Wed, 09 Mar 2005

If slimming not enough, get firm

Emmy Fitri, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The dark side to living a modern lifestyle is the growing demand for women to get slimmer.

Fitness centers, body shaping parlors and "fat doctors" are mushrooming in the city, whose denizens are becoming increasingly image conscious.

However, doctors say the best and safest way of getting a healthy and ideal body shape is still the oldest way, by regularly exercising and controlling one's diet.

Physician Inca R. Oetomo said modern consumer culture was pushing women into expensive slimming clinics in the hope of becoming lean, quickly. This could involve "instant" treatments like liposuction, slimming drugs or dietary supplements, she said.

"And if one can afford it then that's okay as long as the side effects of any treatments are clearly explained beforehand."

However thin they are, many women with normal body shapes often still think that they are too fat.

Fat tissues are needed by women to sustain certain areas like their chests, thighs, hips and buttocks. The need for extra body- fat will increase during the 20s and 30s, significantly so pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers.

"The facts show that fat mass generally increases between eight and 10 kilograms for woman from 20 to 60 years old," Inca said. Hormone changes meant that women approaching 50 would often start to accumulate fat around their stomach and hips.

Measured exercise can help shape, slim and firm the body but it must be done regularly for best results. Inca suggested exercise should focus on fat accumulation spots like stomach, thighs, hips, waists and the arms.

"Diet with food containing essential linoleat acids is also necessary," she said.

However, for those who have an already ideal body shape, staying trim was also important. Consuming food supplements could help, she said.

"Being slim is often not enough because there is still often flabbiness in certain areas."

One food supplement with no side-effects was one called Firm, introduced recently by PT Mega Products, which could be consumed by pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers, she said.

Brand manager Elsa Handayani said Firm was made from the extract of safflower and contained CLA (conjugated linoleat acid). The acid blocked fat-producing activity in the body and expedited the lypolisis process (or fat cell destruction) which was good for muscle shaping.

"This product is particularly aimed at people with normal body weights who still want a more 'proportional' body shape.

Many misinterpret this as being slimming, but its not. The supplement works to firm and to tone one's body, not to reduce body weight," she said. There were no diuretic or diarrheic effects because Firm worked at muscle tissue to tighten it.

"Linoleat acid also increases the activity of the carnitine palmitoyltransferase (CPT) enzyme inside the muscle fiber."

Combined with regular exercise, the results could be noticed in about eight weeks, she said.


Sources of linoleat acid:

Oil from plants


Dairy products like:

Cheddar cheese

Low fat yogurt


Condensed milk Fresh ground beef Lamb

Source: PT Mega Products Indonesia