My Coolsculpting Experience

Karina posing with machine

We’ve seen a lot of ‘fat-busting’ and body contouring technology roll out over the years.  We’ve even brought a couple into our sister company that delivered acceptable results.  We had still been looking for the Wow factor though.  My feeling has always been that if you are going to ask someone to pay for a higher price tag, the results have to be consistent and hopefully dramatic.  I don’t want to have to squint to see them.

I’m going to be getting married this upcoming August.  My dress is bought and I have my first fitting in June.  It’s been six months then of trying to tone up.  I do not have dramatic amounts of weight to lose but I definitely have my problem areas.  In a perfect world, I could get rid of those persistent trouble spots so that in my dress I would have smooth lines.  In a perfect world, I could run and laugh and pose for my pictures.  In a perfect world, I wouldn’t get my pictures back and then automatically focus on those couple of areas that have always bothered me.

In full disclosure, our sister company, Laserderm, purchased their Coolsculpting machine in November 2013 and I had my first treatment on my stomach in January.  It wasn’t an area that would show in my wedding dress but I thought it would be nice to have it toned for my honeymoon after (i.e. bikini season).  The process starts with what I would term the pinch the inch consult.  You play show and tell of the area you would like to work on and a nurse with exceptionally nimble little hands sees whether she can pinch enough for the machine to grab on to (*See Editors Note)  It won’t be the best part of your day but fortunately the nurses at our sister company are gentle and have a sense of humour. 

Once you’ve decided what area to treat and what hand piece will be used (both factors will influence the end cost), you get marked up and then have your pictures taken.  This part is important to help plan for any follow-up treatments so you can be strategic about which areas to target. 
Me mid- procedure- see I’m smiling!
Now the fun part!  This very cool (literally cool) gel pack is applied to the area and the selected handpiece is placed as squarely on it as possible.  Coolsculpting involves vacuuming the bulge into an opening, which is why the area has to be pinchable.  You therefore have to get a good seal on the skin so you will do what I call the Coolsculpt shuffle.  With the help of the nurse, you will gently lay yourself down on the bed and they will position pillows to make sure you are comfortable and that the suction is maintained.  With one press of a button, the freezing process then begins.  You do get a sensation of cold but after the first couple of minutes you don’t feel anything.  Each area takes one hour so it’s an excellent time to take a nap or watch a little TV where they have cable in the treatment rooms.  Your nurse will leave you with a beeper in case you need anything. The picture to the right is me, sitting pretty and enjoying the quiet.
After the hour is up, your nurse will return and remove the handpiece.  The part that ensues is really the most un-enjoyable part of the whole process. You will literally have a frozen bulge- it looks like a cartoon where you swallowed a popsicle whole.  Your nurse, with those gentle little hands, will kneed the area while it’s thawing to break up the crystallized fat and to ensure that you get a smooth result.  On more sensitive areas like your stomach, the thawing process can be intense.  It generally lasts 3-5 minutes and then you’re ready for your next area. Most people do at least two areas in one round since areas normally need to be broken up into at least left and right.
Afterwards, the area felt tingly and numb.  For more sensitive areas again, that feeling can last up to a couple of weeks.  I didn’t exercise for 2 weeks afterwards because I didn’t want to strain my stomach.  However, I wouldn’t say I was uncomfortable.  For the tummy area, it can be nice to wear something like Spanx or even yoga pants.  It’s more just based on your preference. 
I wasn’t really sure what to expect. After a month, I thought I could maybe see a little something different. I had to squint though.  Another month passed and I thought that maybe I could pinch a little less in the area.  At that point, I went back to have one area in my back done (near my bra line) and then on my stomach again just below the bra line again. I thought if I could get modest improvement why not! However, close to after the third month of my first original treatment, I woke up and looked at my stomach and stopped short.  What seemed like all of a sudden, I had two lines of definition that I had not had for a long time.  I did not wake up with an eight pack but I did look considerably more toned.  I’m not someone who talks in superlatives but I was kind of floored. 
For those who might consider Coolsculpting, here are some tips based on my experience:
  • Be close to your target weight: Coolsculpting from what I’ve seen will eliminate the fat in the specific area that you apply the device. It’s not for global weight loss.  You should have an exercise and nutrition plan in place already that is mostly working for you.
  • Choose the area/s that really bothers you: We can all probably pinch lots of areas but maybe you have one or two that have always made you uncomfortable.  We’ve all stood in a dressing room and thought I would look so much better in x if I didn’t have this bulge y.
  • Have a maintenance plan in place: Like I said, this is not a hall pass to go off the rails with your normal routine.  From the clinical studies and our own experience in the clinic, the fat treated will be eliminated permanently but that doesn’t mean that you cannot gain fat in any other areas. Like me, you may actually be motivated to kick it up a notch. Laserderm actually has a pretty neat bonus for their Coolsculpting program where they will set you up with the personal trainer, Pam Coons, for a consult and a free training session.  Our retail also has the Glisodin products for before and after the treatment.  I like the Slimming powder enough to keep it as my protein powder for after I exercise. 

Throughout the whole process, I didn’t ever treat it as an opportunity to start eating whatever I wanted or to forgo exercise.  I didn’t ever think Coolsculpting would do everything for me and I could sit back and watch.  After my first treatment, I cut back on my sugar intake, I went to yoga regularly and I used my Glisodin Slimming Formula as a protein powder for my afternoon snack.  However, what has changed for me is that I feel like I have momentum.  My body is working with me instead of against me.  Since my three month mark- I’ve stepped up my exercise routine. Yes, partly in anticipation of the wedding, but also because it feel like the slow progression of weight gain as you get older is no longer inevitable. 

*Editor Note: At the time of writing this, Coolculpting has added a new handpiece that allows areas to be wrapped rather than pinched.  This expands the different types of areas that can now be treated (including saddlebags, yeah!) so it’s worth going for a consult to see if you are a good candidate.

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