Does Losing Weight Get Rid of Cellulite? (Expert’s Opinion)

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Published by Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: March 25, 2024
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Cellulite is a cosmetic condition that affects most women and some men at some point in their lifetime.

As an MMA fighter with over a decade of experience, I've trained numerous women who've asked whether losing weight would help them reduce cellulite.

Through extensive research and practical experience in fitness, I've gained valuable insights into the relationship between weight loss and cellulite reduction.

Quick Summary

  • Losing weight can reduce the appearance of cellulite, but it does not completely eliminate it.
  • Cellulite is caused by factors like age, loss of collagen, tissue inflammation, family history, and increased fat cells.
  • A Brazilian study published in Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology showed that ten hour-long sessions of lymphatic draining massage over two and a half weeks improved the appearance of cellulite.
  • In my opinion, a combination of targeted treatments and a healthy lifestyle can significantly reduce the appearance of cellulite.

Why Cellulite Occurs?

Cellulite around the body

Cellulite occurs because of excess fat deposits in areas where there’s a network of connective tissues covered by a thin skin layer.

Cellulite happens when connective fibers underneath the skin become weak or loose. There’s a fat layer that contains fibrous connective tissue.

Over time, this tissue degenerates, and cellulite forms.

"Fat pushes between the connective tissue beneath the skin, making the surface of the skin pucker and look lumpy. Most women have cellulite of some description or indeed will get it at some point in their lives, and having it does not mean you are unhealthy."

- Dr. Ross Perry, Medical Director at Cosmedics Skin Clinic

About 80% to 90% of women have a certain amount of cellulite because their bodies are made up of 25% of fat. On the other hand, only 10% to 15% of man’s bodies are made up of fat, so a lower number of men have cellulite.

Women's higher estrogen levels affect how their fat cells behave, contributing to cellulite development, especially as estrogen levels increase with age.

In addition to physical aspects, it's important to address the psychological impact of cellulite, such as lowered self-esteem or social anxiety, which many individuals experience but often goes unspoken in discussions about cellulite.

Other reasons why cellulite forms include:

  • Age
  • Family history
  • Tissue inflammation
  • Loss of collagen
  • Poor circulation
  • Increase of fat cells because of fat gain

Weight Loss and Cellulite

Pinching side fats

Cellulite's connection to body weight is complex. While overweight individuals may see cellulite reduction with weight loss, those with a normal BMI might not notice significant changes.

This is because cellulite, rooted in fat tissue formation, doesn't completely disappear with weight loss; fat cells merely shrink.

Even fit individuals can have cellulite, and while exercise helps, it doesn't fully eradicate it.

Essentially, reducing body fat can lessen cellulite to some extent, but it's not a complete solution.

While exploring the relationship between weight loss and cellulite reduction, it's crucial to acknowledge the role of genetics, as they significantly influence how cellulite forms, where cellulite appears, such as on the arms, stomach, or thighs. and responds to lifestyle changes.

Related article:

4 Ways to Get Rid of Cellulite

Having a massage and drinking water

You can never eliminate cellulite, but you can strengthen the connective tissue over the body. This is especially important if you’re in the process of losing weight.

You can do several treatments to keep the skin supple and cure cellulite.

1. Lymphatic Draining Massage

Lymphatic draining massage is one of the best cellulite treatments. It works on the lymphatic blood vessels and removes cellulite.

As an MMA fighter, I've found lymphatic draining massages crucial for recovery and noticed they also help in reducing cellulite.

A Brazilian study published in Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology found that ten hour-long sessions of this massage over two and a half weeks had improved cellulite look [1].

This massage also improves the skin’s overall appearance and temperature.

If you don’t have time for this massage, you can try a five-minute home massage a couple of times a week.

2. Water

Lack of water can make cellulite worse because you aren’t flushing toxins out of your body. Drinking water and a healthy diet will keep your skin looking fresh and youthful.

In my training routine, staying hydrated is key; I've observed it not only boosts performance but also aids in reducing cellulite.

It’s recommended to have 6 to 8 glasses of water a day, which is about 1.5l a day.

Note: Don’t drink too much water, as this will have the opposite effect and cause swelling of cellulite instead of reducing cellulite.

  • Age
  • Family history
  • Tissue inflammation
  • Loss of collagen
  • Poor circulation
  • Increase of fat cells because of fat gain

3. Collagen Peptides

Pouring Collagen Peptides to drink

Collagen, vital for skin and connective tissue strength, is often compromised by cellulite. From my experience, supplementing with collagen peptides has strengthened my skin and connective tissues, visibly reducing cellulite.

Enhancing collagen levels, for instance through collagen supplements, can counteract this by supporting dermal metabolism and tissue repair.

Research published in the Journal of Medicinal Food indicates that bioactive collagen peptides have shown improvements in cellulite over six months [2].

4. Healthy Lifestyle

While there’s no way to prevent cellulite, a healthy lifestyle can reduce it or even postpone its creation.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise and a balanced diet has been essential in my MMA career and effective in managing cellulite.

You should do regular exercise that targets lower body muscles to improve the dimpled appearance of your thighs. HIIT workout and strength training is especially effective in removing cellulite.

You should also eat a plant-heavy diet, and foods rich in lecithin, such as:

  • Eggs
  • Apples
  • Peanuts
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli

FAQs

Does Cellulite Go Away When You Tone Up?

No, cellulite doesn’t go away when you tone up, but this may help improve its appearance.

Does Walking Reduce Cellulite on Thighs?

Yes, walking can reduce cellulite on the thighs.


References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3114606/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4685482/
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About The Author

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC is an ex-National Soccer player turned MMA and Kickboxing champion, with ACE CPT and PN1-NC certifications. His advice is rooted in education and experience, ensuring that readers receive scientific and battle-tested insights. His mission is to empower his clients and readers to realize their potential and become the best versions of themselves.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Kristy June Dayanan, BS, MD is an author with a BS degree from University of the Philippines and an MD from University of Perpetual Help System. Her ability to simplify medical science complexities and dietary supplement jargon for the average reader makes her a valued medical fact checker and reviewer.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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