Quite a few of you have been in touch to ask for a Coolsculpting progress update. If you’re a new reader, Coolsculpting is a non-invasive way of getting rid of the stubborn patches of fat that build up particularly on women’s bodies, although men can be treated too. This is my original review of the Coolsculpting procedure. A warning that today’s post contains pictures of my bare tummy – you may want to come back to it later (or just avoid it completely) if you’re at the breakfast table!
My treatment was carried out by Midlifechic reader, Sarah, who is a lead therapist at Attune Clinic which is based near Liverpool Street station in London. From the very beginning we agreed that if I wrote a review, it would be completely honest. The good thing about Sarah being a reader is that she completely respected that and at no point has she pressured me into glamorising the treatment. I am now just past the halfway point and the results should be fully visible by mid-June.
Does Coolsculpting work?
Yes it does. This is how it went after treatment. The first 10 days were very sore; my tummy was swollen and I couldn’t wear normal clothes. Suddenly after 10 days the swelling disappeared – which was lucky because I was going to a blogging conference. Other than my tummy being completely numb for the rest of the month, I completely forgot about it. I was determined not to look obsessively for results and in fact at the two month point Sarah had to prompt me to ask if it was working.
At that point there still wasn’t much difference but then quite rapidly in the following two weeks, I started to change shape. The area that was treated was the ring that surrounded my tummy button. Here’s the marked up version of my tummy before treatment, the 4 black ovals show where the sucker cups were placed.
This is the plain ‘before’ picture wearing the lovely black Bridget Jones pants and t- shirt that Sarah provided!
This is the ‘2 months in’ picture
So what do I think about the results?
Sarah was very clear at the start that the treatment makes you look better ‘in’ your clothes. She reminded me that my tummy had been stretched beyond recognition by carrying three 9lb plus babies so it’s naturally a bit wrinkly and lumpy. The treatment was never going to return me to my 29 year old pre-pregnancy form.
So, talking you through the differences, as you can see, my navel has changed. The strange patch on the bottom left is nothing to do with the Coolsculpting, it is old bumpy scarring from emergency appendix surgery and it is now less visible than before. I can see that my stomach muscles are slightly uneven now that they are more exposed which is a bit weird but I suspect that they might have separated during my last pregnancy when I had polyhydramnios (excess amniotic fluid) and I was absolutely enormous.
What you can see is that there is definitely less of a fleshy layer. I now feel really motivated to focus on my core with Pilates and tone it up – I have just under 4 months before I will be wearing this bikini for real! Mr MC is still mourning the loss of the ‘velvet cushion’ but I’m overjoyed that it’s gone.
As Sarah predicted, the main difference is how I feel when I’m wearing clothes. Quite simply they just fit and look so much better. I haven’t changed size but when I wear my ponte dresses, the line of my stomach is much flatter. When I sit down, the roll of flesh or ‘muffin top’ has gone which makes a big difference to jeans. Sarah has warned me that I need to maintain my weight now; if I don’t…the velvet cushion will be back! I have one more check up in June to make sure that I am on track and I’ll give you another quick update at that point.
The Coolsculpting Horror Stories
If you look online you will find forums discussing things that have gone wrong with Coolsculpting. I have read through them and found a few parallels between some of the people who have suffered that you should perhaps bear in mind:
- Some hadn’t investigated the procedure fully in advance and were unprepared for the pain
- Some were not prescribed with the painkillers that I was given as a matter of course (and strongly advised to take for the 14 days after treatment) so they had a lot of pain in the following weeks
- Some had expectations of instant results – it takes at least 2 months before you see any difference
- Some had expected the dramatic results that can only be achieved with surgery – Coolsculpting kills the fat cells but it doesn’t remove stretch marks or firm up the surrounding skin
However there is no denying that the initial process hurts and your abdomen is uncomfortable for the following two weeks. As always you need to research the clinic that is giving you the treatment to ensure that they are fully trained and that they offer follow up care.
A word about body image over 40
When I did the reader survey a few weeks ago, 3 readers said that they felt very disappointed about my decision to undergo Coolsculpting and one person almost stopped reading my blog. I’m sorry you felt that way and I really hope you’re still here reading, even if you are ‘tutting’ at the same time. I want to reassure you that I thought carefully about it. I maintain that I would not do anything invasive such as surgery or injectables.
However this treatment, after the initial discomfort (I know it isn’t natural to have your stomach fat frozen solid), works with your body’s natural processes. Other than washing with water, nothing about any beauty process is natural. It’s down to each of us to make our own decision about where our individual limits lie and accept that other people will have their own personal boundaries.
In the world of the style blogger, at a UK size 12 (US size 8), I am viewed as being on the border of a plus size. However I have decided that this is my boundary. I try not to let my heart sink when I think I’ve found a blog written by someone like me who then talks about ‘sizing up to a 10.’ Quite simply I get great pleasure from sharing meals with my family and friends and to be any lighter I would have to eat separately from them. I really like food and I don’t want to live a life of self denial or extreme exercise. I am also aware that if I lose more than 5lbs from where I am now, my neck looks scrawny and my face becomes ‘beaky.’
I’m a firm believer in Catherine Deneuve’s view that after a certain age you need to choose between your ‘face or your ass.’ As long as you eat healthily and exercise regularly your body will find its own balance. Coolsculpting has given me a result that I couldn’t otherwise have achieved. Is it cheating? Maybe – but in the same way that wearing Spanx or even make-up is cheating.
Perhaps it’s shallow but at a time in my life when weight and body shape become harder and harder to maintain, I’m really grateful for this extra help. There’s no denying that the procedure hurt but it was worth it. I can’t give you a more honest or open opinion than that, now it’s up to you to decide where your line will be drawn.
So that’s my Coolsculpting progress update. I would like to thank Sarah Baldwin at The Attune Clinic for my treatment and for the great aftercare. She is a genuinely caring person and has kept in regular contact to check that I have been feeling ok. If you are thinking about having Coolsculpting or any other kind of treatment such as a chemical peel give Sarah a call. I can’t give you a guide to prices because every case is considered individually but Sarah will happily chat things through with you, either on the phone or in person and give you advice as to what the next best steps might be, without any obligation.
And now I’m resigning myself to the endless mickey taking that will come from Mr MC’s friends who occasionally like to flick through my blog. They don’t read the words, they just look at the pictures so as you can imagine, I’m never going to hear the end of this one!
Disclosure: my treatment was provided free of charge by Attune. I covered my own travel expenses and I was under no obligation to review Coolsculpting on Midlifechic or to give it a positive spin. I have given you my honest opinion of both the treatment and results.