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

By , SparkPeople Blogger
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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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 Report
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! Report
amazing!!! i constantly am obsessing with my thighs and butt, specially because my full time job I mainly sit all day and my part time job i'm on my feet. but i need to realize that i can't be airbrushed! Report
Way to go!!!!!!
I really liked your point that we are so used to seeing airbrushed images that we really DON'T know what real skin looks like. Well said. Report
This post reminded me of a passage in one of Anne Lamott's books, where she talks about her thighs and coming to grips with them on the beach -- she now calls them "the aunties" and feels affectionately grateful to them for all the places they've taken her. We should love our bodies for what they can DO, and instead we're being constantly told that our bodies are only lovable for what they look like.

I'm with you, Coach Nicole -- I'm taking back my body. It's mine, and it can do great things, cellulite or no.

Great article and great comments everyone. I hate it when I hear my female friends complain to me about having cellulite. Its a fact of our bodies, I have it and of course I work out and hope that some day there will be less of it but I will not let it stop me today! :) Report
You go girl! Report
say it, girl! Report
First of all...if that's the only way that chick has cellulite is by squeezing her leg....than no that's not proper cellulite. Anyone can pinch their skin and make dimples show.'s totally unfair that most men do not get cellulite. Anyways....if you want to see some cellulite just come to a pool I'll be squeezing necessary LOL! Good article though....cellulite is just always goin to be. Report
Good for you! You could use my pic I have it and I am a size 2.

Keep us inspired as you do. Thanks T. Report
Wonderful blog, Nicole!! I have cellulite, I had it even when I was thin, but I still wear regular swimsuit bottoms. I have to admit, my post-baby belly upsets me a lot more than a little cellulite on my butt though, so I cover that up with a long top. Report
good for you! i recently discovered my own cellulite Report
AMEN SISTER!!!! I completely agree 100%. Like you say in your blog, 90% of women out there have cellulite.....get that...we ALL have it to some degree or why worry about it??! I grew up with zero self confidence at all and it has taken me a long time to realize that I love who I am. This is my body and while it's not perfect its me. And guess what matter what you look like, we are all worthy!!! Love yourself so the people around you can love you too!! We should all be able to feel confident in our own skin. Report
I've said it before and I'll say it again...Nicole, you are adorable, and you look great! One of the reasons I like reading you and using your videos is BECAUSE you are a real person, with a real body. Keep up the great work, and thanks! Report
Outstanding article Nicole! You are so right. If people could only STOP believing what they see on TV and stop thinking that women ACTUALLY look the way they do in magazines! The truth is in front of us everyday in the mirror, THAT is what the truth is! I'm with you on the whole my body is what it is. I'm 5'3" and 125 pounds. I used to think I was kind of chubby if I weighed 125 before I got pregnant. Now, I focus on healthy habits and my body rewards me for it. I may not be stick thin (and why would I want to be?) but I FEEL healthy...and I am! Even though I have cellulite! :) I think more and more though, society is getting away from the popularity of the stick thin image. Either that, or I just learned to not pay attention to it anymore and be happy with the healthy me! Keep doing what you're doing, because you're doing an amazing job and setting a great example for all of us!! Report
Wow, Nicole, who would have thought that somebody would have called you fat!! People need to get their priorities straight. You're amazing in your videos and I only hope that I can achieve a reasonable level of fitness. Thank you for your honesty. Report
So "well said" I may just run a copy of this and put it on my daughters door. Or by the mirror. Or both! While my daughter does not have a problem with her weight/image, some of her friends do, and it saddens me so much.These girls are, for the most part, normal teenagers. They range in height from 5' up to 5'8". Their weight varies from 115-135. Not a one of them is "fat" (and no, the 5'*' is not the 135). Some are more active and therefore more muscular. But for these girls to think they have issues and be starving their growing bodies? thank you Nicole for putting this out there Report
Thank you, Nicole, for being so amazing and so honest. I wore a bikini on the beaches of Costa Rica this summer AND even let someone take a picture of me (okay, waist up, but still!). It came from your article about wearing a bathing suit in public. Thank you for all of your hard work! Report
I wish I had your courage! I'll be going on vacation to Acapulco this fall and I'm dreading the beach, not so much because of being overweight but because of the cellulite on my thighs and butt. Even though intellectually I know that the majority of women, overweight or not , have cellulite, I still look at my bare thighs and cringe. I want to be more like you when I grow up. Report
what! people call you fat on youtube? what are they talking about! you look great/normal. geez. Report
Thank you Thank you Thank you!
I mean this from the bottom of my heart, you rock! Do not let mean spirited people get you down. You have taught me that it is ok to love my imperfect self and that maybe just maybe I am ok the way I am. Healthy...not perfect. Report
BRAVO!!!!!!!!!!!!! One of the best articles I have read. You are so right. I do not have much celulite but my mom has it and she has always been a very active and thin woman. Celulite affects all shapes and sizes. There is to much pressure for all women to be perfect and I hate it. I try to keep these images out of site and mind because I know celeb bodies are not real I also hate to think of my daughter having to grow up with these images. Report
Fantastic article, this is really where my mind has been this week alone. Thank you. Report
Your point is well taken and what we need to hear more of. Working out and eating well on a regular basis doesn't guarantee the perfection that the media images portray. Being healthy and fit isn't about having a perfect body. That's a myth that people can spend too much energy trying to achieve only to be constantly disappointed in themselves. This type of thinking can lead to eating disorders. Being fit and well includes having a healthy perspective and mental attitude and learning to accept yourself. Report
Love the article and it was what I needed today. I never wear short sleeve because I hate my arm... I've always felt like they were too big; I exercise and lose weight everywhere but in my arms. You have motivated me. I purchased 2 sundresses this past week-end but was waiting until I found a shawl to wear them but this week-end I will be strutting those sleeveless babies. (smile!!) Report
Coach Nicole, you are being unfairly targeted by unscrupulous Internet instigators, who have nothing better to do than to comment rudely online, and then see how much of a rise they can get out of their target. Ignore the comments, and know that those of us who can appreciate your talent for sharing your wealth of knowledge about fitness and healthy living, are here rooting for you!! Report
I hear you Nicole! I am a 53 year old wife, mother and grandmother. I have a lot of mileage on my body and not all of it has been "smooth". I have always compared myself to my girlfriends (who were mostly smaller than me) and felt that I came up short--even when I was 117 and had a 23" waist! I makes me sick that my youth was spent this way. I am now working to build strength, stamina and flexibility and to lose about 60 - 75 lbs, depending upon where my body settles. I am no longer in competition with other women--I have nothing to prove to anyone but myself. God bless you for your candid article! Report
My boyfriend doesn't have a problem with my cellulite, so why should I have a problem with it? Report
I agree that this picture was a terrible example. I see absolutely NO cellulite on her legs. Report
I'm uniting with you!! Yay for cellulite! I'm gonna embrace my womanly feature! Report
I love your work out videos and I watch them on You Tube. Anyone who would say anything other than thanks for a good work out is watching your videos for the wrong reasons. Besides, if you're fat then I'm morbidly obese. :) Report
Anyone who can call you Fat is WACKO! Ignore those folks! You are not one of those fake people and while you do have a body shape that is not an "hourglass" it is real and not a computer edited photo. But it is trim and firm, not jiggly so just miantain and let them keep their opinions to themselves. Report
Way to go! I used to embarrased for my body as well, and I still don't wear shorts in public. Not as much because I have cellulite (which I of course have), but because I have stretch marks all over, from bein overweight. I used to think everybody was looking at my uypper arms because of that, and that's why I preferred long sleeves. But's that's over now: I will wear short sleeved T-shirts, and if other people don't like it, that's their problem. We ware who we are, and if we're happy with it, why change. Report
Hi. I don't normally leave posts because I'm kind of shy and also pressed for time, but I feel very strongly about this. Who are these nimnods that say you are fat?! I'll sic my cat on them. She'll shred them like she does my upholstery. I love you for who you are, Coach Nicole! I love your videos because you are a real, honest-to-goodness human being! You are a beautiful, healthy woman, and I hope I can be that way too someday. I love how you keep a positive attitude that's not that whole fake-perky thing I usually see in fitness videos. I love how you show modifications and say it's okay to use them, and I especially love how your workouts still kick my butt even though it's only for ten minutes. Hooray for Coach Nicole!!!! Ladies, don't let the [insert favorite expletive here] get you down!!! Report
Insane. How superficial this society has become, to comment on someone's looks and make such cruel judgements. Who defines beauty vs ugly, fat vs slim, etc? I am 52 and feel like I've seen it all. When I was young and "skinny", I never looked like the models, and nor did anyone else around me. I recall looking at the tall slender-legged girls in the teen fashion magazines, their flat tummies and small chests, and wondering: "Is this what you're supposed to look like"? I'm ethnic, Mexican American and no matter what, someone who is 5-3" and curvy will NEVER look like those standards. I find it bizarre now to see the large surgical boobs inserted into thin ultra-lean bodies that seem to have become a Hollywood norm, now being done by regular women much too often. So unbalanced and unreal.

Does anyone out there recall when there didn't even EXIST a size 0 or 2? The tiniest size I recall when I was in high school was a 5. I wore a size 7 when I weighed 112 lbs! I am astonished at how the size ranges have changed, and how it seems that girls are now changing their bodies to fit these tiny sizes. How much pressure they feel to be a certain "size", instead of feeling compelled to develop their intellect, their curiousity, their creativity and ambitions.

Sadly, I have a real life case to go with this. My daughter has bulimia, and since she was 11 years old she has agonized over her dysmorphic view of herself and has put her health in danger. She's now 27 and still cannot call herself cured, after years of therapy and even some in-patient treatment. No one in the world other than someone extremely critical would EVER think she was fat; but she cannot see it.

So please all of us Sparkpeople, let's be positive about our bodies and kind to ourselves. Coach Nicole, I'm on your side.

i have never been, nor will i ever be, model material. it makes me sad that people would say something rude or negative to or about you. coach nicole, you do what i dream i could do. and you know those naysayers will always be there. the old adage is very true. you can't please all of the people all of the time. so, the best thing you can do is please yourself. some self-acceptance comes with that, too. rock on, coach nicole! you are my hero and a SUPERSTAR to me! Report
I saved this to my favorites so I can remind myself of everything you've said. Yes, we need more REAL images of women, healthy women, of every shape and size. I have cellulite on my hips and thighs - thunder thighs I've been called - and tried to keep them hidden. Well no more! Thank you! Report
Cellulite is 100% NORMAL for women and nothing to be ashamed of. The reason our skin dimples over our leg fat is that the connecting tissue under the skin usually has a lattice pattern in women (in men it's smooth). The only way to get rid of "cellulite" is to reduce your overall body fat - and there's no guarantee that will help significantly because women tend to lose hip and leg fat last.

Get fit for yourself and be happy with what your body can do -- don't worry about the bumps and lumps because your body is the way it's supposed to be. Report
I'm coming with you!!!
It is disappointing, but not surprising, that theYouTube nasties are out in force. But the vast majority of them aren't putting their butts out there (let alone maintaining your cheerful countenance and talking through their workouts).

We have to remind each other - the only opinions that count are the ones from people whom we respect. Blog of my own on this topic coming today...we need to discuss this! Report
Excuse me. Has anyone seen these people who have negative comments in their bathing suits???? I doubt they would like to be scrutinized... Report
Many times I look at these fashion magazines and forget that these women are airbrushed...and that is a big negative, it affects the way we feel about our selves

...I am trying everyday to be consistent and positive and your blog is a huge help! Thank you =) Report
Your legs deserve to be seen! They've worked hard! Woot! Woot! Report
Well Said! Report
Amen! I couldn't have said it better. I believe every women has cellulite and it's nothing to be ashamed of ... Real women have real curves and alittle extra never hurt! Ladies we are beautiful just the way we are! Tell them to love you or leave it for the next great catch to snag you up! Report
Thank you and well said!! I am proud to be apart of the 90% and will focus on doing my best to stay fit and give less attention to the 10% in the magazines, news, and media in general. Report
What a great blog!! I have always struggled with the cellulite on the back of my legs. I have used the creams and even went to ALC (Americal Laser Centers) to get the cellulite removal. All I ended up getting was hurt, bruised legs! Once I started eating healthier and working out consistently the appearance of cellulite did lessen but has not gone away. I am finally ok with that :) This summer is the first time I have worn shorts in years. I would always wear skirts in fear that someone would see the cellulite my shorts outline but now I don't care. I know I am healthy and in shape and I have learned to love my body just the way it is - imperfect but perfect for me! If anyone wants to make fun on my cellulite I challenge them to keep up with my workout schedule and then talk smack ;) Report
Thank you! I fought the embarrassment as a young girl. Now I see my daughter and her college athlete friends fighting back. They KNOW they are healthy young women and are proud to rock their REAL bodies. Thankfully, the message is getting through to the youth more than it did for my generation.
You go girl - great article! Report
What a refreshingly real insight! Thank you so much for that. I think you have all of our gratitude. You are the REAL DEAL!!! YOU GO GIRL!!!! Has anyone seen Pamela Anderson lately? SERIOUSLY!! How many of you who commented negatively on You Tube submitted pics with that? I attribute the success of Spark People to the "realness" of the entire site. Your fellow "Sparkies" are totally behind you Nicole!! To the to individual(s) who prompted that "high I.Q.ed" comment, instead of being totally object, develop some social skills and you can do that by logging onto :) Report
Coach Nicole, you are beautiful and an inspiration to us all. Bring on the shorts and bikinis! Report
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