You guys should know by now that I’ve recently become all about weird beauty/aesthetic treatments. I went to a sweat lodge, I have a coupon for cryotherapy I have yet to cash in, I’m in the midst of a Brazilian laser hair removal regimen. (OK so maybe that last one was less weird but more straight-up painful. It still stands, IMO.) So when I was given the opportunity to try Vanquish ME, a body contouring procedure that is supposed to kill fat cells in a non-invasive way, my exact response may or may not have been “sign me the fuck up.”
If you haven’t heard of Vanquish ME, it’s because it’s a fairly new treatment—it came out two years ago. Vanquish uses radio frequency energy to heat up and kill fat cells, and it does it without even touching your skin. Basically, this machine burns your fat cells and then, over the course of a few days, your lymphatic system gets rid of the cells—in other words, you pee them all out.
Ever since I learned the non-culinary definition for “muffin top” I’ve been preoccupied with my love handles. As far as I can remember, they have always been there, and they have been prominent. I haven’t bought real pants since probably about 2009, since it becomes a Sophie’s Choice between pants that fit my legs but make my muffin top protrude and make me suffocate, or pants that accommodate the muffin top but are MC Hammer pants in the legs portion. I live in leggings and jeggings, but more often skirts because they just don’t test the limits of conventional sizing and my self-esteem in the same way. It’s important to know yourself, you know?
And before you even ask, nothing so far in the past 26 years has made my love handles go away. I’ve lost and gained weight, reaching and losing a Weight Watchers lifetime membership a few times over in the process. I’ve spent hours in the gym lifting weights. Nothing so far has seemed to work. So when I found out that Vanquish targets whatever problem area of your body you choose without requiring you to go under the knife, or experience any pain or serious discomfort, I was fucking in, and you already know which body part I was targeting.
While FDA approved, Vanquish ME is not a super common treatment, and there are only a few places in New York that do it. NKD NYC in Columbus Circle is one of them. It’s a brand-new facility that offers all types of luxury wellness treatments, like cryotherapy, infrared light therapy, vitamin IV drips, and more.
I stepped into NKD NYC and I was pretty nervous, because I hadn’t researched the Vanquish treatment too much—if I had, I would have gone into an anxiety spiral and talked myself out of trying it. Better to go into these things blind. Luckily the staff were incredibly nice, and there was a NP on site, and also a technician who had performed the procedure numerous times before. The facility itself was immaculate, very clean and calming.
The most important things to know before getting the Vanquish ME treatment are that you need to be well hydrated, and you can’t have any body jewelry on. It’s also not recommended that you be on your period because it can cause it to become heavier (which nobody wants, least of all me). Other that that, it’s pretty straightforward. Vanquish ME has been referred to as a “lunchtime” procedure, because you can pretty much just waltz in, get the procedure, and go straight back to work. There’s no down time or recovery required.
The best way I can describe the actual process of getting Vanquish ME is that you literally just lie on a reclining chair. The technician maneuvers this machine around you that kind of looks like an open claw (but less scary). They adjust the machine to fit just over the area you want to treat, making sure it’s not actually touching you, but rather, hovering right above you. Then they turn it on and you chill there for 45 minutes. You can watch TV, meditate, talk to the aesthetician—you just can’t have your phone and you can’t move.
At most I would describe the process as mildly warm—about a 3 on a 1 to 10 scale. It sort of felt like putting a heating pad on my lower abdomen—but honestly not even that hot. It was pretty much the easiest thing I’ve ever done, even easier than sleeping, since I low-key have insomnia. But whatever. I’m sorry this account isn’t more interesting; but that’s how simple the Vanquish treatment is.
Most people receive between 4 to 5 Vanquish ME treatments spaced 7 to 10 days apart for maximum results, but I received two. NKD NYC also usually combines the Vanquish ME with an IV Vitamin Drip to make the treatment even more effective, but I didn’t do the drip. I went no more than two weeks in between appointments and didn’t change my diet or exercise routine between that time—I subscribe to the health regimen of “doing the bare minimum to still look okay naked”. I did not lose any weight from Vanquish ME. That being said, when I came back for my first treatment I was measured, and I lost a half an inch around my love handle area. That’s not bad at all for something that required literally zero effort. Overall I would say that I can feel the results more than I can see them. Like, every time when I’m sitting down and I go to pinch my love handles just to see how bad the situation is (a compulsive habit I’ve developed over the years—thanks body image), there’s less to pinch. My sides and back feel smoother and there’s less spilling over the top where my waistband meets skin.
Unfortunately I spaced out and forgot to take before and after photos at NKD. Fortunately for you all, though, I went to a music festival days before I received my first treatment, and I took a picture that will haunt me forever because of how my love handles look. It’s time like these that I’m so grateful to be a woman—I’d like to meet ONE guy who spends approximately 56% of his time thinking about his love handles. ANYWAY. I decided to recreate that same photo with the same outfit to give you an idea of how my muffin top situation has improved since Vanquish.
My pictures are not a perfect science, and the results are not like, life-changing (like I said, I didn’t receive nearly the recommended amount of treatments), but it’s enough to make me feel better.
The only catch? The price, as you probably guessed. Vanquish isn’t cheap—a session costs $750—and like I previously mentioned, it takes 4 to 5 sessions to achieve the best results. But if you have a rich sugar daddy who’s bankrolling your lifestyle, or you’re considering getting lipo anyway, you might want to try Vanquish since there’s no recovery required. NKD NYC is also currently offering summertime packages and discounts for Vanquish ME.
If you’re not made of money, NKD NYC has a less permanent body sculpting option: localized cryotherapy. For $55 per session, a technician will perform localized cryotherapy on an area of your choosing. It’s the opposite of Vanquish ME—it works by freezing your cells to give the appearance of firmer, smoother skin. Your results will only last for about a day, but if you’re going to a pool party or something and want your skin to look a little firmer, you’re probably going to get better results from cryotherapy the day before than you would from binge-eating spinach and doing extra crunches.
Images: Siora Photography / Unsplash
It’s pretty damn tempting to buy every skinny tea and diet plan you see on Instagram, but honestly there’s no real trick to fat burning unless you’re eating a balanced diet and working out regularly. It took us a while to accept this tragic reality, but after trying every diet on social media and experiencing continual disappointment, it might be the hard truth. With that being said, there are definitely some foods that have certain compounds and nutrients that could help you burn fat more easily—fat burning foods, if you will. We did some research to find the superfoods that have been proven to help with weight loss, and we’re currently ordering each one in bulk. Here are the fat burning foods you to add to your diet.
1. Cayenne Pepper
Pepper has a compound in it called capsaicin, which has been proven to spike your metabolism and boost your body’s ability to convert food into energy instead of storing it as fat. Spicy foods also tend to suppress your appetite, which is one of the reasons why you may be super full after eating something spicy for lunch. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, you just need to add a pinch of cayenne pepper to your meal and it’ll help your body burn fat after you eat. So like, pass the pepper.
2. Black Beans
Just in case you needed that extra push to order Mexican for dinner tonight, black beans may be one of the coveted fat burning foods, although that burrito might not be. If you ask me, black beans should be trendier than they are, because they’re low-key magical. In fact, some researchers say they’re equivalent to a fat-burning pill, but like, much more legal (some disagree, but over all, adding beans to your diet as part of a healthy weight loss regimen can help you lose weight). Black beans are filled with slow-digesting fiber that feeds the bacteria in your gut and trigger a chemical called butyrate, which basically helps your body burn fat more efficiently.
It may be time to stalk up on grapefruits ASAP. In a 2006 study, scientists realized how magical grapefruits are when they asked a group of participants to drink apple juice everyday and another group to drink grapefruit juice everyday. It turned out the grapefruit people lost more weight and their bodies’ metabolic rate sped up dramatically, and the apple juice people went home in shame (I paraphrase). Not only are grapefruits rich in bioactive compounds that help break down body fat and regulate your blood sugar, but they also lower your body’s insulin and speed up your metabolism. Game changer. Just don’t douse it in sugar, duh, because that defeats the purpose of fat burning foods.
4. Bone Broth
You may have seen your favorite health bloggers sipping on homemade bone broth recently, but this trend actually has a ton of scientific proof behind it. Bone broth is filled with vitamins and collagen, and its nutrients can also help reduce inflammation in the gut, which often leads to weight loss. By healing the gut and filling our bodies with good bacteria, bone broth can make you less bloated, be better protected against sickness, and promote fat loss in the body.
People used to think the cholesterol in egg yolks would make you fat, but actually the opposite may be true. The egg yolk myth started decades ago, but it turns out we were wrong back then and we’re like, much smarter nowadays (cue the video of people eating Tide pods in 2018). Eggs are packed with protein and vitamins, and the cholesterol in the yolk has no real impact on cholesterol metabolism in your body. Some evidence even shows that eggs may raise levels of HDL cholesterol in your body, which helps prevent heart disease. The protein and healthy fat combination in eggs will keep you full for longer and have been linked to fat loss, so like, it may not help you burn fat as expressly as some of these other fat burning foods, but eggs may help you lose weight overall. Bottom line, you can stop pretending you like egg whites.
6. Anything Fermented
Fermented foods, like sauerkraut, Kombucha, kimchi, kefir, tempeh, and miso are all foods that could majorly help your body burn fat. This comes back to the whole idea of the good bacteria in your gut. By improving your gut health, you help your digestion work better and boost your body’s immunity. Nobody’s promising that if you start drinking Kombrewcha you’ll lose three pounds overnight, but these foods are super healthy for you and they just get your system working better, which could very likely help you lose fat, as long as you’re not like, eating the sauerkraut on a hot dog. You’re on your own in that case.
Images: Trang Doan / Pexels; Elle Hughes, Charisse Kenion, / Unsplash; Tiburi, Edwina MC / Pixabay; Giphy (2)
It seems every girl with a pair of APL’s and a FitBit thinks she’s suddenly qualified to be some certified fitness expert. Online blogs are one giant WebMD, so consult your doctor before you freak out that you’re gonna die if you don’t take a daily shot of apple cider vinegar. There are literally SO many lies out there about fitness, and they’re everywhere—like, even in those health magazines you read while your pedicure is drying. To end the fitness confusion, we collected six myths that you probably think are true, but they’re most definitely not. Here’s what you need to stop believing about your workouts:
1. You Can Spot-Reduce Certain Areas
If you’re specifically trying to get skinnier arms or slimmer legs, then this might not be what you want to hear, but you actually can’t do that. When it comes to losing fat, there’s no such thing as spot-reducing. Your body loses fat in whichever way it wants, so for some people that may be in their stomachs, and for some it may be in their butts. It just depends on your genes, and that’s not something you can fix, no matter how many crunches you do. You can certainly tone specific areas by building muscle, but when it comes to losing weight, you can’t pick and choose. Sorry.
2. The Weight You’re Gaining Is Automatically Muscle
Ever hear a friend say they went to Barry’s Bootcamp three times in one week and say they gained two pounds? Don’t comfort them by telling them it’s muscle weight. It’s probably not. While strength training definitely does make you gain muscle weight, that type of weight gain takes weeks or months of training (and tons of extra food), so you’re probably not making “the gains” that quickly. It’s possible that your body is either holding onto water after an intense workout, or that you’re just eating more because you’re so hungry after. Either way, the chances of you gaining over a pound of muscle right off the bat is really unlikely.
3. The More You Work Out, The Better
The fact that so many girls think they’re being heroes for doubling up on their SoulCycle classes is really sad. It might make logical sense that the more you work out, the skinnier you’ll get, but that’s a short term solution. Long term, you could be majorly sabotaging your metabolism and actually ruining your chances of losing weight. When it comes to exercise, the key is quality over quantity, so you really don’t need to overtrain your body and shock your system. You’re just doing more harm than good, so you can stick with one class. Save yourself the time and money.
4. Bribe Yourself With A Post-Workout Treat
Post-workout endorphins make you feel amazing, and a lot of people think they deserve a huge post-workout treat after their sweat sesh. However, there’s a huge difference between refueling after a workout and just completely ruining all your hard work. Think about it. If you burned 300 calories at the gym and then ate a “cheat meal,” that could be over 800 calories. Was it worth it? Eat something after your workout that’s not gonna sabotage the work you put in. If you need to bribe yourself to get to the gym, do it with a new Bandier outfit or a Lulu gym bag, not with an insane amount of food. Like, you went on one run, you don’t need three entrees at brunch.
5. Ab Exercises Are The Key To Getting Abs
We’re not hating on ab workouts, but we just feel like people have the wrong idea about getting abs. Everyone has abdominal muscles, so getting them to show takes a combination of strengthening them and lowering your body fat percentage so that they’re visible. While ab exercises accomplish the first part, what you EAT is huge. You can do 500 crunches everyday, but unless you watch your diet, you’ll never see your abs. There’s a reason they say “abs are made in the kitchen”. Also, some people are just genetically lucky and their abs are more likely to show without all the hard work. If it’s just not in the cards for you, you can blame your genes.
6. Your Body Only Burns Fat In Its “Fat Burning Zone”
Somebody created the myth that your body enters a fat burning zone after working out for a certain amount of time, and that’s just not true. Your body can burn fat at the beginning of a workout or at the end, so it really doesn’t matter if your workout is 20 minutes or an hour. For example, doing short HIIT workouts allows you to burn fat immediately and makes your body stay in that state throughout the day. You don’t have to wait until you’re 30 minutes into a workout to start burning fat.