A lot of people are trying to lose weight and get into shape. Some of them are grossly obese and as a result suffer from physical effects like joint pain, reduced mobility, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, hypertension etc. . These people are looking to lose weight in tune of 20-40 kilos or more. Some others are moderately overweight and want to have good figure by losing 5-7 kilos. Some others are not overweight but have problem areas like bulging tummy, flabby arms or heavy thighs. They want to lose weight specifically in some parts. Then there are those who are very fit, hit the gym and take healthy diet- but still do not have enviable muscular physique. And last but not the least are women who are unable to get into their favorite clothes, after having a baby.
There is no one weight loss solution for all these people. Most commonly people try dieting and exercise half heartedly, do not get the desired result and lose hope. Some blame the genetics, long working hours or hormonal problems and give up. But being overweight affects their self esteem, confidence and health. This is when they start looking for options where they can lose weight without any effort from their side.
Various options are available in market for weight loss and inch loss. But actually there are very few that really work or can be proven scientifically. Lets go through each of them and find out the truth.
1. Massages and steam: Neither massage nor can steam help you melt fat. Only one to lose weight is the masseur.
2. Heating pads and vibrating belts: There is no scientific basis in these methods. Application of heat to skin may increase the blood circulation to the part or may make you sweat and get dehydrated and thus lose few hundred grams of weight( water). But it certainly not known to reduce fat or increase metabolism.
3. External ultrasound or radiofrequency application to the skin: This is a nonsurgical technology wherein ultrasound energy is applied to fatty area. These waves can penetrate upto 1 cm below the skin level and are said to break down fat under the skin. It has not been proven what really happens to the fat. Are the cells broken down permanently or the cells are intact and only the fat come out of the cell. Where does the fat go then? Is it not absorbed back by the body? There is no study to prove that blood levels of fat increase after this procedure, which should happen if fat is really being broken down and then being carried to liver for metabolism. The waves penetrate to just below the skin – so obviously they can not work when the fatty layer is several cms thick. These technologies are classic examples of manufacturing companies’ eagerness to hype and sell a product without proper research.
4. Liposuction: Liposuction and its various avatars like VASER and smartlipo are surgical techniques to remove fat from localized body parts. This is done under general or local anaesthesia and fat is actually taken out of body with a suction machine. Moderate amount of liposuction upto 5-7% of body weight ( 7 kilos in hundred kilo person) from 1-3 selected body parts in a sitting is safe and scientifically proven to be effective. But does it benefit everybody? The answer is no. Liposuction works best and is permanent for those people who are determined to maintain their weight with healthy diet and exercise. Even though the fat cells are removed from liposuctioned part, the remaining fat cells of the area and other body parts can store fat if lifestyle is not changed. Very obese( 30-50 kgs overweight) can not lose all the weight by liposuction alone. Without balanced diet and exercise the fat lost by liposuction may come back in next couple of months. If one is trying to lose weight for health reason like blood pressure, diabetes and heart problems liposuction is not the ideal solution. Unless one makes appropriate lifestyle changes, he/she does not get health benefits of weight loss. Liposuction is ideal for those who are already on balanced diet and exercise program, but are stuck with resistant areas of fat like love handles, double chin, tummy, hip etc. Liposuction in moderation is great and permanent but expecting 20-50 kilos of weight – all by liposuction alone – is unrealistic and impractical.
5. Bariatric surgery: Bariatric surgery acts on the stomach and intestines. Various types of bariatric surgery procedures are available to reduce stomach size and intestine size. After this surgery person can not eat much or absorb much and ends up losing most of extra weight in next 1-2 years. During this time he/she heeds to maintain proper nutrition under dietician’s supervision and also exercise to maintain muscle and bones. Bariatric surgery is not for moderately overweight people(BMI less than 35), because of low risk benefit ratio in this group. For people with BMI above 35 or grossly obese who suffer from other weight related health problems bariatric surgery is worthwhile. Can one gain the weight back after bariatric surgery- yes, unless one changes to healthier lifestyle.
6. Diet and exercise: This is mentioned last, because it is common sense. Everyone in their heart knows this is the healthiest, safest, permanent, cheapest and most sure shot method of losing weight. But modern lifestyle, busy schedules and easy availability of rich food makes it very difficult. Yet there is no escape from it. One has to take limited, balanced diet and has to be physically active to maintain the result of weight loss surgeries. There are certain situations though where diet and exercise does not help. Heavy female breasts, male breasts, love handles, saddle bags and fat around the waist are commonly found even in otherwise normal weight fit individuals and in women after pregnancies. Loose skin does not go with exercise nor does exercise and diet help in spot reduction.All of these problems are beyond the scope of diet and exercise and need plastic surgical procedures for correction.