Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post for the CoolSculpting procedure and I was provided with complimentary CoolSculpting treatment to write this review.
In case you missed my first post, CoolSculpting Part 1: The Procedure, let me give you a quick refresher.
A few months ago, I was invited to experience a CoolSculpting procedure after a consultation that qualified me as a viable candidate. Yes, my fat actually worked in my favor for once! I scheduled an appointment for two weeks later to include eight cycles of what is essentially “fat freezing.” I detailed exactly how the day went including photos of my fat turned into something looking like a frozen stick of butter. After several hours, I left the offices of Capital Laser & Skincare a little swollen but ready for the recovery to begin.
Let me clarify that recovery is different than results. It generally takes up to 90 days to show the full effects of the procedure and to see the maximum results. But recovery is a more variable process. There are some expectations of the recovery process but it can be very different for each person.
One of the big appeals of CoolSculpting is that there is technically no downtime after the procedure. I could eat or drink whatever I wanted and wasn’t restricted from any physical activity. In fact, I was told that I could go to the gym the next day if I desired.
Of course, I looked at them and said, If I was so dedicated that I wanted to go to the gym tomorrow, I probably wouldn’t even be in here in the first place!
But to be clear, CoolSculpting is not a weight loss procedure. It’s a fat reduction procedure designed to get rid of stubborn pockets of fat through freezing. The freezing destroys a percentage of your fat cells which your body eliminates generally over a 90 day period, hence the amount of time it takes for the full results.
Let’s get back to the recovery. Because it was no walk in the park (although technically I could have gone for a walk in the park).
Luckily, my technician and doctor were both very clear on what to expect for the first three weeks post-procedure. They told me that I’d probably feel discomfort and numbness and that I might have some pain as all of my nerves came “back to life” after the freezing process. They also warned me that sometimes these nerves decide to wake up all at once and if that was the case, I’d experience a LOT of nerve pain – something only specialized nerve medicine can alleviate. With a prescription for gabapentin in my hand, I was prepared for all the “what ifs” and “just in cases.”
Thank goodness they prepared me because I experienced everything they told me about. Here’s how it went.
It’s true about the downtime. I really just wanted to stay in bed but I didn’t have a real reason to. And it didn’t prevent me from getting things done. In fact, I climbed up and down a ladder painting my bedroom the weekend after the procedure
But I was definitely sore, like so sore I was worried that my dogs or even my son might accidentally touch or bump my stomach. I was a little bruised. I was very numb (this is normal but a very unnerving feeling – no pun intended). And I was swollen. Think four or five months pregnant swollen. I couldn’t fit into any of my regular clothes and, as a result, got well acquainted with my stretch pants and baggy sweaters. And then it got worse.
This is around the time when I was told some of my nerve endings would start to wake up and THEY DID. On day 3, I started getting weird twinges, mostly in my lower abdomen. I’d be sitting and watching TV and get a sharp sting. And then I’d be fine. But after it started increasing in frequency, I thought it might be time to get my prescription for gabapentin filled.
Although I’m hesitant to take new medications and scrutinize them thoroughly, Thanksgiving was coming and the nerve pain was getting worse. I needed to be on my game to entertain the crowd of twenty coming to my house.
To use a nerve medication, you need to build up to it so you typically start with one pill per day and work your way up to three pills per day and take until no longer needed. I started with one pill for the first night, two pills the second night, back down to one pill the third night and then I no longer needed it.
The only real side effect was sleepiness so as long as I had time to sleep (luckily it was Thanksgiving break), it was fine. But I’m glad I didn’t wait any longer “just to see” if things got better. Nerve pain is no joke.
Once the nerve pain went away, I didn’t have many symptoms. I still felt fatter than when I went in (a symptom of being swollen) and I was still wearing stretch pants. The skin surface on my belly was sore and my lower back area still felt bruised. But other than that, there was no real change.
With a press trip coming up, I was determined NOT to wear any stretch pants, or at least not the whole time. After three weeks of recovery, I attempted to put jeans on and they were mostly okay. I wore my stretchier, looser-fitting jeans and still kept up with the baggy shirts but it was nice to be able to dress like myself again!
The numbness still lingered but feeling in my upper abdomen had completely returned. I still had soreness in the areas of my lower back that were treated. But at the three week mark, I started to notice a difference.
The numbness in my lower abdomen still persists but the biggest difference is that I feel comfortable in all my regular clothes. And I’m starting to see some of the effects of the CoolSculpting procedure (finally!). It was during this week that I realized that I wouldn’t be getting skinnier necessarily but I would be reshaping my body (sculpting!).
The areas with fat bulges started to look a little smaller and smoother. And when I went in for my 4 week check up, I saw before and after pictures that confirmed that the changes, while slight, were actually happening.
It’s been 4 1/2 weeks since I had the procedure and thankfully, I waited until my one month check up to write about the recovery. In those first few weeks, I had serious feelings like why would anyone ever do this?? That’s okay. That’s normal and part of my recovery process and I’m past that.
I still have a lot of numbness in my lower abdomen (they say numbness usually last 3 weeks post-procedure but everyone is different) but my technician said everything looked and sounded right on track for a normal recovery.
What You Need to Know
If you are considering a CoolSculpting procedure, start with a free consultation request from a licensed provider. Once you make the decision to go forward, be prepared – but not too prepared. Most people that post online are posting about negative aspects, not positive ones, so your opinion may be skewed. I actually didn’t do any review before my procedure because I wanted to go in with an open mind.
Yes, you will be swollen. It’s why this is the perfect time of year to consider it. No one questions layers and baggy clothes in the winter. And by the time you’ve completely recovered, the first buds of Spring will be showing up!
Yes, you will be numb. This is more annoying than painful but I know my body is taking its time to recover and I don’t have any worries about it.
And don’t be afraid to help the procedure along. In other words, it’s still okay to eat healthy and exercise in order to maximize your results. In my situation, I’m trying to generally keep my habits the same so it will be a true before/after comparison (results coming in February!). But with Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s falling into my recovery period, I’m trying my best to at least NOT gain weight.
The real answer will come after 90 days when I reveal my before/after photos and tell you if it was all worthwhile. Go read it now! CoolSculpting Part 3: The Results.
Thanks to Zeltiq and Capital Laser & Skincare for providing complimentary consultation and treatment for CoolSculpting. My goal is to provide an accurate and honest description of my experience with CoolSculpting. Please remember that provider services varies (my provider was EXCELLENT and went into great detail about exactly what to expect) and individual experiences vary.