My arms at 11 weeks. No photo shop:)
Before you read this, I would like to note I do not have body dysmorphia, I am not overweight nor am I badly out of shape. However, no matter how much I exercise, my lower belly and back of arms REFUSE TO BUDGE. I know it’s pure vanity but these are two areas that have bothered me for years. Even more so recently because I gained 10 lbs in the last two years (over 10% of my previous body weight). I have now become what I used to call a “skinny-floppy” person, one who appears thin in clothes but when the clothes are off, everything flops in all directions. I’ve tried everything, Pilates, kick boxing, circuit training, hot yoga, Pure Barre, and now Lagree but nothing seemed to really work for my lower belly or back of arms.
That said however, there is one thing I will never do to my body– liposuction. Hello, have you not read the scary tabloid covers in the grocery check out lines? “KANYE’S MOM DIES DURING LIPO!” “LIPO KILLS ANOTHER CELEB!” “BEAUTY QUEEN DIES DURING LIPOSUCTION SHE WON AS PRIZE!”– I mean, NO THANK YOU. And as much as they bother me, I’d rather LIVE with my soft lower belly (earned during my pregnancy) and floppy arms versus the alternative! I am anti-surgery in general actually, I prefer to treat everything with acupuncture and holistic methods until the doctor tells me it is life threatening (like the time I had a bone tumor in my Ishium bone that risked rupture, which would have been the end of me). I don’t even have Advil in my house!
I started reading and researching about Cool Sculpting, a non-invasive and super safe (so I read online via Google where I get all my info, but I am no medical expert) treatment using ice cold paddles that freeze your fat. Suddenly, I felt like I had options besides working out 3 hours a day, every. single. day. More research was necessary of course plus I was very curious about where the fat goes (I am that mom who interviewed 10 pediatricians before choosing one– and happy to say I’ve had the same pediatrician since the boy was 3 months old!). According to Healthonline.com “The procedure freezes and kills fat cells in the part of your body that you’re having treated. Within a few weeks of treatment, these dead fat cells are naturally broken down and flushed out of your body through your liver.” Ok this is sounding better and better! No cutting, no needles, just an hour of being frozen AND no downtime? Sign me up! I’ve been doing Cryo therapy for years for my knees and if you ask me that is way more frightening than a couple of paddles suctioned on you.
I asked around and found out most of my girlfriends went to one place for all their their skincare needs- Advanced Skin Fitness Medical Spa in Dallas (why they hid this place from me all these years I have no idea?!). But these were girls who’s bodies I mentally file under “Life Goals” when I retire and can dedicate my life to working out so I made my appointment immediately. I consulted with William A. Moore, Clinical Director, for a couple of weeks before taking the plunge. Once I’ve determined that no one has ever died being hooked up to the Cool Sculpting machine, I made my appointment. A nurse took meticulous photos of the area I wanted to treat (lower abs and back of the arms) and before I knew it I was connected to the paddles without any pain though I was really really cold. The whole process took about two hours and was less painful than a teeth cleaning. Are you interested in this procedure but too scared to take the plunge? Read on for my complete 12 week diary:
WEEK 1: June 30th
Lower Belly: After the paddles were removed, my lower belly* resembled a beef roast from the freezer section. All the fat was frozen and hard– I was massaged for about 5-10 minutes by the team to break it up. Thank god I brought spanx with me, I’d read online if you get your belly area done you will be swollen as if you are 5 months pregnant and to wear spanx for the first week or two. My belly was tender and very sensitive and very very swollen. I looked down as I pulled on my clothes to go home and questioned my sanity as I was on way to LA for 4th of July week in MALIBU. That first week was uncomfortable but bearable, my belly felt numb and I was swollen, but not painful whatsoever. And the image of a flat new belly had me eating better than usual, which was bonus. I even wore spanx at the beach, under a flowy skirt and a bikni top. No one was the wiser!
Back of Arms: This was a bit more uncomfortable as your arms have to be in a certain position to have the paddles adhere to you- hands raised which meant my fingers got a bit tingly. Luckily instead of a full hour, it’s only a 38 minute treatment. My arms felt a bit sore*, as if I’d just worked out. Other than that, it was more pleasant than doing cryo.
*No bruising on belly or arms.
Numbing and tingling on both areas. But bloating decreased by half. I drank a lot of water and cut slightly back from alcohol but still enjoyed my daily glass of rose or two or three (don’t judge, it was summer!). I also flew to Taiwan during this week and wore compression socks with my spanx on the 14 hour flight- not sure if that helped but I figured it couldn’t hurt.
I went on island hopping in Japan with my family around the Okinawan islands (yup, more beaches- did not plan this well). I ditched the spanx by then. It was hotter than h*ll in that part of the world and I think I sweat all the bloating away because I didn’t feel as big. Slight tingling on belly, arms were totally find by then.
Still in Asia and eating my way through the south pacific. I know you shouldn’t go crazy but how can I diet at a time like that?! Taiwan boasts the best Chinese cuisine in the world (when Chang Kai Shek fled China he took the top chefs with him) and I rarely get to treat myself. I did start working out though, with weights as I thought that might help me burn fat. My arms feel and look more toned. Belly starting to flatten even with all the MSG filled foods in Asia.
Back to LA. My body felt and looked completely normal but arms look good- am I imagining this? Weighed myself and no weight lost. You won’t lose weight with this cuz fat weighs practically nothing I learned after a call to the clinical director, William Moore. He also told me I would not see real results until the 12th week and to keep eating well and staying active. Ok then.
Flew home to Dallas and starting to see my arms were more sculpted. Could have been the weight training I picked up but definitely looked slimmer.
Family beach vacation before school started for my son. I was able to wear a bikini! I didn’t like a bikini model but at least I was not bloated. The director told me to be patient, and that it will take time (hello, I am the world’s most impatient person!).
I was getting really antsy, when are my super sculpted arms and 6 pack abs going to pop out?! After consulting with William over the phone, who said a second session around this time really helps with results, I headed back to Advanced Skin Fitness Medical Spa. I was measured and photographed again and my lower belly definitely flatter! So much so that he didn’t think I need a second treatment (hooray!) but he thought I could use it in my flank area (aka love handles). I agreed immediately– my muffin top spilling over my jeans is the bane of my existence as I wear jeans almost daily! This time was slightly different than the first time. I laid on my belly so they could freeze my back love handles, which made it very comfortable. I almost fell asleep! But when we did my arms again, it was a bit more painful than the first time. No idea why but again, it was bearable. I bruised badly on my flank area, thankfully not my arms. It looked like I was whipped by a mean school teacher. The good news is I was not as bloated! The numbness also went away a lot faster, or maybe because I was so accustomed to the numbness that I stopped noticing?
Didn’t wear spanx for my flanks, it was way too hot in Texas to wear anything but shorts or lightweight skirts that didn’t stick to you. I couldn’t tell if my arms were thinner because they were swollen again from round two. Oh Tina, the things you do!
Still exercising regularly though not watching what I eat and starting to notice that my triceps are a lot firmer! Could it be? That something so simple as a cold paddle can sculpt my arms? My lower belly was also much flatter!
It’s NYFW! I wasn’t as self-conscious of my arms this season. They looked slightly more toned though it wasn’t super noticeable. I think the most important thing was that I felt very confident, isn’t that what all of us want?
WEEK 12: September 16th-22nd
This weeks marks 12 weeks since I first did Cool Sculpting at Advanced Fitness Skin Medical Spa! My weight has (sadly) not budged but my arms are noticeably smaller. When I do pilates or Barre, I am no longer horrified by the sight of them flapping around! They’re not flopping around and even my son and husband (who are brutally honest) told me I looked more toned after I showed them my biceps (or maybe they just said that to get me out of the TV room where they were watching the Cowboys game?)! All in all, very happy with experience. I am no Kendall Jenner but my problem areas are less problematic and most importantly, I feel really great without going under the knife or doing anything drastic.
I was told Cool Sculpting works best for people like me– fit, slim, and healthy with stubborn areas that holds on to fat. Don’t think this is life changing, results are around 20-25% which is not a lot but if you combine it with a low fat, high fibre diet and regular exercise, I think you will be very happy!
Disclaimer: Now this is not for everyone, if you have any sort of conditions like cold agglutinin disorder, you must speak to a doctor before you even think about doing this. As for me, I’ve tried cryo and have been to the coldest place on earth (IMO)- Alberta Canada during an ice storm in January while wearing a mini skirt and tights and managed to survive so I felt I was a good candidate for my fat to be frozen. Will I do this again? Absolutely!!
More info in the video below:
Bottom two photos. 50 year old female. Post 6 weeks.
Before and After shots of actual patients from Advance Skin Fitness Medical Spa.
(Post in partnership with Advanced Skin Fitness Medical Spa)