Sheryl Kraft, a freelance writer and breast cancer survivor, was born in Long Beach, New York. She currently lives in Connecticut with her husband Alan and dog Chloe, where her nest is empty of her two sons Jonathan. Sheryl writes articles and essays on breast cancer and contributes to a variety of publications and websites where she writes on general health and wellness issues. She earned her MFA in writing from Sarah Lawrence College in 2005.Full Bio
Learn about our editorial policies
We all have our share of them—those spots on our bodies where fat loves to hang out. For some, it might be areas in the lower body with lovely nicknames like "bubble butt," "thunder thighs," "cankles," "saddlebags," "love handles" or "FUPA" (you'll have to look that one up).
Then there's that fat which accumulates in areas above the belly, known affectionately as "bat wings" or "turkey neck."
Despite eating proportionally fewer calories than our male counterparts, it's a fact that women store fat more efficiently than do men. It's quite the paradox: Despite burning off more fat than men during exercise, women have more body fat than men—6 percent to 11 percent more.
One likely culprit: estrogen, finds a study from the University of New South Wales. As cited in a sciencedaily.com news release, the hormone "reduces a woman's ability to burn energy after eating, resulting in more fat being store around the body. The likely reason is to prime women for childbearing, the review suggests." (Another thing you can say to your child the next time you want to lay on some good old mommy-guilt.)
In a perfect world, we'd go to the gym, do some targeted work aimed at blasting those bulges away and whittle away all the extra fat on our (choose your dream) abs, thighs, butts, triceps, chins. But contrary to common belief, you cannot spot reduce. While fats do get broken down during exercise, those fats get broken down throughout the body—not just in the spot you wish for.
But—and here's a bit of encouraging news—usually the spot where you gain weight first will be the same spot where you'll lose it first.
Every little bit helps, no?
What all of this means is that sometimes exercise is not enough; you might want a little extra assistance.
There are surgical ways, but those require things like anesthesia, sutures, bruising, healing and risk of infection, as most surgeries do.
What if you want to reduce your fat, but don't want surgery? You're not alone: Nonsurgical fat-reduction procedures rate among the fastest-growing categories in the aesthetics market. There's been a 42 percent increase in procedures performed between 2013 and 2014, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. There are things like liposuction (which, like it sounds, suctions excess fat from under the skin) and CoolSculpting (a technique that freezes the fat away).
There's a new kid in town
I recently learned about a new body contouring system called SculpSure for removing stubborn fat. You know that kind of fat—the kind that, despite our best efforts at diet and exercise, remains obstinately present. Both clinically tested and FDA-cleared, SculpSure is a light-based procedure that yields results in six to 12 weeks.
How it works
Developed by Cynosure, this noninvasive procedure uses a laser that precisely targets fat cells under the skin. The temperature of the body fat is raised, the subcutaneous fat cells are disrupted and destroyed, and then, presto! The cells are naturally eliminated over time.
Bye-bye and sayonara. Gone forever.
SculpSure requires no downtime, other than sitting or lying comfortably for 25 minutes during the procedure. Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Lawrence Bass, who was a lead investigator in SculpSure's clinical trials, says, "SculpSure is also comfortable and well-tolerated, with most patients feeling nothing more than a deep warming sensation."
Some patients feel a bit of tenderness for a few days after the procedure, but there's nothing stopping you from having the procedure performed and getting right up and back to work and your normal schedule.
The procedure, which claims to produce up to a 24 percent reduction in stubborn fat, uses no suction to pull the tissues like CoolSculpting does. Instead, the applicators lay flat on top of the treatment area. Depending on how much fat you're after, between one and five sessions might be necessary, each taking 25 minutes and costing an average of $1,500.
Look below for a before and after shot. I see a big difference, do you? (This is six weeks post-treatment.)
You might also be interested in reading:
This post originally appeared on mysocalledmidlife.net.