I Tried Non-Invasive Fat Reduction & Here's How Much I Lost

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 dripI 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