“The human body is the best work of art.” — Jess C. Scott
Why is it that we delight in waves that turn still bodies of water into lilting streams, lakes and oceans…
…and the sunshine, shadows and exploration derived from rolling hills…
…yet believe that women’s skin should appear as clear and bump-less as an egg?
I’m sure you know where I’m heading with this. Some of you may be giggling or rolling your eyes. That’s okay! I get it. My dream for us all to embrace our bodies, with or without wavy skin, is lofty and arguably unrealistic. But if you’ll bear with me, I hope you’ll see that the above comparisons aren’t as wacky as they may seem. For those of you struggling with cellulite-loathing or poor body image in general, I hope that exploring some of cellulite’s perks will inspire you to cut yourself some slack.
Why explore cellulite now?
In a word? Inspiration. Last week I had the privilege of discussing ways to live sensual, pleasure-filled lives on the Loving & Lasting Radio Show with Ande Lyons, the ebullient passion curator of Bring Back Desire. We discussed everything from my very first memory of poor body image to air-brushed images of women, sans cellulite, in magazines.
As I mentioned on Ande’s show, most women—and many men—experience cellulite. Over 34,000 cellulite treatments were conducted in med-spas in 2009, according to The American Board of Plastic Surgery. Liposuction is currently the most popular plastic surgery treatment in the world, and cellulite creams (which do little more than moisturize) have been raging in popularity for years.
Imagine if we invested all of the energy we put into disliking or attempting to change largely natural shifts in our skin and other aesthetics into more positive pursuits! I’m not suggesting that we stop caring about physical beauty, but that we broaden its definition. Regardless of where you stand on these issues, I hope you’ll consider the following facts.
5 Benefits of Cellulite
1. It’s normal. Most women develop cellulite at some point, in varying degrees. We’ve been taught to celebrate skin as smooth as egg shells, but the truth? Perfectly smooth, dimple- free skin is extremely rare, regardless of one’s age, shape or size. And most of the “flawless” bodies depicted in magazines we compare ourselves result from airbrushing and other editing—not special treatments, diets or genetics. Reminding ourselves that in most cases, cellulite does not reflect a serious health problem and that even most models in magazines experience it can help keep our perspective in check. (We’ll talk more about potential health concerns shortly.)
2. It’s feminine! Women are designed to have curves—some subtle, others more pronounced. What if we viewed the gentle waves in our skin as embraceable as waves in the ocean, or simply one trait that accompanies womanhood? The subcutaneous fat that causes those waves and dimples tends to appear on our hips and thighs, which are particularly womanly (BEAUTIFUL ♥) body areas. If fatty areas on your hips or thighs bother you, grasp them gently and say, “I am a woman!” Defining ourselves as curvy, feminine and authentic is far more positive and attractive than fixating on perceived flaws.
3. It can alert us to the need for self-care. While some amount of cellulite is normal, severe cases can derive from poor lifestyle habits, such as eating a restrictive, overly processed or low-nutrient diet or exercising too little. It can also derive from estrogen deficiencies. Lucky for all of us, these issues are fixable! Taking better care of ourselves makes way for healthy, normalized skin and countless added perks, from improved sleep, energy and moods to healthy weight control, cholesterol levels and immune function. If you have difficulty prioritizing self-care, don’t be afraid to reach out. Very often, emotional issues underlie poor lifestyle habits. Seeking greater emotional fulfillment and self-acceptance can make a healthy lifestyle a near given—or at least obtainable.
4. It provides an opportunity for self-strengthening and empowerment. Too often, we wait to live fully until ____. “I’ll be happy when I lose 50 pounds,” we might say, or “I’ll meet Mr./Ms. Right when I look attractive.” But that’s seldom how it works… Every time we accept ourselves, particularly aspects of our bodies society at large erroneously deems unattractive, we strengthen our character. We stand up taller, physically and emotionally, appear more attractive—because comfort with ourselves is SEXY!—and serve as positive role models in a world that is lacking. Particularly if you’re have or spend ample time around children, displaying self-embracement is a tremendous gift.
5. Accepting cellulite can help strengthen relationships and make way for a satisfying sex life! Cellulite should never stand in the way of Girl Boner bliss. Chances are, your partner could not care less about your cellulite. If he or she does care, it’s likely only because you find it bothersome and they value your happiness, or in severe cases, because it’s one sign of numerous that you’re lacking self-care. When we embrace our bodies and selves, we’re more likely to desire and prioritize sex, experience sexual pleasure and orgasm and feel intimately connected with our partners. Who doesn’t want that?
For more on body image and sensuality, listen to my interview with Ande Lyons here: Blog Talk Radio: How to Live a Sensual, Pleasure-Filled Life—August McLaughlin or on iTunes. Her series in fantastic, and you can subscribe to the podcasts for FREE!
How do you feel about cellulite? Do you think we should embrace moderate amounts as “normal” or even beautiful? Which of the benefits above most struck you? Any perks to add? Or burning questions you’d like answered? I always love hearing from you. Speaking of which…
SPECIAL REMINDER: Don’t forget to join me, Ande Lyons, Pauline Campos and many more tonight for #BodyThanks—a Twitter party celebrating positive body image just in time for Thanksgiving! We’ll be starting up at 6pm PST. Simply enter the #BodyThanks hashtag in the Twitter search window to watch and join in! ♥ More details are available on the Facebook event page.