I freezed my fat off

Models undergoing CoolSculpting, a procedure billed as a nonsurgical alternative to liposuction.

In my ongoing quest to rid myself of my love handles, I have tried various methods. Exercising. Crazy diets. But none of them really worked; the stubborn fat around my waist remained.

So when I heard about CoolSculpting, I was intrigued. Also known as "cryolipolysis," it is a treatment used to destroy fat cells.

Its principle relies on controlled cooling to near 4°C for the non-invasive reduction of fat deposits in order to reshape body contours. The exposure to cooling is set so that it causes cell death of subcutaneous fat tissue without apparent damage to the overlying skin. I was attracted to it because the procedure is billed as a nonsurgical alternative to liposuction. Generically, the process is also termed as "fat freezing."

To freeze my fat off, I visited a local clinic in Petaling Jaya which offers a variety of services including aesthetic treatments. I was warmly welcomed by its medical director and his team.

After a short chat, they took pictures of my midriff (for before and after comparisons). Initially, I only wanted to have two areas (i.e. bulges of fat at the sides of my waist) treated. But after studying my "before" pictures, I was advised to have eight parts treated.

They briefed me thoroughly about the procedure, and what to expect during CoolSculpting. Basically, it takes from one to several hours, depending on how many parts of your body need to be "frozen."

As the procedure is initiated, vacuum pressure draws tissue into an applicator cup between cooling panels. The vacuum pressure may cause sensations of deep pulling, tugging and pinching in the area being treated. One may experience intense stinging or cramping; these sensations generally subside as the area becomes numb.

"Where CoolScuplting is concerned, a fresh batch of consummables are used with every procedure. For each individual area, a new gel pad and a new memory card are needed," explained Dr Lim Tingsong of Clique Clinic, one of few clinics which offer the treatment in the Klang Valley.

Immediately after the procedure, your treated area may look or feel stiff. Within the first two weeks, one may experience one or more of the following sensations: soreness, cramping, tingling, numbness and muscle spasms. Personally, I experienced deep itching and tenderness.

Following the procedure, a gradual reduction in the thickness of the fat layer will take place. Bear in mind that the results are not immediate.

One may see changes as early as three weeks after CoolSculpting and experience dramatic results after one to three months. Your body will continue naturally to process injured fat cells from your body for approximately four months after the procedure.

CoolSculpting treatment starts at RM2,500 (S$822). The price varies depending on the number of areas of concern and sessions needed. A customised treatment plan, together with your physician is tailored to suit one's goals and budget.

What I appreciated was the take-home guideline, issued to patients so that they know what to expect after the procedure.

Fast forward four months, I am happy with the results although I had to overcome the itchiness post-treatment.

And with Chinese New Year upon us, I can indulge in festive snacks without worrying too much about the waistline.