After having two children at the age of 19 and 25, I’ve toddled into my thirties and have to confess I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been! Despite still being a size UK8 and thankfully my pre pregnancy size, I weigh around a stone heavier than I’ve ever been which I attribute to a healthy active lifestyle and the addition of muscle which weighs more than fat. Overall I’m proud of my body and the physique that I’ve worked so hard to achieve after having children, but pregnancy wasn’t on my side when it bestowed a mummy-tummy upon me, or little pouch of fat beneath my bellybutton which no amount of exercise seems to shift! And so my research into non-invasive liposuction began and seeing as my boyfriend and I gym together I thought it would be something we could try as a couple.
Cyrolipolysis or fat freezing works by using the latest technology to reduce and remove stubborn fat and cellulite cells from various areas of the body including the abdomen, chest, back, flanks, arms, buttocks and legs. Popular in women looking to achieve a sculpted hourglass figure or regain a pre-pregnancy body it’s also surprisingly popular for men who want to have their chest tissue and love handles reduced for a more athletic appearance. The Harley Laser Specialists use a machine designed specifically to freeze unwanted fat cells which the body then naturally drains away via the lymphatic system.
Whilst traditional surgical liposuction is highly invasive, painful and causes side effects such as bruising, infection, swelling, blistering and numbness this non-invasive method has little to no down time and requires no bed rest. This quick and easy method works by cooling fat cells to create apoptosis, or fat cell death, a naturally controlled cell denaturing which leads to protein cells transferring the fat away from the treated area before being eliminated in the urine and stools. The protein cells continue to process the fat cells up to twelve weeks after treatment as the lymphatic system drains them away.
One treatment typically results in a 20-30% decrease in adipose fat tissue as the body gradually starts to slim and create a more desirable silhouette. Results vary from person to person but on average 3-4 treatments are recommended. There are minimal side effects for each 45min procedure which involves suctioning the skin between two cryo freeze plates to lower the temperature to a maximum of -11 degrees. Directly afterwards the skin can be red, cold to the touch and may bruise those who are more sensitive however these symptoms subside rather quickly. It is recommended to drink up to two litres of water each day following treatment to help the lymphatic system to drain properly as well as massaging the area and taking one hour of exercise per week. Most people feel a mild discomfort at the start of the procedure before they get used to the odd cool sensation and the skin becomes numb.
Seeing as this is my first experience of fat freezing and I’m a beach bunny who loves hot showers I wasn’t sure how well I’d take to such cold conditions, but the nearly thirty degree weather outside made the prospect of getting my mummy-tummy frozen off all the more appealing! The friendly practitioner explained that I would be having the maximum depth of freezing at -11 degrees which starts off at around 8 degrees and gradually cools until it reaches its peak minus temperature, however in the winter temperatures tend to stay a few degrees higher for comfort.
For the entire 45mins of the treatment I was able to lay on a comfortable beauty bed with a pillow and leg rest and free to use my phone, listen to music or watch TV to pass the time which went pretty fast. As I wore a dress and flip flops because it was such a hot day I was asked to pull my dress up to expose my stomach and a paper towel was placed over my underwear to preserve modesty and my boyfriend simply removed his t-shirt. We then had a cool wet sheet laid over the stomach followed by a layer of clear plastic which prevents freeze burns. There are a variety of different sized hand pieces which attach to a small cylindrical machine on wheels beside the bed, this allows for various areas of the body to be treated – we had the largest device which is best suited to the stomach area.
The device works much like a hoover with the clear chamber resting on top of the stomach and the vacuum suctioning a roll of fat up into it to freeze. It was fascinating to watch and the sensation of the rest of my stomach being pulled tight was rather nice as I instantly looked and felt slimmer – now to actually get rid of that roll of fat! As the device starts to cool I felt a mild suction and tingly sensation, which on the final day of my period wasn’t painful yet wasn’t a familiar sensation that I’ve ever come across before. Already having stomach cramps from my period it was difficult to tell what was the treatment and what was already Mother Nature but within a few minutes my skin became numb from the cold and I no longer felt anything – my boyfriend said he felt fine throughout. It took a handful of minutes for the device to gradually cool from room temperature to -11 degrees where it then stayed for the rest of the treatment as a timer counted down 45mins. We were given bottled water to sip and allowed to ask any questions before during and after before being left to rest, relax and unwind as the time counted down.
After scrolling my newsfeed, answering a few emails and posting a selfie on Instagram the time was up and the practitioner turned off the machine and removed the device. Immediately after my stomach sat in a rectangular shape which it had been sucked into, but as the skin protector was removed and my stomach wiped clean of moisture my stomach shrunk back to its regular shape and size again. The only immediate difference was the fact that my skin was bright red and freezing cold to the touch which I was assured is perfectly normal and hadn’t bruised. Despite having stretch marks from pregnancy this treatment didn’t effect them, didn’t damage my skin in any way or do anything out of the ordinary – by all accounts it was a great success and I felt rather lazy having just laid on a bed to lose body fat instead of sweating it off on a treadmill at the gym. I pulled down my dress, slipped my flip flops back on and went shopping straight after and nobody realised we’d had anything done, it’s wonderfully discreet.
Seeing as the results will continue to develop as we hydrate, keep active, massage our stomachs and take exercise for the next few months we’ve decided to measure our progress in a handful of ways. Firstly we took a body composition test at a local pharmacy prior to treatment which showed that I have 20.5% body fat vs my boyfriends 16.8% which we can retest in a few weeks time to check for improvement. We also measured our waists with a soft tape at 83.5cm / 32.8in vs his 96.5cm / 38in and took photos of our stubborn stomach fat to compare before and after pictures. We were informed that our urine may be noticeably darker and our stools lighter as the fat cells are passing which is another visual we can monitor although we won’t take pictures of this! Hopefully these measurements will allow us to track progress and help us to decide on how many treatments we will have. It’s recommended that you wait three weeks between each session to allow adequate time for fat cells to drain away, so time will tell!
Remember to check back soon to see our progress!