Fat is complex, it’s stubborn, demonised, praised and misunderstood.
Everyone has a different relationship with fat. In parts of the world, increasing in weight is a sign of good living. For other parts of the world, society pushes an ideal body size that people are expected to fit into.
Body fat in itself is not bad. But fat is a normal part of our bodies even though in excess, comes with accompanying complications or at worst be life threatening. Weight loss is a common desire in many peoples’ hearts. Over the years, there has been an evolution on various procedures to combat weight loss; from harmful, expensive, invasive and possibly deadly to recently harmless and probably less costly procedures.
A recent wave of ongoing body positivity conversations has scrapped a lot of stereotypes that came with how people decided to handle body fat or their weight in general, and as such, they can choose from an array of procedures and decide what kind of relationship they would want to have with their body, their weight and fat.
Weight Loss Versus Fat Reduction
While both terms, weight loss and fat reduction, could sometimes be used interchangeable, recent procedures have produced so many options that separate the two terms, and as such, both mean different things when it comes to shedding body fat.
Weight loss simply refers to a general reduction in your total body mass. That is, there is a decrease in body weight resulting from either voluntary (diet, exercise, surgery) or involuntary (illness) circumstances. This could be in the form of loss of body fat, fluids, or even lean mass (bone mineral deposits, muscle, tendon, and other connective tissue).
Fat reduction on the other hand is primarily reduction of body fat. Fat is stored in the adipose tissues under the skin hence, specific parts of the body. In loose terms we can agree that weight loss is a general decrease in overall body weight including losing muscle, fat, and water mass from the body, while fat loss is a lot more specific because it is targeted and it is specifically about eliminating the fat stored in certain parts in your body.
The goal to successful weight loss is to preserve as much muscle as possible, or possibly even gain some, while at the same time lose as much body fat as possible. If the goal is fat loss, we are going to need to focus on preserving muscle while we lose fat. Reducing body fat is what most people want to achieve.
Actually, there are a lot more people who are happy and comfortable with their weight but not the look of fat deposits in certain parts of the body and would rather opt for a fat loss program than an overall decrease in weight.
Fat loss methods or procedures
The aim for fat loss/reduction is for maximum lipolysis, that is:
- the biological process of breaking down fat lipids and triglycerides in either the food you eat or that are already stored in your body.
- working out shown to up-regulate those lipolytic enzymes and improve mitochondria function, which is why exercising helps you shed fat.
Generally, to lose fat, a negative energy balance needs to be created, hence the need to consume fewer calories than you expend. To lose body fat you also want to maintain or increase lean tissues.
Other invasive procedures for fat loss may include: gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, adjustable gastric band and billiopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch. The aforementioned procedures are surgical, hence the term ‘invasive’.
Non-invasive or minimally invasive programs include: cryolipolysis (e.g., CoolSculpting), injection lipolysis (e.g., Kybella), radiofrequency lipolysis (e.g., Vanquish) and laser lipolysis (e.g., SculpSure). These procedures include technology that uses heat or cooling or an injected medication to reduce fat cells hence fat is frozen, broken down or melted away. These procedures are perfectly suited for patients who are unwilling or unable to undergo surgery.
History and Science behind Fat Freezing
Fat freezing is a popular option for many people struggling with body fat that has been tricky to shift.
In 1970, a scientist observed the way a 6 month old teething child’s cheek had become red and swollen on one side after sucking on an ice lolly to soothe her gums. She had been rushed into A&E with worries of a facial abscess, despite displaying no signs of illness.
It was later discovered that the exposure to the ice-cold sweet-treat had caused the development of a firm, swelling of cells in her cheek tissue. After the tissue becomes damaged in this way, the ‘apoptosis’ process is triggered, where these cells die and our body disposes of them as they are no longer needed. This peculiarity was then coined as ‘popsicle panniculitis’. Another research was done into frostbite, and it was noted that fat cells would freeze before skin freezes.
In recent times, fat freezing or CoolSculpting is quickly becoming a preferred non-invasive alternative for fat loss with exceptional results and celebrity endorsements all over the world.
The Coolsculpting procedure for fat loss
Coolsculpting, scientifically known as Cryolipolysis, uses extreme cold temperature to break down fat cells. As the frozen cells die, they are naturally eliminated and permanently removed by the body. Cold does not damage other cells in the way it does fat cells, and so there is no damage to the skin or underlying tissue. Common target areas include, arms (bingo-wings), flanks, thighs, lower back, belly, neck and sides (often referred as “love handles”).
How Coolsculpting works
In the process of Coolsculpting, the practitioner vacuums the skin above the area of fatty tissue into an applicator that cools the fat cells. These paddles or wands are placed on the fat body parts such as love handles or other fleshy accessible areas and chills the locations. The cold temperatures numb the area, and in effect, kills the fat cells present. The fat cells die as a result of the fat freezing technique and over weeks or a month, these fat cells are naturally shed from the body. CoolSculpting kills off fat cells and these cells do not come back.
How Cool is CoolSculpting
Coolsculpting is a non-invasive procedure, so it does not require cuts, anaesthesia, or medications that could cause an allergic reaction. This means that the rate of complications and side effects is lower than with more invasive procedures, such as liposuction.
- CoolSculpting destroys fat cells, and those particular cells will not return.
- The procedure takes very minimal time with almost zero side effects. You can drive yourself home after your treatments and return to your regular activities right away.
- It is easy and painless with noticeable results in about 6 to 8 weeks.
- It is relatively cheap, comparable to other fat reduction procedures.
- CoolSculpting does not harm skin cells or muscle tissues since it simply freezes, kills and ultimately eliminates unwanted fat cells.
If you’re considering a non-invasive, safe and effective approach to reducing fat bulges in problem areas, CoolSculpting is definitely worth considering weighing the benefits against the risks.
If you’d like to schedule a free consultation at our Downtown Denver Med Spa, just visit the button below and we’ll get all of your questions answered as well as evaluate your interest in body fat loss, helping you to determine if Coolsculpting is the right treatment for you.