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A few weeks ago I wrote a post about cellulite.  Cellulite was a new issue for me.  While I’ve always had some on the back of my thighs, I’ve never paid it all that much attention.   Nor did I know it was such a big issue for women across the country.  I have since learned that the vast majority of women have cellulite — somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 to 90 percent, according to some sources — and also that the majority of health and empowerment lady bloggers are all about passionate rejection of cellulite alarmism due to the role it plays the objectification, sexism, and vanity laced throughout modern culture.

Cellulite, they say, is a part of women’s natural, healthy bodies, and we just need to get tf over it and just let it lie.

Can you overcome cellulite?

The post I wrote was all about how to overcome cellulite.  From the perspective of Peggy Emch, a woman who’s work, health, life, and love I admire, cellulite is another one of those myths of modern culture.  Like menstrual cramps, acne, and so many other things paleo ladies like to trumpet as ills of the SAD past (which I also do from time to time… more on which in a minute) cellulite is portrayed in Peggy’s book as something that can be overcome with good nutrition and diet.

Is this true?

I don’t know.

I like what Peggy has to say.  It makes sense.  I also like what other women on the issue have to say.  Cellulite in this way sits at the core of something that screams: ‘ADDRESS THIS ISSUE!’ in the ladies paleosphere.  And the health world at large.

What’s necessary, natural, and worthy of troubleshooting

What do we accept?  What do we strive to overcome?   Are there things that are impossible to overcome?  What about improbable?  Unlikely?   Might it still be worth the effort to try?

Cellulite might be something that cannot be overcome.  It might also be possible.  If possible, it may require very specific health tweaking that no one really understands all that well.

What about PMS?  Acne?  Being overweight?

PMS I think can be overcome… and acne, too… and being overweight… but it’s different for different women.   Maybe it can’t, at least not entirely.  I know that many women still get cranky four times a month.  I know many women who plateau at certain weights.  Stacy from Paleo Parents has been radically open about her health plateau at “overweight,” all the while being so healthy and strong and having lost hundreds of pounds.  I cannot rule out all possibilities.  So many variables are at play in so many of these loosey goosey conditions.

There are certain things that happen to our bodies that can make it, if not impossible, then quite improbable that we will “overcome” an issue like PMS.  Do symptoms lessen with paleo?  Yes.   Usually.  What about weight gain?  Are some people “doomed” to be overweight?  Is this a bad thing?  Why the hell do we care anyway, when the journey is supposed to be all about health, first and foremost?

Which is, I have decided, what it comes down to.

Health first, vanity second, obsessions never

If I prioritize my health, then I shoot for health and use health markers like how I am feeling, blood tests, and disease and condition statuses in order to guage how well I am doing.  Then other concerns naturally improve.  Health is the number one priotity. It leads to improvement in a wide variety of realms.  Many of these are cosmetic.   Healing my gut naturally led to clearer skin, for example.

But clear skin as a goal in and of itself isn’t a bad thing.  If I hadn’t tried to fix my acne, for example, I never would have known I had a gut issue, and never would have been able to arrive at better health in this way.   Cosmetic things, or “nuisances” such as PMS really do have power to help us overcome larger underlying issues if we decide to tackle them.  I also think its fine to have cosmetic goals within reason.  Why not? If I am not obsessive over them, but instead prioritize health first and let those other concerns linger in the background and not stress me out as I slowly and gently troubleshoot them, well, I am okay with that.

This can fast become an issue of perfectionism.  Where do you stop?  How do you prevent yourself from falling into a spiral of fixing every tiny symptom that comes your way?

As soon as I fix one thing, I am always running off to find another.  When my skin clears, I want to straighten and whiten my teeth.  Tone up my legs.   Soften my hair.  Increase my sex drive.  Get more stable energy throughout the day.  Improve my sugar metabolism. The list goes on and on.  Would attack cellulite fall onto it?  Probably somewhere near the bottom, sure.

The point is that I do not know how much any of us can “fix.”  I could have given up on my acne as something that was just a part of my DNA.  I do have a predisposition for it, obviously.  But perseverence eventually brought me to an answer and to a “cure.”   I “fixed” my skin.   Was it worth it for the stress of the process?   When do you stop trying?  How much “hope” or expectations should you have?  That’s up for each of us to decide on our own.

As for cellulite, I am now partial to the view that we should just go ahead and get over it and accept it.   Some of it is extreme, and, as with the rest of the body, if it looks actively unhealthy it probably indicates some level of less good health somewhere in the body.  However, more gentle cellulite is not a health risk at all.  It doesn’t affect physiological health, or mental health through physiological means.  It’s just wiggly stuff on your butt and thighs.  And, hey, if 90 percent of women get it, like Beyonce, then you’re with the cool kids, and no man or woman you are going to be sexually active with at any point in time should have any problem with it.

If they do, send them to me.  I kick like a feisty leprechaun.



On the other hand, if you want to troubleshoot cellulite as a part of your health journey, feel free to give it a shot.  Why not?   Just get informed about the possibilities and run wild.   See if Peggy’s recommendations do something for you.   I would just be careful not to let it subsume health.  Recognize that it might be intractable, and that’s totally okay.  Are there other health problems you have that maybe intractable?  Possibly.   That’s up to you and your situation and how well these kinds of goals can fit into your mental health, life, and happiness.

No obsessions.  No perfectionist ideals.  That’s not a part of the real health or sexy, empowered womanhood game.



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