Shahid and Kareena might not have walked into the proverbial sunset but together they created a monster so potent that it continues to proliferate long after the death of their relationship. Body consciousness: a fad, which men call six-pack abs and women, size zero. While Ms Kapoor starved herself into a stick-thin figure for the role of an anorexic waif for Tashan, Mr Kapur worked out three times a day to ripple and run alongside a horse (and actually look better!) in Kaminey.
It was then that the whole nation got into ‘me too’ mode. And thus arrived a new era of botox, liposuction, cosmetic surgeries and now – the latest trend – body contouring. Body contouring is a procedure that has been popular ever since actress Shilpa Shetty’s contour-perfect body ‘bounced’ on a motorbike in that memorable song in Dostana.
It is primarily about creating curves where none exist, which can be done by reducing fat or adding fat where it’s needed. Differing from plastic surgery, which usually focuses on enhancing or reducing a particular area, contouring concentrates on toning, tightening and lifting the skin to create a perfect curve. An average session, depending on the area to be worked on, can cost about Rs 10,000-Rs 15,000, with multiple sessions required to achieve required results.
Raise the Tone
Marketing executive Rachna Grover decided to try body contouring since she couldn’t get her tummy to be washboard flat despite a strict workout regimen and a no-oily/junk food policy. "I am very thin otherwise, but always struggled with a tiny tube of fat on my lower abdomen which I could never get rid off," she says. "And working in a place where the dress code is formals, including high-waist skirts, and where I’m surrounded by extremely fit colleagues, made me desperate to do something about it."
Over three sessions that cost about Rs 10,000 each, Grover eliminated that seemingly in-eradicable roll of tummy fat. "People noticed almost instantly and almost everyone talked about it when I wore a body-hugging dress at an office party," says Grover. "Of course," she adds, "I just said that I was working out harder."
Aside from removing lumps and bumps, the body contouring process also uses fillers and botox injections to readjust/create curves and contours where necessary. And why is this necessary? Well, says cosmetologist Dr Rashmi Shetty, while exercise and diets can help you lose weight, you can’t select which area to lose weight from. So, in order to have curves with a super slim figure, body contouring is necessary. "There are also some areas which do not reduce despite exercise," adds Dr Shetty. "But these bumps of fat can be removed with a number of procedures. For instance, clinical procedures like lipo-dissolve use injections to soften fat cells that can be burned by working out, along with focused ultrasound. Also, localised freezing of the fat cells and deep tissue heating work really well in these conditions."
It’s not only about losing fat. Body contouring can help you look toned as well. Those of us who’ve lost a lot of weight know this: once the kilos go, loose skin remains – skin that once covered all that fat. Sometimes this loose skin can extend to metres. But a patent procedure called Thermage can sort this out, says Dr Simal Soin, dermatologist and cosmo-physician. "It’s a one-time session that tones up loose subcutaneous fat that doesn’t go away from gymming alone," she says. "It uses radio frequencies to restore the broken collagen. Though the results appear only after two or three weeks, they are more permanent than other procedures." The Thermage treatment could cost between R85,000 to R1 lakh for the entire body.
For excess fat in areas like the arms, lateral fat bags in the thighs and stomach, and shoulder fat pouches, a combination of diode, suction and radio frequency procedures works best, says Dr Swati Srivastav, head of dermatology, VLCC. "The suction helps bring the layers of fat closer to each other, while the diode heats the fat calls and burns them and the radio frequency simultaneously tones the area," she explains.
Most doctors advise body contouring only as part of a weight loss plan that already includes diet and exercise. It should never be seen as an alternative to diet and exercise. "You can’t get surgery or a clinical procedure done, and then continue to lead an inactive, unhealthy lifestyle," says cosmetic physician Dr Jamuna Pai. "It has to be supported with proper diet and exercise in order to sustain the results."
That’s a lesson that 35-year-old sales and marketing head Sameer Khurana learned the hard way. "I really wanted six-pack abs," he says. "I wanted to look my best as looks are really important in my line of work. But I had never stepped into a gym and thought I’d take a short cut with a contouring procedure. It worked, but to maintain it now, I have given up all my favourite food items and work out for an hour every day." But it’s worth it, he says. Having paid R30,000 per session for three sessions, Khurana completely surprised his wife who couldn’t believe it when she saw him with a movie-star abdomen overnight. "The price didn’t matter so much," he says. "Even if a risk was involved, I would still have gone ahead with it."
Though all doctors say that there are no risks involved in the procedure, they also add that it’s important to know what you’re getting into, and that whatever treatment you opt for, it should be done by a surgeon of repute. "This is specially important for any procedure that involves general anaesthesia," says Dr Pai. Further, Dr Swati Srivastav cautions obese patients against making body contouring their first option. "I tell them to lose the extra weight and only then get contouring done for a better result," she says.
Dr Rashmi Shetty also refuses to treat teens. "A lot of kids ask me to contour their slightly chubby cheeks into a model-like, chiselled jawline. But I turn them away," she says. But the greatest risk of all is a possible addiction to surgery. "Once people notice good results from one procedure, they want to keep doing procedures," says Dr Pai. "A minimum interval between two procedures when they are done in the same area is about three months. But often, patients insist that I work on them much before that."
What is body contouring?
It’s not plastic surgery. It’s that and a bit more. Body contouring is the process of getting curves that might have been lost owing to extreme dieting or weight gain. “Contouring gives shape to your body,” says cosmetologist Dr Rashmi Shetty. “You could be fat but have a great contour thanks to the 10-inch difference between your waist and hip, while someone could be really thin and have no contours at all. It’s about more than just losing weight. It gives a certain silhouette to the body.”
Body contouring combines both surgical (liposuction, fat tissue removal) and non-surgical procedures like laser, radio frequencies, cryogenic freezing of fat tissue, suction, fat breaking injections and Thermage (tightening of loose skin) via frequencies.
Some people worry about the strangest body parts
Breast reduction: Hang on, isn’t the whole world crazy about big, mammary glands? Isn’t that what Kim Kardashian and Pamela Anderson based their careers on? But it’s true. Women are lining up to have their breasts reduced by having the excess fat removed from the top and the sides.
Knee lifts: We might not have believed the widespread rumours of Demi Moore having resorted to it few years ago, but the popularity of this particular area forces us to rethink. Evidently, no one wants to see their knees sag at the cruel hands of time.
Cankles: When Chelsea Clinton got married in 2010, there was something more pressing than the guest list and her gown doing the rounds of the tabloids. Mum Hillary’s – *cue for gasp* – chubby ankles or cankles! So women around the world had one more ‘fat area’ added to their list.
Lobe reduction: This could actually be the least insane on this list. Gaping pierced holes in the ears, thanks to ultra-heavy costume earrings, make us bite our nails a bit too. But would you go so far as to have surgery/contouring done to make your ears look pretty?
From HT Brunch, July 24
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