Published on December 18, 2007
The festive season is almost here and that means fitting into a sexy party dress without revealing any unsightly bulges. Dieting and exercising are called for but time is short. Is it possible to be slim and trim with less than two weeks to go?
"Oh yes," says Betty Kittichaiwong, general manager of The Bodhi, a "body design" centre offering cutting-edge innovation in the science of weight loss. The centre, which has branches at the Asoke building and Erawan Bangkok, has just introduced a new programme, "How to lose one dress size in eight days."
"I'm a fitness freak," smiles Betty. "Everyone wants to look good and be young, and it's good that nowadays people have more options. Some are more painful than others but strength-training exercise that keeps you fit is the long-term answer and most importantly, it make you feel good."
Betty confirms that most women want to lose weight. "But isn't it better to lose one inch from the waist, thighs or butt. When you ask women in more detail what their real problem is, they'll mention specific areas of their body that they want to reduce in size and that's not necessarily about weight."
The new programme is based on innovative vacuum technology from Austria which, when used as part of a work-out regime of two hours per day for a mere eight days, can bring a reduction of one full dress-size along with a few kilograms.
"The eight-day programme evolved from a meeting I attended in Austria. One of my colleagues told me about the technology that allows you to lose one full dress size in just four days and, to my surprise, it worked. But when I came to Bangkok, I extended the programme to eight days, because I don't think anyone would want to stay with us for the whole day.
"I let them do the exercises either in the morning or the afternoon, but they also have to write down what they eat because a lot of people have misperceptions about nutrition. For example, they think mangoes are fine, but it fact it's a fruit that's very high in carbohydrates."
The client first undergoes an analysis on the Inbody 720 machine, a body-composition analyst that diagnoses obesity, measures BMI, percentage body fat and waist-hip ratio, and gives an overall health assessment. Based on the results, the personal trainer comes up with an individual exercise programme and recommends a daily diet to achieve maximum results.
Daily sessions include targeted weight-loss reduction of cellulite at the thigh, hip and belly using the Hypoxi Trainer L250, Vacunaut and Vacumassage 400 for about 30 minutes each.
The technology utilises vacuums to help burn stubborn excess fat. The Hypoxi Trainer L250, for example, is a bike in a pressurised chamber that replicates the experience of cycling at an altitude of 2,000 metres but without the strain on the muscles, heart and lungs. The Vacunaut, a vacuum exercise suit, is worn during an aerobics workout and massages the muscles to accelerate the fat-burning process.
The Vacumassage 400 uses high and low pressure to provide massage at the belly, hips, buttocks and thighs. It is also recommended not to take any sugar or carbohydrate in the 4 to 6 hours following a daily session because the calorie-burning effects are long lasting. There are no side effects although those suffering from high blood pressure or heart disease should consult their doctors before treatment.
The vacuum therapy claims to help eliminate cellulite in problem areas without the side effects caused by heavy exercise. "Actually, vacuum technology is not new but it hasn't really been tested. It helps draw blood from all over the body to specific areas. Women have more fat than men and the thighs tend not to be warm so fat doesn't burn so easily in that area. By controlling temperature in specific areas to stimulate circulation, the fat burns off faster," says Betty.
Comparing the treatment to wrapping or normal fitness regimens, she says, "I've tried both cold and warm wraps. The idea is they make you feel cold and shake so that your brain will tell your body to warm up the blood and get the muscles to contract. It's the natural reaction but it doesn't firm the body. Normal fitness machines help to build muscle tone but it takes several weeks and that can be dangerous for the joints, especially if you are on the heavy side."
But while those who stick to the treatment and the diet might drop that dress size in a week, ultimately, staying in shape is all about commitment, especially during the festive season when so much delicious food is on the menu.