Media representation is a powerful force. In particular, women are sold a certain version of how they’re supposed to look – a nearly unattainable combination of thin and curvy, a size 2 with hips and voluptuous breasts. It’s not a natural look, but women fight to embody it nonetheless, often through the use of illusion, shapewear, and plastic surgery.
If you’re hoping to attain that perfect hourglass figure, it’s important to consider the various ways you can approach body contouring. These 4 approaches can all help you smooth out the lumps and bumps for curves that could rival Marilyn Monroe.
Shapewear: The Simplest Strategy
When it comes to body contouring, the simplest thing you can do is to choose garments that will enhance your shape. For example, wearing a bodysuit can disguise love handles without overly compromising your comfort. Though a bodysuit won’t fundamentally change your shape – it won’t give you a narrower waist or meaningfully change your proportions – it will emphasize your existing curves. Certain types of fabric will also provide more compression, making your curves seem more pronounced.
On the opposite end of the spectrum from shapewear are surgical body contouring procedures, often pursued by women who have lost a significant amount of weight or have had children. These procedures involve removing excess skin caused by weight loss and decreased skin elasticity, and may also involve tightening the abdominal muscles in women with diastasis recti – a separation of the muscles – secondary to pregnancy. Stage 1 of recovery process starts immediately after your surgical procedure, so make sure you wear Stage 1 compression garments to help your body drain while lessening the bruising and swelling and optimizing the healing process.
Much like shapewear, body contouring doesn’t change the basic shape of your body so much as it reveals it, but because it’s a surgical intervention, the change is more dramatic. And, with the addition of fat grafting or waist training with a corset or similar piece of outerwear, surgical contouring can form the foundation for more substantial changes in hip to waist measurements.
The primary procedures used in surgical body contouring aren’t new, but recently there’s been significant growth in non-surgical approaches to body contouring, also sometimes referred to as non-surgical fat reduction. But how does it work? Options for destroying fat cells (which are then flushed from the body via the lymph system) include cryolipolysis, in which fat cells are frozen, branded as CoolSculpting, as well as its inverse, laser lipolysis, which involves controlled heating and laser energy. There’s also injection lipolysis, which uses deoxycholic acid to destroy fat cells.
Non-surgical contouring is increasingly popular, especially with women who have some uneven pockets of fat, but don’t have much excess skin. That’s because it’s less invasive; rather than waiting for incisions to heal, non-surgical contouring allows patients to get back to their normal routines on the same day that they have the procedure.
A Note On Fat Grafting
Most discussions about body contouring focus on removing excess fat and tightening skin, but those aren’t the only possible elements. As noted above, some women also opt to undergo fat grafting, a procedure that redistributes fat from one part of the body or donated fat, to create the desired profile. Many women appreciate that this procedure actually takes fat from areas where it isn’t needed or wanted, and relocates it to areas where it is desired.
There’s no one right approach to body contouring. Every woman’s needs are different and that needs to be accounted for. By experimenting with shapewear and consulting with a plastic surgeon, you can evaluate the options and settle on an approach that suits your body and your lifestyle.