Welcome to Month of Me, where every day in January, we'll be publishing a new fashion, beauty, or wellness article featuring a first-person account of shaking up an old habit, pushing beyond a comfort zone, or simply trying something new. Follow along for 31 days of storytelling, including what it's like to quit alcohol for 80 days, try Beyoncé's very strict diet, or completely overhaul your closet.
Name: Paulina Galoostian, Senior Influencer Marketing Manager, Who What Wear
What did you try? CoolSculpting, a noninvasive fat reduction procedure that involves no anesthesia, needles, or incisions. It's based on the principle of cooling subcutaneous fat to the point that the fat cells are destroyed by the cooling process and absorbed by the body. Subcutaneous fat is the layer of fat just under the skin. It's important to note, though, that the procedure doesn't help with weight loss—rather it "sculpts" very specific areas of the body, the stubborn fat that won't go away no matter how much exercise or healthy eating you do.
Why did you try it? I had stubborn fat in my arms and stomach that I wanted to get rid of! With a full-time career, it is hard to have the perfect workout schedule and eating habits. I heard from a close friend, who is also a model, that she and her model friends do CoolSculpting for stubborn fat because everyone has stubborn fat. I wanted to try it for my upcoming vacation to Miami in April. Dermatologist Rhonda Rand, MD (she's been treating Angelina Jolie since the age of 11), assessed the areas of concern and recommended I go with the stomach area, which would have good results. The idea is the skin in that area would tighten from CoolSculpting.
How did you prepare? I would suggest doing your research on the procedure and setting up a consultation with the doctor you want to work with. I went to Rand since I was a patient of hers as a teenager for skin problems, and she was very patient and knowledgeable.
From doing research and asking Rand some questions I learned a couple of things. Each time you "freeze" an area, you lose 24% of fat in that area—but you should still stick to a healthy eating and exercise plan after the procedure both for your overall well-being and longevity, and because the procedure won't stop fat from reappearing in other areas of your body. Rand says all areas of the body are effective, from your back to your chin. Some potential side effects include numbness for several weeks in the area—so far, I still feel numbness in my stomach a week later. You might also experience bruising, but there is no real recovery time. I went back to work after my appointment, and you can work out the next day.
What happened during the whole process? Each area takes only 35 minutes. After the doctor decided I would be best eligible to do my stomach area, we started. The doctor marked the area on my stomach so the CoolSculpting handle was applied properly. I had to change into a medicine gown because the pad they apply on your skin before adding the cool sculpting device is sticky. Once they applied the gel pad, they just put the handle on my stomach. It IMMEDIATELY sucked my stomach into the machine. Then, for 10 minutes you feel the area within the machine get colder and colder. It tingles a bit but honestly, it was not painful at all. I was able to check my emails and be very productive in the 30-minute period. After 10 to 15 minutes, I didn't really feel the machine anymore. Once I was done, they took off the handle and massaged my stomach for two minutes. My stomach was very numb and red from the suction. The massage was the most uncomfortable part of the procedure, but the nurse emphasized that it was the most important part of the process. According to the official CoolSculpting website, the brief massage is done to break up the treated fat cells and enhance the fat reduction. After the two-minute massage, I was ready to go—no downtime, no discomfort. I'm supposed to see results in one to four months, so I'll report back on what happened.
Any challenges? None. My stomach was tender for two days post-treatment. My stomach is still a bit numb, but it is not uncomfortable.
Any surprises? It was so fast and easy. There is no downtime, and I was able to get back to my regular routine immediately.
What did you like about it? I love that there is a problem for stubborn fat that is non-invasive. I was not shamed for wanting to do this. Everyone around me is SO excited to see my results because they are curious to try it themselves. I trust Rand and appreciate her empowerment to have me feel the most confident version of myself.
What did you hate? Nothing.
Would you try it again? Absolutely. I want to try my arms next and compare the results to my stomach. Stay tuned!
Any advice for anyone who's thinking about trying it? Get a consultation. Don't be ashamed to try it, if you feel it's right for you and you've cleared it with your doctor.
Editor's note: Before you sign up for this treatment, make sure to talk with your doctor beforehand to assess the risks and any side effects.