If ugly, dimpled thighs are putting a dampener on your appearance, our 14-day anti-cellulite plan could solve all your ‘orange-peel’ problems.
‘No matter what beauty therapists might tell you, cellulite isn’t a build-up of toxins, it’s actually fat held in stacked lipid boxes – pure and simple. If you gain weight or the collagen fibres holding those boxes together start to thicken, the fat is squished upwards, creating a dimpled look.’
And as this fat has high numbers of water-attracting cells, fluid is drawn into those boxes, leading to more lumps. So the severity of your cellulite depends on: how much fat and fluid your lipid boxes contain; how thick the collagen fibres become and how firm your skin is.
All of these factors are influenced by genetics, age and the number of free radicals in your system – but they can be radically improved by the foods you eat. ‘Your diet alone can determine whether you have cellulite,’ says nutritional therapist and homotoxicologist Karen Devine. So follow our four rules and banish the bumps.
Four rules for beating cellulite
1. Reduce fluid retention
This is the most important rule, as eliminating excess fluid from your fat cells will dramatically reduce the amount bulging from those stacked lipid boxes. So you need to cut out salt, drink more water and eat more naturally diuretic foods, including cranberries, celery, fennel and asparagus.
2. Burn fat
While slim women do get cellulite, excess fat makes the condition far worse, so this diet plan gives around 1,400 calories a day, on which you should lose about 2lb of fat a week.
3. Plump your skin
‘Cellulite looks worse on dehydrated skin,’ says Henrietta. This is because the more water there is in your skin cells, the plumper the skin will be over the fat boxes and the less the dimpling will show.
Healthy fats hydrate the skin because they encourage fluid to remain inside the skin cells rather than in the fat cells. So nuts, seeds, olives and oily fish are important elements of this plan.
4. Decrease oestrogen levels
Oestrogen is involved in cellulite production as it triggers the production of fat cells and encourages fluid retention. In fact, according to Karen Devine, ‘One of the most important cellulite-fighting foods is flaxseed, which contains hormone modulators called lignans, which lower excess oestrogen levels.’ Just sprinkle one to two tablespoons of flaxseed (also known as linseed) over your morning cereal or porridge.
If you follow these rules it will help in the fight against cellulite, but how do you incorporate them all into your life? Easy – our seven-day diet does it all for you.
Follow it for two weeks to visibly improve surface cellulite and tackle fluid retention, and for up to six weeks to create a longer-lasting effect that targets the problem at the source. Not only that, you’ll also be really re-energised on this plan.
Feel free to mix and match the ingredients – for example, if the diet suggests salmon, it’s okay to swap it for another oily fish. Just make sure you stick to the same quantities. Each day, drink two litres of low or no-calorie fluid such as water, diet soda or herbal tea.
If you suffer from fluid retention, have one or two cups of dandelion or fennel tea a day to help flush out fluid faster.
What to eat on the seven-day anti-cellulite diet
Breakfast 125g (41/2oz) low-fat yoghurt topped with 1 chopped apple and 1tbsp ground flaxseed. 200ml (7fl oz) cranberry juice.
Lunch Salad of rocket, dandelion leaves and 5-6 sun-dried tomatoes topped with 25g (1oz) grated Parmesan and 100g (4oz) sliced chicken. Serve with 2 slices of linseed bread (available from health food stores) spread with a little low-fat hummus.
Dinner 100g (4oz) grilled salmon served with unlimited asparagus and 3-4 new potatoes.
Snacks to eat when you’re hungry 1 handful of any nut, 1 orange and 125g (41/2oz) low-fat cottage cheese.
Breakfast 1 boiled egg served with 2 slices of toasted linseed bread and a thin scraping of low-fat spread. 200ml (7fl oz) cranberry juice.
Lunch 100g (4oz) low-fat hummus mixed with 1tbsp flaxseed served with unlimited crudités made with carrots, celery, red peppers and broccoli florets.
Dinner 100g (4oz) grilled chicken breast served with unlimited red cabbage and peas and 50g (2oz) couscous.
Snacks to eat when you’re hungry 125g (41/2oz) low-fat yoghurt, 2 celery sticks dipped in 1tbsp of peanut butter and 1 slice of watermelon.
Breakfast Smoothie made with 200ml (7fl oz) skimmed milk blended with 1 banana and 1tbsp flaxseed. Fruit salad made with 1 orange, 1 pear and a large slice of watermelon chopped into pieces.
Lunch Potato salad made with 4-5 sliced new potatoes mixed with 2 chopped celery sticks and 1 apple mixed with 1tbsp low-fat mayonnaise or tzatziki dip. Top with 50g (2oz) smoked salmon.
Dinner 125g (41/2oz) lean steak with unlimited vegetables (such as courgettes, red peppers and aubergines) roasted with a little olive oil and rosemary. Serve with 150g (5oz) mashed butter beans.
Snacks to eat when you’re hungry 125g (41/2oz) low-fat yoghurt or crème fraîche, 1 orange and 1 handful of nuts.
Breakfast 3 oatcake biscuits topped with 1 mashed banana. Serve with 2-3 handfuls of raspberries or other berries. 125g (41/2oz) low-fat yoghurt.
Lunch Sandwich made from two slices of linseed bread spread with a little mayonnaise and filled with 75g (3oz) sliced chicken, unlimited cucumber and tomatoes. Serve with 200g (7oz) lentil soup.
Dinner Frittata made by mixing two eggs with 25g (1oz) low-fat grated cheese, unlimited sliced asparagus and 2-3 slices of chopped lean ham. Cook in a saucepan on a low heat until the bottom solidifies, then pop under the grill to finish. Serve with unlimited fennel chopped and sautéed with onions and unlimited broccoli.
Snacks to eat when you’re hungry 1 orange or peach, 125g (41/2oz) low-fat cottage cheese with pineapple mixed with 1tbsp flaxseed and 1 apple, sliced and dipped into 1tbsp peanut butter.
Breakfast 1 chopped peach and 1 pear mixed with 2 handfuls of raspberries and mixed with a splash of cranberry juice. Top with 125g (41/2oz) low-fat yoghurt and 1tbsp flaxseed.
Lunch 150g (5oz) jacket potato topped with coleslaw made with unlimited shredded cabbage and carrot and 1tbsp low-fat salad dressing.
Dinner 125g (41/2oz) white fish baked in the oven for 15-20 minutes at 200°C/180°C fan/Gas 6 and topped with a sauce made with 2-3 chopped tomatoes, 5-6 sliced black olives and a little chopped onion. Serve with cauliflower cheese made with unlimited cauliflower and a sauce made with 12g (1/2oz) flour, 12g (1/2oz) butter, 125ml (4fl oz) skimmed milk, 50g (2oz) low-fat grated cheese.
Snacks to eat when you’re hungry 2 celery sticks dipped in 1tbsp hummus, 1 handful of nuts and 1 pear or peach.
Breakfast 40g (11/2oz) porridge oats and skimmed milk topped with 1tsp cinnamon and 1tbsp flaxseed. 200ml (7fl oz) cranberry juice.
Lunch Salad made with rocket, pear and celery mixed with 1tbsp low-fat mayonnaise. Serve with 100g (4oz) tinned salmon.
Dinner 100g (4oz) pork cut into cubes and threaded into kebabs. Alternate with 3-4 pineapple cubes, sliced courgette and red pepper. Grill and serve with 50g (2oz) brown rice.
Snacks to eat when you’re hungry 2 oatcakes, 2 handfuls of berries, 125g (41/2oz) low-fat yoghurt or cottage cheese and 1 orange.
Breakfast Smoothie made with 200ml (7fl oz) skimmed milk, 2-3 handfuls of berries, 1 banana, 1tbsp flaxseed. 2 oatcakes spread with a little low-fat spread.
Lunch 100g (4oz) lean roast beef with unlimited cauliflower and cabbage with 1tbsp low-fat gravy.
Dinner 2 slices of bread topped with half an avocado, mashed, and served with 50g (2oz) chicken and sliced tomatoes. Serve with 200g (7oz) tomato soup.
Snacks to eat when you’re hungry 1 handful of any variety of nut, 1 slice of watermelon and 1 orange.