Health Fitness

Freeze, eliminate and lose more than fat cells

Having been obese for one phase of my life, I know the emotional pain of feeling big and unacceptable. Our culture has indoctrinated most of us, particularly women, into believing that thinness and media-defined beauty will bring happiness, bliss, and self-respect. Unfortunately, it seems that there is no limit to what we will do to achieve the beauty we think we do not have and a figure that is as close as possible to the desired shape.

It has come to my attention this week that the Food and Drug Administration recently approved two new “devices” that shape the body ~ eliminating the “tires” and “pockets” of fat. These two medical procedures claim to remove excess fat from the body without the need for surgery or invasive methods. One technique “freezes” fat cells in “tires,” or specific areas of accumulated fat, causing them to self-destruct over a period of several months. With his “CoolSculpting device,” a patient simply sits in a chair while a technician uses a tool that sucks a handful of fat into a paper bag-sized container that attaches firmly to the body and begins to cool the fat. Eventually, the fat freezes, causing the cells to die early and naturally, being reabsorbed into the body. Company founder Mitchell Levinson claims that fat doesn’t come back.

The second technique is a procedure that does not kill fat cells. Rather, a low-energy laser device, called the Zerona laser, creates tiny pores in cell membranes that slowly seep fat content out, deflating the cells. According to Ryan Maloney, director of research at manufacturer Erchonia Corp., the cells are still viable and can secrete hormones important for health. The patient lies on a table while the device rotates around the waist, hips, and thighs. The procedure lasts 20 minutes per side and is repeated three times a week for two weeks. Both procedures cost up to $3,000 for each “rim” (or similar buildup of fat cells) and a larger area of ​​fat or “muffin top” may require two treatments. However, these methods are appropriate only for “inconspicuous” bulges, not for large areas of fat.

If you’ve read this far and you’re not deeply worried, you should be worried, more than worried. These companies and the people who pay thousands of dollars for these procedures are supporting a myth that is robbing thousands of people of self-acceptance and joy in life: the myth of bodily perfection. We have been brainwashed by a sixty billion dollar a year diet industry that informs us, both consciously and unconsciously, that we will be what we want to be: loved, longed for, accepted, admired, and most of all, fulfilled and happy ~ if just lose weight and shape ourselves in another way. However, according to recent studies, no one is happier once they’re thinner or reshaped according to some external definition of beautiful. Also, despite all that we are bombarded with regarding lifestyle change and weight loss, obesity is on the rise and now reaching our youth with alarming statistics. Something is terribly wrong.

For most of my professional life, I have worked with women struggling with weight issues, self-esteem doubts, and body image distortions. In my own lifetime, I have gained and lost over 1,900 pounds. I know intimately the desperate attempts to be thin and have a body that resembles the models on magazine covers. I have learned that dissatisfaction is not alleviated by dieting or “sculpting” our bodies. Deep and lasting satisfaction with ourselves requires that we dismantle false information that we tell ourselves or have been told by others that we now believe to be true. We must face ourselves with compassion, accept who we are, and trust our worth and goodness. We must stop believing in the myth that “if I were different from what I am, I would be happy.” We must define our own truth and live with awareness, wise choice, and self-acceptance.

Unfortunately, many women (and men) live their entire lives believing that they have to somehow be slimmer or more attractive in order to be happy and fulfilled in life. Too often, this pursuit of perfection leads to a constant state of unhappiness and longing, and too often isolation, depression, and disordered eating are the results. To live in acceptance, joy and freedom, we must leave the “myth” and open ourselves to a much more liberating, realistic and rich in possibilities truth: we are already kind and whole, just as we are. We must let go of our attachments to weighing less or looking different. Nowhere in the world is it true that the value of the human spirit depends on a number on a scale or a certain sculpted shape. Attempts to be thin or thinner take us further and further away from the heart of the matter ~ and from what true happiness will bring: getting in touch with our true nature and realizing that we don’t need to be fixed or improved to be whole, to be valuable, to be loved.

In addition to taking advantage of opportunities for self-acceptance and transformation of belief systems about the body and weight issues, discarding fat cells from the body may not be healthy in the long run. Fat cells have a purpose and it is important to understand the role fat cells play in health and wellness. Briefly, fat cells are not just places that store excess calories. They also regulate growth, puberty, healing, fighting disease, and aging. Fat cells release more than 100 hormones, two of which are leptin (which tells the brain to eat more or less) and adiponectin (which helps regulate metabolism). Healthy fat cells are attentive to the body’s needs, according to Michael D. Jensen, an endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. If fat cells aren’t working properly, they don’t do their job of effectively storing or releasing fat (a necessary process for the body’s health). Instead, certain fat cells (called visceral fat cells) accumulate both in and around the heart and liver, releasing fat into the bloodstream and increasing the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Another potential pitfall in newer fat removal techniques is that they do not target visceral fat, but only subcutaneous fat (fat cells that accumulate under the skin around the hips, thighs, and lower back). abdomen). If a person continues to consume more calories than they burn, it can actually speed up the process of accumulating harmful and potentially deadly fat, leaving them, perhaps, more sculpted but at a heavy price. Additionally, many experts are concerned that expelling fat from fat cells could increase the level of fat in the bloodstream, a dangerous and toxic situation. Also, the loss of fat cells could lower leptin levels and signal the brain to eat more. While both companies, Zeltiq and Erchonia Corp., assure the public that their methods are safe, they also urge people to change their eating and exercise habits.

It seems that, ideally, subtle excess fat can be removed for a price and, if the patient is wise, they will also change their lifestyle habits to lose weight. This brings us back to the myth of bodily perfection and the apparent failure of the American majority to maintain a healthy weight and fitness level. Is it possible that there is more at play here than fat cells and body shape? I think so.

We want to be slim and well built because being so is the currency of happiness and acceptance in our culture. However, this coin is a lie and most weight loss systems fail because they don’t make people happy in the end. Being a certain way doesn’t address the issue of emptiness or unhappiness that runs deeper than any diet, fat-freezing technique, or laser magic. Before any true or sustainable joy can be experienced, we must first accept ourselves and be grateful for the bodies we have. We must marvel at the extraordinary complexity and beauty of our physiology and bodily wisdom. We must take some time and listen to the whispers of our heart and soul. We must find the courage to face our deepest fears and strongest feelings without turning to food or fat removal for refuge. We must face our truth, our lies, and realize that misery and suffering are based on wanting to be somewhere other than where we are now. This includes our bodies. We must stop contributing to the tyranny and violence of forcing our bodies to be different than they are by some external standard.

If you are someone who is tempted to consider fat removal, I wonder if you would consider asking yourself: am I contributing a concern and dedication to perfection? Am I walking away from my feelings, leading to unhealthy eating habits? Do I want a quick fix ~ an overnight cure ~ robbing me of the chance to face my real problems and embrace my life with wisdom and mature choice? Am I avoiding the commitment and discipline necessary to establish a healthy lifestyle, thus perpetuating the habit of avoidance? Am I setting an admirable and respectable example for the youth of our culture by paying thousands of dollars to fix what never broke ~ it just needs a lifestyle change? Can I put this money to a better use than freezing or lasering the pockets of ‘unwanted me’?

I believe that when we welcome and accept the parts of ourselves that we most want to eliminate, we open ourselves up to true freedom and happiness. Our lives can become vibrant and full of value and meaning. Facing our feelings, learning new ways to be with who we are and how we look opens us up to all that life has to offer. Breaking free of an existence conforming to a desired and externally dictated form expands our horizons and widens our entrance into life in full color, vivid and satisfying. Walking away from the option of near-instant body change is the chance of a lifetime to live deeply from a core of wholeness and strength. From this foundation, we take a stand and participate in a change our culture desperately needs: a transformation from being a prisoner of wanting and striving for perfection ~ to being authentic, whole, and vibrantly alive, embracing all of life with mindfulness, strength, faith. , certainty and purpose.

“…do not settle for stories, how others have fared. Unfold your own myth, without complicated explanations, so that everyone understands the passage: we have opened you.” ~Rumi.

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