Lose Fat without Exercise or Diets

Three new procedures promise to eliminate fat without diet or exercise — ?but are they safe??

Credit: Flickr/adria.richards

Don’t sweat it: If you’ve only got a few pounds to lose, three new procedures could help

While surgery has become an attractive option in the ongoing battle of the bulge, with liposuction having become the most popular plastic-surgery procedure in North America, now, gentler procedures are vying for a share of that market

The latest techniques freeze, laser or use ultrasound to zap away fat cells in those hard-to-lose areas — without the need for anesthesia.

Three New Fat Removal Procedures

The first is a procedure called Zeltiq CoolSculpting, which freezes fat cells under the skin.

A gel patch is attached to the skin to ensure the machine gets a good seal. The fat cells freeze before the skin does and are destroyed. Once destroyed, they are slowly re-absorbed by the body over the next several months. Reports suggest a 20 per cent loss in the problem area.

The second procedure, Zerona, uses a low-energy laser directed at fat cells causing them to leak their contents, which are then re-absorbed and eliminated from the body over the ensuing few weeks.

A third procedure, UltraShape, in use over the past three years, employs ultrasound to dissolve fat cells and contour the body. Following treatment, broken fat cells are naturally eliminated from the body over three to five weeks.

Most patients report that these procedures cause some minor discomfort but overall are relatively painless. But they’re not painless on the financial front, with one treatment costing upwards of $750. Most patients require more than one treatment.

Are Fat Removal Procedures Safe and Do They Last?

Health Canada approved Zeltiq last year. After four years of testing and one of commercial use internationally, reports have not demonstrated harm. To date, studies suggest these non-invasive procedures are, overall, safe.

As for permanence, since the freezing and ultrasound methods destroy fat cells, like liposuction, they should be effective over the long term — provided there’s no subsequent weight gain.

Weight gain may also result in the bulking-up of remaining fat cells elsewhere in the body, possibly causing an unbalanced appearance. The low-level laser reduces size by emptying the contents of the fat cell, but inches can be regained with excess caloric intake causing fat cells to refill.

None of these procedures are weight-loss methods so they’re not suitable for everyone. Most who opt for these therapies are fit but have stubborn pockets of fat, or they want to improve their body contouring. In these cases, studies suggest these procedures are effective.

Not surprisingly, the results are maximized when combined with a healthy lifestyle, which includes plenty of exercise and a low-calorie diet.

So, if you’re looking to lose 20 or more pounds, you could spend a lot of money without seeing any appreciable difference. Following a check-up to eliminate medical problems that could impede fat loss, the old adage of “eat less, move more” remains the healthful answer to the battle of the bulge.

Originally published in TV Week. For daily updates, subscribe to the free TV Week e-newsletter, or purchase a subscription to the weekly magazine.