Morning Cup of Vomiting in My Mouth: Laser Fat Removal

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It never ceases to amaze me the extent to which people will go to lose fat.  Well, actually, let me rephrase that, because we all know that people will do some batshit crazy stuff in an effort to lose bodyfat.  So lets try that again:  it never ceases to amaze the utter nonsense people will fall for thinking that it will lead to long-term fat loss.

Key phrase:  LONG-term fat loss.

On one hand, I can’t say that I blame people for their naivete.  I mean, we just don’t move as much as we used to – we sit on our way to work, we sit at work, we sit on our way home from work, and to top it off, if or when we do make it to the gym, we sit even more; regurgitating the same boring, mundane, machine circuits that are so easy a caveman could do.

Or, to be more precise, a zombie could do – cause that’s exactly what most people look like when they “exercise.”

Note:  quotations = sarcasm

What’s more, we have government agencies telling us that (refined) carbohydrates should be the main staple of our diets, and that icky stuff – butter, red meat, eggs, fat, or what I like to call REAL food – should be avoided like the plague.  The result?  Obesity rates have risen steadily state-by-state to the point where as of now, according to the latest CDC statistics, obesity prevalence was 30% of higher in twelve states in 2010, compared to nine states in 2009.  In 200, NO states had obesity that high.  Houston, we have a problem!

A BIG problem

We have escalors for those who don’t want to walk up stairs.  We have 4,785 cable channels at our disposal rather than go for a walk.  We have fast food restaurants around every corner.  We have kids who would rather text on their phone than play kickball.  In short, we’re struggling.  Again, it’s hard to put blame on any one person when we live in such an enabling society that encourages us to eat like crap and not move.

On the other hand, though, I come from an old-school train of thought that believes that we need to take a little more accountability for our own actions.  Moreover, we need to exhibit at least the slightest bit of intelligence to recognize that some things are just, for lack of a better term, #%**#@! stupid.

The fat loss industry is a billion-dollar-per-year industy.  So, to say that there are mega bucks involved would be an understatement.  You saw the stats – there are a lot of people out looking to shed some inches, and many of those will spend oodles of money to do so; even if it sounds like it came from the set of Space Odyssey 2001.

Take for example, the latest trend of laser fat removal.  I won’t name any names (a simple Google search would suffice), but the basic jist is this:

1.  You show up.

2.  You’re placed underneath a laser, which is targeted at a specific area on the body: most often the waist, hips, and thighs (your wallet).

3.  You then chill for 20-40 minutes.  Taking an excerpt from the website I’m looking at right now:

You simply lay in a comfortable, stationary position for twenty minutes at a time, in a relaxed environment, while the cold laser does all of the work. Since the (name omited) uses cold laser technology, you feel nothing during the procedure. You may feel a bit different and lighter as you exit the treatment center due to the bio-stimulation that begins in your body.

4.  See what just happened there?  A piece of my soul just died reading that.  Bio-stimulation?  Really?

5.  You leave and give everyone a high five.

6.  You repeat for three sessions per week, for two weeks.

7.  You pay roughly $1600 for treatment.

That’s right, roughly $1600 bones for a treatment that I HIGHLY question. I mean, why not just have people drink some Unicorn tears and save them the hassle?

Correct me if I’m wrong, but fat loss entails a fairly specific response from the body:

1.  Mobilization:  the body actually needs to be stimulated to release stored triglycerides which first requires us to break down triglycerides into free-fatty acids.  The limiting step here is an enzyme called Hormone Sensative Lipase (HSL), which is affected by either insulin and the catecholamines.  Not a laser.

2.  Transport:  when free-fatty acids are in the bloodstream, they then have to be transported away from the fat cell via the blood.  It’s a lot more complicated than this obviously (I’m not going into alpha-2 receptors and beta1,2-receptors and how they come into play with regards to stubborn body fat), but again, no laser in the mix.

3.  Oxidation:  free-fatty acids are then transported into the mitochondria of muscle by carnitine to be used as fuel.  No laser there, either.

Did I mention there was no laser involved?  There’s no laser involved.

Far be it from me to tell people how to spend their disposable income.  If you want to shoot lasers, shoot lasers.  But hey, like I said, I’m old fashioned – I’m more interested in helping people develop LONG-TERM behavioral modifcations towards food, and to do anything I can to help them move around more.  And move well.

If we spent a little more time changing our behaviors when it comes to food, and I don’t know, getting off the elliptical trainer, we might save ourselves $1600.

Seriously, does anyone know whether or not this laser treatment has ANY ounce of validity?

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Comments for This Entry

  • Gareth

    "Did I mention there was no laser involved? There's no laser involved." lol :D

    July 27, 2011 at 9:13 am | Reply to this comment

  • Chris

    I like the way you used "naivete."

    July 27, 2011 at 9:26 am | Reply to this comment

  • Tim

    Tony -- what a great discovery. Here I was wasting all this time tracking calories, portion size, and macros, trying to manage keeping only a slight surplus during this bulking phase, and instead I could just drop a mortgage payment on this treatment! I bet it is much easier than actually watching what one eats. Coming soon to CP?

    July 27, 2011 at 9:30 am | Reply to this comment

  • John

    The device is actually FDA approved. Note in this case, FDA approval means it won't kill you rather than it actually does what it says. In order to obtain FDA approval, unlike a drug, they did not have to prove that it does anything other than not hurt you. Makes perfect sense, right? Also, if you go for the treatment, you get a pamphlet that says in order for the treatment to be effective, you need to combine it with exercise and a proper diet. Uhm, yep you just paid 1600, for someone to shine a light on you and tell you need to exercise and eat right in order to lose weight. Tony, you could easily get FDA approval to shine a flashlight at CP and hand out the same pamplet!

    July 27, 2011 at 9:59 am | Reply to this comment

  • Griz

    But are there lasers involved?

    July 27, 2011 at 10:07 am | Reply to this comment

  • Lars

    How to spot a quack:

    July 27, 2011 at 10:09 am | Reply to this comment

  • Barath

    "....machine circuits that are so easy a caveman could do." My neighbor is a caveman and he feels insulted.

    July 27, 2011 at 10:30 am | Reply to this comment

  • John

    Technically speaking and medically speaking as well, its a low lever laser similiar to ones used in physical therapy and/or by come chiropracters.

    July 27, 2011 at 10:33 am | Reply to this comment

  • ryan

    Time and money that is better suited learning how to do good compound movements. Laziness and money is a hell of a drug.

    July 27, 2011 at 10:45 am | Reply to this comment

  • Juliet

    I actually did a post on laser fat removal a few months back. Perhaps I have not looked into this far enough, nor do I care to, but what has me baffled is where in hell does the fat GO? So you've frozen a bunch of cells and they die slowly... are you left with fatty deposits of dead fat cells or do you shit them out? Now THAT would

    July 27, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Shama

    These Darth Vaders & sky walkers make more money in one month than i do in the whole year flashing their lasers! god i wish i was Austin & had powers!

    July 27, 2011 at 7:21 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Chad

    They actually use sharks with fricken lasers attached to their heads. It's science.

    July 28, 2011 at 5:35 am | Reply to this comment

  • nat

    I might be wrong here, but I bet cavemen could kick our ASS. They probably burnt more calories trying to kill their breakfast than most people do in a week. I'm just saying, I wouldn't want to fight a caveman...

    July 28, 2011 at 6:50 am | Reply to this comment

  • Mark Young

    If lasers really worked for fat loss wouldn't everyone in Star Wars who got hit with a Storm Trooper's laser be really lean? In all seriousness, when we talk about long term fat loss I find that it is easy (for us fitness minded folk) to spot the obvious stupid methods. But still there is a prevalence of useless fat loss supplements (most of them), ridiculous diets (many of them), and even more "12 week programs" for fat loss that are widely accepted and even promoted by some of the leaders in the industry. Hell...even Body For Life was a 12 week program. So obviously I'm confused. Is it 12 weeks...or life? Because that is a BIG difference. I'm definitely not against 12 week programs to get people started in the right direction...but I find that a lot of fitness minded folks would make fun of others for seeking "quick fix" programs and then by a product on the internet and basically expect it to be the same thing. :)

    July 28, 2011 at 7:21 am | Reply to this comment

  • Tony Gentilcore

    @ Mark: Shit, excellent points, as usual. I got nuthin as a retort. I know you agree with me at the absurdness of it all - I mean, lasers? Really? But, you do make a valid point that there are PLENTY of 12-week, quick fix, fat-loss programs out there that promise the same thing essentially. But, at least with SOME of those programs, there's SOME semblance of behavioral change involved.

    July 28, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Mark Young

    Tony - I don't think that the programs are the problem. I think 12 weeks is a good way to give someone the basics of a specific programming style. I think the problem lies in the perception of the user. Many think this is THE fix when in reality it is exactly what it says it is...a 12 week fix. Rarely does anyone (users or people selling programs) talk about what is supposed to happen AFTER the 12 weeks. You and I both know that you've got to keep going. But I've seen a lot of people get results and lose them all because a) the plan wasn't sustainable in the long term or b) the person didn't figure they'd have to do it beyond 12 weeks to keep the results.

    July 28, 2011 at 7:37 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Barbara

    wrong wrong and wrong. I feel like I'm listening to FOX news here. Tony, don't cover a piece without doing your homework and don't slant the piece to fit your gripe. I don't have a weight problem but my sister does. She had these i-Lipo treatments at the cost of $1000 and it REALLY worked. She lost 14 inches of fat and if you personally don't suffer from an eating disorder than you wouldn't know about the psychology of what that does to help motivate a person into a healthier lifestyle. I say whatever gets them to that point is PRICELESS and yes, well worth a mortgage payment to get that person back to feeling a little happier and a little shot of self esteem. Again, do your homework... the laser causes the fat cells to open and dump their contents just like what happens when you work out or starve yourself... it dumps what it has been storing... then you walk on a treadmill for 20 minutes to get your heart rate up and you ultimately pee it all out. BRILLIANT if you ask me. My sister looks great and she has not gained the weight back.

    January 4, 2012 at 9:39 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Sampson Greenovich

    Laser fat removal in Denver is pretty much the same thing. But you're literary skills definitely set you apart.

    November 13, 2013 at 3:25 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Your a moron

    "Seriously, does anyone know whether or not this laser treatment has ANY ounce of validity?" So all this time you said it was rubbish... You had no idea if it worked? Nice..... Real nice

    February 6, 2015 at 9:32 pm | Reply to this comment

    • TonyGentilcore

      Yeah, it doesn't work. The comment was more of a "stream of conscious" remark. I like to keep my posts more conversational. If that concept went over your head, I don't know what to say. Maybe stop taking yourself so seriously?

      February 9, 2015 at 9:08 am | Reply to this comment

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