardio 4-5 times per week, I was incorporating strength training alongside it that helped me to build muscle as well.
After reaching what I thought was a plateau, I knew I wanted to push myself even further. A friend suggested that I try my hand at fitness competitions and being the overachiever that I was, I was more than up for the challenge.
I put my body and mind through 12 intense weeks of training and dieting to get in the best shape ever. A few days before the competition, I learned that I had officially dropped 100 pounds total since the start of my journey. I felt unstoppable and went into the competition with the confidence of a winner. I came away with a 3rd place finish and couldn't have been happier, at least in that moment.
What I didn't understand was that a competition body wasn't something that was meant to be achieved for everyday life. Sure, I looked amazing and had rock hard abs. But the regimented food schedule, missing events with friends, taking all kinds of crazy supplements, and spending hours in the gym daily were an extremity.
Courtesy of DeAnna Taylor
After going on to do a second competition and bombing due to exhaustion, I decided that the stress that comes along with maintaining a competition-ready body was no longer for me.
That's when the battle started.
Once the strict dieting stopped, my body began to fill out a little. Sure, it may have only been 5 pounds at most and mostly water weight, but I would constantly compare myself to my "stage body". Even though I was nowhere near what I used to be, I was self-conscious to no end. In my mind, I was slowly turning back into who I was before I set out on my journey. So much so, that despite losing all the weight, I was afraid to wear certain clothing. I was embarrassed by my loose skin and my stretch marks started looking more visible than normal to me. All of this was playing with my mind, despite working my ass off to get in the best shape of my life.
For that reason in April 2014, I walked away from my last stage competition and I'm never going back.
I've decided to live life to the fullest these days by traveling and experiencing new things. This includes eating lots of new foods. My happiness isn't rooted in my weight, but in how much life I've lived. Since I've stopped competing, I've gained about 30 of the 100 pounds back and some days, it's mentally tough to accept. There's this closeted fear that people are looking at me like, "Dang she fell off." I get it, people's opinions shouldn't matter, but let's keep it one hundred. I'm human and social media is real.
While people tell me that I look great, it still doesn't feel right. I'm working out regularly and trying to eat decent, but it's hard to come to terms with the fact that I may never see that competition body that I once achieved.
Courtesy of DeAnna Taylor
It's an everyday battle to accept the body I see in the mirror now. I'm in no way saying I hate myself, but there's just a certain pressure that looms to get back to where I once was.
I'm still figuring it all out and what works for me in the lifestyle that I live today. It's almost like starting over, just with a different canvas. What worked then doesn't necessarily work now and that's ok. It's all a part of the process. I did it then and I'm sure I can do it again. I just have to practice the same patience I did the first go-around.
I'm finally learning to do this thing for me. Not for the approval of my peers, my mother, or anyone else for that matter and that's the most beautiful part of it all.
If you've experienced something similar, how did you overcome the battle?
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Adrienne Houghton Gets Real About Her Battle With Weight Fluctuation
Adrienne Houghton took a break from her regularly scheduled fashion content to answer some questions about her personal life. The latest episode on her YouTube channel, All Things Adrienne, was a 25-question survey during which she addressed the boogeyman in every woman's closet: weight fluctuation. Although Adrienne had never really considered herself overweight, her Instagram comments told a different story.
"If I'm honest, my weight gain in the last few years has been like a struggle for me where I'm like, I never looked at myself as being overweight. And it was weird to hear so many comments at one point that I was fat, and 'Oh my God, she let herself go!' I was like, 'Whoa.' So that was a little bit weird."
As women, our weight changes depending on our levels of stress, reproductive cycles, and a number of other life changes that we sometimes have no control over. I've personally made it a habit to keep a various sizes in my wardrobe, just in case.
No matter what end of the weight spectrum you happen to be tip-toeing on these days, it's most important that you work from the inside out. You'll never reach your "ideal" weight if you aren't confident in who you are.
Perfection is unattainable, but real beauty is far from perfect. The #BodyGoals that we so desperately chase aren't based on our specific lifestyles and body types, so they are seemingly unreachable. According to Adrienne, her desire to get serious about her physical health was based on her own her own standards of beauty, not what the trolls in her comment section wrote about her.
"I just did what I had to do to be comfortable in my own skin. And I think that's the most important thing. It wasn't necessarily to please other people."
This need to please everyone but ourselves often leaves women in the "wish" mindset, on an everlasting quest to reach unrealistic body goals. We "wish" we could lose 30 pounds, or "wish" we could have a body like beyonce.
But, one quote that I live by is: if you don't like where you are, change it. There's not a whole lot of "wishing" involved when you're serious about reaching the #BodyGoals you've set for yourself. Adrienne did just that when it came to her physical health.
"I actually, genuinely, didn't like the way I looked. And every day it's a work in progress. You know, girl get up and do some cardio. More than looking good, it's actually healthy for you to eat healthy and actually get a little workout in. So as I get older, I get that it's going to be harder and harder, but I'm up for the challenge."
I'm down to take that challenge with you, A. It doesn't take Beyonce's personal trainer or a multitude of time to make the lifestyle changes that it takes to be truly happy with your body.
Throughout our lives as women, we will be constantly burdened with weight fluctuation, it's a part of life. But no matter how high or low you go on the scale, Adrienne reminds us that we can't be defined by our comment section.
Featured image by Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com