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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CKOUDSI617 7/26/2020
Thanks Nicole! You seem to be in excellent shape! I aspire to have a body like yours! You work very hard to maintain the fitness level you have achieved. I am very happy that learn that you are proud of what you have accomplished. You've earned it! You deserve high praise and you are an excellent role model for "REAL" women! Cheers! :) Report
RYCGIRL 3/21/2020
thx Report
123THERESA123 3/17/2020
I’m not a fan of cellulite. I feel more comfortable just hiding it under clothes. Report
How doesn’t have cellulite! Report
Thanks NIcole. Report
Empowering. I have struggled with self love in the past I hated my body. It wasn’t until SP, that I have learned to love my body as is. I enjoy articles like these, thank you Report
Thanks for a great article! :) Report
Thanks Report
What a great lesson for me Report
This is what clothes are for. Report
nice Report
I'm sorry people do that to you. I think you look great. I wish you were still here on the site and could see this comment, because I look up to you. You are brave. Report
Thanks. Report
Love the honesty of this article. I am tired of telling myself I can’t wear this or can’t wear that. I am tired of putting on my swimming suit for the hot tub, even though it is just my husband and me and thinking about the fat. Embrace myself and love my body will be my mantra. Report
Love the honesty of this article. I am tired of telling myself I can’t wear this or can’t wear that. I am tired of putting on my swimming suit for the hot tub, even though it is just my husband and me Report
ROCK whatevah you GOT! (Now that I'm almost 60, I just don't care anymore!) :)
I still feel good and get out and enjoy myself! I no longer have to worry about people judging how I look and it's SO liberating! I wish you all the same kind of freedom too! Report
I worked for many years in an advertising agency and was shocked at the photo editing that we were told to do. The images are not real... so highly worked on and touched up. Very disappointing that society has made us this way Report
Great article Report
You go, Nicole! I love your workout videos & I love the attitude! I also have cellulite & it has always made me feel "less than", but no more! I'm aiming for a healthy weight with good eating & exercise habits. You are a great role model!
Love this honestly written article! Inspiring! Report
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." Report
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! Report
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. Report
One of the best articles on here and I've read many. Report
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." Report
I love it. Report
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. Report
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! Report
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! Report
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! Report
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! Report
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. Report
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. Report
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! Report
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 ! Report
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! Report
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. Report
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. Report
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! Report
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 Report
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! Report
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! Report
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! Report
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! Report
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. Report
Thank you so much for saying all of that- it was just what I needed to hear. Report
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* Report
Whoo Hoo! finally some "Real People". Report
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, Report
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! Report