CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Dear Cindy,
I am female, age 47, and am a runner. Much of my exercise focus has been to try to get rid of cellulite around my thighs and hips. Unfortunately, I am losing and cellulite is winning. Any advice for this ugly problem? -- Janet
How we all wish the word "cellulite" was never coined. It conjures up images of cottage cheese and orange peel and no matter how it is described, it is far from appealing.
It's a dimpled, bumpy appearance of the skin usually found on the hips, thighs or buttocks. Some consider cellulite a dreaded disease, resulting in lots of products claiming to eliminate this visible fat. Granted, nobody wants this clumped-up fat clinging to their hindquarters, but it's not a disease requiring immediate attention or medication.
How did it get there?
For females, having a small amount of cellulite is usually a normal variation in the way our fat is distributed and stored in our bodies. Men are rarely troubled by it because they carry their excess fat in their abdomen. This is due to hormonal differences between men and women. However, women who eat a high-fat, low-fiber diet, eat more calories than they expend and are inactive will be likely to continue to produce cellulite on their body.
Muscle vs. fat
Reducing calories and concentrating on aerobic exercise will not give you the results you are hoping for. In fact, cardio exercise alone may actually feed off of muscle tissue, especially if it's not supported by the adequate protein, carbohydrates and essential fats. If that seems a little unbelievable, take a look at your fellow runners. You will see those who are thin, yet still have dimply thighs. It is about body composition. Strength training, however, can reduce cellulite accumulation.
It's not all about fat