Over the last few decades, there has been an absolute flood of (supposed) quick and easy fat loss solutions.
We’ve seen so many medical spa products and procedures, like laser and ultrasound treatments (both heat based treatments), and body wraps (that temporarily dehydrate the area, but don’t actually reduce fat) — among other weird ideas — but none of them seem to work nearly as well as they claim.
So since the word “CoolSculpting” seems to be everywhere these days, it’s only natural for people to be skeptical. It’s being advertised as a painless fat-reducing treatment you can receive on your lunch break. Most people who’ve been down this road are undoubtedly asking themselves: What’s the catch?
For those who’ve been trying to get rid of stubborn fat with diet and exercise for years on end, the reported results of CoolSculpting probably sound too good to be true, but we’re happy to report that the truth of the matter is: this method actually works.
People who’ve tried cryolipolysis swear by it, and oftentimes choose to repeat their treatment on other areas of the body.
But what is it that makes CoolSculpting different (meaning, legitimately effective instead of an expensive scam)? And what is it anyway?
Let’s get into the details of this wonderful fat freezing treatment that’s quickly growing in popularity and help you determine if it’s right for you.
What is CoolSculpting?
CoolSculpting (clinically known as cryolipolysis) is the world’s number one non-surgical fat reduction treatment. It doesn’t just reduce the appearance of fat — it reduces actual fat in a client’s body by literally freezing it to death. Because the procedure is able to highly target and reduce fat cells, it’s often referred to as body contouring or body sculpting. You’re essentially carving out extra fat to show a more chiseled physique, but without any of the complications of major surgery.
The procedure was developed in the late 2000’s by Harvard University scientists Dieter Manstein, MD, PhD, and R. Rox Anderson, MD, after they observed children developing dimples from eating a bunch of popsicles. What was happening was that, over time, the coldness of the popsicles was killing fat in the cheeks, leaving an adorable little dimple in their wake.
Running with this hypothesis, Drs. Manstein and Anderson conducted research that eventually showed subcutaneous fat cells were more vulnerable to cold temperatures than the tissue surrounding them. Therefore, the revolutionary process they developed — cryolipolysis — was designed to freeze the fat cells beneath the skin, killing them off for good.
Once the fat cells are dead, the body breaks the lipids down over time and filters them out of the client’s body through the lymphatic system, the same way we break down and eliminate other older/dying cells in the body.
Because the breakdown of these cells isn’t instantaneous, patients shouldn’t expect to walk out of the office with looser fitting clothing. It could take anywhere from one to four months for all the frozen fat cells to vacate the body. At which point, a person could decide to repeat treatment as many times as necessary to get rid of the most stubborn fat cells still sticking around.
What Can I Expect During a CoolSculpting Session?
Before cryolipolysis is actually performed, a consultation is scheduled between the clinician and the client to discuss the patient’s goals and concerns. If the patient has inflated expectations of what CoolSculpting can accomplish or how quick the fat will “melt” away, they may be disappointed after the procedure.
Therefore, we believe it’s important to help people understand exactly what they should see in the months following a session and that, depending on how much fat they want to freeze, they may need to book more than one session. In fact, many people choose to book multiple sessions, but we like to play this by ear once the results are evident.
During a CoolSculpting session, a CoolSculpting clinician uses a machine made for the cryolipolysis procedure. The applicator is placed in the desired area (most commonly the stomach, love handles, double chin, hips, and thighs) which then freezes the fat underneath, but leaves surrounding tissue undamaged.
The reason surrounding issue is left unharmed is simple: because lipids in fat cells and the water in other cells freeze at different temperatures — specifically, a warmer temperature than water. While water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius), fat freezes at 39 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius), allowing surrounding cells to get a bit chilly, but remain undamaged.
Because these temperatures are so precise and must remain constant, this isn’t the type of thing people can do at home — meaning that putting a bag of frozen peas on your lower belly in February won’t freeze the fat cells and get you bikini body ready by June. The preciseness of the CoolSculpting machine is exactly what makes it so effective at contouring the body.
Many physicians have begun offering CoolSculpting to their patients for a few big reasons:
- It’s more affordable than any surgical solution (for both the doctor and the patient).
- There’s no recovery or downtime at all, and most importantly.
- It works.
The results of the CoolSculpting procedure are astounding. The number of times we’ve all been duped into believing a magic pill will dissolve our fat has taught us to be skeptical, and rightly so. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me, right? But the truth is the vast majority of those who undergo this procedure find their clothes fit differently afterward (again, not immediately afterward — these kinds of results take time and sometimes, multiple treatments).
CoolSculpting seems like a too-good-to-be-true miracle procedure to many people who’ve struggled with stubborn fat loss for years. But unlike previous heat-based non-surgical body treatments (like with lasers), cryolipolysis is safe, FDA-approved, and actually works.
Why Get CoolSculpting?
We like to say that there are only two good ways to get rid of fat without surgery (liposuction): you can either burn it, or you can freeze it.
Fat is typically burned through a combination of diet and exercise. In order for our bodies to burn off fat reserves, we need to take in fewer calories than our body burns or “needs” everyday. You’ve probably read the guidelines: eating 250 calories fewer than what your body burns each day will help you lose about a half-pound per week, eating 500 calories fewer will help you lose a full pound per week, etc.
Regardless of what anyone says, your body will lose weight and fat from wherever it wants to, however it wants to. Doing a 5-minute plank won’t burn the fat specifically on your abdominals anymore than squats will burn the fat on your glutes or tricep dips will rid you of excess upper arm fat, but these exercises will tone the muscles underneath the fat so that if the fat burns away, you’re left with a flat belly or a firmer butt.
However, many people find that even with a strict diet and difficult (meaning, not lackadaisical) exercise, this is simply unattainable. There are still areas of the body that just won’t slim down the way they want them to, no matter how many squats or lunges we do. And that’s where CoolSculpting comes in.
The cryolipolysis procedure works best for people who’ve already come close to their target weight, but just can’t seem to get there on their own. Even if you’re considered to be at a healthy weight for your height, you might still have lingering fat in your midsection or hips. At its core, CoolSculpting is meant to reduce fat bulges, so the procedure can help smooth out your trouble areas and make you feel more confident.
Not everyone is a candidate for CoolSculpting. Those who are obese are unlikely to see results as dramatic as those who are close to their target weight. Many physicians will make other recommendations prior to cryolipolysis for patients in this situation, such as surgical intervention in combination with diet and exercise.
If you’re pregnant (or think you might be), you should wait until you’re no longer pregnant or breastfeeding to try CoolSculpting. The effects of CoolSculpting are unknown on a fetus and is therefore, not recommended for pregnant women. In addition, it may be a good idea to wait until you’ve finished having children if you’re interested in cryolipolysis, as pregnancy can change your body in unexpected ways.
Will CoolSculpting Help Me Lose Weight?
This is one of the most common questions regarding cryolipolysis. Since you’re losing fat following the procedure, one would think you’d lose weight. After all, fat has mass. But losing weight and reducing fat are not the same thing.
The truth about fat cells is that we maintain the same amount of fat cells from our teenage years through adulthood. When we gain weight, we’re not creating new fat cells. Rather, the existing fat cells in our bodies are expanding. When we lose weight, those same fat cells actually get smaller, which makes us think we’re “burning” fat away, but we’re really not. We’re left with the same number of cells — they’re just taking up less space.
As CoolSculpting actually reduces the number of fat cells in the body, it should not be viewed as a weight loss procedure. Remember, the fat cells aren’t shrinking, they’re dying. Cryolipolysis is a fat freezing supertool on your journey to getting the body you’ve always wanted, but it won’t necessarily help you lose weight — regardless of any promises you’ve read from CoolSculpting clinicians on the internet.
While it seems logical that reducing fat will make you lose weight, it simply isn’t always the case. Results vary from client to client and because the body has to process out the dead fat cell over time, it’s difficult to measure whether weight loss is occurring because of CoolSculpting treatments or because of another change in a client’s lifestyle.
The most dramatic results you’ll see in the CoolSculpting before and after photos is loss of inches and smoother skin — and oftentimes, those are the most meaningful to our clients because their clothes are looser and they feel more confident about their bodies. Think of any weight loss you experience as icing on the proverbial cake.
It should go without saying that we recommend you continue to follow the same diet and exercise regimen you’re accustomed to. If you stop exercising (or cut back in intensity or frequency) and loosen up on your diet, your body will produce new fat cells and any progress you made via cryolipolysis will either be unnoticable or undone completely.
Keep in mind that if your regular workout routine involves weight lifting (which it should), you’re unlikely to see any weight loss at all. Because muscle weighs more than fat, some people actually see an increase in their weight in the months after CoolSculpting — especially if they’ve increased the frequency of their weight training (or the actual weight used).
Has CoolSculpting Changed Over the Years?
The basic procedure of freezing targeted fat cells in the body remains the same as it was when it was developed in the late 2000’s. However, the machines themselves and the subsequent training CoolSculpting clinicians and physicians undergo have improved since the first FDA approval in 2010.
Thanks to years of practical application on humans and hundreds of thousands of before and after photos, the designers of the machines have been able to improve upon performance. In addition, the doctors and other trained professionals who perform CoolSculpting have been able to provide better services as they learn more about the procedure.
Are You Ready to Try CoolSculpting?
At DaVinci Body Sculpting, CoolSculpting is all we do. Other clinics view it as another offering for their patients, but for us, it’s a specialty. We could choose to offer facials and waxing and become a full-service spa, but we’ve made the conscious decision not to. We’re committed to helping people realize their ultimate fitness and lifestyle goals.
Whether you’re getting married and don’t want bra fat in your wedding pictures, would like to feel more comfortable in a bikini for your anniversary trip, or are simply sick of staring at your love handles in the mirror, we can help you get there. Our mission is to provide our clients with the best CoolSculpting experience possible. Give us a call and tell us what you’d like to achieve this year. We’d love to assist in your journey!