If you’re considering a weight loss journey, you may have questions about the best way to go about it. You may feel like diet and exercise have not worked for you in the past. Maybe you want to try a medical aesthetic treatment for fat removal. In this article, we’ll try to demystify the differences between losing weight with diet and exercise, versus reducing fat with body sculpting methods in a clinic.
The Science Behind Losing Fat from Dieting
Individuals often turn to diets to lose fat and create the body of their dreams. Though there are many types of diets, the general idea behind each one is to make your body burn fat for fuel. These diets try to achieve fat burn by restricting caloric intake, modifying the type of foods consumed, or a combination of both.
Fat loss is a complicated process. Since fat is only meant to be used as an emergency source of energy, your body keeps it in a “reserve vault.” As long as there is excess energy in your bloodstream aside from fat, like starches and sugars, your body will most likely burn carbs and glucose instead.
For this reason, individuals have been most successful when combining diet with exercise. By burning excess calories, and building lean muscle through exercise, individuals increase their metabolism to make the body more efficient at burning fat. In addition, exercise burns the extra calories that would otherwise be converted into fatty acids and stored in the body.
How Do You Lose Fat from Burning Calories in the Gym?
The average human body uses around 65% – 75% of its daily caloric intake to keep your body running. This is often referred to as your basal metabolism rate (BMR). After this, around 10% – 15% of your calories are used for digestion, through the thermic effect of food (TEF). The remaining calories (about 20%) are burned through physical activity, including daily walking and ‘regular’ tasks, plus moderate to vigorous exercise.
Different people need a different amount of calories. However, to be general, we can say that adults typically need between 2,000 to 2,800 calories per day. Any excess calories beyond what we need can be converted into fat and stored in our bodies if they’re not used during the day.
Exercising helps maintain and build muscle, which can prevent your metabolism from slowing down too much as you age. As you burn off extra calories and stay on a diet, your body can healthily lose 1 to 2 pounds of fat, or 1% of your body fat, per week. This rate may seem slow, but it is much healthier than a crash diet which delivers rapid results, but at great consequences. The best way to know the right caloric intake and nutrition for you is to meet with a professional nutritionist to get a diet and exercise plan.
Depending on your fat loss goals, it may take months or years to achieve your ideal body naturally. However, this method makes you more likely to maintain your shape for years to come.
What Medical Treatments Are Available to Remove Fat?
Sometimes, you may have a stubborn section of fat on your body that remains even after diligent diet and exercise. Medical aesthetic treatments can deliver excellent fat removal support on areas like the chin, inner thigh and belly, which often contain ‘leftover’ fat, or are a part of your natural shape. Below are some technological methods that have helped countless people perfect their weight loss journey.
- CoolSculpting® – This method involves using a cryolipolysis machine to freeze fat away without surgery. Fat in stubborn areas like under the chin, upper arms, belly and love handles are removed in short, 1 – 2 hour sessions, and without downtime. Cryolipolysis works by killing fat cells under the surface of the skin. In just 1 – 2 treatments per area, patients can see a visible reduction of fat (up to 20 – 25%). It can take a few months to see the final effect, as the dead fat cells are removed by the body gradually.
- truSculpt® iD – This method uses heat through radiofrequency (RF) technology to damage fat cells under the skin, also without any surgery. This method has similar results to CoolSculpting®, with the added benefit of tightening skin, too.
- Liposuction – Though effective, this is an invasive surgery that extracts fat directly from underneath the skin. It requires recovery time and, since it is surgical, there are risks associated with the procedure. Some people still require further shaping, skin removal or skin tightening after liposuction. It is usually only recommended for extreme cases, whereas non-invasive methods are ideal for less dramatic, body sculpting desires.
There are other methods to remove fat medically, or by intervention. However the ones noted above are the most common, and often the most effective.
Is There a Difference Between Losing Fat Naturally Versus Losing Fat by Getting a Medical Treatment?
Non-invasive medical treatments require repeat visits, but can reduce fat deposits by 20% or more in a relatively short period of time. Liposuction has an 11 lb extraction limit per patient, regardless of weight. Meanwhile, losing fat naturally and in a doctor-recommended way limits you to lose around 1% of your body’s fat content per month.
However, when medical treatments and a healthy lifestyle go hand-in-hand, patients can get the best results overall. While medical treatments can speed up the process of fat removal, or perfect areas that exercise can’t fix, a healthy lifestyle can maintain and enhance the results.
How to Maintain Your Weight After You Achieve Your Fat Loss Goals
Individuals can maintain their ideal weight by sticking to their daily recommended caloric intake, nutrient macros, and activity level.
Taking the time to prep meals that are fresh and unprocessed will do much for weight maintenance after you have achieved your dream body. Diets with whole foods are less likely to have components like excess sugar and salt, refined carbs and ingredients that your body digests quickly (such as those found in non-perishable foods). The best diets offer sustainable, long-term solutions that properly nourish your body.
Modifying your diet to eliminate excess sugar and calories can prevent extra weight gain and increase your chances of burning stored body fat. Adding exercise with your diet helps the process by burning extra calories and building lean muscle to help you burn fat more efficiently.
Whatever you do, avoid fad diets that deprive you of nutrition. Crash diets force your body into starvation mode. You may burn fat cells quickly with these methods, but then you’ll also burn other bodily tissue like muscle. They can cause future weight gain, too. The ideal diet keeps you in a nutritional zone that burns fat and makes you feel great.
Dr. Sachit Shah is the lead doctor at Beautiful Canadian Laser and Skincare Clinic , which offers non-surgical fat removal with multiple, researched and FDA approved options. These include CoolSculpting® in Vancouver, truSculpt® iD fat melting in Vancouver, Belkyra™ chin fat dissolver (a.k.a, Kybella) and more.