Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Skinny on Cellulite

   Everyone knows what cellulite is, but few people know what causes it. Knowledge is half the battle, the half is hard work. And no, I don't mean in remembering to apply all those creams and serums as hard work. Cellulite is caused by subcutaneous fat that pokes and pushes through the connective tissue around your muscles. It's more common in women because of the muscle structure differences in men and women. Cellulite doesn't indicate excess weight or obesity and can be determined genetically. So unfortunately, if all the women in your family have it, you probably will too. Good news is, while you can't get rid of it without liposuction, you can minimize it's appearance!

 As you can see, the reasons cellulite forms is toxins in the body, enlarged fat cells, poor circulation, a lack of connective tissue, and water retention. While today's diets are full of toxins it's unrealistic to think you will simply get rid of all toxins in your body but eating clean, and even healthy will help. Not only will you feel better overall from a healthy diet, it will most likely help you lose weight. Losing weight will obviously shrink the enlarged fat cells. Guess what helps improve circulation... exercise! The more you exercise, the more capillaries your body creates to increase blood flow and oxygen consumption to the muscles. Oddly enough, garlic and onions also increase circulation so add them to some meals on a weekly basis... No one will want to kiss you, but your butt will look nice. Exercise and eating healthy also helps tighten your tissues (and tushy!) and will help with water retention. Don't dehydrate yourself! If you don't give your body water regularly, it will retain it's water stores so that you don't become dehydrated. So what you need to do is stay hydrated. Drink lots of water! Water also makes your complexion look better, your skin feel smoother, and has a hundred other great properties... your body is made of over 70% water and you need it. So just drink it. 
  If you are tan or have a darker complexion, the dimples will be less noticeable. Using a self tanner will not only give you a summer kissed glow without the damaging sun exposure, but will also disguise the dimples! I suggest this over the "cellulite creams" seeing as they haven't been proven at all to lessen it's appearance and it will not get rid of it. At least with a self tanner, you get the confidence boost from the tan too.

   The best option though to reduce the appearance of cellulite is to exercise. Tightening the muscles and burning the fat will help reduce the cellulite you do have. While you can't necessarily target just one area, taking part in a full body resistance program and lots of cardio is the most beneficial. Since cellulite is fat, decreasing your overall fat is your best option, and increasing your muscles tone won't hurt your appearance at all either.
   So for those of you buying all the creams or looking into lipo, just hit the gym and the produce stand. You won't necessarily get rid of the cellulite but unfortunately if you have it, it's here to stay in some capacity. A healthy body and mind will also give you so many other benefits and boost your confidence that you won't even notice the lingering cellulite... and neither will anybody else!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Children and Obesity: A growing Epidemic

   The United States has two current epidemics: starvation, and obesity. How that makes any sense blows my mind. While both are extremely threatening to a persons health, I'm going to focus on childhood obesity. Children cannot make too many of their own choices when it comes to diet and nutrition; they can eat what is provided to them. This means it is the job of the parent to provide them with all of their nutritional needs. I am not a parent, but I see more and more obese children each day. Letting them have ice cream for dinner once in a while might be okay, but every day isn't. Letting them sit in front of the TV for hours or sit out in gym class isn't helping them either. They learn by example, which means the parents have to be active and eat healthy too which unfortunately seems to be on the decline. You might think the "baby weight" is okay or that they will grow out of it but you aren't doing them any favors, and the health risks are very high.
   Children who suffer from obesity have a much larger chance of it developing into type 2 diabetes. While children used to only be diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (Juvenile diabetes), many more are now being diagnosed with type 2 which is a result of their diet. Obese children also suffer from numerous psychological issues including low self esteem. Today, 33% of children and adolescents are considered not just overweight, but obese, meaning they have a BMI of over 30. Obese children are also much more likely to have higher risk for cardiovascular disease and bone and joint problems from growing bones having to support the excess weight. These are all serious health problems that need to be changed.

   I'm sure some of you have heard in the news that some schools were starting to make changes in their nutrition plans and even sending some children home with a letter from the nurse if they had a BMI that classified them as overweight or obese, and parents became outraged. Why? Probably because it made them feel like a bad parent, because let's face it, the school nurse wasn't trying to be a bully, she was simply pointing out facts about your child's health. If you have an obese child, not all hope is lost but it is time to make changes.
   Educate your children on healthy choices, portion control, and general nutrition. Make sure they know how important it is to get outside or be active for at least 60 minutes a day. Start doing family walks or activities that promotes health. I'll never forget, when I was a server this family used to bring their 3 year old in and let him have soda, an entire small pizza, an order of french fries, and then ice cream. He was so overweight that his muscles couldn't support his weight and he had to be carried everywhere. But, as the family said, he was so happy and just loved pizza and ice cream. All I saw was a 3 year old who weighed around 100 pounds and couldn't even walk because his family let him have whatever he wanted. That isn't doing the child any favors! You are setting them up for a lifetime of problems, mentally and physically. It's disappointing but bullying is a very real problem these days and low self esteem can create a whole new world of problems, including depression. I go to the zoo and parks, and I see children who could easily walk being pushed in a stroller. I understand they might not walk as fast as you, but you are probably there for them anyways. You as a parent have to create the healthy environment and it will benefit the whole family.