In this article we continue our cleansing theme for this month, as we look at how we can cleanse our bodies from the inside. Many women experience cellulite – that lumpy looking or dimpled skin – commonly found on the bottom and tops of the thighs, but maybe also in other areas of the body (all down the legs, tummy and top of the arms). Here we discuss how we can start to get rid (or at least reduce) the visual impact of cellulite, through diet and exercise.
What causes cellulite?
The body deposits fat under the skin – this is completely normal and natural – but what happens when you see cellulite is that the fat deposits push against the connective tissue so the skin looks dimpled, a sight many women do not like. It has nothing to do with weight. A poor diet can affect the amount of cellulite that you have and how visible it is, as can a sedentary lifestyle.
Your challenge (if you choose to accept it!)
Set aside a weekend, or a few days (or come to visit us at La Crisalida for a detox retreat where we can help you) to kick start your cleanse, using a two-pronged approach of (i) dietary change and (ii) exercise or physical activity. In the longer term, incorporate this approach into your daily life to ensure your skin, body and health stay in tiptop shape. There is no quick fix for this – it takes dedication and time. You should start to see an improvement within a month.
(i) Dietary changes
- Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables
Increase the amount of fresh fruit and veggies that you eat. Eat organic, if you can, but any is better than none (just make sure they are well washed and maybe peel the veggies). The standard daily recommended guidelines are to eat five pieces of fruit or veggie each day, however challenge yourself to increase that.
- Eat high fibre foods
Eating a high fibre diet will help with your cleanse. High fibre foods include: oats (porridge or homemade museli is a great way to start your day), beans (click here for this months recipe – cannellini bean, roast garlic and rosemary dip, lentils, fruit and veggies, plus wholegrains.
- Reduce the amount of animal and dairy fat in your diet
The body needs fat (good fats like those found in avocados or nuts), but too much fat from animal or dairy sources can become too much for the body; excess fat tends to be deposited under the skin. By reducing the amount of animal and dairy fat in your diet (whilst increasing the amount of fruit and veggies, as well as including good fats) your body will be able to cleanse. Read more about fats in our blog article.
- Drink more juices
Maybe you want to try juicing for a few days? Here at La Crisalida, we recommend a three day juice detox. This gives your digestive system a chance to rest, so that the energy previously used to digest food is used elsewhere in your body. At the same time, it brings maximum nutrition to the body, supporting your cleanse. After your three day cleanse, you might want to continue drinking juices, either to replace a meal (like breakfast) or in addition to your meals. Check out our blog page for lots of juice ideas.
- Lemon with everything!
Lemons are natural cleansers – add to drinking water (either room temperature or warm), maybe with a chunk of ginger. It’s great to drink lemon water first thing on a morning, to really get your digestive system active. We also add a squeeze of lemon into dips, curries, salad dressings, stir fry veggies or anything else that we serve. Lemons help to bring our body back into balance – you might have heard of an alkaline diet? If not click here to read more.
- Add chia and flax seeds
Increase the amount of omega-3 in your diet by adding chia seeds or ground flax seeds to your food or juices. There is some evidence that omega-3 helps to reduce the visibility of cellulite – either way, consuming more of these little seeds brings other health benefits for your whole body.
- Psyllium husk
Psyllium husk is a great source of fibre. When mixed with water it becomes gelatinous, so when you drink it, it soaks up water in your gut and helps to move everything through your digestive system, meaning it makes going to the toilet easier, as well as cleaning. You can add it to your juices, or simply add the powder to water. Remember to drink plenty of water afterwards.
- Drink plenty of water
Dehydration can be one cause of cellulite, so make sure you are drinking enough water – 2-3 litres per day. The easiest way to track how much water you are drinking is to get a bottle and carry it with you; keep track of how many times you fill it up.
- Balance your hormones
There is some evidence that cellulite can be affected by hormones. Try balancing your whole system – dietary changes can make a difference. Read more here.
(ii) Take Action!
Many of us have a more sedentary lifestyle – drive to work, sit at a computer and drive home to sit on the sofa for the evening. Adding in some activity or exercise each day, even just 15 minutes of walking, can help to make a difference not just to cellulite, but to our overall health.
Rebounding – bouncing on small trampolines – is great fun and also excellent for helping to move the lymphatic system, one system in your body responsible for cleansing. The up-and-down movement of bouncing uses gravity to helps to squeeze out waste materials and flood your cells with oxygen.
Walking – any time, any where! The movement of walking also helps to stimulate the lymphatic system, and helps to tone the affected areas (bottom and legs).
- Cycling or any other activities – dance!
Have fun. Get out and about. Even when the weather is cold or wet, you can still find a dance class and get your body moving.
Other things you can do include
Use coconut oil with essential oils like lemon or grapefruit. Treat yourself regularly to a massage with a good therapist – this helps not just with skin tone, but also relaxation and can bring balance to your body and hormones.
- Dry brush your skin
Every day, take a large natural brush (choose one where the bristles are plant-based, not too soft and not too hard, with a handle for difficult to reach areas) and brush your whole body. The body is dry, so maybe do it before your morning shower. Stroke the brush in the direction towards your heart, in long sweeps (not in circles). Do not scrub. The idea is to stimulate the skin, not to irritate it. It helps to remove old, dry skin, and at the same time, it stimulate the lymphatic system, allowing it to release toxins.
With any cleanse (by excluding caffeine and processed sugars), you might experience detox symptoms, like headaches or nausea. To help you find relief, read our earlier articles on natural relief for headaches and other detox symptoms. You can also try yoga for headache relief.
Go for it!
About the author
- Lisa is one of the founders of La Crisalida Retreats. She is an Epidemiologist, therapeutic hatha and yin yoga teacher and also teaches mindfulness meditation. Lisa has studied NLP and hypnosis, as well as nutrition (she designs the menus).