"How do you get rid of cellulite?"
The question everyone wants the answer to. First things first – cellulite is completely normal. In fact, people of all shapes and sizes are susceptible to these deposits of fat, but it seems to be more common amongst women. Studies show that nearly 80-90% of women get cellulite after puberty, and most commonly found in the thighs, abdomen, and glutes.  Women are also more sensitive to their appearance, but we want you to know that these dimples of fat aren't flaws, and even really fit people can be vulnerable to getting them. And unfortunately, you can't completely get rid of cellulite. However, there are ways to reduce its appearance, natural ways that don't require you to buy expensive cellulite treatments. So, if cellulite is bothering you or you just want to feel more confident, we have tips that will help you reduce the appearance of cellulite naturally and safely! But first, let's learn more about cellulite is and what affects its appearance.
What is cellulite?
Cellulite is a result of subcutaneous fat pushing through the fibrous bands that connect the skin to the muscle. Basically, it pushes through the connective tissue beneath the skin which then leads to the dimpled appearance of cellulite. Despite contrary belief, cellulite has very little to do with the amount of body fat a person, in fact, even fit people can be prone to having it, after all, they have fat cells too! Anyone can get cellulite because there are various different things that can increase the chances of it appearing beneath the skin.
What causes it?
As we said earlier, cellulite can affect anyone, low body fat or not! There aren't many studies surrounding the topic, but there are a few possible factors that can cause the appearance of cellulite. Two of them being things you can't change, while the other two being lifestyle factors that you can change.
- Hormones: A hormone imbalance can cause cellulite, and unfortunately this is not something that you can change all that much. Estrogen, the female sex hormones, is one possible contributor to cellulite, and also one of the reasons why women are more susceptible to cellulite as opposed to men. Cellulite tends to develop when women experience big changes in estrogen levels, this includes hitting puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. Also, as we age estrogen starts to decrease which leads to losing receptors in the blood vessels and thighs, thus decreasing circulation. A decrease in circulation leads to a decrease in collagen production which then leads to a loss of skin thickness. Loose skin makes it easier for the appearance of cellulite to pop out. Another hormone that can play a role in cellulite is insulin. Insulin is involved in breaking down and storing fat, and having high levels of this promotes fat gain over fat breakdown which can increase the risk of getting cellulite. 
- Genetics: Your genes can play a role in whether you'll get cellulite or not. Anne Chapas, MD, medical director of Union Square Laser Dermatology, says that it's common to see cellulite run in families.
- Poor diet: There's no specific diet that can be the solution to your cellulite problem, but there are certain foods that can increase inflammation. Increased inflammation has been linked to cellulite-affected tissue. Some researchers found immune cells that are linked to chronic inflammation are also found in tissues affected by cellulite, this includes macrophages and lymphocytes. 
- Lack of physical activity: Although people of all shapes and sizes can get cellulite, maintaining healthy body fat levels can improve circulation. Strength training, in particular, can help tone the muscle around areas that are more prone to cellulite, improve circulation, and help eliminate excess water retention which can increase the appearance of cellulite.
These are just four possible factors of cellulite, and it's important to remember, that you can't completely get rid of cellulite. There are ways to help reduce its appearance, but despite contrary belief, weight loss isn't really the answer...
Ways to reduce the appearance of cellulite
Many people believe losing weight is the key to getting rid of cellulite, and although that may help, it really depends on how the weight loss happens. More often than not when people want to lose weight, they simply ramp up the cardio, which is great, but too much cardio can lead to muscle and bone loss which can result in loose skin. Loose skin tends to exacerbate the appearance of cellulite even more.
So, what can you do to reduce it?
Let's start by saying there are no lotions, skincare, laser treatments, or liposuction that can completely get rid of cellulite. They may slightly help to reduce the appearance, but most of these supposed cellulite treatments are very expensive. Instead, do a more natural approach to help! Your hormones and genes can't be changed, but these three things can help lessen the appearance of cellulite and help feel more confident in your own skin.
Clean up your eating a little bit
Maintaining a healthy diet is ideal for several reasons, one of them having to do with cellulite! As mentioned earlier, there are certain foods that can increase inflammation which then enhances the appearance of cellulite. Reducing the following inflammation-causing foods is one way to help...
- Foods high in sodium: Salty foods are high in sodium which causes water retention and bloating, thus making cellulite appear more dramatically. Simply reducing your intake of processed foods can help reduce your sodium intake since they tend to be high in sodium. Cooking more at home and flavoring your meals with plenty of herbs and spices, in place of copious amounts of salt, can help reduce your sodium intake as well.
- Alcohol and soda: You should try to reduce all sugary drinks from your diet, but especially these two. Alcohol and soda are extremely high in sugar and known to contribute to fat storage.
- Foods high in refined sugars: Just like soda contributes to fat storage, so do foods that contain a lot of refined sugars. Foods like cookies, cakes, chocolate, etc, are okay to eat on occasion, but they shouldn't be part of your everyday diet.
What should you eat instead?
Focus on eating whole foods, like making sure to get enough protein and eating good carbs that are filled with fiber! Fiber-rich foods aid in digestion, keep you full longer and help prevent the fat cells from growing. And if you're sweet tooth is frequently acting up, consider swapping out your favorite treats for a healthier alternative!
Start strength training
Cardio is great for many reasons, but it's not the only form of exercise in the world. Like we said earlier, focusing only on cardio can lead to loose skin - that is if you’re not eating a high-protein diet or doing some form of strength training. Strength training helps build muscle while also promoting fat loss which can help make the skin look smoother and more firm since you'll be replacing the fat with muscle. This doesn't solve all your problems in getting rid of cellulite, but it can definitely help make it less noticeable! So, try to prioritize strength training over cardio for a while to see if you notice a difference.
To start, you should aim to strength train at least three times a week, which will at least help you maintain muscle. If you begin to enjoy strength training and the benefits it has then you can increase the number of training days per week once you get the hang of things! And if you need help getting started check our Beginners Guide to Strength Training!
Cardio lovers, don't worry – if you still want to keep up with your usual cardio routine, you can! Prioritize cardio that can help maintain your muscle and increase circulation, like HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training). The way HIIT works (short bursts of high energy with little rest) helps you to effectively burn fat and increase circulation. Plus, a lot of HIIT exercises require your muscles to work hard, like burpees, jump squats, plank push-ups, and more. Just remember to balance your workout so you're also hitting the weights three times a week.
Try massaging the area more often
One of the probable causes for cellulite has to do with not getting enough blood circulation, and a way to increase that is by massaging the area that has cellulite. It's not a cure-all and can only help in the short term, but regularly massaging can help get your blood flowing and reducing the excessive retention in areas that contain cellulite. Dry brushing is one technique that people do as a way to help, but you can also get a foam roller to help reduce fluid buildup or try a lymphatic drainage massage with a professional.
Bottom line is, cellulite is completely normal. It's just a harmless skin condition that can appear for various reasons, and even if you could, it's not necessary to get rid of it. Although there are topical and even injectable treatments, it's important to know that they are only short-term. They also cost a lot of money, so if you really want to reduce the appearance of cellulite consider 'home remedies' instead, like adding more whole foods to your diet, strength training regularly, and massaging the area more frequently. These will not only help the cellulite appear less dramatic, but they will also promote other benefits like muscle maintenance, reducing the risk of heart-related diseases, weight loss, and improve your overall health and wellness.