Beach season is here, and with that change in seasons comes a huge change in attitude about shopping. Where we once joyfully piled dresses, jeans and sweaters into the fitting room, we now drag ourselves along the forced march of the annual bathing suit purchase. All those mirrors from all those angles… and who designed the lighting for fitting rooms anyway? Yikes. Every imperfection, lit up like the Fourth of July, and reflected back up at us from six new and terrifying angles. Right?
Wrong. Ladies, let’s stop this nonsense. Let’s begin feeling happier in our own skin, and focusing on health. Cellulite exists, and if you want rid of it completely, you need to talk to a plastic surgeon. I do not know who first coined the term “cellulite”, but my guess is it was a fashion magazine, and we all know how unfair those things are. Here is a newsflash: you have body fat. I have body fat. Every single actress who strutted the red carpet, and every woman who received an Olympic medal has it too, and that is a good thing. Tens of thousands of years of evolution are all coming together to store fat, and make sure you don’t starve through an unexpected ice age. The term “cellulite” simply refers to the way some bodies store fat. It is no more or less strange than other body fat. You can reduce the appearance of it, just like you can reduce the appearance of overall body fat – by gaining confidence in yourself, by focusing on your overall health, and by gaining strength. If you were about to order some dubious diet pills, or wrap yourself up like a plastic mummy, stop. Try my way first…
Let’s Talk About Self Confidence
Sometimes, you try on a swimsuit, and you just plain don’t like it. That’s okay! The other day, I tried on a mostly beige tankini, not realizing it was nearly the exact same color as my skin, creating kind of a funny “Is she naked?” effect. I did not buy that suit, because I did not want to confuse everyone on the beach. Sometimes the shoulder straps are uncomfortable, sometimes the suits give you that permanent wedgie, sometimes you feel certain that a decent wave will knock the top clean off. These are all good reasons to not buy that swimsuit.
Bad reasons to avoid buying a swimsuit are feeling like you don’t deserve to wear it, feeling like you don’t look enough like the catalog models, or fear of being judged too harshly. These are not issues you have with the swimsuit, they are issues you have with yourself.
Self confidence is so important, and more than ever, it is constantly under attack. Everything from television media, to social media, to the magazines lined up in the grocery store checkout all seem to be telling us that we could be skinnier. But what does that really mean? Skinnier than what? Couldn’t we also all be a little taller? It is when you consider these questions that you realize one of these things (getting thinner) can make money, and the other (getting taller) is probably impossible, and not worth trying to sell. Get it?
You shouldn’t feel bad about being duped by magazines. That is kind of what they do. Still, now that you know they are trying to sell you ever more unrealistic weight goals, how can you come to terms with the way you look now? That is where a little self esteem and self confidence come in. These are skills, just like gardening, or driving, or painting, and this strong sense of confidence can be learned. Taking the time to get familiar with the concept that you look great, and that you are great can work wonders.
Let’s Address Your Overall Health, Not Just Your Appearance
Losing a percentage of your body weight does have a directly positive impact on your heart health, on any achy joints, and on your energy level, provided you lose it safely, and at an appropriate rate. (And yes, that cellulite is going to be less noticeable too!) If your doctor tells you to lose weight, that can sometimes put you into panic mode, and this is when you are most at risk for trying something like a fad or crash diet. While these can sometimes be effective in the short term, I am willing to bet this is not the first time you have done a crash diet. Meaning you are about to get into a yo-yo diet situation, and that can be just as unhealthy as being overweight.
It is better to take a deep breath here, and come up with a sustainable plan. What you want to do here is address your overall health, and not just your weight. Are there things you could be doing to improve the way you handle stress? Is there enough time in your day to allow for a little exercise? Do you have supportive people around you who might be able to help? How are you sleeping? These are all important questions to answer, and each one can help bring you closer to your ultimate health goals.
Instead of just running home from the doctor, and trying to figure this out on your own, why not call back, and ask if he or she has more information for you? They might even be able to get you in touch with a few professionals who can help you even more. Taking control of your health, and turning your life around should be a positive and exciting thing – not homework.
Let’s Get You Started On an Appropriate Workout Plan
“Ugh, exercise.” That is exactly how I used to feel about it too. I would dutifully drive to the gym, even though I didn’t want to, I would swish around on the elliptical machine for half an hour, even though I didn’t want to, and I would watch whatever show they had on the gym TV, even though I didn’t want to. Why was I doing that? It was awful. If I am honest, I think it was because I was under the impression that that’s how you get in shape. You join a gym, and you do cardio. Period.
While that is absolutely one of the options available to you, there are hundreds of other ways to accomplish the same goal – namely, getting you to move your body every day. Muscle burns fat, so the more muscle you build, the more fat you burn, and that includes cellulite. What do you like to do? Is that bike you love so much still in the garage? Is this weather perfect for a nice long hike? Are you in need of some socializing, and think a Zumba class would be just the thing? Then that’s what you should do! When you love your workouts, you are actually going to do your workouts. Hula Hooping, Salsa Dance and Parkour are also excellent workouts – especially if you actually do them regularly.
Over the years, I have tried again and again to take up running. I used to live right around the corner from a high school with a track that was open to the public, and I was determined to take advantage, and become a runner. Not so much because I wanted to, but because that seemed like the thing in-shape people did. It never caught on. I tried again when we moved to a quiet neighborhood, no luck. I tried one last time, thinking that it must have been my shoes or something, but again, no luck. I didn’t like running, because I didn’t like running! I didn’t want to do it, I looked for excuses to skip, and I never really had fun while doing it. It was not at all an effective workout.
If you are feeling like I felt while trying to force the running issue, try something else. So you feel guilty because you bought an exercise bike, but then discovered you hate it. That’s not the end of the world. Sell it, and buy something you do like. Don’t be afraid to try new things, because you might discover that you are actually a big fan of something like weight lifting, or high intensity intervals, or yoga, or swimming.
However you proceed, if you find something that you love to do, and stick with it, something amazing will happen. Your body will slowly begin to recompose itself. You will build more muscle, and burn more fat. All fat, including cellulite. You will feel more energized, and that in turn will lead to more frequent and consistent workouts, all turning you into a more athletic person who does not struggle with health as much. Isn’t that a better goal than just “getting rid of cellulite”?