GETTING RID OF CELLULITE
All you need to know to smooth out the cottage cheese effect
And 10 strategies that really work
Living with cellulite can be devastating for a lot of woman I actually had cellulite for most of my 20s and 30s. I hated it. I was a coach and an athlete so I felt embarrassed and self-conscious about it. If I hadn’t put on tanning lotion I wouldnt even step outside in shorts. I tried caffeine scrubs, lasers, creams, detoxes and loads of cardio but alas no miracle cellulite assassin could be found.
Now as I approach 50, and after nearly 10 years eating a Pro-Metabolic diet, I actually no longer have any. Why? – my hormones are more balanced, my metabolism so much faster and I favour weight training over cardio.
Cellulite is a hormonal condition.
Today I write about all you need to know and most importantly the 10 strategies to smoothing it out.
WHAT IS CELLULITE?
Cellulite is a hormonal condition that is driven by Estrogen and affects90 percent of women and 10 percent of men
“high estrogen, low progesterone – estrogen increases the accumulation of fat, specifically in the areas that are typically affected by cellulite. It renders the fibroblasts more hydrophobic and predisposes them to water retention and edema, it increases the permeability and thus the leakage from the cells and promotes the formation of sclerotic tissue.” – Suppversity research.
SuppVersity – Cellulite Special: the Etiology of Cellulite, Genetical and Behavioural Risk Factors? Physical and Supplemental Treatment Strategies and Their Efficacy. In SuppVersity Nutrition and Exercise Science for Everyone blog July 2013
As women we tend to get cellulite around our knees, thighs and butts, because we have three layers of fat in these areas [instead of just one]. We also have three levels of fat in our stomachs and triceps (back of arms0
WHY WOMEN GET CELLULITE MORE THAN MEN
Fat and connective tissue is distributed differently in women and men. There is a layer of fat that lies just below the surface of the skin. In women, the fat cells and connective tissue in this layer are arranged vertically. So if the fat cells protrude into the layer of skin, it gives the appearance of cellulite. In men, the tissue has a criss-cross structure, which is much stronger (and holds fat in better) which may explain why are less likely to have cellulite than women.
Estrogen also makes fat whereas testosterone breaks down fat. So this really sucks for us women, as our bodies are hormonally more susceptible to cellulite.
Even teenage girls have cellulite today due to the excess estrogens we are exposed to and estrogen mimicking ingredients in food, skin care products, and the environment.
THE HORMONAL CONNECTION BETWEEN ESTROGEN AND CELLULITE
Estrogen plays an essential role in all cellulite development, therefore rebalancing hormone levels is pivotal in reducing cellulite. The women who have cellulite tend to be estrogen dominant – and sadly the more estrogen you have the more fat your will make too.
It is an undeniable fact that excess estrogen is directly related to not only cellulite but LOWER BODY FAT. The legs, and in particular the thighs have a high number of estrogen receptors which bind to estrogen.
“Women who have cellulite—and for that matter headaches, depression and anxiety, dry hair, bloating, weight gain, irritability, and breast tenderness—tend not to have enough progesterone to balance out the estrogen.” Dr Lionel Bissoon – Dr and author or the ‘Cellulite cure
After menopause when estrogen levels decline, and a woman is estrogen deficient she may still be estrogen dominant. Even though she has little estrogen she has even less progesterone.
Recent research from Dr. Sylvia Tara (PHD) from the University of California has concluded the following interesting findings on estrogen and fat storage as published in her book “the secret life of fat”.
- Estrogen promotes fat storage and cellulite around the hips and thighs.
- Women store fat more readily than men…gender affects not only how much fat have but also where the fat is distributed.
- Estrogen causes the preferential storage of fat to the thighs and butts, whereas testosterone sends it to the belly.
- The effects of sex hormones on fat are so powerful that when men are given estrogen they have gained body-fat and overall and cellulite on their thight even though their calorie range stayed the same. Not only do they gain fat but also they gain it disproportionally in the thighs and buttocks. The same is true in reverse. When women are given androgens like testosterone, they lose fat in their hips and thighs and gain fat in their bellies.
ON A SIDE NOTE – AGING, DISEASES AND ESTROGEN
Dr Ray Peat (endocrinologist) proposes that aging is linked to increased estrogen production. The biological effects of aging on tissues and organs are identical to that produced by excess estrogen. (accelerated accumulation of age pigmentation in skin, a tendency to miscarry, downregulation of metabolic rate, fat storage and degeneration In various organs). Excess estrogen is present in degenerative bone disease, liver disease and thyroid disease.
Researchers such as Selye and Syznt-Gyorgyi spend most of their careers studying how estrogen impacts loss of muscle and tissue. They observed that excess estrogen imitates a shock response (cortisol increases, blood pressure decreases, water is taken up by the tissues from the blood, and therefore arteries are constricted). This contributes to varicose veins (a common indicator of a body with excess estrogen).
Excess estrogen directly lowers body temperature, therefore lowering metabolic rate, energy, health and fat burning.
Excess Estrogen is also associated with PMS symptoms, uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, heavy or long menstruation, a stressful life, age pigments, autoimmune conditions constipation, low energy, chronic fatigue, cellulite, difficulty losing weight, high percentage of bodyfat, food cravings and even ready for this….being highly emotional.
Some really great journal articles by Dr Peat
DO GENETICS PLAY A ROLE IN CELLULITE?
Yes, there can be a genetic predisposition to cellulite. But just because you have the genetic component doesn’t mean you have to develop it if you do the right things: keep your hormones balanced, reduce stress, eat pro-metabolic food, avoid anything that can increase estrogen levels, cortisol levels or decrease thyroid function, and ofcourse be active
WHAT ABOUT EXERCISE, CREAMS, MACHINES, INJECTIONS, OR LASERS?
irst of all, we absolutely need to be active, but joining the gym as your only strategy to reduce cellulite is futile, quite simply cellulite occurs in a layer of fat that does not respond to exercise – ofcouse exercise will help you lose weight and a host of other benefits but for pure cellulite reduction it is of little value.
Most of the cellulite creams only deal with fat, not the cellulite. L- Carnitine transports fats into the mitochronida where it can be used as energy (if you are active ofcourse) Caffeine creams or creams with aminophylline help block the making of fats by the alpha receptors, again targeting only fat cells and not addressing the connective tissue or circulation.
Machines to treat cellulite include vacuum rolling and radio waves to break up the fat, this is great for circulation and even breaking down fat, but to for effective cellulite reduction you need to have a treatment once a month for several years.
Laser treatments use radio waves to heat up the fat and then rollers to force it out. It’s a bit pot luck and then if you do succeed but haven’t addressed the underlying cause (hormonal) it is going to come straight back.
Silicone (fat-transfer)injections aim to fill in the dimples, But they can move and can get absorbed—and you can’t get rid of it.
Liposuction when plastic surgeons suck out the fat through a tube, is great for body contouring, but often seems to make cellulite worse.
THE MAIN PROBLEM
Whilst there are many corroborating factors which can increase cellulite production (inactivity, a diet high in polyunsaturated fats, obesity, chemicals and toxins, genetics, sluggish lymphatic system, hormone imbalance), CELLULITE IS ULTIMATELY A RESULT OF LOW THYROID FUNCTIONING WHICH IN TURNS DRIVES ESTROGEN HIGH.
THE BEST SOLUTION
Raising metabolic health (improving thyroid hormone production) and seeking hormonal balance (balancing estrogen/progesterone ratio) is the strategy that will work in the long run. This is a process.
Eating Pro-Metabolic food is a great place to start to upregulate thyroid functioning and help balance estrogen and metabolic activity.
WHY PRO-METABOLIC NUTRITION
.Pro-Metabolic nutrition is about eating unique combinations of food that will help upregulate thyroid hormone conversion to help reduce excessive estrogen. So to reduce excess estrogen consume as much Pro-thryoid food as possible as your number one strategy. Because your food choices will either increase estrogen dominance and thyroid hormone conversion or help balance it.
Hypothyroidism leads to Hypoestrogenism. People who have a thyroid deficiency typically have elevated estrogen levels. So this is an integral part of hormonal balancing. Thyroid hormone supports progesterone and progesterone opposes estrogen
At the end of the day, Your diet is the most powerful controller of your physiology and hormones. That sentence should be re-read as it is so important
WHAT IS PRO-METABOLIC NUTRITION
Pro-Metabolic Nutrition is about natural food, void of additives, chemical and processed foods – all which have been found will increase endotoxins which the body treats as excess estrogen.
A Pro-Metabolic diet utilizes saturated fats as they help with sex steroidal conversion and avoid Polyunsaturated fatty acids (vegetable oils) as they block hormone conversion
“the estrogen promoting actions of soy oil apply to all the commonly used polyunsaturated fatty acids. The same fatty acids that suppress thyroid function, have estrogenic effects” – Dr Ray Peat. Natural Estrogens
Pro-Metabolic Nutrition also ensures enough quality protein is consumed to nourish the liver so that the liver can do its job and detoxify excess estrogens.
Finally, natural simple sugars (ripe tropical fruit, raw honey, pulp free orange juice) are included as they are used by the liver to help convert T4 to T3, and increase thyroid hormone production.
Simple sugars are also correlated with reducing excess cortisol, which can will elevate estrogen.
Gelatin (hydrolyzed collagen powder) is used as it supports progesterone production, which opposes excess estrogen
PRO-METABOLIC MEAL PLANS
As a Pro-Metabolic diet is the number one strategy to increase thyroid hormone conversion (metabolism) and balance estrogen and progesterone levels this is why I created the 12 week Pro-Metabolic boost and shred meal plan program.
I’ve done the research and the work for you. My 12-week Pro-Metabolic Boost and Shred meal plans will help decrease excess estrogen and increase thyroid production. You will lose body fat without destroying your hormones or metabolism. Each week there is a different meal plan with either a simple option for busy people or some fancier recipes for those who like to cook. Pro-Metabolic nutrition is about nourishing your body, not starving, it is about eating more food to support fat loss not less food to force fat loss. It’s about creating an optimally healthy and energetic body therefore all food groups are included (fruit, cheese, yoghurts, potatoes and butter, quality chocolate and ice-cream, coconut oil, chocolate milk, fruit smoothies, sour dough and butter etc)
I have based these meal plans on Dr Ray Peats Nutrition Framework (whose career has been to research nutrition and hormones)
Check out the success stories of those I have coached or using this Pro-Metabolic framework
TEN SPECIFIC STRATEGIES TO IMPROVE THYROID HEALTH, BALANCE ESTROGEN AND GET RID OF CELLULITE
Keep in mind – Cellulite and fat gain on hips, butts and thighs is a hormonal condition related to estrogen dominance.
There are many factors that can be adjusted in our diet, lifestyle and environment to oppose estrogenic and age-accelerating influences. These are the specific strategies that have worked for my clients and I.
- To get serious about hormonal health, get serious about nutrition. Pro-Metabolic nutrition is the only nutritional framework specially designed to increase thyroid hormone functioning and reduce excess estrogen Some of the speicifc nutritional strategies used in Pro-Metabolic nutrition:
- Dr. Ray Peat’s carrot salad is a daily favourite for reducing excessive endotoxins. Daily carrot salad (grated carrot with coconut oil, sea salt and vinegar) or bamboo shoots help bind to unused estrogens and flush them outs. (Also helps with regularity) The carrot fiber has both a bowel protective and an antiestrogenic effect. In studies, several women who suffered from PMS, had their serum estrogen measured before and after eating carrot salad and they found that the carrot lowered their estrogen within a few days, as it relived their symptoms”
- Be very aware of added hormones to meat, grain fed beef, cage chickens and eggs. The additional hormones these animals eat or have had injected into them we consume. This can add to our potential hormonal imbalance. Our livers are great at doing their job but if this precious organ is overloaded with synthetic estrogens there will simply be excess. We encourage the use of grass fed beef, gelatin from grass feed produce, organic chickens and free range eggs.
- Reduce Polyunsaturated fatty acids (vegetable oils, nuts, oily fish) in favour of saturated fats (coconut oil, butter)
“The unsaturated fatty acids, but not the saturated fatty acids, free estrogen from the serum proteins that bind it, and increase its availability and activity in tissue cells.”
2. COLLAGEN / GELATIN POWDER –
- Gelatin is a protein product that is essentially collagen. Gelatin is high in glycine and glycine opposes estrogen. Collagen helps tighten and strengthen the skin by holding connective fibres in place.
- Either from dairy products or calcium eggshell powder to reduce parathyroid stress hormone
4. BE AWARE OF CHEMICAL LADEN SKIN CARE PRODUCTS
- I cannot express enough how important it is to use chemical free organic skin care products. Skin absorbs everything – chemical laden products result in a surplus of excess estrogen. Don’t feed cellulite or disrupt your endocrine system by slapping on moisturises with parabens, parfums and sodium laurel sulphate.
5. GET MORE SLEEP AND REST
- Poor quality sleep keeps you on the thyroid-stress-estrogen merry-go-round. I consider the ability to get quality, quantity, restorative, and undisturbed sleep integral to increase metabolism, get lean and live a hormonally balanced, healthy life. If you want to heal your body, improve metabolic rate and make fat loss easier and effortless, then TREAT THIS SERIOUSLY.
6. IMPROVE LIVER HEALTH
- Without a healthy liver, the odds of restoring thyroid function are nil and your bodies ability to eliminate excess estrogen is greatly compromised. As Pro-Metabolifc Nutrition is about thyroid and hormones then it is the number nutrtion plan for optimal liver health. (high calcium, Vitamin D an K, minimal PUFA’s, (from saturated fats ie butter and some natural sunlight
7.REDUCE ALCOHOL –
- Research has found alcohol to increase estrogen in women and reduce progesterone. not the hormonal impact we want.
8.VITAMIN E SUPPLEMENTATION
- studies have shown that Estrogen can reduce by up to 55% after 10 weeks of Vat E supplementation
9. REDUCE EXCESSIVE OR EXHAUSTING CARDIO
- as it will lower thyroid gland functioning and increase estrogen.
“Besides causing stress, estrogen levels are increased by stress. For example, a male runner’s estrogen is often doubled after a race. “ …
“Endotoxin (like intense physical activity) causes the estrogen concentration of the blood to rise.”
DR RAY PEAT
10. SUNLIGHT ON YOUR SKIN.
- Exposure to sunlight increases the good sex steroidal hormonal production (testosterone and progesterone) Cells thrive on sunlight. Light deprivation induces a progesterone deficiency, allowing cortisol, aldosterone, estrogen and prolactin to act unopposed creating PMS symptoms, fatigue, mood change, weight gain
“The absence of bright light would create a progesterone deficiency and would leave estrogen and prolactin unopposed.” – Dr. Ray Peat.