Monday, June 26, 2006

So you wanna get into shape?

Nowadays, just flip through any newspaper and you'll see lots and lots of slimming companies promoting their products. Some are lucky enough to feature superstars who endorses their products. Others use real-life testimonials and other dodgy promotions to get clients.

A month ago, I received a call from a 'weight-management' company saying I have won myself a free weight-management session with a few hundred ringgit through a contest that I had taken part in. So after hassling me a few times, I thought "Why not give it a try?"

I know very well I will not sign up for any of courses. My mum also warned me that those salespeople will be very nasty if I say no. Anyhow, I still made an appointment - just for the experience. Before leaving the house, I emptied all my credit cards, just in case I get brainwashed, or something like that.

When I arrived at the centre, I was greeted by my consultant. She informed me that my session will take 3 1/2 hours. The first 1/2 hour is for first time consultation. The other 3 hours is the treatment. At this time I'm beginning to regret this.....but sigh...since I've made up my mind.......just go with the flow......

Next, the consultant took me into a little room, and after answering some questions on health and eating habits, she made me strip and stand in front of the mirror. That's when the interrogation began. She was quite polite with some bits, saying that they can look better, but when she got to my thighs and legs, she was like "Oh my goodness!! You have cellulite problem!! See? See?" (starts pinching all around). Then she looked at my calves and said in a shocking tone, "Aiyoh, you calves so huge!! Serious water retention problem!! Tsk Tsk..." which prompted me to say " It's always been like that" coz it really was!! So she's telling me I have water retention problem since I was a kid???

The skeptism has already sunk in.

As expected, she proceeded to recommend me a ten session trial, which comprises 5 slimming and 5 detox. The price ? RM3150.

I told her I will consider. Then she asked me if I go to gym. I said yes. And guess what she told me?

"Gym is not suitable for you."


"If you go gym and exercise and tone, you will cause the fat in your body to harden."


So the centre believes that their treatment is an alternative to exercise. There was one page in the information booklet that said their one session of treatment (which is about an hour) is equivalent to 360 situps, or 2 hours of jogging. Which is why she made that statement.

Anyway, I was introduced to my 'therapist' and she explained to me what's going to happen for the next three hours :

1) Steam bath and body scrub to detox the body
2) 45 minutes of weight loss treatment
3) 25 minutes of body wrap and heat treatment

1) Steam bath and scrub.
I was asked to sit inside a cubicle within a steam room. This is similar to those in the gym. After 5 minutes, My body was given a good scrub, and without showering, led back into the steam room again. It was then I was sweating non-stop, which I guess supposed to detox my body. I wondered what was the secret ingredient that made me sweat so much. After that I was asked to shower and go back into the treatment room.

2) Weight Loss Treatment.
In this little room, the therapist measured my arms, tummy, bum, thighs and calves. Then she applied some serum onto my 'problem areas'. According to her, this serum is very expensive, and is supposed to be the key ingredient for this program to work. I was then asked to lie down while she placed many electro pads all around me. She said the electic current from the pads are meant to emulate massage movements, and together with the serum, will break down the fatty deposits and encourage weight loss. So she let me sleep through the 45 minutes treatment.

The current does felt like massage, although I'm not sure how it's connected to breaking down the fat. Anyway, the feeling is quite nice, and I slept through the session (I would probably be bored if I was awake.) After removing the pads from me, she measured me again, and led me to another room. I didn't feel any difference here, just beginning to be thirsty. Anyone gonna serve me drinks here??

3) Heat wrap.
This is the part that gets interesting.

I've heard about the wrap treatment. Depending on the slimming outlet, they will wrap you tight and either put you in under a hot blanket or a cold room. It's supposed to trigger the body to start burning fat.

This one is a heat wrap treatment. The therapist again applied some cream on me, which already triggered the heat effect. Then she took out two rolls of clingwrap - Yes, those where you wrap your vegetables - and wrapped it around me REALLY TIGHT. She wrapped over my body, extended arms and legs. I felt like I was wearing a corset. I can't breathe!!! After she completed the wrapping, I looked at the mirror and felt like Barbie doll. She said to me "See, if you wrap, now your body shape so nice" but I still think that's impossible, perhaps the the wrapping process makes one think it's possible, but it's just an illusion....somehow....Anyway, she guided me to the hot blanket, and I was 'baked' there for 25 minutes.

It was quite uncomfortable underneath the blanket, perhaps I was just restless. By then I can hear the conversations among other customers and their therapists, so thought I just listen to their conversation. They were talking about slimming treatment anyways.

Later, the therapist came in and just used a pair of scissors to cut through the wrapping. The treatment is completed. I can get dressed and proceed to the reception. No water? I'm very thirsty now.

Craving for a glass of iced water.....

As expected, I need to see the consultant again. She smiled and showed me the statistics. According to the measurement, I lost 10 cm in total from this session. That 10 cm comprises 1 cm from the waist, 1 cm from my right thigh, 1 cm from my left arm, and 0.5 cm everywhere else. And she was actually proud to say this in front of me. I felt so cheated. So that's how these companies claim their weight loss. So when she asked me if I would like to sign up for their package, I told her it's a lot of money. Then she recommended me to sign up for the heat wrap treatment instead. That treatment costs RM600 for 10 sessions (still a lot of $$$). I told her I was not obliged to purchase any of their products, and that's when things got really NASTY.

She raised her voice in frustration and told me "I'm not telling you to buy this. Please do not misunderstand. I'm just letting you know that you need this treatment."

I answered her, "What you may think I need, I may not think so".

She was beginning to look pissed off "If you say so, don't come to us when the problem becomes excessive"

She made the same remark again about gym is not suitable for me blah blah blah. But I caught her point when she made this remark " Gym may help you lose weight, but you can't get the body shape from exercising in the gym." So ultimately, it's got to do with shape and not fitness. I'm very sure they will pooh-pooh at the sight of muscles and toned bodies. I can understand why some women take up both gym and body contour packages. Perhaps they wanted to look perfect. Like a Barbie doll.

At this point of time, she wanted to convince me again, but I let her know someone is waiting for me for 3 1/2 hours, and I really need to leave. So with a sulky face, she asked me to sign some forms and passed me my free gift. I left the place and never looked back again.

I'm not sure what these companies endorse. Weight management isn't just burning fat and detox. I still believe exercise is important too. All this sculpting is secondary (especially if you are a tai-tai and have $$ to burn). I rather spend the money on a Personal Trainer. It may be a painful way to lose weight, but I feel good after an exercise session, even though my muscles are aching like crazy.

After this experience, I think I wanna go to the gym more often now......


javatia said...

oh my, that's quite an experience! i had a similar experience but it was for hair treatment, she was trying to convince me that my hair was gonna fall right off my head any day. didn't like it. it was overpriced and a total rip off. same thing happened when i said i wasn't interested. the sulky faces and defensive attitudes. argh. never wanna go through that again.

ChinoDevean said...

Exercise is wholesome & natural. Shaping the body is not. Might as well spend that money on liposuction.