CELLULITE: What it is and what you can do about it!

imagesCA3ZVONG    Summer is coming and that means shorts and swimming suits!  I have been asked a lot recently about what can be done about cellulite so I decided it was time to do a post on the subject.  So, first I will explain what cellulite is, why women have it, and then the things that can be done to decrease it.

First of all, cellulite is not just fat.  It is a combination of fat and collagen fibers.  Collagen fibers are tissues that connect a person’s muscle layer to her dermis layer of the skin.  In many woman in their lower bodies, these collagen fibers run vertically.  This allows the fat cells (which are sandwiched between the muscle and skin layers) to grow in pockets between the collagen fibers.  The fat cells expand there and once they become tightly packed, cause the puckering and dimples that women complain of on their butts and thighs.

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There is also a genetic component to cellulite.  This is why some skinny women have more cellulite than some overweight women.  This is related to the distribution of collagen.  Women whose collagen fibers crisscross (instead of running vertically) form a mesh and they have less cellulite.  The same is true for men because they genetically have most of their collagen distributed in the mesh pattern.

The reason why cellulite tends to form more on a woman’s lower body than upper body is because women have a natural tendency to store more body fat in their lower bodies and have more difficulty losing body fat from their lower bodies.  This is related to the hormone estrogen because estrogen causes a woman’s fat tissue to be harder to burn in her lower body (due to its effect on the receptors on the fat cells).

So now that you have an understanding of what cellulite is, you now need to know what to do about it!  Because cellulite involves both fat and collagen, both need to be addressed to reduce the dimples and puckers.

THE TWO WAYS TO DEAL WITH THE COLLAGEN:

  1. REMODEL AND STRENGTHEN THE FIBERS OF COLLAGEN

There is not good clinical evidence, but there are women that say cellulite treatments (that are available at salons and MD offices) that attempt to remodel collagen through heat, vibration, and light therapy work extremely well.  All of these treatments attempt to remodel collagen by causing deep tissue stimulation.  There are also some less expensive options to cause this deep tissue stimulation which include massage and self-deep tissue massage with foam rollers.

2.   BUILD UP THE MUSCLE

Because the collagen fibers connect to the muscles by way of the muscles’ fascia (connective tissue that lines the muscles), the development of the muscle impacts the tightness and tone of the collagen.  When women perform lower body resistance exercises, they strengthen these muscles and tighten the collagen (which reduces cellulite).

TWO WAYS TO DEAL WITH THE FAT:

  1. BURN THE FAT

Remember that I stated earlier in this post that the lower body fat on a woman is more resistant to being burned than the upper body fat?  Well, there are key steps to help burn this resistant, lower body fat.  The first of these steps is to go low carbohydrate with your diet (total carbs for the day around 100 grams).  The purpose of this is to reduce insulin which helps speed the fat release from the lower body by suppressing the action of certain receptors on the fat cell.  Along with this, the best exercise routine to burn lower body fat is to exercise on an empty stomach with intervals, resistance training, and lots of walking.  There are also a few supplements that can aid in this (green tea extract, coleus forskoli, and yohimbe).

2.  INCREASE THE BLOOD FLOW

Another characteristic of the lower body fat in women is that it has reduced blood flow compared to other body fat (such as belly fat).  So to help decrease this fat, it is helpful to increase blood flow.  There are several ways to do this:

  • exercise
  • hot baths and saunas
  • contrast hydrotherapy (alternating hot and cold)
  • massage

Another interesting thing to note about increasing the blood flow is that it is also great for removing fluid and improving the health and strength of collagen fibers.

So in summary, there is a genetic component to cellulite that we cannot control.  This is the part not to worry about!  Concentrate on the things you can do which include:

  • HELPING TO REMODEL AND STRENGTHEN THE COLLAGEN
  • BUILD UP THE MUSCLE
  • BURN THE FAT
  • INCREASE THE FLOOD FLOW

IF YOU WOULD LIKE FURTHER HELP AND GUIDANCE WITH THIS, PLEASE CHECK YOU MY Nurturing Fitness Life Online MembershipBy selecting this service and agreeing to a three-month minimum, you will get many benefits including customized nutrition and exercise programs that can be geared to your goals (from cellulite reduction, to weight loss, to muscular development, to increased energy).  Please let me know if you have any questions!  I look forward to hearing from you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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MY TOP TIPS TO BE HEALTHY AND FIT WHILE TRAVELING WITH KIDS!

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I just spent the last week at the beach with my kids.  It was just the five of us so I took extra care while preparing and packing for the trip.  It was also the first vacation that I have taken since starting Nurturing Fitness so I think I was more conscious of the choices that I make automatically to keep my healthy and fit lifestyle while traveling.  So, here are my top tips related to nutrition, lodging, and exercise to be a fit and healthy mom while traveling with your kids.

My tips for nutrition while traveling:

  1. Shop at home before you leave for foods to eat on the way and while you are there.  I purchase all the shelf-stable foods before I leave.  For this trip, my fat-loss lifestyle foods that I purchased before we left included oat bran cereal, apples, protein bars, nuts, beef jerky, water, and protein shakes.  I packed most of these foods in a box but left out a small about of protein bars, beef jerky, and protein shakes to eat on the way.
  2. Keep foods readily available in the car.  As I alluded to above, I kept protein bars, beef jerky, and protein shakes up front in the van so that I could eat every three hours or so.  Going extended periods of time without eating can lead to cravings, fluctuations in blood sugar, and poor food choices later.  A day in the car with my kids combined with being very hungry upon arrival could definitely make me more prone to eating too much of the wrong things.
  3. Shop at the grocery store once you get there.  My kids and I went to the grocery store once we got to the beach before we got to the hotel.  I bought all the perishable fat-loss foods that we would need for the stay.  And because this was a vacation and I did not want to worry about food prep, all the foods could be eaten without any preparation or could be prepared in five minutes or less.  The foods that I bought at the grocery store included shredded lettuce, baby spinach, hard-boiled eggs, nitrate-free deli turkey, Parmesan cheese, pre-cooked and sliced chicken, steam-in-a-bag frozen broccoli/cauliflower/asparagus, and Greek yogurt.

Once final note about nutrition on vacation.  It would take less preparation to eat out most meals while on vacation, but I do not do this for two reasons.  The first reason is because I am on a budget and going out to eat with four kids is expensive.  The second reason is that I like having direct control over my nutrition the majority of the time.  It is true that most restaurants will customize your order if you ask.  But while on vacation with my children by myself, it was time-consuming enough to order for them the few times we went out without trying to make choices for myself.  Additionally, it was actually more relaxing and easier to feed myself and my kids in the comfort of our hotel room listening to the ocean than eating in a restaurant.

My tips for where to stay while traveling:

  1. Stay somewhere with a mini kitchen.  To make fat loss eating easier, stay in a hotel, condo, or house that has at the very least a refrigerator and microwave.  Ideally, the refrigerator should be a full-sized one.  We stayed at a great hotel at the beach that had a small but fully equipped kitchen.  I have stayed in places with mini refrigerators and places with no refrigerators (where I used a cooler) but having a refrigerator is much easier.  The easier you make it, the better you will be at sticking with your fat-loss eating.
  2. Stay somewhere with a gym.  The easiest way to keep up with your fat-loss exercise routine is to have access to a gym where you are staying.  As long as there are dumbbells and a treadmill, you are good to go.  It just takes thirty minutes a day with this minimal equipment to complete fat-loss workouts!  If there is a gym/workout room in your hotel, it is easy to get up thirty minutes before everyone else to get your workout in.
  3. If you cannot stay in lodging with a gym, take your own weights from home.  A simple set of dumbbells is all you need.  I had to do this for this past week, not because the hotel did not have a gym, but because I could not leave my kids alone to go to the gym.  So, I brought my dumbbells from home and worked out in the hallway outside my room each morning.  I also used the stairs to do high intensity interval training for cardio.

My tips for workouts while on vacation:

  1. Workout the morning you are leaving.  I recommend this for a number of reasons.  First, when I workout before a long car ride with my children, it makes me more tolerant and patient with them.  Second, it makes me more likely to make good food choices while traveling in the car.  I get bored in the car and like to snack to pass the time, but working out before hand makes me think twice.  Finally, my morning workouts set the tone for my day and influences the choices I will make for the rest of the day. Before a vacation, I find the workout also sets the stage for the choices I will make while on the vacation.
  2. Workout while on vacation.  I believe for most of us routines help us to be consistent with things.  Once you start a routine of working out but then discontinue while on vacation, it is easier to make excuses for missing workouts once you get home.  Also, as I indicated above, getting a good workout in before you start your day can help pave the way for healthy, fat-loss choices for the rest of the day.

 The bottom line is that is does take some preparation and thought to be a fit, healthy, and busy mom.  This is true on a daily basis and especially true when on vacation.  I often hear moms complain initially about this preparation, finding the time, and making the effort.  But in reality, thinking ahead and preparing is something that moms do all the time and are very good at.  The key mind-shift here is for moms to include prioritizing themselves and making sure their preparation for daily life and vacations includes actions or plans that ensure their success at being fit and healthy.  At first, it may take a little more effort to learn the skill, but after that, the time commitment is very minimal.  So, the next time you take a vacation, try some of these tips.  And if you would like to learn more about nutrition and exercise to be a fit and healthy mom, click HERE.

What To Do When Life Gets In The Way!

lifeLet’s face it, all of us moms out there know that despite our best laid out plans, almost every day unexpected things happen that make it hard to take care of ourselves.

I think all of us want to take better care of ourselves.  We want to be fit and healthy (physically, mentally, and emotionally).  For some of you, part of the issue may be that we do not know how you should be eating or exercising.  That issue is easily dealt with a program such as my 12 Week Customized Program.  The first step is to gain this knowledge, but even once the knowledge is gained, we all have one common problem: LIFE GETS IN THE WAY!  This is a universal problem for all humans, but this is especially true for mothers because we are responsible for the well-being of out children.  The events that get in the way of us taking care of ourselves can be little things like traffic, children with colds, or overtime at work.  They can also be bigger things like vacations, illness or disease in your family, or job changes.  They can also be really big things like serious medical issues, divorce, or moving across the country.  Regardless of if the circumstance is good or bad, happy or sad; these unexpected bumps in the road often derail our attempts to take care of ourselves.

Even with my personal business being to assist busy moms in becoming healthy and fit, my life often tries to get in the way.  When things pop up, I find myself taking care of everyone else first.  The added unexpected events in life add to the stress that is put on your body.  This stress (whether good or bad) raises stress hormone levels and adversely affects body composition, hunger, craving, energy, and mood.  Even more importantly if left undealt with, this additional stress takes a toll on other systems in your body like your digestive and adrenal systems.  Find more information on this HERE.

What I have learned over the years and what I teach my clients is that there are ways to deal with “life getting in the way” that allows you to still be a healthy and fit mom (or become one) in the midst of these issues.  So the point of this post is for me to share with you my 4 KEY WAYS TO DEAL WITH LIFE GETTING IN THE WAY.

The first of these (and probably the most important) is to accept reality.  Accept was is happening (especially the bad things).  So many of us out there fight and argue in our heads about why circumstances are the way they are.  But don’t waste your energy wishing things are different, complaining,  or feeling that it is unfair.  Instead, accept the situation for what it is and use your energy towards something proactive (such as moving forward and creating a new reality for yourself).  It may sound a little bit silly, but we all have a finite amount of physical and mental energy and if we waste it on fighting out situation, we cannot move forward.

The second of these is to prioritize sleep.  Sleep is your hormonal reset button.  Sleep drastically changes and balances your hormones.  It helps your body heal from physical, emotional, and mental challenges.  Sleep balances hormones by lowering leptin, insulin, and cortisol and raising HGH, testosterone, and melatonin.  So by making sleep a priority all the time (but especially when “life gets in the way” you can combat your elevated cortisol levels and increase the likelihood of muscle-building and fat burning.  I realize that during times of disruption in life, there may not be time for 8 hours of sleep at night or you may find it difficult to sleep.  My personal solution to this is to take naps.  Naps do not have to be long, even 20 minutes helps, but the optimal amount is 2 hours.  I stay home with my children and home-school them so I have an opportunity to take a nap in the afternoon when my baby and 3-year-old are asleep.  If you work full-time and are not getting enough sleep, try taking a nap on Saturday or Sunday.  If you consistently have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, click here for some free information!

The third of these is to stay as consistent with your nutrition as possible.  This can be hard for a couple of reasons.  Normally when “life is getting in the way”  you are more susseptable to having cravings and hunger for unhealthy foods do to elevated stress hormone levels.  It can also be hard because your time may be being consumed by the unexpected issue and leave you very little time to prepare meals ahead or even spend time shopping at the grocery store.  I have several methods I use to deal with this.  The first is to make sure that I always eat breakfast.  Eating breakfast decreases the rise of stress hormones that usually occurs in the mornings.  It is imperative that this meal contains protein and not the typical breakfast foods (cereals, juice, toast) because will actually have the opposite affect on cortisol levels and elevate insulin as well.  I also use a lot of convenience foods during these times.  So, for snacks, I make sure I have protein bars, apples, nuts, jerky, and premixed protein shakes available.  For meals, I may often use a drive through and get a grilled chicken salad or a grilled chicken sandwhich without the bun.  I will also get a lot of precut and washed bagged green, rotisserie chicken, steam in the bag microwave veggies, and even hard boiled eggs.  I find that when I have plenty of the easy fat loss foods available, I am much less likely to go out of my way to choose unhealthy options.

The last key way that I deal with life getting in the way is to make sure I stay active.  I make sure that I exercise intensely with weights for 20-30 minutes or a take a leisurely walk.  The intense exercise is beneficial because it counteracts the negatived affects of elevated cortisol levels by causing an increase in HGH and testosterone.  It is only 20-30 minutes so is relatively easy to fit into the day, but there are occasionally times when all the stress of “life getting in the way” leaves me exhausted and unable to manage an intense workout.  When this occurs, I turn to a leisurely walk.  Leisurely walks are not big calorie burners but they are great for lowering cortisol levels.

One of my jobs as a coach for my clients is to help them work through “life getting in the way”.  As a bystander, I can often see solutions or modifications to their lifestyle that will be extremely beneficial for them that they cannot see.  Moms often find it difficult to comprehend how to take care of themselves in the midst of everything going on around them.  I hope you find these key ways helpful.  If you have questions or would like individual help, I would love to hear from you!

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