How I Slimmed Down My Thighs Without Moving a Muscle
Confession: I’m big into fitness and wellbeing. (Which is probably for the best since it’s my job to write about them, TBH.) I’m maybe annoyingly into it. I’m definitely the person who skips drinks after work to train, and since I don’t eat much refined sugar I’m often met with looks of disdain (or is that pity?) from co-workers during birthday cake time. (Don't feel bad for me, the I Quit Sugar Cookbook, $25, has some pretty excellent recipes for sweet treats.) The thing is, it didn’t used to be this way. As a former couch potato, I have a few things to thank for my relatively recent health kick, chief of which is a hormonal condition that makes it difficult for me to maintain a steady weight.
If I’m making it sound like I’m overweight, I’m not. I’m a dress size 10 and for the most part I’m pretty happy with that. But, if you’ve heard of the phenomenon so flatteringly referred to as "skinny fat" (where a person can be both small in size but still kinda flabby), you'll understand why I'm always on the hunt for an extra curricular fat fighter. I work out, I eat right, but the muscle tone I long (and lift) for escapes me. Enter: an email re: cryolipolysis technology that pinged into my Inbox a few months ago.
The email was from Body Catalyst in Sydney's Bondi Junction and it spoke of a seemingly magical procedure whereby I'd lay still for an hour while my fat was literally frozen to death. Lose weight without moving a muscle? Um, yes please! Intrigued but with reservations, I sent back a comprehensive list of questions. Does it hurt? How does it work? Do the results last? And most important of all, does it actually work? Owner and technician Samantha Barakat Light walked me through the process before I committed to trying the procedure. (She also showed me some seriously impressive before and afters.) Sufficiently convinced, I couldn't sign myself up fast enough and—spoiler alert—the treatment really did work. I lost 1cm from each thigh from just one session, which may not sound like much, but it made a real difference to the fit of my favourite jeans. Intrigued?
Keep reading for everything you need to know about cryolipolysis.
Cryolipolysis is a nonsurgical alternative to liposuction, more commonly known as 'fat freezing'. It's a scientifically proven technique whereby targeted fat cells are cooled down to the point that they die, after which your body naturally eliminates them. So what happens during the procedure itself? A vacuum head is placed on top of a pocket of fat (areas most commonly treated include stomach, love handles, inner and outer thighs and upper arms), which cools the area to a temperature of -6C for an hour. During this time you literally lay on your back and chill. I was told to expect a pulling sensation (from the vacuum) and potentially uncomfortable coldness, but I found the treatment area became numb immediately. Following the procedure you may have mild bruising, swelling, temporary numbness or tingling but I didn't have those either. Results are not immediate, but are seen within twelve weeks and after only one session. "The process results in a 20-30% fat reduction," says Barakat Light. The best bit? Once those fat cells are gone, they're gone forever.
In a nutshell: Yes. Studies show that fat freezes at a higher temperature than the surrounding cells, which means there is no damage to any other tissues. Although the technology itself is safe, we always suggest seeking out a reputable technician and asking questions regarding the type of machine they use. (FYI, Body Catalyst uses a TGA-approved technology, which means it continues to be regulated through post-market monitoring.) You'll also want to make sure you're an ideal candidate before you commit: "As cryolipolysis targets subcutaneous fat, it does not appear to be effective in people who lave large amounts of fat to lose," says Barakat Light.
Again, it sure is. "Once crystallised the fat cells slowly break down and dissolve in the body, they are then transported through the lymphatic system to the liver where they are processed out of the body as waste," says Barakat Light. Once the treated fat cells are gone, they’re gone for good! The caveat: As long as you maintain your weight with nutrition and exercise, your long-term results should remain stable. To maximise results do the obvious: work out, eat well and drink lots of water.