By: Verne Maree
Until recently, it has never been possible to lose fat in a specific area without resorting to liposuction. Your basic shape was a given. If a plump apple lost weight, he became a slimmer apple; and if a porky pear did the same thing, she’d become a pared-down pear. But apples remained apples; pears pears.
Exercise alone won’t shift the particular fat deposit that’s bothering you. That’s why wearing plasticised sweatpants while out for a run has always been and still is a waste of time – especially in sweltering Singapore. Rather than spot-slimming your hips, thighs and butt, it will merely make you your nether regions hotter, wetter and more prone to infestation by colonies of tropical micro-beasties.
The exercise will burn fat, of course, but Mother Nature, speaking through your genes, will be the one to decide exactly where to take that fat from. If you’re built like me, the very last place she will choose is your stomach. (The first will most probably be your breasts, to the general discontent of boyfriends and husbands everywhere.)
In the same way, those abs of steel you’ve developed will remain your own proud secret if they’re still covered by a layer of belly fat. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to get rid of it for good.
#1: BETTER SHAPE UP
Not everyone is keen on exercising outdoors here, just one degree north of the Equator. And despite their air-conditioning, not everyone likes working out in a gym. How about a body-firming spa, then?
Dutch expat Marianne Doele’s long-established The Body Firm in Delfi Orchard is a favourite among expat women for offering a variety of non-invasive slimming systems that can be mixed and matched and tailored to create an effective programme especially for you.
First, The Body Firm System focuses on toning and strengthening your muscles – and muscles burn fat, remember. The Body Firm girls will hook you up to specialised pads, which can be placed around four areas: tummy and waist, buttocks, hips and thighs, arms or knees. You’ll feel no discomfort as the intense, high-frequency waveforms stimulate and tone your muscles. Just 25 minutes of this is the equivalent of spending several hours at the gym, they say! To see dramatic results, two or three sessions a week for at least four weeks are recommended. Packages start from as little as $89 per session.
Secondly, there’s iLipo, which uses laser energy to painlessly shrink the fat cells in the area that bothers you. While you lie there peacefully for 25 minutes, the laser is delivered through pads to burn up around 500 calories – that’s equivalent to five small glasses of wine or one big bar of chocolate! Taking some exercise within the following two hours will maximise the continuation of the fat-burning effect. Eight sessions (two a week) is the general recommendation, and each session costs from $299.Instead of laser, Apollo Tripollar uses radiofrequency energy; the appliance is used in a massaging motion on trouble-spots for again, 25 minutes or more, restoring smoothness and firmness to areas that are pocked, lined or saggy. It starts from $299 per session.
For something low-tech but lovely, try the firm anti-cellulite massage, which improves blood and lymph circulation to break up those stubborn, lumpy fat deposits on bums and thighs.
Check out The Body Firm’s website for exclusive offers for Expat Living readers this August!
#2: RIGHT AND TIGHT
Have you had enough of that sagging post-pregnancy skin around the tummy? Or are you anxious about the skin that hangs from under your arms or bulges from your armpits? As middle age looms and gravity steps up its relentless pull, maybe you’re just not ready to give up the sleeveless tops and form-fitting jeans, skirts and dresses you’ve always loved.
Dr Eileen Lew at Le Privaté Clinic offers the non-invasive SkinTyte 2 system, which utilises advanced infrared light technology to deeply heat dermal collagen. It delivers rapid, gentle pulses to promote contraction of the collagen, initiating the body’s natural healing process and leading to increased skin firmness and smoother contours. During the process, the exposed skin is continuously protected with sapphire contact cooling, to ensure your safety and comfort.
Any area of your body can be treated – anywhere that appears to be sagging due to the loss of the natural collagen and elastin fibres that keep the skin firm and resilient. The number of treatments required varies from patient to patient; typically, a series of three to five treatments are performed about a month apart: you should see a visibly tighter skin after one or two treatments.
Collagen production begins two-to-three weeks after treatment, and reaches its maximum after three months. SkinTyte2 may be combined with BBL (BroadBand Light) for enhanced results.
#3: TRIPLE ACTION
Dr Christopher Ng, from GynaeMD Women’s & Rejuvenation Clinic, recommends a multi-faceted treatment for non-invasive facial and body contouring, fat and cellulite reduction and skin tightening. Its technical name is a bit a mouthful: Maximus TriLipo Radiofrequency (RF), plus TriLipo Dynamic Muscle Activation (DMA) Treatment.
TriLipo safely and effectively targets and removes unwanted localised fat deposits. The Maximus system, powered by TriLipo technology, uses a combination of focused TriLipo (RF) technology and TriLipo DMA for body-shaping. Maximus TriLipo RF technology can be used for a wide variety of aesthetic applications, including fat reduction, body-sculpting, cellulite reduction, stretch mark reduction, skin tightening and facial contouring.
The Maximus TriLipo system works to:
• Release liquid fat from the subcutaneous tissue
• Remove released fat via a patented lymphatic drainage mechanism
• Reshape the body by reducing localised fat and tightening the skin
The decreased fat layer results in a more contoured silhouette. Simultaneously, the RF technology tightens and smoothens the skin, shrinking fat cells and reducing fat deposits. It can be used to achieve a reduction in the circumference of the abdomen, arms, flanks and thighs, and is suitable for all skin types.
Being non-surgical, this is a clinic-based treatment after which you can return to your daily routine. It’s for both men and women, and is also designed to help postnatal women regain their figure.
#4: TUMMY TIGHTENING WITH BODY BY THERMAGE
As Dr Valentin Low points out, ageing doesn’t just affect the skin on our faces: our bodies see the effects too, with crepey, sagging skin and unwanted bulges and dimples. Thermage is a non-invasive way to smooth the skin on our bodies and even reduce the appearance of cellulite.
Thermage treatments are all about energy – focusing radiofrequency energy to kick-start the body’s own natural renewal process. Like most smart technologies, the process is relatively simple – it’s a combination of heat energy to treat deep tissue, and cooling effects to protect the skin surface and keep your comfortable. Make sure you ask for the latest evolution of Thermage, though: it includes patented Comfort Pulse Technology – gentle vibrations and interspersed cooling that make your Thermage treatment genuinely comfortable.
Best of all, Thermage works in just one treatment and delivers a natural-looking result. Thermage treatments are customised to your needs, and typically require minimal recovery time. It’s a great solution if you want to look sleeker, smoother and younger, but can’t afford a lot of time away from work or your social life.
#5: WE TRIAL TRILIPO
At Cutis Medical Laser Clinics, Dr Sylvia Ramirez likes to combine her cryolipolisis-based CoolSculpting treatments (see page 281 for full report) with radiofrequency (RF)-based TriLipo. We tried it out, and here’s what we found.
How it works:
TriLipo enhances fat reduction by promoting fat metabolism, says Sylvia, but our main goal at this point is to tighten the skin. That’s because – four weeks later – the CoolSculpting treatment is still taking effect.
How it feels:
As assistant Fan applies the inevitably cold gel to my waist and tummy, she warns me to expect a pulling sensation from the appliance that she’s going to be massaging me with. The RF feels a bit weird initially, especially near bonier areas like the hips, but once I’m used to it, it’s quite pleasant and she’s able to up the frequency for a stronger effect. The 25 minutes flashes by. (It helps that we’re chatting non-stop about anything and everything.) The next day, my tummy feels slightly tender – but in a good way. That shows it’s working!
How many and how much?
As an adjunct to CoolSculpting, two sessions a week apart. Depending on need, up to eight sessions may be recommended.
BONUS: BURN OFF THAT BELLY FAT!
Why it’s necessary:
According to www.mercola.com, abdominal fat produces inflammatory molecules, and high inflammation levels can trigger a wide range of systemic diseases linked with metabolic syndrome, such as diabetes and cardiovascular conditions.
Become a fat-burner:
Fat is your body’s preferred source of fuel: 50 to 60 percent of your diet should be healthy fats. Carbohydrate intake is the primary factor determining your body’s fat ratio; processed grains and sugars (especially fructose) are the main cause of skyrocketing obesity and diabetes rates.
How to do it:
• Limit fructose and eliminate refined sugars from your diet – that includes refined grains like breakfast cereals, pasta, rice and bread. Instead, eat lots of fresh veggies and two or three pieces of whole, fresh fruit a day.
• Eat plenty of good fats – you’ll find them in avocados, salmon, eggs yolks, raw butter, olives, extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil and raw nuts.
• Do short bursts of exercise, such as high-intensity interval training.
• Exercise in a fasted state, ideally in the morning.
• Supplement with vitamin C and get enough sunshine to maintain a healthy level of vitamin D.
• Get enough sleep.