Tummy Bulge. Many of us have it. Sometimes it’s large. Sometimes the bulge is small. But bulge is bulge. And no matter the size, we see it, feel it, and usually don’t befriend it. I tried. I’m 43, I thought. I’ve had twins followed by one more kid. It is my mommy belly. Be proud. It served a purpose. Truth is, having worked at being relatively fit for most of my adult life, I rather not butter up to my bulge like it’s a part of me. So, at 43, I decided to say bye-bye to my bulge with CoolSculpting.
Cheating, you say?
My Pilates instructor told me I absolutely can get rid of my stubborn lower belly fat. More classes. Clean eating. Few to no carbs. Little wine.
And, I considered that. I bought a book on Paleo. I cut down my carbs and became (a little) more conscious of my wine consumption. (BTW, now in my forties, wine, cheese, great conversation with girlfriends, and newfound dinner dates with the husband – now that the kids are older = total bliss).
But two years and many ab crunches after that had conversation with my Pilates instructor, my belly bulge remained.
That’s when Savvy Media client, Dr. Annabelle Garcia of Sonterra Dermatology told me about CoolSculpting, a non-invasive, Harvard-scientist-developed procedure to get rid of stubborn body fat. For about a thousand bucks, I could target one area of pinch-able fat and reduce it by about 25%. As Dr. Garcia’s PR manager, I had seen the procedure done and results gained. I was impressed. Even better, when Dr. Garcia offered me the opportunity to try it and write about my experience, I was completely on board. And so in August 2017, I underwent CoolSculpting, live, on Facebook. You can watch it here and read about my experience, including the first few slightly uncomfortable days after, here.
CoolSculpting has been around for over seven years. Many of Hollywood’s most watched women claim to have revealed CoolSculpting as their fat-freezing best kept secret: Molly Sims, Jennifer Aniston, Khloe Kardashian, Mariah Carey, and Lindsay Lohan are a few. A lot of men are in the mix too, having turned to CoolSculpting to shape love handles or a double chin.
I think it is very important to mention, which I talked a little more about in Part One of my CoolSculpting blog, that CoolSculpting is not the be all end all solution for major weight loss. Dr. Garcia and her skilled team at Sonterra Dermatology are careful to inform patients that CoolSculpting is best for women and men who are near their ideal body weight (within 10-15 pounds is recommended) but have an area on their stomach, thighs (inner and outer), chin, or flanks, that is resistant to diet and exercise.
For me, that was my lower abdomen.
So back in August 2017 I donned those lovely surgical shorts that had me feeling very MC Hammer ready, should they have been just a little longer, for my pre-CoolSculpting photographs. Like a good model, I stood and turned slowly for my photographer so that the camera could zoom in on every angle of my bulge.
My 5’2 and a half, 123-pound frame passed the fat-pinch-test with grab-able fat below my bellybutton.
Over the years, I have worked hard to love my body. I have worked equally hard to maintain it with diet and exercise – enough that I’m comfortable with. However, I would be lying if I said I wouldn’t love it a little more minus the stubborn, “grab-able” fat, which has been increasingly more difficult to lose as I grow ever closer to 50.
For four, seemingly long months following my CoolSculpting procedure, my body slowly and naturally rid itself of frozen fat cells targeted during my August treatment.
With each new week I have seen my bulge shrink.
I am not one who likes to take photos of herself. (My kids, yes, but me – no, thank you.) In fact, I have never taken one of those bathroom-style selfies. But what I began to see around my lower belly – what I wasn’t seeing – was miraculous to me. It clearly warranted a stash-and-clean-my-bathroom-vanity photo op.
Just how happy was I with my CoolSculpting results?
Show-everyone-I-know-happy, which was probably quite frightening to most! This was very apparent one afternoon when I caught myself lifting my shirt to reveal my new lower abs to my hair stylist. I may have also shown friends at our local HEB grocery, and, while shopping in a boutique outside of San Antonio.
For me, CoolSculpting was my kick-start. It was my, Okay, Erin, you got this procedure so you better get your butt (and former bulge) into the gym more in the almost four months before my scheduled after-photographs.
I was not as successful at this fitness goal as I promised myself. Over the three months after my CoolSculpting treatment, I probably averaged one or two days a week at the gym and managed to scale back, a little, on my love for San Antonio Tex-Mex and wine. It didn’t help that my post-CoolSculpting fell at a stressful time – A move into a new home, the start of a new school year, all three of our kid’s birthdays, Halloween, (darn you, Twizzler’s and Twix) and, Thanksgiving. So, when I returned for my follow up in November, I wasn’t surprised to learn that I had gained a pound.
Still, having gained a pound, my CoolSculpting results were undeniable.
Truly, #nofilter needed.
Did I achieve a bikini-ready bod? Probably not? But being bikini-ready wasn’t my goal, personally. If it was, I would likely consider another CoolSculpting treatment – an additional application on my lower abdomen. And my thighs – Since I’m speaking hypothetically. Why not.
In fact, it is not unusual for patients to treat one area, love the results, only to come back to treat a second area. Or, some CoolSculpting candidates looking for that all-over makeover might treat multiple areas. For example, if sculpting the entire belly area is the goal – the upper stomach, lower abdomen and those pesky love handles or flanks, the targeted result may require three treatments. So, when considering CoolSculpting, it is wise to size goals realistically and understand that it might take treating more than one area or one area more than once to achieve a desired look.
I also found it extremely helpful to look at as many CoolSculpting before and after photos before my treatment as possible. Dr. Garcia, for example, keeps an updated album of her CoolSculpting patients (beautifully “common” people rather than celebrities). I curiously paged through her collection searching for the before and after of a body resembling my build for the most realistic possible expectation.
Am I happy with my CoolSculpting results? Emphatically yes! With my fat loss estimated to be around 25-30%, I can now comfortably button pants that I could not prior to CoolSculpting. My size 4 jeans fit perfectly, where as they tugged slightly across the abdomen before. I can even wear a few of my smaller-sized pants! Everything – from jeans to pajamas to my favorite running shorts and leggings fit more comfortably. Visually, I see the outline of muscles, especially my obliques, that I assumed were long gone.
One of the coolest reactions I have received to my CoolSculpting treatment came from my husband. Shortly after I began to notice my shrinking belly, I felt the need to parade around in front of him. You know, hoping this man of mine might notice my new and improved bod.
“Are you holding your stomach in?” he asked.
“No,” I exclaimed wide-eyed and with excitement.
“Wow,” my husband said as he nodded his head with approval.
Fifteen years of marriage and my husband noticed my new look, thanks to CoolSculpting.
Now that’s impressive.
For me, CoolSculpting, is about confidence. It is that little extra boost I need to start my exercise and diet regimen. It is that satisfaction felt when clothes fit well. It is a subtle yet oh-so-satisfying wow-factor I feel when I now catch a glimpse of my reflection.
Bye-bye, bulge. Hello, better, more confident me.
XO ~ Erin
Erin Kirwan is the Founder of Savvy Media Marketing and Public Relations. She’s a former News Anchor and Reporter who now develops and shares the stories, events, and happenings surrounding some of Texas’ biggest brands and businesses.
You can learn more about CoolSculpting and other cosmetic and medical Dermatology services, conditions, and treatments by visiting Sonterra Dermatology’s website, here. To follow Dr. Garcia for more great tips, products you’ll love, giveaways, and life-saving information about your skin, connect with her on Facebook and Instagram at @drgarcia_derm.