Taking issue with fat

PHOTO: Taking issue with fat

There are no short cuts to weight loss. It's all about changing your lifestyle and determination. Here are some pointers to help you:

Exercise: Essential for weight loss, plus it protects you from heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Aim for at least 30 minutes thrice a week and, if you have poor will power, get a personal trainer! Not only will you feel better, the bonus is a slender, toned body.

Eat right: Never miss meals as that only makes the body retain fat. Always have three main meals, ensuring they are low in fat and carbohydrates and rich in vegetables. And watch those beverages as they are a sneaky contributor to weight gain. Most soft drinks and beer have about 150 calories per 12 ounces. So just one such drink every day can add up to 8kg weight gain in a year.

Even fruits, accepted as a healthy food choice, can be deceptive. Eat fruits as a whole instead of opting for fruit juices which are full of simple sugars, contain less fibre and leave you less full and loaded with double the calories. There are well-known diets such as the Mediterranean diet or individually-tailored diets such as Piklife that take the guesswork out of how to eat right.

Emotional wellness: Stress can cause you to store fat. Cortisol, which is released by the body in response to stress, has a direct effect on the body's fat stores. Meditation is highly recommended.

Supplements: Some increase the body's metabolism and aid in weight loss. For example, chromium and magnesium aid in blood sugar metabolism. Some people may need a hormone check and have things corrected if necessary.

Fat bulges: These can be tackled in two ways: Non-invasive and invasive. In the former, the latest technology is cryolipolysis which uses cold energy to melt fat away. Combined with the proper diet and exercise, it can melt away fat bulges from the tummy, hips, thighs, arms and above bra straps. There is no downtime and it is safe. In the latter, liposuction is ideal. It requires strict diet and exercise before the procedure and there is a downtime with pain, swelling and bruising.

Stretch marks: Finally, these can be treated with a combination therapy comprising medicated creams, chemical peels, fractional laser or radiofrequency.

Lax abdomen: Mild to moderate loose, crinkled skin after childbirth or weight loss can be flattened out with one session of Thermage which uses radiofrequency. Severe loose skin that hangs like an apron will require a surgical procedure like a tummy tuck.

Rough/pigmented skin: Usually found on elbows, backs and buttocks due to friction or acne and on the legs of women who react to shaving or waxing, it can be easily fixed with medicated creams and chemical peels that both lighten and smoothen the skin.