What causes cellulite? Toilet seats?!
Toilet seats cause cellulite. Its a radical conclusion, I know. Stick with me for a few minutes and I'll explain.
I've been under-muscled almost my entire life due to a series of childhood illnesses and toxin exposures. Where your body doesn't have enough muscle, it likes to have some fat. Its inefficient, and even dangerous, for your body to have neither much muscle or much fat. Muscle and fat serve as a place to store glycogen (bound up glucose that you use for energy), and as a place to store toxins that you don't currently have the means to excrete from your body.
As a result, my lack of muscle has meant a thick layer of fat. While most people called me "average" in size even at my highest weight (153 lbs), I was a mass of fat. I was very weak, and increasingly covered in cellulite as I "grew up".
Like most Americans, I was more concerned about the unseemly cellulite than my lack of muscle. I tried creams and lotions. I made a half-hearted attempt at a few squats every few weeks. The cellulite just continued to get worse, stretching all the way down to my knees.
When I first eliminated processed foods from my diet, I lost thirty pounds in thirty days. I was smaller, and had much less fat, and yet I still had quite a bit of cellulite (although, it was slightly reduced). Those thirty days consisted of sitting in front of my computer and eating a lot.
At the time, I was under the delusion that potatoes and brown rice were health food, and so those were the staple of my diet. I also ate ice-berg lettuce and tomatoes with a home-made vinaigrette — a paltry nod to vegetables. Even still, I was removing processed foods from my diet. I was eating whole foods, even if they were the lowliest of the whole foods nutritionally. And that was still enough to lose thirty pounds effortlessly, while simply sitting about and getting very little exercise.
Losing fat is that easy (unless it is accompanied by a severe dysfunction of the adrenal glands or a severe intestinal flora problem — both of which are increasingly common among "civilized" countries). In the absence of a toxin-rich diet, your body is able to shed the fat that it held on to merely for storing all those toxins from the food. (Sometimes people hold onto toxins from stress, which can also cause an inability to lose weight by simply removing processed foods.)
Losing the cellulite is work in progress. While my overall health now matters to me more than cellulite, I now understand that the cellulite is an indicator of lack of healthy muscle. While I'm now more than six times as strong as I was just four years ago (it is now January 2014 as I write this), I am still "under-muscled" in my own ("expert") opinion.
But more than that, I've realized a more true cause of the cellulite. There are those wishy-washy explanations about the shape of women's fat, but I'm not a fan of any explanation that tries to wave away personal responsibility. I do not choose to accept explanations which foster a sense of complacence (not to mention hopelessness). Instead, my aim is to be empowered and to empower others. (The latter is the basis for my free e-course which you can sign up for at the bottom of this page.)
Why are some women with fatty thighs seemingly cellulite-free? For most of them, its because their photos are air-brushed. But for those few women who do have smooth pretty skin on fatty thighs, what is the difference between them and the rest of us?
I believe the difference is circulation. Healthy muscle brings warmth and circulation to an area much better than fat. It also keeps the area warm and circulated in much colder conditions than fat does. Notice that the fatty regions of the body tend to be cooler to the touch than the more muscled areas. Also notice that if you slap the skin it becomes red and warm as circulation rushes to the skin.
I began to come to this conclusion by looking at myself nude before and after showering. A hot shower and plenty of thigh-scrubbing reduced cellulite appearance in just fifteen minutes. How was that possible? And furthermore, the more often I took a hot bath and/or shower and scrubbed vigorously, the less cellulite I appeared to have from day to day. But three hot showers a day is a tall order... So I can't say that I've kept up any sort of crazy bathing practices as a result of this discovery.
What I have done is incorporated what I learned. I now know that keeping my tush warm is part of the puzzle of removing the cellulite. It also makes it easier to sporadically decide to do squats and a series of butt-lifting exercises mostly consisting of raising the legs up behind you from all kinds of weird positions. Warm muscles complain a lot less when you try to exercise them.
Somewhere along this journey I read a book where Ann Wigmore talked about the importance of squatting when passing waste. Most toilets are not designed for this (although the Japanese have theirs sensibly set into the floors). In fact, toilets have us in a sitting position that actually pinches the colon, preventing us from fully eliminating waste that is ready to be passed.
Ann stressed that it was very important to get this stuff out immediately, and not wait and then sit in the same poor position again. Her viewpoint was from the standpoint of eliminating toxins rapidly to prevent re-absorption and to free the body of the stress of them.
More recently I read a fascinating article that explained that the dramatic rise in incontinence is also due to a lack of squatting. It explained that healthy, firm butt muscles are a large part of the picture for having bladder control. It even explained (against contrary popular belief) that kegels done in excess out of proportion with exercises of the lower back, butt, abdominals and thighs, would cause the pelvic floor muscle to become too tight in relation to the rest of the body, making you just as likely to pee involuntarily.
The solution proposed was to only do kegels when working out all of the other related muscle groups, or to forgo them entirely. Instead, simply do exercises that tighten the pelvic floor without any intentional effort to strengthen that muscle in isolation. The "candlestick" posture, for example, causes your pelvic floor to contract quite tightly, as well as your legs, buttocks, and abdomen. The article suggested squatting to pee each day when you shower, as a simple muscle maintenance habit that could be developed to help prevent incontinence as you age.
How does this all relate to cellulite? I'll get to that in just a moment.
I've found that in the winter, my cellulite becomes even more pronounced. Whereas the summer of 2013 spent on Kaua'i island decreased the appearance of cellulite. I've also noticed that the cold often causes my legs to become stiff, and in previous winters I've experienced severe butt cramping. I attribute the lack of cramps this winter to re-committing to a 100% raw diet, which has been well worth it on many levels.
In this past month, I've taken all of the above information into account. I thought about how sitting on the cold toilet-seat made me cold, how it wasn't good for complete elimination, and how it was a missed opportunity to squat and increase my muscle content. Thinking about all of that has been enough motivation to start squatting on my toilet seat at home.
I've found this practice to be even more valuable than I first thought. My entire body has become less susceptible to the winter cold as a result, and therefore I've had more energy.
While removing cellulite matters to me, my level of energy is the largest deciding factor in most of my decisions. I eat raw food because it makes me more energetic (not to mention preventing a lot of pain, such as side stitches when walking, monthly discomfort from being a woman, bloating, acid reflux, and all the other things that a cooked "healthy" diet gives me). I sleep on a schedule a bit outside of the norm because it gives me more energy. I like to draw, read, paint and design board games because these things all empower and energize me. I avoid TV and negative people because these things make me feel anxious, lethargic, aggravated and ultimately quite drained.
In conclusion, to reduce cellulite, toxins in the colon, the risk of developing incontinence and to increase your overall energy levels, I highly recommend squatting on the toilet seat instead of sitting on it. Even better, install a floor-level toilet bowl to make this less of a precarious balancing act.
With many chuckles & yet great sincerity,
Your favorite blog-writing gal,
PS: My initial statement that "toilets cause cellulite" is a bit of an overstatement, since, obviously, processed food plays a huge roll. That said, squatting is exercise that does help, and staying warmer does help, so your toilet really may be contributing to your cellulite.
PPS: Don't forget to sign up for my free e-course to get a dose of empowerment on a weekly basis.