Not all fat is ‘bad’ and do not let anyone tell you otherwise, write Pritha Banerjee
Cellulite is the new talk of the town. With the recent picture of the fitness trainer and body image coach, Jessi Kneeland showing-off what she calls her ‘fancy fat’ going viral on the internet, there are a lot who are supporting her for being honest and some body-shamed her in a comment on that photo. But Jessi knows how to show her haters the right place. She posted on Instagram the screenshot of the comment with a bathroom selfie, wrote, “Fancy fat is just a natural, healthy, built-in decoration and there is absolutely nothing objectively true about statements like ‘cellulite is ugly’ or ‘perfectly smooth and toned is more attractive.’”
Jessi Kneeland takes it lightly, but with winter drawing to a close, many of us are struggling and trying to get the perfect body for the summer. Almost 90% of the women are battling with cellulite, which makes them feel self-conscious. Though cellulite being a serious disorder is debatable, the effect it has on the day-to-day life of a woman is serious.
What is it?
Cellulite is normal and natural part of a human body, especially women, says Dr Mohan Thomas, Senior Cosmetic Surgeon at Cosmetic Surgery Institute, Mumbai. He continues, “Cellulite isn’t a disease or disorder — it’s a normal skin condition affecting the majority of women. The signature dimpled appearance is most often found on the thighs, hips, buttocks, and abdomen.”
They happen when you have excess fat stored under your skin. “These superficial fat cells bulge into the dermis due to increase in weight,” claims Dr Thomas. “Since these superficial fats are surrounded by fibrous layer in a dense pocket, the only direction that these pockets can bulge is outward by forming a typical cobblestoned appearance,” he added.
When we look at our own body, we forget that even the fittest of fit female celebrities have cellulite. Being a 21st-century independent woman, half of us are always fretting about the smallest lumps and bumps in our body. We are living in a society where a beautiful body is heavily stigmatised.
Eat right and exercise
We all want to get rid of that extra fat from our body, but do we have that discipline that it requires? Kanchan Patwardhan, Clinical Dietician and Nutritionist at Kanchan’s House of Health and Nutrition, says, “The main causes of cellulite are poor diet, fad dieting, slow metabolism, lack of physical activity, hormonal imbalances, and dehydration, among many other.” So, there are many healthy ways available to us to take care of this problem. Eating a balanced diet and drinking an adequate amount of water is one of them among many.
“Though cellulite is not harmful and a quite natural thing to have in a woman’s body, hormonal imbalances and slow metabolism can lead to serious health issues,” says Kanchan. Dr Nilesh Makwana, director and consulting physiotherapist at Muscle N Mind Physiotherapy Centre, agrees with Kanchan. He feels, “Along with dietary changes these patients should do regular exercise. There are set of certain workouts that come under the core treatment for cellulite.”
The exercises that Dr. Nilesh focuses on are, circuit training, a high intensity exercise programme that combines both upper and lower body exercises and focuses on muscular strength and endurance; strength training, which includes squats, lunges and deadlifts, upper body exercises like push up, pull up, plants, and abdomen crunches and focuses on large muscle groups and stability; functional training, which uses cables, dumbbells, barbells; and tabata training, which is a new form of intense exercise with intervals where each routine is performed for 20 seconds and rest for 10 seconds and the whole set is done for four minutes. Finally, it becomes eight solid rounds of ‘Tabata’.
It is important to remember that any fat even cellulite fat is difficult to get rid of. It takes regular exercise and discipline to follow a healthy diet. All the exercises that are mentioned by Dr. Nilesh need to be individualised as per the need of a patient. He says, “It’s a gradual process and someone cannot be in a hurry. The best way to keep this away is having high protein diet, taking less salt in food. This prevents the development of cellulite fat, but not to forget the other cause of it.”
A person has to gain adequate strength before moving on to higher intensity exercises. He or she should have basic strength and stability of joints to prevent injury. Initially, heavy impact exercises can be avoided as it may create joint pain or injuries. Following the advice of an experienced and certified physiotherapist or personal trainer is very important.
Surgery? Not an option!
This dimpled fat appears most commonly on butt and thighs of a woman and very rarely on a man. Dr Thomas says, “Men usually do not deposit fat on the buttocks and thighs which are the usual sites of cellulite formation as it is under the influence of hormone Oestrogen which is very low in men.”
Though Liposuction is famous for sucking out fat from the body, it is highly discouraged to treat cellulite. Dr Thomas indicates that liposuction can cause track marks which will make the skin look worse than the cellulite. Thus, it can be used only to suck out fat which is present in the deeper layers of the skin.
For severely dimpled tissues there are many non-invasive methods, some of them are acoustic wave therapy, laser treatment to break up the tissues, surgical release of bands along with Liposuction, subcision, and radiotherapy. “Massaging your body vigorously every day in the problem areas may help reduce cellulite in the long run,” says Kanchan.
It’s frustrating and common for cellulite to be referred as ‘unsightly’ and something that needs ‘treatment.’ But there is no health concern associated with a little bit of cellulite, the only thing that it needs is love and care. So that you are comfortable in your own skin and understand that not all fat is ‘bad.’
If you are having trouble with the stigmatised society out there in this world, then channel your Jessi Kneeland who wrote, “I’ll keep spinning my body as ‘none of your damn business.”