If ever there was a time of the year to decide to reinvent yourself, I’d have to say January is it. Traffic tells me that people are interested in changing up their hair with the American Wave and they’re definitely interested in shedding some of those holiday pounds via CoolSculpting. At least, that’s what I’m guessing.
If you’re one of those people, I feel you. I just usually take an alternate route. I spend every January just like millions of other people – trying to figure out what the best diet is for me and make it stick for most of the year. But nobody is coming here looking for advice on some of my successful weight loss plans. They’re coming for CoolSculpting. So I thought now would be the perfect time to refresh you on everything I underwent almost two years ago and how things stand today.
Let me just remind you that I was invited to try the CoolSculpting treatment at no cost to me. I was simply asked to write about my experience with the procedure. For those of you that need an introduction, “the CoolSculpting® procedure is the only completely non-surgical, clinically proven, safe and effective way to freeze away stubborn fat for good without surgery or downtime.”
Sounded good to me! So I went in for a consultation, found out I was a good candidate, and scheduled my actual appointment for the treatment.
It’s a long process overall. You spend about a day having the procedure done and then about three months waiting for maximum results. Yes, three months.
There was so much to tell about my whole experience that I broke it up into three parts.
They say that you can have CoolSculpting done one day and be back at work the next. And that’s true. But you probably won’t want to. It’s a long and somewhat uncomfortable (pain would be a strong word) process but I came prepared to be uncomfortable. Vanity does come at a price.
After several hours, a catered lunch, time spent working on my laptop and watching TV, I was ready to go home. And it was good that I brought loose, stretchy clothes.
I was sore and felt bruised and numb at the same time but I was still fully functional. I just didn’t want to be. My entire abdominal area was numb. Like, I couldn’t feel a thing when I touched it, which, of course, makes you very sensitive to being touched. And it wasn’t something that wore off quickly, like when you go to a dentist office.
And did I mention I was swollen? So, you plan this procedure to reduce your fat and look thinner. But the thinner part doesn’t come until much later. I was much larger than when I went in for the procedure. But that was just the beginning of the recovery.
They say it takes two to three months to see maximum results from the procedure. Your body has to process the frozen, or dead, fat cells and flush them away naturally. Then you have to wait for the swelling to go down and the nerves to come back to life.
Oh yeah. About that part…
They do tell you that you may experience some pain when the sensation starts to return to your abdomen (or wherever you’ve had the procedure done). But you need to be prepared for nerve pain. Nerve pain doesn’t happen to everyone and varies in severity but it cannot be treated with regular pain medication. Imagine your stomach is full of electrical wires and they start to turn on one by one. Some of them may short out or get overloaded and literally give you a shock. You’ll feel like you’re getting zapped and it’s not pleasant.
Luckily, my doctor warned me about this and gave me a prescription for Gabapentin, which is used to treat nerve pain. I had the prescription filled and at the ready in case I needed it (which I did for a few days).
The reduction in swelling and recovery of the nerves did really seem to take a full two months for me. But it wasn’t until three months that we finally looked at the results.
My biggest fear about the whole procedure wasn’t really whether it would “work” or not. I wanted to make sure that my results were visible. I was being complimentary treatments by CoolSculpting and the participating doctor’s office and the last thing I wanted was to show a before and after picture where the changes weren’t noticeable!
Well, my changes were noticeable but I’ll admit that I was standing as straight and as firmly as possible in those after pictures. During the three months of recovery, I also enjoyed the holidays (maybe a little too much) and was worried that would affect my results.
In the pictures, I think I look thinner. But I didn’t really notice a difference in the way my clothes fit and was a little self-conscious about how uneven some of the remaining areas of fat looks (which is not uncommon).
All that was for naught because I’m here to tell you what’s happened in the two years since I had the CoolSculpting procedure.
CoolSculpting: Two Years Later
This isn’t meant to be a cautionary tale or to tell you not to undergo CoolSculpting. It’s costly, uncomfortable, and has a long recovery but it does provide results. But I’m here to tell you that any fat that gets frozen off can get put right back on.
That’s right. Two years later, I’m looking very much like my before picture again. It’s true that I’m getting older and my metabolism is working against me. It’s true that I may have too much pizza and wine in my diet. And it’s true that I don’t work out as much as I should.
All that is to say that if you are the type that works out religiously, cuts all the bad things out of your diet, and you still have that little area of fat that just won’t budge (probably thanks to genetics or hormones), CoolSculpting might be right for you. But if you tend to be generally flabby, save your money.
Any short term gains will probably turn into long term disappointment.
P.S. If you’re still curious about my hair, the American Wave hasn’t yet grown out but it’s relaxed enough that it just looks like my hair has a little extra body. It was definitely worth it.