My husband has long since affectionately referred to my thighs as the ‘whities’. You guessed it, since they are by far the least favourite part of my body; they are seldom allowed to see the light of day. Of late the crisis has somewhat worsened. The dots, dimples, bumps or just plain nasty squishy bits are slowly infiltrating the whities.
Although my dear husband assures me it’s all a result of the way I twist and turn to try and see my legs in front of the mirror, its happening. I can’t help but start to wonder is this inevitable as I slide further into my thirties, or is it avoidable?
Fat is made up of cells called adipocytes, the main function of these cells is to store energy reserves. This energy builds up in the form of lipids, which are released back to the body on demand. The fat nodules are distributed in clusters between the deepest layer of skin and the muscles. A person only starts to put on weight if the adipocytes accumulate more energy than what the body requires. We’ve all heard the saying: calorie intake versus calorie expenditure. Basically to avoid weight gain, burn more calories than you consume.
An excess of fat reserves slows down circulation of the lymphatic system and blood vessels. Excessive amounts of estrogen also favour subcutaneous water retention which further restricts circulation and the release of energy reserves. The excess fatty tissues start to bulge between the muscles and the skin, the result: CELLULITE!
Once again a default more common in women than men, thanks to our hormones and the fact that we naturally store more fat on our hips, buttocks and thighs.
Exercise is still the most effective way to reduce the appearance of cellulite. It tightens and tones the fibrous connective tissues, improves circulation and burns calories. A combination of high intensity interval training and strength moves works best.
Already doing that? You and me both! Don’t feel alone; apparently 80% of women have cellulite somewhere on their bodies.
Lifestyle choices also affect how your skin looks. Habits such as smoking, alcohol intake, not drinking enough water and not getting enough sleep are also contributing factors. You need to eat a low fat diet consisting of lean proteins, lots of veggies and low GI carbs. Avoid sugar, starches, processed foods and fizzy drinks.
Got that covered? Let’s see what options are left!
My clients over the years that have tried various treatments such as lymph drainage, expensive lazer treatments, even the bizarre fat freezing trend that has fortunately passed over. Sorry ladies, but the results are all short lived, very expensive and not too mention painful. Although there are many wonder creams, lotions etc. more than likely they are a clever marketing ploy because it’s more the massage when applying the cream than some magic ingredient that reduces the signs of dimples.
What then is my proposed plan of action and recommendation? I am going focus on improving my circulation. What habits might I introduce that don’t cost a fortune and are realistic for long term benefits?
This is what I’m thinking:
- I wear training leggings to work that come to think of it are probably to tight to wear all day. Cotton leggings going forward.
- I’m going to limit my caffeine intake to an absolute maximum of two coffees per day. After all I’m only human.
- I already drink a lot of water, but maybe an extra glass here and there won’t do any harm.
- The dreaded hot to cold shower. My grandfather lived past the age of 100, every morning for as long as I can remember he would jump into a freezing cold swimming pool. I think I can brave a minute of cold water at the end of my morning shower to stimulate circulation.
- I have to start practicing my sun salutations everyday before I start my yoga course in June. 10min of extra daily flexibility work can only do good things.
- Lastly I will reintroduce the power plate. Remember that fad exercise machine from way back; surely body vibration has to help! The power plate has been proven to improve blood circulation and lymphatic return. It also delivers measurable results in improved metabolic functions, muscular tone and stability. Ladies we may have a winner here!
IMPORTANT FACTS ABOUT USING THE POWERPLATE
- Always make sure that your joints are bent when using the power plate
- Never place your head or neck on the power plate
- You need only use the machine for a maximum of 20min at a time; I probably use it for no more than 10min three times a week.
- It is like any exercise, start slowly and on the lowest frequency! Just because you don’t feel anything while you are on the machine, doesn’t mean it isn’t working.
- The machine triggers neurological responses in the muscle, which in turn stimulate sensory receptors, so give it time for the neural pathways to form.
- Do a combination of strength exercises and massage on the power plate.
I promise to do a follow up post 3 months from now to update any progress or changes to the ‘whities’. I’d love to hear your home truths about whether my suggestions have worked for you.