17 Mar THE TOP QUICK-FIXES TO FAT REDUCTION
The Top Quick Fixes to Fat Reduction
We are always looking for the quick-fix, aren’t we? I mean, let’s be honest, we are not a nation built on the motto: “Slow and steady wins the race.” We want it now, Now, NOW! We like Fast Food, Fast Internet, and (of course) Fast Weight Loss. Even those of us who eat healthily and exercise regularly (this is me, raising my hand), are still enticed by marketing claims that too-often grossly exaggerate results, promising a speedy solution to get rid of our stubborn pooches. Because, to be honest, we ALL have stubborn places where fat just likes to hang out. (Again, me, raising my hand.) Uggh!
Whether it’s a new fad diet you’ve heard about from a friend, a new exercise DVD you purchased from a 2 AM infomercial, or a break-through laser technology advertised on a highway billboard, we all buy into the possibility that some miracle might help us get rid of our fat in a way that is quicker and easier than the good ol’ fashioned hard way: diet and exercise. It’s all about a fantastical hope: hope that we can squeeze back into those skinny jeans we haven’t been able to pull over our thighs since New Years. (Or last New Years!) For some of us, it’s like chasing a unicorn. We spend time and money on the latest and greatest (a.k.a. the quickest and laziest) ways to get rid of our guts, yet with every investment, the results are fleeting… at best.
Today, I’m not going to talk about the crazy, faddish weight loss diets, or the hot new exercise DVD’s (those are different blogs). Instead, I’m going to give you the real scoop on the cutting edge technology that might make the “cutting” part of weight loss procedures obsolete. At least, that’s the claim.
I want to start by saying that neither of the fat reduction procedures I’m about to discuss are weight loss methods. In fact, you will see very little fluctuation on your scale. But if you’ve been following the advice in my blogs at all, you wouldn’t even own a scale! It’s ALL about how your jeans fit, folks. And with these new fat-reduction technologies, you WILL see slight changes in your body shape. Hooray!
Listen, there are tons of procedures out there. New devices come out every year, and older appliances – those that used to be the bright and shiny hope for the skinny quick-fix – are offered as second-hand (and second-rate) machines. It’s all a bit overwhelming, but don’t worry, your self-professed information junkie and anti-aging guinea pig (me, raising my hand!) is here to wade through all the crap and give you the pros & cons of the top 2 non-invasive procedures that I feel are the absolute best in the fat reduction field. They are both FDA approved for fat reduction, require no anesthesia, are relatively pain-free, and have no down-time.
Before we get started, however, you need to know if you are a candidate. These procedures are not for everyone. It depends on what type of fat you have. If you have a big round hard stomach that looks like you have a basketball under your shirt, you have visceral fat, which is under the muscle and surrounding your organs. Sorry folks, the only way to get rid of this type of fat is through diet and exercise; and you’d better get to it, because it doesn’t just magically disappear. Subcutaneous fat, on the other hand, is the pinchable type that is soft, squishy, and right under the skin. If you have this type of fat, then these treatments may be right for you.
CoolSculpting vs. SculpSure: These are the best of the best. They have lots in common, but they are two very different ways to get rid of fat.
PROCEDURE CoolSculpting: The procedure takes about 60 minutes per treatment area. Most facilities are only equipped to treat one area at a time. Keep this in mind when scheduling your appointment, if you intend to treat multiple areas. The procedure begins by the technician attaching the CoolSculpting machine to your area of treatment; a few bells & whistles later, the skin and underlying fat is sucked in between two cooling plates. You will inevitably let out a few screams and giggles because it feels bizarre. And then the area gets really freakin’ cold! There is no risk of freezer burn though, folks, because the treated section is cooled to a temperature which leaves the skin and muscle intact, yet kills the underlying fat cells. Is it cold? YES! But the area soon becomes numb, and you get used to it. You are then you are instructed to sit back, relax, and let the fat freezing begin. After an hour, the cooling plates are removed. What you are left with is a swollen, red, loaf-of-bread-looking formation. The technician then massages the area until the frozen loaf begins to look more normal.
SculpSure: The treatment takes only 25 minutes and multiple areas (up to 4) can be treated at one time. This really is a lunchtime procedure. Hooray! Here is what happens: first, the plastic holders for the laser panels are attached and tightened to your body, using nylon belts. The targeted fat gets pressed into these plastic holders until it mounds up a bit, much like the holiday cookies that appear when you use a cookie cutter to make the shape of a tree or a star. However, these particular holders form little rectangle shapes of fat. The laser panels are then connected to the holders. For the first four minutes, the fat is slowly heated up to a tolerable level, which varies for each individual. Note that there is a cooling plate that keeps the surface skin from burning, while heating the fat underneath. For the next 21 minutes, the heat waxes and wanes as your fat cells are being destroyed. After the full 25 minutes, the attachments are taken off. No massaging is necessary, although they do recommend that you lightly massage the treated area throughout the day and drink plenty of water.
PAIN & DOWN TIME CoolSculpting: Although most of the redness and swelling subsides after the technician massages the area, some people have residual swelling and/or bruising for a week or so afterwards. However, you can return to normal activity the next day. Make sure you bring a pair of sweats or loose clothing to wear home, as the area may be swollen and uncomfortable. As far as the level of pain? I’ve interviewed many people who have had this treatment. Some say that after a few minutes, the area turned numb and whatever discomfort they felt was minimal (most of these were women who have given birth to one or more children). Others say that it was “very uncomfortable,” and one even said that it was “one of the most painful things I have ever done” (Note: This was a young man who has never broken a bone, had surgery, given birth, or worn Christian Louboutin stilettos.) Everyone has a different level of pain tolerance, but for most, it was tolerable enough that they would do it again. And many do, as it often takes more than one treatment to get the results you want.
SculpSure: Like CoolSculpting, pain tolerance varies between patients. Most people I questioned, however, said that the pain that accompanies SculpSure was tolerable. So… This beauty industry guinea pig HAD to try it. I’m not a candidate for CoolSculpting or I would have tried that one as well. The only reason (wink wink) that I volunteered to test this procedure was in order to give YOU, my readers, a realistic expectation of the pain and results. (It’s ALL in the name of science, folks) So, in the name of science, I headed to Blue Medi Spa for treatment. I had the technician crank up the contraption to the maximum level. Go big or go home, right? Right! Did it hurt? A little, in some places. For example, I hardly felt any discomfort on my muffin top, but on the area above my knees, it was painful, yet tolerable. However, once again, pain tolerance differs between clients. And the down time? None. No bruising. No frozen (or baked) loaf of bread once the templates were removed. I wore my regular clothes home right afterwards and I was instructed to relax, gently massage the area, and stay hydrated. Later that evening and the following day, my hips had no residual pain at all. However, my legs felt like I had done 100 squats… A sensation I’m no stranger to.
$ PRICE $ CoolScupting: Depending on the area treated, the price ranges from $600-$1200. You may need more than one treatment, so make sure you consider this when you are making your decision on which treatment is right for you. In addition, if you are doing your inner thighs, for example, most treatment facilities are only equipped to treat one thigh at a time. So the treatment time for both thighs will be 2 hours… and double the price. Yep, apparently in CoolSculpting math, 2 legs equals 2 different areas. So although this is marketed as a “lunch-time procedure,” you’d better take a really l-o-n-g lunch if you are doing your thighs or flanks.
SculpSure: The cost is $1400 per treatment. Like CoolSculpting, you may wish to do more than one treatment, so you need to consider this when thinking about the price. However, unlike CoolSculpting, you can treat multiple areas in one treatment. So you can choose to have all 4 applicators placed on your abdomen, or you can have two on your arms and two on your flanks. Your technician will help guide you toward the placement that will give you the best results, which brings me to the next comparison.
RESULTS CoolSculpting: The results are subtle, yet definitely noticeable. Don’t think that your spare tire is going to magically disappear overnight. The fat cells that have been destroyed through the CoolSculpting process will be reabsorbed into your body, gradually, over the next 3-12 weeks, with optimal results at 6 months. But here’s the trick: the procedure is intended to kill only approximately 25% of the fat in the treated area. Most of the “Before & After” photos you find online are the best case scenarios, and usually after 2-3 treatments.
SculpSure: The results are reported to be about the same as CoolSculpting. It causes a 24% reduction of the fat cells in the treated area. And as with CoolSculpting, the damaged fat cells get absorbed and eliminated from your body. Results are seen in as little as 2-6 weeks. Did I notice a difference based on my one treatment? Hmmm… I’d say “yes,” a tiny amount. But I did only have the one treatment, and it’s only been two months. Optimal results are seen after 6 months. Would I do it again? Sure! If I had 25 minutes to spare and an extra $1400 laying around. WHAT THE DOCTORS WON’T TELL YOU (BUT I WILL) There are a few more “fun facts” to think about before you start rushing out to either freeze, or melt, your fat. These are important, folks, yet very few people are actually aware.
1. Location, location, location Just because these two devices are FDA-cleared doesn’t mean they are without risk. Your results are somewhat dependent on the training of your technician. Make sure the facility has the most current machines and that the staff has received proper training. Both CoolScupting.com and SculpSure.com have registries to help you make the right choices. Beware, if the location is not listed in the CoolSculpting or SculpSure online directories. There are second-hand machines bought on E-Bay, with no training required for purchase. And that, my friends, is SCARY! If you are in the Los Angeles area, I trust Blue Medi Spa in Sherman Oaks. If you opt for CoolSculpting, I recommend Cienega Med Spa.
2. Loss of Elasticity Risk Think about the difference the two contraptions have on your skin’s elasticity. CoolSculpting sucks your skin up into the cooling plates for 1 hour, and you are left (albeit temporarily) with an inflamed, protruding lump. For most people, especially younger folks, the skin will gradually retract: no problem! However, not everyone’s skin is created equally. If you already have crepe-y skin due to childbirth or other reasons, then for God’s sake, don’t stick it in a machine that pulls it and gets rid of the underlying fat! That’s ludicrous! If you read the reviews on CoolSculpting, there is a slight chance that your skin will not fully retract back to normal. So, if you have any concerns about skin elasticity, opt for SculpSure.
3. I’m Baaaack Don’t make the mistake of assuming that once fat cells are destroyed (or removed) that you can’t get fat in that same area ever again. It’s true that once those particular fat cells are gone, they are gone forever. However, if you keep eating enough to support those now-gone fat cells, you are going to do one of two things: either you will fatten up the fat cells in a different part of your body, or the fat cells that remain in the treatment area are going to expand and become larger, resulting in the return of the bulge! Uggh. So, if you don’t want your treatment to be a waste of time, money, and effort… make sure you stop eating as if the fat still exists and needs caloric support.
Conclusion So… Do I think these quick-fix fat reduction procedures work? Yes. Would I recommend them to you? Well, that depends. If you have done everything in your power to get rid of your stubborn bulges, and they just don’t seem to going away, AND they really bother you, AND you would rather do a non-invasive treatment instead of the more effective, but minimally invasive Laser-Lipo (that’s another blog), then YES. By all means, go do it!
However… If you are reading this blog while you are eating a Krispy Kreme Donut, then NO, I do not recommend either of these procedures. Step away from the donut, and get your ass to the gym!