Banish Cellulite in 20 Minutes

Cottage cheese thighs. Seems that no matter how much you diet or how much money you spend on products and potions those ugly, orange-peel bumps are still there, stuck to your bottom half and impossible to conquer.

Well, get ready to win! We're going to show you how to shed cellulite without expensive wraps, creams or supplements.

The best part: It takes only 20 minutes, three days a week. "With the right exercise plan, you can reduce cellulite and make your lower body look smoother and firmer," says Prevention magazine adviser Wayne L. Westcott, who recently developed the Cellulite Solution Exercise Plan.

"When we put 16 women ages 26 to 66 on our program for eight weeks, all of them reported less cellulite in their lower body. And 70 percent of them reported a lot less."

It wasn't just wishful thinking. On average, the women lost just over 3 pounds of fat, added 2½ pounds of muscle and shed almost 1½ inches from their hips. What's more, ultrasound tests confirmed it.

Overall, the women shrank the lumpy fat layer on their thighs by 1.3 millimeters and increased smooth muscle tissue in the same area by 1.8 mm. It doesn't sound like much, but it definitely made their legs look smoother and firmer.

The Truth About Cellulite

The best part of this program is that it puts to rest the mistaken notion that cellulite is some mysterious condition. Despite what you've heard about trapped toxins or poor circulation being to blame, cellulite is one thing -- fat.

It just looks different because of how it's arranged. Everyone has strands of connective tissue that separate fat cells into compartments and connect fat tissue to skin. In women, these fibers form a honeycomblike pattern, so any increase of fat in a given area tends to bulge. You don't see cellulite in men because their fibers run in a horizontal, criss-cross pattern that prevents bulging or dimpling.

So why does cellulite seem to appear out of nowhere and get worse as we get older?

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More From Prevention:

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There are two reasons. First, it's because tissue changes. Those strands of connective tissue thicken with age, and our skin gets thinner, says Katie Rodan, a clinical assistant professor of dermatology at Stanford University. "The combined effect is more pronounced cellulite," she explains.

Second, and more important, the average woman loses 5 pounds of muscle and replaces it with about 15 pounds of fat every decade of her adult life, Westcott says. "Because fat is exceptionally soft, it doesn't keep our skin taut like muscle does. It also takes up more space, so it bulges out."

To get rid of cellulite, you have to reduce the underlying fat stores and replace lost muscle tissue. "You won't find a cellulite cure in cosmetic products or procedures," says Jeffrey Sklar, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Columbia University. "But the more muscle tone you have, the less of a problem it will be."

For more health tips, check out the latest issue of Prevention, on shelves now.

The Cellulite Solution Exercise Plan

Follow this three-step, 20-minute program, three days a week, and watch those ripples disappear.

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