As anyone that follow this blog knows, I’m normally very skeptical about fad diets, miracle weight loss plans, or anything promising quick results. I scoff at juice cleanses (really, why remove the FIBER from a fruit/veggie? that’s what keeps you full!) and I can’t STAND when I find out friends have signed up to be distributors of shakes, pills, or It Works! body wraps. I still continue to love these people, of course, but I *might* find myself hiding their incessant posts on social media, to be honest.
I’ve learned through over 14 years of struggling with my body image that there is NO SUCH THING AS A MIRACLE CURE.
You have to work out consistently.
You have to eat right.
You have to exercise moderation and self-control.
You have to make a lifestyle change.
A pill will not go to the gym for you. A body wrap will not cancel out loaded chili cheese fries. I’m sorry, but it’s the truth.
I have been focusing on a holistic approach to my health lately, aiming not to weigh myself/take measurements and just focus on eating clean, working out, and recognizing how I feel each day, versus how I look, and it’s been working for me. Clothing has gotten looser, and I’m starting to regain my normal energy and tenacity. I go to the gym because I love how it makes me feel, not because I’m punishing myself for gaining a pound the day before.
Despite my skeptic nature, I have heard a lot of buzz about infrared body wraps, which use infrared (heat) technology to penetrate the skin and actually burn through the layers of visceral fat, and I’ve found myself curious to try them out. From what I read, you literally burn calories — anywhere from 900 to 1400 — during a session (which lasts approximately 60 minutes) and the wrap allows you to target specific problem areas on the body.
As someone who has lost more than 80 lbs, I’ve got some problem areas I’d like to spot-reduce, so I was intrigued. But, as someone who has lost 80+ pounds, I also know burning 1000+ calories is NEVER as easy as just laying on a sterile table and baking under a lamp… right?
I did more online research and finally decided the science had merit, and that an infrared wrap sounded like it could be a legitimate booster to (and not a replacement for) my current exercise and nutrition plan. As a worst case scenario, it sounded like it would be a relaxing experience (who wouldn’t like to be swaddled in warm blankets and take a nap for an hour in a spa-setting), so I decided to give it a shot.
I called around and finally decided on a clinic called HLC Wellness in Lake Mary, FL, which is a medical spa that specializes in helping those who’ve lost weight and struggle with excess skin and/or those individuals looking to enhance their regime.
I had the opportunity to speak to the owner, Mark, both before and after having an infrared wrap, and I definitely felt more confident about my experiment. He assured me that one wrap won’t be a miracle cure for my fat, no more than one workout at the gym won’t incinerate all the weight on my body. He was straightforward and honest, stating that the infrared light increases core metabolism (which, technically, metabolism is the heat at which your body is running, so this makes sense), and that the result is a higher burn of calories. He pointed out that the people that see the best results from the infrared wraps, along with all the other services the clinic provides, are those that are participating in their health — working out and exercising — versus those that come in for a wrap and celebrate their “hard work” with a pizza when they leave. He wasn’t preaching miracles: he was acknowledging the real effort that goes into fitness and health, and I appreciated his honesty.
So, I went for it.
Unlike other gimmicky wraps, I didn’t have to strip to my undies and get slathered in something sticky, stinky, or otherwise uncomfortable. i was encouraged to wear sweats and a t-shirt, and no mystery lotions were coerced upon me to “enhance” the effects.
A really nice technician wrapped me up in the laser bands, which, for lack of a better explanation, looked like rubber hoses flattened by a tank (Wiley Coyote style!), and she explained that it will be warm, so to let her know if I felt uncomfortable at any time. She put John Mayer on the radio for me (yay, no drowsy spa music!) and turned the lights low so I could either nap or relax.
Here’s what I looked like:
Sort of like a plastic mummy in a rave? Ha!
They took measurements before and after, measuring my chest, ribcage, waist, hips, and buttocks.
I forgot to ask what my before measurements were, but after 50 minutes in the infrared wrap – which never got uncomfortably hot and was actually quite relaxing – my rib cage went down 1/2 an inch, my waist went down 2 inches (whoa!), my hips went down 1.5 inches, and my buttocks went down 2 inches.
I never felt dehydrated, and despite what I was expecting, I wasn’t super sweaty when the wrap ended. I was able to cool off with a moist towelette and dress without any discomfort.
But here’s where it gets interesting …
As anyone that works out consistently knows, you feel your workout for hours later. The fatigue in your muscles, the slight soreness, and the overall boost of oxytocin and serotonin (happy drugs) that have you feeling great all day.
I had the wrap on Thursday morning at 9am and did not work out after; I went straight to work. Yet, despite not working out at the gym, I gradually felt the warmth in my muscles and tiny soreness that comes from a good sweat session on the elliptical.
Could this really be from the wrap?
I felt energized all day, and actually skipped my normal coffee break around 3pm. I really felt like I was riding the high (a runner’s high, if you will) throughout the day!
When I got home from work at 9:30pm, I felt so good I decided to do a mini workout before bed, and squeezed in about 35 minutes on the elliptical (and 10 minutes of speed-walking, but that’s minor) at the community gym.
This morning I woke up just as energized and enthused, and while I didn’t expect to see the scale drop 5 lbs overnight, I was shocked (and pleasantly surprised) to see that I went from 132.6 to 131.8 overnight.
While I’m not contributing the loss to the wrap as a whole, I can definitely say the infrared wrap had a positive effect. At the minimum, the heat and spa-setting did wonders for my mental state. At the maximum and best case scenario, it worked just as it said it would, burning between 900 to 1,400 calories and it directly contributed to my overnight drop of 0.8 lbs.
Either way, I will definitely do another one.
On that note… it’s time for a snack! Bon appetit, my friends!