Want to shrink your waist and smooth your thighs at the same time? Then you’re in luck, because Fred Pescatore, MD, is sharing an at-home version of the “cellulite therapy” he prescribes to patients at his buzzed-about New York City clinic — a place frequented by some of the world’s most famous actresses, Grammy winners, and supermodels. “By the time women come to me, they’ve already tried diets, personal trainers, creams, lasers, you name it. They’ve invested a lot of effort for barely any results. I help them turn things around within two weeks,” Dr. Pescatore reveals. His secret? He spikes a traditional low-carb diet with amino acids. He says the natural compounds not only help accelerate fat burning, they also help our bodies build firmer, more dimple-resistant skin. “I’ve experimented with so many different methods,” says Dr. Pescatore, author of The A-List Diet ($12.16, Amazon), “and I can say for sure that this is the one that eliminates lumpy fat fastest!”
Cellulite is simply fat bulging through a web of connective tissue just beneath skin’s surface. While a lucky few women have connective tissue that forms a tight crisscross pattern and keeps fat flat, 85 percent of us have a looser pattern that allows cellulite dimples to form, say researchers at Kiel University in Germany. Hormonal changes, weight gain, and aging can all make the problem worse.
Like a typical low-carb diet, Dr. Pescatore’s plan is built around protein, nonstarchy vegetables, and healthy fat. What sets it apart: You alternate between the greatest variety of protein possible — different types of vegetarian protein, seafood, poultry, meat, protein powder, and more. “Switching up proteins improves amino acid levels dramatically,” he says. He also recommends an over-the-counter amino supplement to up levels even more.
How Amino Acids Slim
They’re crucial building blocks in our bodies that not only make up every cell but are also a key “ingredient” needed to generate fat-burning hormones and metabolism-revving muscle. Low amino acid intake “is a surprisingly common reason many of us struggle to get lean,” insists Dr. Pescatore. Luckily, increasing intake can have an immediate impact. In one French study, it helped active dieters shed 17 percent more fat with no extra effort!
Keep in mind that on Dr. Pescatore’s plan, you increase aminos and also cut carbs. Carbs are your body’s preferred fuel, and when you take them away, your body “is forced to burn fat for fuel instead,” he explains. Combined with the amino effect, “you’ll burn far more fat on my diet than on any other you’ve tried!”
How Amino Acids Smooth Cellulite
In addition to helping speed away unnecessary fat, amino acids also stimulate the growth of thicker, firmer connective tissue that does a better job of keeping skin’s natural layer of fat smooth. Proof it works: During a Kiel University study, women given an amino-acid-rich supplement saw a “significant decrease in the degree of cellulite and a reduced skin waviness on thighs.”
When hormonal issues caused New York yoga instructor Ann Vana, 35, to plump up despite daily workouts and a healthy diet, a friend sent her to Dr. Pescatore. Though cellulite wasn’t her concern, she was soon impressed by how great her skin looked.
Perhaps more impressive: “Nothing else worked for me, and then Dr. Pescatore’s plan helped me lose 25 pounds in a matter of weeks!” Claudia Kincaid, 52, also had great success. The cancer survivor’s treatments put her in menopause, and “I gained weight rapidly and my cellulite was terrible,” she recalls. “I worried this would be my new normal.” Her husband suggested Dr. Pescatore. “I went in a skeptic, but I saw immediate results. I lost 17 pounds in three weeks — and the improvement in my cellulite was dramatic. I was a size 14. Now I’m a 10 and ready to show off my legs!” To date, folks using Dr. Pescatore’s plan have smoothed cellulite while dropping up to 22 pounds in 14 days and 127 pounds in all.
Cellulite Cure Menu
Our nutrition team used guidelines in Dr. Pescatore’s book to create these amino-acid-packed menus for you to try. To get maximum amino acids, choose the highest-quality protein possible (such as wild-caught fish and grass-fed beef) and go for the greatest variety of protein possible. For fastest results, choose no more than two meals a day that contain cheese. Need a snack? Go for up to 1 1/2 Tbsp. peanut butter, veggies, and/or a little leftover protein. Drink plenty of water; other natural zero-calorie beverages are fine. Jazz up meals as desired with herbs, spices, vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, and stevia.
As always, get a doctor’s okay to try any new plan.
Amino Acid Supplements to Try
Dr. Pescatore recommends a branched-chain amino acid (or BCAA) supplement, which includes three types of aminos strongly linked to weight loss. To try: IdealLean BCAAs ($26.99, Amazon); FitMiss BCAA ($7.12, Amazon).
(Choose one daily; if desired, add coffee or tea with up to 1 oz. cream.)
Option 1: Eggs, any style, cooked in 1 Tbsp. avocado or olive oil; 1 small sliced tomato, drizzle oil, fresh basil
Option 2: 1 serving organic turkey or chicken sausage; Unlimited kale or spinach sautéed with garlic and onion in 1-2 Tbsp. avocado or olive oil
Anti-Cellulite Smoothie: In blender, blitz 1 scoop any flavor BCAA powder, 1 Tbsp. coconut or avocado oil, 1 Tbsp. chia seeds, 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk, dash cinnamon, ice and/or water for desired consistency
Lunch and Dinner
(Choose one at each sitting.)
Option 1: 1 serving browned ground meat (any variety, such as beef, lamb, turkey, or pork) with 1/2 cup no-sugar-added marinara over unlimited steamed spaghetti squash or spiralized zucchini with 1 oz. Parmesan cheese. Side salad, no-sugar-added vinaigrette
Option 2: Portabello Melt: Drizzle 1 portabello mushroom cap with olive oil; broil 5 minutes per side. Meanwhile, mix 5 oz. canned tuna, salmon, chicken or crab, 2 Tbsp. sour cream, 1/2 tsp. mustard and 2 Tbsp. each chopped walnuts and red onion. Spoon on mushroom halves, top each with 1/2 slice Cheddar cheese; broil until cheese melts.
Option 3: 1 serving seafood, any variety, broiled with lemon and Old Bay seasoning. Bacon Green Bean Sauté: Fry 2 slices chopped bacon until almost crisp; add 2 cups green beans and sauté until soft.
Option 4: Bacon and Cheese Stuffed Burger (recipe below); Unlimited veggies grilled or broiled with 1 Tbsp. olive oil.
Option 5: Tuscan Salad: Toss 1 serving cooked shrimp, turkey or chicken with unlimited bell pepper, red onion, greens and 1 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese and a few sliced olives (optional); dress with 1 Tbs. olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.
Anti-Cellulite Booster: 1/2 scoop BCAA powder prepared with water; 1 mug spiced herbal tea
Make Your Own Menus
Enjoy three meals a day, each with a palm-sized serving of high-quality protein, unlimited nonstarchy vegetables and up to 2 servings of healthy oil or avocado. Aim for lots of variety when choosing protein. Optional extras each day: 2 oz. of cream, 2 oz. of cheese and 1 1/2 Tbsp. of nuts or nut butter. For fastest results, add any flavor amino acid supplement mixed in water or a smoothie 2-3 times a day.
Bacon and Cheese Stuffed Burger Recipe
We promise this surprise-inside burger is a treat whether you’re cutting carbs or not.
- 1/2 tsp. turmeric
- 1/4 tsp. cumin
- 2 oz. shredded Cheddar
- 1 bacon slice, cooked and crumbled
- Salt and pepper
- 6 oz. ground beef or turkey
- 2 Napa cabbage leaves
- Mustard and sautéed onion, optional
- In bowl, mix turmeric, cumin, cheese, bacon and salt and pepper to taste. Mold into a ball.
- Divide meat in half, form two thin patties and press around ball.
- Cook the burger in a skillet or on grill to desired doneness. Serve wrapped in cabbage leaves; if desired, top with mustard and sautéed onion.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.