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Wednesday, September 20, 2017


I recently heard of a new fat removal method, CoolSculpting, for the first time. It's an impressive medical breakthrough, maybe most impressive because of its simplicity.

Diets tend to be long, slow torture for those on them, and the few who win the battle of the bulge always seem to end up losing the war, because all dieting does is starve fat cells, which, the minute they're fed again, go back to their full size.

And some of those people really seem to hate themselves for it.

The problem is, no amount of dieting will reduce the number of fat cells in our bodies.

The principle behind Coolsculpting is that fat cells die at slightly higher temperatures than other tissue does. Their machines suck up an area of skin and cool it to between 0 and 3 degrees Celsius for an hour or so. Within two or three months, all of the crystallized fat cells are absorbed by the body's pancreatic system and excreted. And those fat cells are permanently gone.

Google "Coolsculpt" and you'll see a lot of sites, most of which are basically infomercials for various doctors. (Which is probably why this post sounds a little like an infomercial.)

Most of the advertisements emphasize that it's not a way to lose 100 pounds; the process only gets rid of subcutaneous fat, not visceral fat. It's mostly a way to smooth out problem surface areas exercising won't get rid of.

You can tell the procedure is expensive because no provider lists prices. According to the message boards, prices apparently run from $750 to 1500 per treatment, maybe less when you get away from NYC. But, there are worse ways to spend money.

The before and after pictures are pretty interesting. (Such pictures are always fascinating, whether they involve drastic weight change, plastic surgery, steroids, or meth addiction.)

Obviously most people do this for aesthetic reasons, but there may be athletic benefits as well. You never see an Olympic 1500 meter runner with a pot belly, but losing a couple pounds of fat would definitely benefit most runners.

And it's a lot easier than running a lot of miles and dieting. But, so far WADA hasn't declared CoolSculpting off-limits.

Anyway, it's sort of amazing to think that after all the attention that's been paid to dieting, shedding the last few pounds has gotten so much easier.


Steven said...

So you can gain fat cells but not lose them? What happens when someone loses 10 stone.

John Craig said...

Steven --
That person has to work hard at keeping the weight off, sticking to the diet and exercise plan.

Steven said...

I just read up a little.

Not sure if my source was authoritative but apparently the number of fat cells pretty much stays constant once you reach adulthood, which shows how bad childhood obesity is. Also, from the phrasing I'm seeing, it seems like fat cells don't just enlarge but get filled up (with fat, presumably). And yeah, when they are small and empty, they send chemical signals to get you to fill them back up.

I know that's not the main point of the article but I didn't know it so thanks. Very interesting.

Haven't got anything to say about this weird method but I feel like dieting is penitence for greed, which balances things out, and the need to diet can put you on a positive lifestyle path.

John Craig said...

Steven --
No, that's pretty much true, the number of fat cells is set early, which is why parents who provide their children with lots of sweets or even excess carbs are doing them a great disservice. I was surprised to find out yesterday that the number of fat cells can actually increase in adulthood though, some process whose name I can't remember, but it can happen. I think it's only a matter of time before they discover a method to get rid of visceral fat as well.

As per the above paragraph, dieting seems to be penitence for having been overindulged with junk food as a kid.

Steven said...

You can get fat as an adult and have to lose weight for sure. I was about 140 pounds at age 18 and about 6ft. I'm 190 now and I've been 200. I think my vanity counteracts my greed around 200 pounds.

John Craig said...

Steven --
If you ever get to the point where you have money to burn you could always try CoolSculpting. That was sort of the point of this post, to let people know about this easy -- if expensive -- way to lose weight.

Runner Katy said...

Great post, and I was surprised you would write on this. I was curious about this too, but not just for vanity, but for precisely what you mentioned....if I lost 2-3 lbs. of fat, my running would improve about 10 seconds/mile. In a long distance race, that could mean the difference in taking home a prize for me. Also, it would be nice to have less of a motherly middle section, ha.

John Craig said...

Runner Katy --
Thank you, yes, this was a little bit of a departure. But I had spent an hour or so reading about it and looking at informercials and before and after pictures, and I thought it was pretty amazing, especially after all the attention that's been paid to various forms of dieting over the years.

It's not just runners, participants in any sport where endurance or the strength to weight ratio counts would benefit. I just used running as an obvious example. I've seen those charts which show how much weight loss helps distance runners, they seem about right.

Fled The Undertow said...

Lemme tell ya'...I'm all in favor of any medical procedure which cuts fat out of your body. I had Lipo several years ago, and although it worked GREAT and I loved the results, it still took 3 months for the bruising and swelling to go away, and the first 2 days post-op, I felt like I was dying. I don't think I could ever put myself through that level of pain again...and I've had 3 kids.

John Craig said...

Fled The Undertow --
You're female?? I didn't realize that, usually I can tell. You had said you're a teacher, but somehow, I missed your gender.

I'm in favor of fat loss techniques too. Supposedly CoolSculpt is painless, though its results aren't as dramatic as lipo. (It only gets the surface fat.)