I Froze Away My Mummy Tummy

Daily Mail September 2013

“It is as though some invisible hand had gently shaved off a few centimeters. It’s not a dramatic change. But it’s enough to make me book in for more.”

Introducing a sparkling new feature in which our columnist searches out and tests – the best new beauty treatment

At 46, I’m not slim: but I am less critical of my own physical failing now than I was, say, in my 20s. After all, it’s seen some action, this old body of mine: two children, for a start. It’s earned the right to have the occasional wobble. There is, however, one area that I really cannot stand: my stomach.

In common with many women who have had children, and especially by Caesarean section, it just doesn’t match the rest of me. The thing is, I’m too much of a coward to try anything as invasive as liposuction or a tummy tuck… Something that requires no incision and no pain relief , however- now that I can do.

Which is why I find myself sitting in Marylebone with a giant suction cup attached to my stomach.

This is Coolsculpting, a new treatment that claims to destroy fat by freezing it. The idea is that the low temperature within the suction cup alters the structure of the fat cells and causes them to shrivel up and die. The dead cells are then metabolized as waste by the liver and the lymph over a period of six to 12 weeks, leaving the treated area up to 20 per cent lighter. Developed by a team of Harvard scientists, the treatment is not suitable for large areas of fat, but it’s ideal, I am told, for ‘grabbable fat’.

Despite much reassurance from the clinic’s director, Dr. Vicky Dondos, I was expecting the entire experience to be horrible. In fact, aside from the mild shudder of self- loathing as the machine sucked up my fat and a slight cooling sensation, there is nothing to it. I was comfortably ensconced under a blanket, reading a magazine and sipping a cup of herbal tea, with no more discomfort than a trip to the hairdresser.

Each session lasts an hour, and I have two, on either side of my gut.

In case you’re wondering, there is no danger of the machine accidentally freezing your internal organs – provided , of course, that you’re in the hands of a qualified doctor. The worst I can expect is a bit of bruising and some tenderness in the treated areas.

But how can something so unobtrusive, something seemingly so painless, possibly work? On this basis, I leave wholly unconvinced of the effectiveness of Coolsculpting.

The next morning, I wake up to discover that, actually it hurts quite a lot. I feel like I’ve been punched hard, and there is a large purple bruise. My kids jump on the bed, and I yelp in pain. As instructed, I take some painkillers and put vitamin K cream on the bruise. The pain persists for a couple of days but is manageable; the bruise, miraculously, fades overnight. As to the actual fat itself, it remains as stubborn as ever.

Then, after about a month, I notice a change in texture. The treated areas feel softer and less dense.

But the real difference happens after about three months, when I suddenly catch sight of myself in the bathroom mirror (normally I try to avoid) and notice that something has changed. The areas that were frozen are perceptibly smaller in size. It is as though some invisible hand had gently shaved off a few centimeters. It’s not a dramatic change. But it’s enough to make me book in for more.”

Read the full Daily Mail article