CELLULITE. You know, that despised dimpled fat found on the hips, bottoms and thighs of about 90 percent of women - and some men, too.

Black, white, Latina, Asian, young, old, thin or fat - all kinds of women battle these lovely lady lumps, often to no avail. Many just surrender to the orange-peel look, while others stubbornly attack the problem with lotions and potions, massage and surgery.

So what is this annoying stuff?

In a nutshell, cellulite is just plain old fat. The dimpling occurs because of how that fat is trapped under your skin.

Men (the lucky dogs) rarely get cellulite because, first, their skin is tougher and, second, male skin fibers are perpendicular, not crossed as women's are.

We girls have this thin, hexagon-shaped dermis, especially on our hips, thighs, and butt, that is just perfect for the creation and display of cellulite.

What can you do about it?

Plenty.

That's right, there are solutions to minimize and, in some cases, get rid of it entirely. It all begins with your diet and exercise plan.

When you overeat, the body stores that excess fat, which may bulge out between those honeycomb-shaped skin fibers to produce what we call cellulite. Combine too many empty calories with a sedentary lifestyle and you have the perfect recipe to create this uneven distribution of fat.

I have seen women transform their bodies from nearly to completely cellulite free simply by making the necessary changes in their lifestyle. Speaking from experience, I have seen my own body's transformation to cellulite-free when I get and stay on top of my game.

My 'No Dimples Diet'

The little dimple at the top of my right thigh tells me everything I need to know about my eating and exercise habits.

The little dimple at the top of my right thigh tells me everything I need to know about my eating and exercise habits.

When that dimple is deep, I know I have been over-indulging, and soon I'll have a problem fitting into my skinny jeans. When that dimple has all but disappeared, I know I've been faithfully following my nutrition and training program.

Here's a quick rundown of my No Dimples Diet:

_ Eat plenty of fresh, leafy green vegetables - four or five servings daily.

_ Eat two to three pieces of fresh fruit daily.

_ Choose lean proteins like fish, chicken breast and egg whites.

_ Drink plenty of water. I shoot for 64 ounces of distilled water daily.

_ Eliminate commercial fruit juices and soda.

_ Eliminate sugar. That includes cakes, cookies and candy, too.

_ Eliminate butter, trans fats and all excess fat.

_ Eliminate alcohol from your diet.

Don't take my word for it. Give it a try. You'll be surprised at how quickly your body will respond once you start nourishing it properly.

Exercise it away

The second component to your de-dimpling routine is exercise.

The second component to your de-dimpling routine is exercise.

Strength training, otherwise known as weight training, is your best defense against cellulite. I know many women who compete in fitness and body-building shows, and the one thing they all have in common is: no cellulite.

Consider stepping up your training routine by weightlifting to your full potential.

Most women mistakenly think they are going to "bulk up" if they lift heavy weights. To the contrary, if you put adequate stress on your muscles, you will be more likely to develop the muscle tone you desire, and rid yourself of the unwanted cellulite in the process.

My favorite de-dimpling leg exercise is the stationary lunge, combined with either shoulder press, lateral raises or biceps curl. Lunges are guaranteed to tighten, tone, strengthen and sculpt.

What doesn't work?

Don't waste your time or your money on so-called thigh-thinning creams, lotions and potions.

Don't waste your time or your money on so-called thigh-thinning creams, lotions and potions.

These creams may temporarily reduce the appearance of cellulite, but there's no scientific evidence they are effective long-term.

The same goes for liposuction.

I know people who have plunked down $2,500 to $3,000 to get rid of a few dimples. I've also seen those same people a year later, disappointed and disillusioned when the dimples reappeared. Even worse, lipo can cause uneven distribution of fat, scarring, infection and even death.

Ultimately, the best defense against cellulite is good old-fashioned clean eating and exercise. *

Kimberly Garrison is a certified personal trainer and owner of One on One Ultimate Fitness in Philadelphia (www.1on1ultimatefitness.com).

E-mail her at

kimberly@1on1ultimatefitness.com. Her column appears each Thursday in Yo! Chat with her on her Daily News weblog, the Girlfriends' Locker Room, at www.girlfriendslockerroom.com. Her new podcast, "Philly Fitness and Health," is available for download every Thursday at www.philly.com.