Victoria Beckham reportedly drinks a special brand of tea called the Pu-erh tea whenever she wants to lose a few pounds. Beyonce Knowles is known to swear by the weight loss effects of the Maple Syrup Diet which helped her lose 22 pounds in just over two weeks.
Levis®, the hugely popular brand of jeans has come to the rescue of a whole generation of women who want to look slimmer. They have gone ahead and launched the Perfectly Slimming 512™ jeans which are available at their retail outlets world wide. Not surprisingly these jeans were swept off the store shelves.
Slimming down is the new ambition of this generation, and in this pursuit, the above examples are just two options among a sea of slimming options. Slimming products range from slimming creams (that are marketed by almost all the top most make up brands in the market and go by the name of Anti-Cellulite Creams), to diet pills, sauna belts, vibrators, diet patches (that are simply stuck to one’s body and peeled off so as to get rid of the cellulite), appetite suppressants, diet plates, fat burners, detoxes, body wraps and belts. Hence there is a wide option to choose from if one wants to alter, revise and tone up one’s body size and weight.
Beauty and Fashion Dictates
The ultimate aim of all beauty products is to alter the physical appearance of the person and one of the ways is to make the body more shapely, with the fat deposition distributed in all the right places. The overall effect at the end of any slimming programme is a slimmer, lighter person, although whether one does emerge ‘fitter’ or ‘healthier’ is open to much debate and discussion.
Slimming option offer huge market possibilities, driven as it is by societal standards that put a premium on physical appearances. Size zero is the accepted size in social circuits the world over. This certainly borders on the ridiculous as there are a number of factors as genetic make up, rate of metabolism, presence of disorders, certain medications etc. that can affect an individual’s weight and body mass. To have a single, generalized body type and prescribe it for the world over is very stress inducing, exploitative, abusive and disrespectful to the basic notions of ‘individuality’.
Slimming options pave the way for women to achieve almost impossible standards of aesthetics so far as their bodies are concerned. For women and even men who are obese, perhaps they are not such a bad option after all. However for most individuals who succumb to these shapely standards, slimming products do sell them ‘dreams’ without bothering about the ill-effects they have on the users future health and well being.
Slimming Options-Who should opt for it
For a long time, it was thought that the pear shape was the ideal shape for women wherein the fat deposition was around the middle, thighs and bottom. This was considered good and normal for women, especially during the times when food was scarce. So much like the camel, the fat deposits in a woman’s body did come in good stead when there was little to eat and she required it to reach to a full term of pregnancy and breast feeding. In fact pear shaped bodies were considered ‘fertile’ and large hips in certain cultures was glorified and lauded as ‘child bearing structures’. However today when hunting and food scarcity are not such common realities, such deposition of fat around the middle are not really very welcome.
The apple shape was the shape that was used to describe unhindered deposition of fat all over the body especially around the abdominal region which was the genesis for a host of problems as cardio-vascular diseases, diabetes and high blood pressure. So it is the apple shaped individuals who should go in for weight loss programmes or other slimming options that are non-intrusive and alter only the physical appearance.
It is indeed pitiful that culturally induced notions now have brought every body type (ectomorph, endomorph or the mesomoph type of body) in to its ambit with scant regard to the concept of Individuation. Every one wants to be a Kate Moss, without trying to even spare a thought on whether their body make up and energy levels can allow such trials and tribulations. People are into spot reductions and various ways of sculpting their bodies. This often leads to a no-show kind of thing. Hence it is better to go in for weight loss programmes and slimming techniques that work around the metabolic rates of a person as this is the only way to achieve weight loss minus any harmful side effects.
Slimming Products-An examination
It has been proved beyond doubt that there is no single magic product that can make a waif like figure out of the better endowed individuals.
However slimming belts that are worn over the abdomen can alter the waistline to an extent that it gives an appearance of a more curvaceous figure. Tummy Tuckers also work on the same lines and produce cosmetic changes. These come in form of belts and underwear for both men and women and are a more preferred option from the standpoint of health as it does not induce any significant changes in the body mass. It is totally non-invasive. Corsets that were in vogue in the past are fast becoming the rage and the ramps; especially the lingerie section has a wide range to offer to its customers. Corsets more or less work on the same principle of squeezing or ‘bunching’ the entire fatty portions around the waist and stomach so that it gives an illusion of a slimmer waist line.
The only negative aspect of such products is that if worn for a long time it can lead to respiratory problems. Remember the English women of yore who often “…fluttered their eyes, put out a feeble hand and fainted out of breathlessness…” Years later was it discovered that the fainting spells were not just brought on by the rakish good looks of the hero, but the corsets worn underneath the billowing frocks were as much to be blamed.
Almost everyone in his or her adult life has tried their hands at dieting and more often than not has given up in despair. A diet need not be a very ‘depressing’ word especially if it attempts to include almost all kinds of food into it in moderate quantities. The main fault with diets that are promulgated today is that they are enormously restrictive, prescriptive and written in accordance to a staid formula. They invariably cut out all the foods that one is used to eating and probably enjoys it too. So there are carbohydrate free diets, fat free diets, protein restricted diet and now the new age liquid diet.
The low carbohydrate diet was recommended to people some 140 years ago by William Banting in 1864. So Atkins may not the pioneer of a carbohydrate free diet. This diet takes away foods as bread, rice, potatoes, cakes, biscuits, cookies, pizzas, burgers and all things that have carbohydrates. One is allowed to eat fats in addition to vegetables and fruits. However one cannot eat fats without the carbohydrates that are the basic and staple food in any meal. For example how possible is it to have butter minus the bread or the rice?
Most of the oil and butter one consumes is built around the bread or the rice or the potatoes. This makes the diet somewhat restrictive. What eventually happens is that people do not take in the fats too. So the diet which finally gets boiled down to a ‘no carbohydrate and no fat diet’ is quick to knock off extra kilos. As a Stanford University Research done on the efficacy of low carbohydrate diets per se, it has been found that the carbohydrate diet is very good in the short term as it gives the desired results. However it also has a higher drop out rate as the restrictions imposed are very difficult to carry on for days together. In fact maintaining the body weight at that desired level with the help of this kind of a diet is a Herculean task which most people are not up to. Carbohydrates are a source of energy and people who are on carbohydrate free diet feel dull, listless and lackluster. This takes away all the fun out of a slimming procedure. Imagine losing weight and not being able to go out to party as one feels dull and tired?
In reaction to a no-carb diet is the Pritikins Diet that was a wonder diet in the 1970s and 1980s. The Pritikins diet was high on carbohydrate and low on fats and this was an immensely successful diet plan. This diet also proved that carbohydrates are not fattening per se. It is finally the calories that matter. Carbohydrates when they get reserved as fat reserves in the body can lead to obesity, but if taken in accordance to the calorific values that the body requires, then it can be not only energy providing, but also less contributing to overall weight gain.
The same holds true for fats and proteins. Nothing could be truer than what the 2005; American Dietary Regulations have to say “When it comes to body weight control, it is calories that count-not the proportions of fats, carbohydrates and proteins in the diet. Diets that provide very low or very high amounts of protein, carbohydrates or fats are likely to provide low amounts of such nutrients and are not advisable for long term use. Although these kinds of weight loss diets have been shown to result in weight reduction, the maintenance of a reduced weight ultimately will depend on a change in lifestyle.”
A liquid diet is one that is recommended in extreme cases of obesity or in cases where colonoscopy or other such bariatic surgeries are recommended. It incorporates either a partial meal replacement programme or an all fluid consumption. This is usually dependent on teas and juices.
Most medical practitioners do not approve of liquid diets because they often do away with essential nutrients, fibre, vitamins and proteins. This often leaves the person sluggish, undernourished and open to more disorders like low blood pressure, osteoporosis, low blood sugar etc.
Liquid diets are also very restrictive and generally work on cutting down the calorie intake. For example, Beyoncee had the maple syrup with lemon juice alone for 2 weeks. "I lived on water, cayenne pepper and maple syrup for 14 days", referring to her weight loss of 22 pounds in just 2 weeks for her new film Dream girls.
It is also propagated that the fluids will cleanse the system of impurities, including those that have built up in the liver. It is said that liquid diets cut down on consumption of processed foods which is a boon. Yet it is not at all warranted as nutritional levels suffer. In fact liquid diets work best if supplemented with a well thought out balanced diet programme which takes care of metabolism rates as well as nutrition.
Common ingredients in these so called ‘magic portions’ are Carnitine, Isonotine, Chlorine, Lecithin, Methionine, Vitamins, and herbs. There has been no conclusive evidence to find out that these ingredients do lead to weight loss. On the contrary a study by University of California in 2003 did show that one of the tested supplement saved up to 42 joules per day which amounted to that which is saved in a 2 minute walk. (Gades and Stern et al, 2003).
Herbal teas which usually contain Catechin polyphenols which react with norephinephrin and thereby burn out more calories are also slimming options that are available. The most famous of teas are the green tea, pu-urh tea, Chinese tea. The thermogenic nature of these teas makes fat oxidation happen faster increasing the rate at which calories are burnt. Slimming teas usually contains herbs which are natural laxatives. These include aloe, senna, rhubarb root, cascara, buckthorn and castor oil. Such slimming options are very popular with bulimia patients as the laxatives help to purge out food that is eaten.
Slimming Pills and Diet Suppressants
Following the death of Brazilian model Ana Reston who died after being on diet restriction pills, the United Nations International Narcotics Control Board has called for stricter enforcements to restrict the sale of such pills over the counter. These pills suppress the hunger pangs and thereby restrict the calorie intakes by over 1000 calories. One such pill that has received huge star billings and is said to be 100% organic and safe is the Hoodia Slimming Pill. Teri Hatcher, Nicole Kidman are some of its prestigious clients. These pills which are made from plant extracts have been in vogue for thousands of years among the San tribe of West Africa. The pill was commercially available only after 1977. Prior to that the plant extracts were used to treat minor infections and abrasions.
In fact the FDA has allowed only one dieting pill to be sold over the counter-Allis Pill since it works only on the digestive tract by isolating the part and ensuring that the nutrients are not absorbed by the digestive tract. Hence the extra food goes out as waste and the amount of calories taken is reduced.
Many of these pills say that prevent the fats and carbohydrates from being digested. This is wholly untrue as any medical practitioner will say. This is because that undigested fats pass into the intestines and the gall bladder and cause a lot of pain. In fact the diet restrictions placed along with the product is what actually works.
Topical Applications-Soaps and Creams; Weight strips
Products like weight strips claim that they can lead to weight loss minus strenuous exercises and diet programmes are often untrue in their claims. In fact there is no research which has been able to prove that weight can be pulled out in minutes by using stick- on tapes and peeling these off.
There are also slimming soaps and creams that profess to make a person shapelier by melting away cellulite.Cellulite is actually subcutaneous deposits of fat under the skin which are water retention centres also. This is mostly found in the area around the thighs, waist and buttocks; typically in women; after pregnancy or as the years pile up. These give the skin in these areas the typical orange-peel look.
These products say that they stimulate the body to produce heat that melts away cellulite, mucous and wastes from the body and make the body shapelier. However research has proved that cellulite cannot be melted away with the aid of these strips, creams or soaps because ultimately weight loss and getting into a shape still depends on increasing metabolism and reducing calorific intake.
Sauna belts work on the principle of 'thermodynamics' and produces heat through stimulations. This helps in the liquidification of fats and wastes in the body. The wastes are then expelled out giving rise to a shapelier person. There are two kinds of sauna belt options available in the market: one is a conventional model that works on heat production; the second involves the use of FAR and Infrared rays to produce thermal induction.
This Far Infrared, FIR sauna heater box applies the technology of the ultra thin carbon fiber heating element which has high heat conductivity. The high heat efficiency helps the body to perspire, activates the build up of sweat and grime, promotes blood circulation, and keeps the body healthy. Apparently a 10 minute session with the sauna corresponds to 30 minutes of jogging in terms of the sweat that is produced. The fat is said to melt away in this fashion. What makes these options stand out from the more conventional ways is that one can continue reading, watching television or any other recreational activity. This makes it ideal for couch potatoes.
The advantage of the Far Infrared, FIR sauna over a conventional sauna: A conventional sauna heats the air in the chamber to a very high temperature, which in turn heats our body. A Far Infrared, FIR sauna works differently. Neither oxygen molecules nor nitrogen molecules in the air can block the FIR wave; therefore, the FIR unique wave length penetrates directly into the body a couple of inches more. It creates heat without really harming the skin and thereby allows for more fat to melt away.
Nothing could be more further from the truth because fats often lie deposited in the subcutaneous layers of the body and heat may produce sweat and grime, but apart from that it cannot pull out the fats from the body.
These slimming options again work on the thermodynamics principle adopted by the sauna slimming option. The entire body is encapsulated in a wrap that may be made of herbal extracts, flowers or even in certain cases, chocolate. Again through heat and subsequent stimulations, the elimination of waste products takes place that leaves the body lighter and slimmer. It also has the added benefit of leaving the skin soft and pampered.
Again this is not really a solution that works apart from the feel good benefits it has. These days a lot of spas offer such slimming options and give people the false illusion that the grime and the dirt that gets scrubbed away after a session is actually the fatty deposits. Spas with their body wraps, aromatic oils, masseurs, warm jet sprays, varied therapies using varied concoctions may make a world of difference to skin and hair quality apart from providing a sense of tranquility and peace; but they cannot corrode away inches from a persons body.
This is a very out of the way therapy that works if a person truly believes in the power of suggestions. Once a person is hypnotized, it may be suggested that he leave eating in large quantities, leave junk food, have more of fresh fruits and vegetables etc. In fact hypnotherapy works best when it involves anorexia or bulimia nervosa which has psychological bearings.
Slightly off beat as an option, this is non-invasive and the clause of suggestibility often makes it a potent solution although it is yet to make inroads as a preferred option.
This is based on Chinese remedies and involves the use of needles at various points to activate the body mechanisms that can melt down fats accumulated in the body. Again it claims that this can be made possible without the use of exercises or diets that often leave the person starved.
Slimming Solutions That Work
Exercise, Exercise and more Exercise
This is the only thing which works among the entire spread of slimming products. Exercise in any form, aerobics, dancing, yoga, kickboxing, stretching moves…all increase the BMR ,which is the basal metabolic rate or the rate at which the body burns calories when it is at rest. So anything that makes one sweat, increases the blood supply to the heart, tones muscles can be an excellent option.
In fact as opposed to exercising, weight loss by all these wonder drugs and supplements are not very sustaining mainly due to the huge restrictions they pose. Also adding to this is the fact that these are generalized diets is not cut out to meet the various requirements of different individuals. One singular diet cannot work for the entire population as weight is a factor of genetic factors, poor lifestyle, high calorific diet, slow metabolism or certain disorders like hyperthyroidism. It is also to do with the psychological state of a person an example of which is ‘emotional eating’ triggered by stress or depression.
Exercising equipments are a plenty in the market. There are treadmills, cycles, steppers, elliptical cross trainers, dumbbells among other such equipments that can help in systematic losing of weight.
Heavy duty exercises may be alternated with yoga which is as good for burning calories. For example, a Hatha Yoga burns 270 calories per hour. However one should not do away with the strength workouts for they keep one toned and accelerate metabolism.
Calculate your BMI and WHR
The most important variables impressing upon weight gain are the twin factors of
- What one eats, especially in terms of calorie count
- How much of this calorie is burnt off
Any good slimming option should ideally start by measuring the BMI i.e. The Body Mass Index. This is a resultant of a simple mathematical equation where the body weight (in kilograms) is divided by the square of the height (in meters).
The WHO has set down that the BMI should not exceed the range of 25-29.9.
Yet another formula can give a good indication of whether a person needs to reduce weight. This is the WHR ratio which is the waist to hip ratio. If the WHR is more than 80cm for women, then they are considered oversized and need to cut down weight.
These parameters are necessary to first find out if one needs to go for slimming options at all and if there is a need, then how many inches or kilograms need to be taken off from a person. In the absence of this information, a person may be put on diets that are wholly unsuitable. Sometimes a person may just fancy that she is overweight and go in for a slimming option. In such cases, the physical health and fitness especially in the long run might suffer.
It is a myth that the already slim and the trim need not go in for work outs. In fact this myth has been busted due to research on possible sources and effects of osteoporosis. So everyone needs to exercise to ward off future risks of diseases.
Go Slow and Steady on the slimmimg mode
Experts are of the opinion that spot reducing and crash diets are absolutely unhealthy and lead to hormonal disorders in women apart from the usual fatigue, stress, low blood pressure etc. Such options are also very non-sustainable.
Rapid Weight Gain and Loss, also called Yo-Yo Cycling is another health hazard when people go on a crash diet. Slow dieting gets rid of the fats and preserves the lean muscle content making a person more shapely. Rapid weight loss and gain lead to a further slow down of the metabolic process and food used for growth and repair of the body goes into conservation of energy. Invariably the person suffers from stress and strain.
Choice of Diet
Choosing the right diet is very important. There are a number of diets one could opt for, although the No-Calorie Diet and the Fibre35 Diets are getting to be very popular these days. The former is self explanatory; in the later, 35 grams of all kinds of fibers taken each day will reduce the calorie intake, eliminate wastes and most importantly provide the body with fuel to burn more calories. A balanced diet is most important not only for keeping one self fit but also because it helps psychologically.
Tanking up on water does more than clearing the skin. In fact it is really the most inexpensive way of filling oneself up. Very naturally one eats less. Lemon and honey mixed with warm water actually increases the metabolic rates and flushes out toxins. Another variant of water could be tea, juices made of fruits and vegetables. These have more nutrients, so the body does not suffer from a lack of nutrition; are filling and so it decreases hunger pangs and are less calorie dense.
The marketed variety of mixes that are to be had as milk shakes or juices work best with diet restrictions. They do the same often at a higher cost. The more intelligent option would be to make a liquid diet on your own keeping in mind one’s body mass, metabolic rate, waist hip ratio as well as one’s individual preferences. The calorie intake should not be less than 1200.
Do not be fooled into buying consumer products that promise a lot more than they are capable of giving. Slimming soaps, creams, belts are of little use except for the psychological benefits that come with them. These are all feel-good products and even if the results are far less, it more than makes up by way of motivation. This by the way is the most crucial factor, not just in losing excess inches, but also in sustaining the results which is by far the most crucial component in any slimming technique.
Colour and Styling Options
In any case there are far less expensive options that can be used to produce a slim look and this involves the intelligent use of colour, clothing styles and materials to make clothes. Strong solid colour give an immediate effect of a slim trim look. So also with fitted wear that is cut to hide flaws and accentuate the strengths. Silks, chiffons are more shape friendly than starched cottons. Accordingly one can use these to create an effect of shape and thinness.
Slimming- All About Striking The Right Balance
Slimming options are plentiful in the market especially for those who are into this business. However whichever option one chooses, it ought to be supplemented with a diet that is not just nutritious and balanced, but also involves providing the minimum calories of 1200. Exercising is a must. Howeve much more important is the ability to stay sane and not get overwhelmed with cultural pressures that are obsessive about a thin and trim body shape. Being comfortable in one’s skin, rather shape, and staying positive and happy as well as adopting healthy lifestyle options may give results that no other can.