This story was originally published July 24, 2015.
Belly pooch, muffin top, food baby, roll, love handles, saddle bags...the world has a lot of cutesy and derogatory ways to describe body fat. And despite eating healthy, exercising regularly, and generally kicking ass at living, we all have so-called "trouble areas" on our bodies. In fact, some people are just genetically predisposed to carrying and storing pockets of fat in different areas, and those people are often as healthy (or sometimes healthier) than their thinner counterparts. That said, recent advancements in the cosmetic dermatology field have led to a slew of new, surgery-free treatments and machines that claim to eliminate stubborn, fatty areas using heat, ultrasound, radio frequency, and freezing. What are
all these treatments? Do they even work? And if they do, are they worth it?
Now, I interrupt your regularly scheduled article to address some very important points. Because I know many people are going to look at my headline, read the first paragraph (if I'm lucky), and then head to the comment section to tell me how I'm making women feel bad about themselves and setting back womankind with my superficiality. So, rather than wait until the end of the article, I'm just interjecting with my disclaimer now: I do not believe any woman needs to undergo the aforementioned treatments, nor do I think that your self-worth is defined by your waistline. I'm writing this simply as an informational piece for those who are curious. Okay, back to the story.
I spoke with three experts (Amy Wechsler, MD
, Jessica Weiser, MD
, and Laura Pietrzak, MSHS, PA-C
) to get the lowdown on fat cells. The important thing to know, they explained, is that these cells are the underlying cause of weight loss and gain (I know, duh). Fat cells can expand due to things like a high-fat diet, caloric intake, and hormones, and this expansion causes weight gain. People are born with a certain amount of fat cells, and that number fluctuates until you hit puberty — after that point, the number stays constant. While some fat cells may die off naturally, they are replaced with new ones
. Obesity is a whole different ball game, and researchers are still trying to pinpoint why some people generate extra fat cells, and how new fat cells are created