I would do anything, part III

  • Published
  • By Capt. S.J. Brown
  • 934 AW Public Affairs

This is a three-part series on what some people (including the author, a 40-something-year-old Air Force captain with a bit of a body issue problem) will do to lose weight and inches in an attempt to get the perfect body without doing the obvious - eating less, exercising more.

I'm a chicken when it comes to surgical procedures. So, when I started looking at non-traditional weight loss methods, I didn't even consider liposuction. I watched the procedure on television once and was grossed out when the doctor started sucking fat out of this person's body with what sounded like the same vacuum cleaner I use on my home carpet. That is when I went on the scout for something non-invasive and found cold laser lipo sculpt.

The wizard recommends it
I'm not a huge fan of daytime TV but I do know who Dr. Oz is. He pledged a portion of his show to the procedure so I figured it must be worth trying. I found a reputable clinic in Minneapolis and made my initial appointment. Of course the cost is enough to turn some people off -- between $1,500 and $2200 for six treatments - but I've dedicated myself to this experiment so I cough up the dough. Of course, I won't lie, I did get a coupon on the internet which cut my costs in half.

The procedure uses low level lasers to stimulate and liquefy the fat inside the fat cells and move that liquefied fat outside the cell where it is absorbed by the lymphatic system. Sounds a bit icky but this supposedly has a happy ending -- millions of fat cells become smaller with less fat trapped inside. The good thing about this procedure is that there is no down time for recovery because there is no pain, no mess, no swelling and no side effects. In other words, no fat cells were harmed in the making of this article.

It's off to work I go
Sounds pretty good right? Wait just a minute, there is work involved. There are so many "rules" with the procedure that I had to keep a notepad with me at all times just to remember them all. For example, you can't let more than 72 hours go between appointments or else you risk the chance of the fat cells sucking the fat back into them again. Also, I had to wear compression shorts for at least five hours a day but preferable overnight. Then I have to ensure I have three or more bowel movements a day, drink more than 64 ounces of water, eliminate all alcohol and caffeine from my diet (my co-workers don't like me on decaf coffee I can attest to that now), eat low fat food, exercise at least 30 minutes a day, not let 72 hours go between appointments, not miss a session and start taking the herbal supplements two weeks before I even start the laser treatments. I've not had this much homework in a long time.
I decline the add-on features - $164.95 liver and colon cleansing pills, niacin and appetite suppressants -- because I already eat pretty healthy and take colon and liver herbal supplements. Besides, until these super scientists create a chocolate-cake-pumpkin-pie-sugar-cookie-praline-pecan-ice-cream-craving suppressant, I'm not wasting my time.

I made all my appointments at once, bought a small pocket calendar to remind me of all the things I had to do and at what time. It was literally like having a second job for a month. I was very optimistic about the program as I was told I was the perfect candidate because I already ate well and worked out. Also, because I was not diabetic, didn't have any liver or colon disorders, no history of cancer or lymphatic system dysfunctions and was not pregnant or nursing.

Great! I passed the screening, got my appointments sorted, started an herbal supplement program two weeks prior, bought my compression shorts and had my schedule of events planned. I walk into my first appointment, disrobe and lie on the table. I stare at the contraption because looks like something out of War of the Worlds with its bendable, lanky wire arms and futuristic silver attachments.

The technician points five lasers at my trouble spots - no, she didn't point them at my big mouth. And ... nothing. No tingle, no warmness, nothing. I was at least hoping to hear some cool Star Wars light saber sound effects. Is this thing working? It was so quiet, the only way I knew it was turned on was that I saw little red lights scanning my thighs, abdomen and hips. I was at least expecting the clinic to play some futuristic music like one would hear in 2001: A Space Odyssey or maybe hear David Bowie's voice saying "Ground control to Captain Brown ..." But I had to settle for water gurgling, nature sounds instead.

Six treatments (two weeks later) and I find that I did lose a few inches. The technician said the average inch loss is between three and 11 inches. I guess I was just hoping for the better end of the deal with 11 inches rather than three. The good news is, it's been almost a month and the inches have stayed off. I'll take small progress over no progress any day.

SJ's skinny on - Cold laser fat reduction
Total inches lost: 3.5
Average retail cost: $1800 for a package of six laser treatments plus a $75 30-minute initial consultation
Time involved*: Six 40-minute laser treatments, measuring, travel and initial consultation. 8 hours.
Comfort level: Very comfortable
Pros: It was a very comfortable environment with a great staff.
Cons: The diet, workout, additional supplements and compression shorts were a turnoff.
Did it work as advertised? Yes
Cost per inch: $535.

* including driving to and from appointments