Being thin and fit doesn’t make you immune to having fat gather around certain areas of your body; most commonly around the buttocks and thighs (for women) and around the abdomen (for men).
But that’s hardly a steadfast rule – women can certainly gather belly fat (most notably, during menopause. Chances are you’re familiar with that?) And there are plenty of men out there sporting big bums and thighs, too.
You can exercise. You can diet. But there’s little to no guarantee the fat will come off from the specific body part that bugs you the most. Just because you don’t want it hanging around doesn’t mean it’s listening. Those trouble spots persist despite your best efforts.
Studies back this up. Basically, the story is this: The fat that’s broken down to be used as fuel during exercise can come from anywhere in your body – not just where you wish for it to disappear, or for that matter, the part that you work the hardest.
Another thing? If you’re not burning enough calories (i.e., expending more than you’re taking in or exercising really, really hard), fat’s not coming off from anywhere in your body. This is perhaps easier to
understand digest when you realize that one pound of fat is equivalent to 3500 calories. And typically, the types of exercises you’re doing to spot reduce – like crunches or leg lifts – don’t burn many calories at all. And if you’re not burning calories, you’re not burning fat.
News Flash: Since spot reduction is futile in most, fat removal has become such a popular aesthetic treatment, one of the top five.
“The gold standard of fat removal used to be liposuction,” says Christine Gould, MD, medical director of All About You Medical Spa located in the town of Fairfield, Connecticut. But liposuction has its downsides: for one thing, it may not be permanent. If you gain weight after the surgery, the fat can return – both to the sites where it was performed and to other sites. What’s more, there may be a wavy or bumpy appearance to the area. And finally, liposuction is an invasive surgical procedure; one that requires both anesthesia and downtime.
It’s no wonder that researchers were working hard to come up with something better, easier, more efficient and less invasive.
SculpSure, the newest non-surgical fat-reducing, body contouring technique to hit the market, “Is not a weight loss procedure – it’s a spot-reducing one,” says Gould. Lots of people use it to kick start a diet and exercise program, she says. “You won’t lose weight – but you’ll lose fat and inches.”
In fact, you can lose up to 24 percent of that fat with each treatment cycle. And that fat stays away – permanently.
“Over time, it’s naturally eliminated through your lymphatic system,” Gould explains. Generally the less you need to lose, the less procedures you need. In many cases, patients are happy and see results with only one treatment – but that’s all contingent on your starting point and end goal.
Unlike Coolsculpt- the other non-invasive fat removal procedure that’s out there –SculpSure does not use suction to pull the tissues; instead, the device uses light-based technology that is delivered via four hand pieces that lay flat on top of the target area. Depending on the amount of fat you need to lose, between one and five sessions might be necessary. Each cycle only takes 25 minutes and costs an average of $1,500 (depending on where you live and the physician administering the treatment).
I was recently invited to try it for myself.
“What fat do YOU have?” That question came from a good friend of mine when I revealed my plans.
What she didn’t know is this: Although I go to the gym regularly and carefully watch my diet (most of the time), this so-called midlife has inevitably changed my body, just like anyone else’s, and there are some areas around my middle that are rather… disproportionate.
Take my love handles. (Please.) They’re there, trust me; looser clothing does wonders to conceal the evidence.
When I arrived at Dr. Gould’s office, she patiently explained the procedure to me, and showed me before-and-after photos of her patients. I was astonished at the changes I saw: Flatter tummies. Slimmer thighs. Firmer-looking buttocks. Pretty impressive stuff. (It’s important to note that the FDA has approved SculpSure for just the flanks and abdomen, and more indications are in the works. But some doctors may choose, on their own, to treat areas that are off-label for now.)
Did it hurt? Not too much – it was a bit uncomfortable, but hardly worth mentioning. I felt a slight warming sensation and some tingling, but it was not unbearable at all. And since Dr. Gould sat with me throughout the short procedure, our conversation took my mind off it. (Not every doctor or technician sits with their patients while they have the procedure, and I was grateful for Dr. Gould’s company!)
How does it work? The applicators fit into a plastic frame to hold them in place. They sit on top of the area that’s being targeted – there’s no pulling or tugging of any kind. The machine was turned on and adjusted to my comfort setting; in the beginning, there’s a cooling sensation, then intervals of warmth deep within the area. Twenty-five minutes later, I got up and drove home. There was no downtime; in fact, I returned to the gym the next day. I felt very slight soreness the next day or so, almost like I’d done one too many crunches at the gym. That’s it.
Did I see the results right away? The only thing I saw was a small amount of redness, which disappeared in a few hours. Final results will be evident in six to 12 weeks. (Hopefully, rather than love handles, I’ll have a little less and be able to rename them. “Like handles?” Ok, that was lame…). I’ll keep you all posted, if you’re curious, that is 🙂
See for yourself~ Here are some before and after photos of Dr. Gould’s actual patients and their results after just ONE treatment (un-retouched and copyrighted):