Confession: I Have Cellulite and I Won't Be Ashamed Anymore!


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  308 comments   :  46,828 Views

We are a culture that is obsessed with bodies. They're plastered on magazines, billboards and websites to sell just about everything. Celebrities and models don bikinis and lingerie on the covers of women's and men's magazines alike. And even though most of us are savvy enough to know that these images do not reflect reality (they involve professional make-up and lighting, subtle camera angles, and of course, digital photo editing), they still shape our ideas about what a woman's body should look like. (You know, fit—but not too muscular—smooth and cellulite-free, and perfectly even in skin tone.)

But the unadulterated images affect us, too. When gossip magazines plaster unflattering photos of celebrities, telling you who has gained weight, who has the "worst bikini body" and who has cellulite (shocking!), we get the message: Look more like the perfect, albeit unrealistic, images and less like these shockingly imperfect (normal) bodies.

If you ever find yourself picking apart your own appearance or comparing your body shape, size, texture or tone to another person's ("Do I look bigger/smaller/better/worse than her?"), it's not hard to figure out why.

No wonder so many of us have poor body image and self-esteem. I am not immune to these images and cultural ideals; I've struggled with accepting my own body for my entire adult life. Why? Because I look much closer to the "worst" bikini bodies than I do the "best" ones, and that automatically makes me feel bad about myself.

I don't have a body like Jillian Michaels or a fitness model and probably never will. Moreover, I have the all-too-common but often dreaded cellulite on my thighs and booty that "plagues" 90% of women. I fall near the top of the "healthy" range according to my BMI and body fat percentage, and I feel OK about staying there. To me, it's not worth doing MORE exercise and eating FEWER calories just to drop a few pounds when I'm already healthy and fit. Yet I'm bombarded with comments from YouTube viewers calling me "fat" on a regular basis. Seriously?

I guess I can understand. We're quick to judge others based on how they look. Most people wouldn't want to hire an overweight personal trainer. "What does he or she know?" you'd think. And most people want to look more like the "idealistic" (aka unrealistic) images they see instead of an improved version of themselves. So when they see me, well, I guess they think I don't look good enough for them. But what more can I do? Spinning, running, sprints, strength training, Pilates—I do it all, usually 6 days a week for an hour or more. My body is what it is. My cellulite is here to stay, and it certainly doesn't mean that I’m "fat," lazy, unattractive or incompetent when it comes to fitness.

Not every woman is—or should be—a size 2, and nearly all women (and a small percentage of men) have cellulite, too. It's so normal and common, but you wouldn't know it because you seldom see it. When was the last time you picked up a magazine and saw cellulite (besides on the "shocking" photos that expose celebs as normal human beings)? I searched high and low for a photo for this blog and THIS is the best one I could find that actually "showed" cellulite--pathetic! Do we even know what a real body looks like? Real skin that isn't airbrushed? A normal woman? I'm starting to think that we have no idea. We don't see anything real anymore, and that is hurting us, setting us up for failure. The fact that we feel ashamed of our bodies or cellulite just goes to show how unrealistic our standards are. People like you and me are embarrassed to wear bathing suits and shorts, afraid others will see us for what we truly are: normal, imperfect people. But what's wrong with that?

I think it's time that we start embracing what we have and who we are instead of always wishing we were different. And I'm starting by rocking my bathing suit this summer. And my new shorts. And just wait, you may very see me sporting workout shorts in my future fitness videos, because I'm done hiding my legs for fear of what a few mean-spirited people might say. I'm done being embarrassed of being a normal, healthy woman. Let the naysayers say what they will—I'm not doing it for them. I'm doing it for me. Cellulite sisters unite!

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  • 308
    I love you, Nicole, your brave stand, your videos with appropriate modifications, your frankness and humor--love the "Cellulite sisters unite!" at the end of this blog. Thank you for reminding us not to be ashamed of being "normal." - 2/3/2016   10:55:52 PM
  • 307
    You go, girl! I'm so thankful for your encouragement towards a healthy lifestyle...Life is not about just looking "beautiful". Health will take us farther in life than just looking beautiful will! - 4/15/2015   12:13:13 PM
  • 306
    You should be PROUD of your attitude and Healthy Spirit ... Real Women have Curves and "MOST" Real Women have Cellulite. In reality although a lot of men might enjoy looking at a size 0 or 1 supermodel with her air-brushed photos, we wouldn't want to marry one. TOO High Maintenance and I really doubt if they are very good at being home-makers. I admire your positive take on what is and is not healthy and real. - 3/12/2015   10:48:27 PM
  • 305
    One of the best articles on here and I've read many. - 9/12/2014   5:33:57 PM
  • 304
    I think you look great and I love the workout videos. You are always so up beat and encouraging. Beauty has a lot more to do with who we are on the inside and not on the outside. One of my favorite Bible verses is 1 Peter 3:3-4:
    "Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight." - 3/8/2014   10:27:00 PM
  • 303
    I love it. - 1/6/2014   2:38:59 AM
  • SUZY522
    this is such a GREAT article. This is not only good for me but for my daughter too, she has lost about 85 pounds and she is looking real good, but all she worries about is the cellulite and such so she thinks she is STILL not small enough. I think she looks so good, I would give anything to be as small as her, but what I need to keep telling myself is I am trying, I need to try to love myself right now, which is as you say extremely hard for me because of todays society. I go out in public and have people staring, pointing, giggling and making downright mean remarks,,, makes me not want to even walk out my door. They do not know of the health problems I have, like having my thyroid removed because it had gone into a tumor and was flushing all the calcium out of my bones which was causing kidney stones, Problem is I only have 1 kidney so they had to do something to protect that. Besides that I have been on prednisone for over 10 years now, so losing a pound is a struggle for me,, but with the help of articles like this one,, I can make it. Thank you so much, you have made my life so much better and gave me a LOT to think about. - 7/6/2013   3:15:27 PM
  • 301
    Now THIS is an inspiring article. Thanks Nicole! I have just this last week or two started concentrating on the things that I really like about my body. I have worked out and lifted hard consistently for nearly 10 years. I have really changed my eating habits, too. It's not perfect, but it doesn't make me crazy and obsessive. Guess what? I'm still overweight. That doesn't make me happy, but that's just the way it is. I still look good in my clothes, but my legs have a lot of extra cushion. And it's bumpy. Like you, I never wear shorts, hate to wear a bathing suit. But, I'm starting to care a lot less what others think. So I've got some extra padding. But it is shapely and curvy and where it should be. You can tell there's muscle under there. So there! - 2/24/2012   3:18:06 PM
  • 300
    What? I can't believe that people would call you "fat". I would love to see what THEY look like, *guffaw*! I think you look fantastic!! And I love your attitude even more! - 8/31/2011   5:06:00 PM
  • 299
    Another great article, Nicole! I thank you for re-posting it. I think every woman has body image issues. I certainly do! As women who have these body image issues as well as cellulite, I think we should ban together. We are true woman unlike those perfected pictures.

    I think you look amazing, and it is heart breaking to read that people don't see what I see. From what I have read of your past blog, you have come a long way. I am proud of you for accomplishing your goals. I commend you on staying active and healthy because, like most, you could have just stopped all your progress once you achieved your desired weight. It's people like you, Nicole, who truly make a difference. You have made a difference in my life. Keep it up! - 8/31/2011   9:10:24 AM
  • 298
    I love this article!!! It took me a long time to love myself just the way I am. I wish I hadn't wasted so much time trying to be perfect and just enjoy being alive and healthy. I store fat in my hips and legs, I can't tell you how embarrassing it is not to have somewhat attractive legs. All the diet pills, starvation and exercise marathons to what end....I never accomplished what I trying to achieve. At 30 something I realized just how wonderful it is to be alive and healthy. That's what keeps me going and it feels GREAT! - 8/30/2011   11:19:36 PM
  • 297
    Did you ever notice that the women that say "I don't care, this is my body love it or hate it, it is what it is, fat or skinny, smooth or dimpled, I don't care" are the same women who seem to be enjoying themselves the most and actually living life? Oh how I hope to one day be one of them. - 8/30/2011   9:40:43 PM
  • 296
    I have tons of cellulite....and as much as I hope this blog/pep talk is true, it will never be true for me. I can't seem to change my body image. I'm a size 4, healthy, and strong...but I cover it all way...NO WAY... no one will see my cellulite. - 8/30/2011   8:46:06 PM
  • 295
    Without a question I need to lose some weight for my own personal goals and for health reasons, but my husband told me that most men like a little jiggle. I choose to believe him! - 8/30/2011   6:52:02 PM
    You are AWESOME Coach Nicole ....I introduced my kids to your videos as preteen and teens. You, to me, exemplify heath and fitness ....and you radiate happiness as well. So thank you thank you thank you for all you do, and all you are ! - 8/30/2011   6:46:19 PM
  • 293
    Good for you Nicole!! You are an inspiration to a lot of people and why someone would go out of their way to try to break your spirit is beyond me. We all support you here! - 8/30/2011   6:36:05 PM
    Amen, Nicole. I have long been the "fat" instructor and athlete in my sports (dance and martial arts) and it frustrates me to no friggin' end that despite my long list of awesome sport achievements and my high fitness, people still judge me by my size 12 figure and 'cottage cheese'. The muscular thing, too, oh boy. God forbid I am strong and it shows. I have gotten a lot better about loving myself regardless of fools, but we still have a long way to go as a society about EVERYONE being down with that. Here's to keepin' on keepin' on, pushing to change the paradigm. - 8/30/2011   6:33:06 PM
  • 291
    In what world are you fat? Are they looking at the same video's I've seen? I see healthy, I see normal proportion, but I don't see fat. You look like a real person not like you've been vacuum formed into a female body builder.....

    I've decided I don't care if I have cellulite. - 8/30/2011   4:46:39 PM
  • 290
    Amazingly enough, I learned to stop caring about my cellulite from America's Next Top Model. One season, a gal walked in to the auditions and Tyra squealed about how she had no cellulite. Tyra said, I've got cellulite, most models do--so the fact that I don't see any on you is amazing!

    The idea that the women we adore in ads and billboards are plagued with the same problems I have made me pause, reflect, and relax.

    Nicole, you've got a bangin' bod. Wear your swimsuit with style! - 8/30/2011   4:09:02 PM
  • 289
    Don't worry, i am a size 0 and I've got it too. I work out and I'll never have the abs that jillian has no matter how hard I try. To look like that your body fat has to be in the single digits.. not gonna happen - 6/18/2010   3:27:03 PM
    I am so sick of Jillian Michaels' face being plastered all over the net and T.V. Enough already with the freakishly toned abs! I thought for awhile about buying into her hype, but ultimately I couldn't do it because I feel like she is constantly passing judgment with that finger she's always pointing around. She BULLIES people into believing that they must lose weight. That's why I love S.P. - I never feel bullied, but I also don't feel coddled into thinking it's okay that I'm unhealthy and overweight. Ultimately, we all have to make our own decisions about that.

    BTW, Nicole's videos are THE ONLY things motivating enough to even get me thinking about cardio. We love Nicole! - 4/29/2010   2:16:55 PM
    I love this blog - real women united in positive body image. I am 45 and I haven't worn a real bathing suit or shorts in years - I always wear capris and only my calves show. This summer I plan to wear a bathing suit (not a bikini or a tankini but something that flatters my body type) and my new shorts!

    I am still in the process of losing weight and toning up but I am proud of the progress I have made and I want to enjoy my body.... not caring what other people think about it. I have spent a lot of years worried about what other people think about me (you are heavier now than when you were younger---duh!)

    Real women - real talk - real bodies - Love it! - 4/29/2010   9:50:49 AM
  • 286
    I have not worn shorts in public in 10 years, when a person broke my 16 year old self image by telling me my legs looked dimply (at 5'6 and 115 pounds). Even when I would do manual labor outside for 10 hours a day in 100 degree heat I would wear jeans or maybe submit myself to the knee length shorts. My husband loves it when I wear my pajama shorts around the house and my closet has many shortish ( 2" above the knee) skirts that I never wear. It is time to change that! - 4/28/2010   12:10:42 PM
  • ERICA2287
    Those magazines are ridiculous. They make me laugh, bitterly. I recall seeing the front of one talking about some celebrity's weight gain, and how they're were getting so big, and then I saw further on talking about how she had gone up to 120 lbs, or thereabouts. I think I actually started laughing in the line, it was so nonsensical.
    Thank you so much for this; it's nice to get a dose of realism! - 4/28/2010   10:42:11 AM
  • 284
    I just read two of your blogs and I LOVE them both! I think you look great and I love this message you are trying to send. My 10 year old daughter has mentioned being concerned about her "fat" thighs. She has some very skinny friends, which I said to her. Your friends are too skinny, you are normal. You have very nice thighs. I hope the message gets through to her. Genetically, she has my thighs, which are on the larger, stronger side of the spectrum. Anyway, thank you for trying to reinforce the positive message of being fit. - 4/14/2010   9:56:20 AM
  • 283
    Thank you so much for saying all of that- it was just what I needed to hear. - 4/8/2010   11:21:35 AM
  • 282
    Amen! My head agrees with everything you're saying - but I still don't know if I'm ready to wear a bathing suit in public. . . *sigh* - 3/31/2010   9:11:33 AM
  • 281
    Whoo Hoo! finally some "Real People". - 3/26/2010   2:07:07 PM
  • 280
    I would much rather have a personal trainer built closer "normal" instead of a "fitness model" like Jillian. Jillian has been working for years on her body and right now, for me, some of her work outs are just too advanced. It helps me to know that you don't have to be "perfect" already to do exercises and workouts, - 2/24/2010   10:52:58 AM
  • 279
    I am now a size 2 (at least in Old Navy sizes which I believe run large so you'll buy them) and I STILL have cellulite - genetic disposition, but that's OK! - 2/23/2010   2:27:46 PM
    excellent article! this is exactly why I don't look for inspiration in any women I find in fashion or fitness magazines. I know that they are photoshoped and that's not the way they really look. - 2/3/2010   10:29:00 AM
  • 277
    That's what I love about SparkPeople...You teach us how to be real. - 1/3/2010   10:32:02 PM
  • MMARE2013
    Wow it surprises me anyone would leave comments like that. I LOVE your videos, I'll leave a good comment on every one I do from now on. That's ridiculous! - 12/31/2009   11:29:38 AM
  • 275
    I LOVE doing your videos, i love that your not wearing the tight clothes and shorts bra tops.. all fitness women think that they need to wear that stuff, and it just makes me feel worse about the way i look and the rolls i get when i'm bent over... body image is a thing that i've struggled with my whole life and the past 2 1/2 years i've went from tone to soft and i have celulite like everyone else on my thighs and booty... i HATE it, but your right.. it's who I am, and my fiance still loves my body.. i'm down 5 lbs already and he tells me he sees a difference in my legs and booty which makes me feel good and work harder! It might not all go away but my goal is to limit it as much as possible by losing weight and workng hard on my legs and buns!! This past summer was the first time i wore shorts in a LOOOONG time... i wasn't comfortable at first but my mom went shopping with me and reassured me that i didn't look bad and that it's my own head that thinking i look bad. I'm not 20 anymore so i have to stop thinking i should look that way, i have curves now and i enjoy them!

    here is to a New Year and to a New Us! - 12/31/2009   10:29:06 AM
    You go girl!!!!!!! Another great inspirational article. Thank you so much for being a real lady and woman. Keep up the the great work!!!!!!!!!! - 11/22/2009   4:01:25 PM
  • 273
    You go Nichole!! You are not fat, obese, plump or ugly!! You are a cute, normal, healthy woman that should be strutting her stuff in that swimsuit and shorts!!
    Do any of you get an image of ancient Egyptians stopping each other on the desert trail and exclaiming,"Girl, did you see that Cleopatra, she looks like a big old camel, jiggling like that when she steps out!!?? She needs to start looking at her reflection in the mineral bath sometime!! Somebody needs to tell her to cut back on the date puddings!" No way were they even that shallow!

    Nobody walks in our shoes, or knows what trials we have in our daily life,, so each person needs to act mature and not like first graders on a playground, dissing another to take the heat off themselves!!
    I love Nichole's videos for the very fact that she is not sporting a fake bake, tatoos, skintight sports bra and/or workout spandex!! Real woman for real people!! Thanks!!
    - 11/21/2009   11:09:52 PM
  • 272
    Great article. We can't all be models, nor would we want to be. We are "real" women! I will keep all my flaws and personally speaking, if we are healthy, that's all that matters in the long run. - 11/13/2009   11:07:36 AM
  • 271
    Great article and I agree - get out there and show those legs! I think you're great! - 10/10/2009   12:28:07 PM
  • 270
    You are so right! Thanks for being out there and speaking up for us REAL women! - 10/10/2009   8:35:04 AM
  • 269
    Awesome blog! I think you look great. those Youtube viewers should get up and try your workouts instead of sitting there calling you fat. I love watching you vidoes and reading your articles and blogs. keep up the good work and excellent attitude!! - 10/8/2009   12:46:03 AM
  • 268
    I've always been scared to wear shorts and skirts to class because I know I've got big muscular legs but I've recently bought 2 pairs of skinny jeans, 2 pairs of shorts, a lot of dresses over the summer and I'm wearing them to class! I'm not going to stop dancing or doing capoeira because my legs would become more muscular. They are what they are and I thank God I still have them connected and working as a body part! - 8/27/2009   12:51:29 AM
  • FITJAN2001
    As a child, I was labelled "pleasantly plump"--that label stayed with me always. When I look at pictures of me as a little girl, I wasn't plump at all. So all through my life (I am in my 60's now) I was obsessed with weight and cellulite, and never being as thin as my best friend. I never will be thin, but I have never been overweight either, except in my own head. I teach fitness classes, run, do yoga, weight train, etc. and have never been more fit in my life, and FINALLY I am not judging myself by the scales. Nicole, you are an inspiration to all and a wonderful young woman with the right attitude - I wish I knew then what I know now. To all of you young women, keep with the exercise--trust me, it will pay off in the years to come. - 8/19/2009   9:29:57 AM
  • 266
    For years I didn't wear shorts or a bathing suit because of my cellulite and body weight. Now that I'm 51, I'm finally realizing life is way too short to worry about what others think of my body. If it's hot, I'm wearing shorts now. If I go to the beach, I'm wearing a bathing suit. I am starting to see all the good things about my body and not the bad. My self-confidence improves, like fine wine, with age and exercise! - 8/14/2009   10:54:37 AM
  • 265
    Nicole I wish I was your size and look the way you look. I was a size 0 or XS back on my early and mid 20's about 10 years ago, I am 33 now and wearing size 11 after several years of not taking care of my body. I have cellulite like 90% of women do. I do not like it but I know it will never go away. What I can do is eat healthy and exercise to minimize it, but I am not ashame to wear it. I have seen an improvement since I lost 20lbs and have been exercising. Recently I bought a pair of short shorts, my oldest sister asked me how could I wear them. Said she wouldn't be able to wear them w/cellulite and all. Well my thing is I really do not care what people think, I like my legs, they are the only pair a have so cellulite and all I am going to show them off. I have great legs, so let the people talk. I would love to see you in a pair of short!! - 8/14/2009   10:53:16 AM
  • 264
    I am sorry to hear that those responding on You Tube feel it's ok to call you fat. It's always easy to be mean anonymously. Just remember those that tear others down are usually lashing out about their own inadequacies.
    I loved this blog by the way. I think you look great. - 8/13/2009   8:47:00 PM
    Wow, I never thought of it that way, but I haven't worn shorts in 5 years because of the "new additions" to my legs. I'll have to work on that. - 8/13/2009   4:09:43 PM
    I haven't worn shorts in public in years. I barely wear t-shirts because of cellulite. I need to break the cycle - life is too short to hide! - 8/13/2009   3:03:05 PM
    It's great to hear that most women have cellulite...I have to admit that is the main reason that I am working out and trying to lose some weight, because I have been battling it as long as I can remember! I too, am in the right zone of IBM, but would like to lose some that possible? I've been working out since November and I have only lost about 2 to 4 lbs and that varies from day to day. Thanks for sharing!!! - 8/13/2009   12:39:43 PM
  • 260
    This was very well said. Great article.. I've always been self concious about having the dredded "Cellulite". But your right, it's there and a part of who we are. And unless your willing to suffer from having it removed just to try and follow someone elses image of what you should and shouldn't look like, it's going to stay there...
    Thanks again! Really Great Article - 8/13/2009   7:13:24 AM
    Reading your article, I'm reminded of the Bridget Jones movie and how the actress gained weight for the part. There's a scene in the movie when she's pulling her granny underwear up over her thighs and butt...I remember how the whole theater went "ewe!" or "ugh" at that. And she looked like most normal women! It goes to show how deeply this idea is entrenched in our culture, that people shouldn’t look like that, or have cellulite, or have an uneven skin tone…whatever. Let’s all CLAP WILDLY when we see real women embracing and enjoying their real bodies! Cheers to you! - 8/12/2009   4:10:16 PM

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