Cellulite. We could spend a LITERAL fortune on creams and lasers and supplements claiming to make those hated dimples disappear.
The truth is, there’s not much we can do about cellulite. It has to do with connective cords that tether the skin to the muscle, and the fat lies in between, and the fat pushes up against the skin and the long, tough cords pull down, causing that dimpled appearance. Yes, gaining fat can cause this, it’s why many of us women don’t see much cellulite until pregnancy. And it tends to be most common around our thighs and butts and lower abdomen (the places women have more fat than men) so it’s therefore much more prevalent in women.
BUT, there’s this idea that it’s a FAT problem, that if only we could lose weight or gain muscle, it would no longer be an issue. And this is just not true. Even the fittest women and some of the most lean women have cellulite. In our modern era of social media, this fallacy of cellulite has become even MORE skewed, thanks in large part to photo editing. PLEASE remember that the women you see on Instagram, or in magazines or ANYTHING that has a lag time between the picture being taken and being posted for public consumption, have ALL been photoshopped and filtered until the skin is smooth and everything is flawless. Very few women look like that in real life. And there’s no judgement!! If I was posting a picture in a bikini where hundreds of thousands of people would be able to zoom in, I’d filter that too!! But remember that that is not reality.
The reality is that MOST women have cellulite.
And it is not something to be ashamed of. And if you want to spend money on creams and lasers, that is your call! But most won’t do anything and even if they do, it’ll be very very small changes. Yes, losing weight and gaining muscle mass can help. But it won’t eliminate cellulite.
We have this idea that when we are at our ideal weight, or “skinny” by society’s standards, something like cellulite will no longer be a problem for us. But that is simply NOT TRUE. There are some other things that typically fall into this category along with cellulite. Things like, stretch marks, visible abs, loose skin, a “thigh gap” and arm flab.
Stretch marks, like cellulite, are a natural part of our lives. Like cellulite, they’re often genetic and some of us are predisposed to have it more than others. Often, they show up after weight gain; some of us started with stretch marks in puberty when we were growing! Some of us watched them explode during pregnancy. Some of us NEVER experienced major weight gain or loss and STILL have them.
Loose skin is also just a part of our cycle of life. Our skins elasticity starts to break down as we age. Most of here at SFM are in our 30’s and beyond and we’ve lived a LOT of amazing life. And having our stomach’s stretch downward when we’re doing a plank is NORMAL.
That skin that hangs down from under our arms when we stretch them out and we can kind of “flop” it around?? Also normal. Women who body build have the same thing. Does having more muscle in your arms help this? Absolutely. Will it eliminate it? Absolutely not.
By now I’d hope NO ONE is standing in front of a mirror and wishing for a visible thigh gap, but if you are, remember most teenage girls don’t even have one. And if you are not genetically predisposed to it, the lengths you’d have to go to in order to achieve this would be miserable and probably unsafe. It is not a standard for leanness.
And finally, those visible abs so many of us chase. Most professionals will tell you, that the level of body fat most of us need to have to see and maintain visible abdominal muscles is a level of leanness that is in opposition to our best lives. Some of us are, again, genetically predisposed to it (Hello Coach Whitney!) Not to say those who are don’t work really hard, you still have to BUILD muscle in order for it to be seen, genetically predisposed or not!! But the vast majority of us would have to cut down to such a low body fat percentage to see those abs and maintain them, that we would be miserable most of the time.
These are just a few examples of things that we’ve been taught are markers of aesthetically pleasing leanness. And the reality is, what is often touted as “bad” is completely natural and prolific to all women. We would NEVER tell our closest friends or daughters that they needed to have less cellulite or visible abs in order to be beautiful or worthy. Why would we EVER tell ourselves that. Chasing these often unattainable aesthetic goals is a recipe for frustration and failure. Focus on being the strongest, fittest, healthiest version of yourself and accept that some of these marks on our bodies are simply evidence of the incredible things we’ve done.