Vanity Incarnate, or The Indulgence

First & foremost: I’m not complaining about my weight, OK? I understand that doing so might inspire some to cold-cock me right in my (giant, ethnic, olive-tinted) schnauze. So, I’m not. But, as previously discussed, I’m vain and not above investing in some tweaking to improve my soon-to-be-40-year-old body.

On Wednesday, January 31, I made such an investment. I got CoolSculpting.

Never heard of it? You’re probably not alone. CoolSculpting is a non-invasive fat reduction procedure, where fat cells in trouble areas are quite literally frozen, then broken down by our lymphatic system and, um, “eliminated.” It’s not a procedure that will result in significant weight loss, and unlike scary-invasive, people-die-from-this-shit lipo, the results take time to see. In fact, the body takes about 90 days to purge itself of the frosty flab.

I was aware this chilly choice existed, but had never really thought much about it until I noticed my local, super-reputable hospital was offering a New Year’s special on it. Mmmmmarketing!

I called for a consultation, and met up with a cool nurse, who I guessed to be my contemporary within a year or two. We quickly connected as I disrobed for her professional flab evaluation.

CoolSculpting works best for those at or close to their healthy weight, she explained. It truly is a tweaking procedure, not intended for a dramatic bodily overhaul. Where, she asked, poking at various spots through the wide-open back of my gown, was I thinking I’d like to try the treatment?

I grabbed the spot right underneath my cheeks, what bodybuilders call the “glute-ham tie-in.” Even at my peak leanness, when I completed 100s of squats, presses and step-ups a day, this spot had always been irksome. I never was able to attain the “tied-in,” cheekily shelfy look.

“Oh, the banana roll,” she replied. (Who knew it had a name?) “That’s a perfect spot, and with the kind of fat you have, you’re a perfect candidate.”

“Thanks!” I said. Uh, I think?

I booked an appointment for exactly one week out, before I lost my nerve.

I took the entire day off of work, figuring this was a great excuse to re-lax. The night before, I felt a kid-awaiting-Disney level of excitement. My fat would soon be frozen!

In the morning, I packed some essentials: a few off-brand LaCroix, a Quest bar, a book, my headphones. I was going to at least try to unplug from work and “enjoy” this as much as possible.

The cool nurse greeted me, and I was soon lying on a table, flat on my stomach, sans pants.

Did I mention the apparatus actually sucks your fat in before it freezes it? No? OK, well, this is how it went:

The nurse applied a thin sheet of greasy paper over my left “banana roll.” This is intended to protect the skin from frostbite (fat cells freeze at a higher temp than skin, apparently). This already felt cold, and I felt myself tensing up as she hovered the suction end of machine, which connected via a long octopus tentacle to a range-sized thing, over me.

“You’ll feel a pinch,” she said, and I was immediately reminded of how labor & delivery nurses try to couch the excruciating pain of pushing out another human being as simply “pressure.”

Ow! Yup, I did feel a pinch as the machine sucked my fat up, and then a burning, itchy sort of cold set in. Ever use an ice pack without a towel around it? It was not fun. I wanted to flip around and rip things right off!

I fought this urge for several minutes, then took a few deep breaths as the nurse left the room.

Paradoxically, even though my flabby underbutt was going sub-Arctic, the rest of me started to heat up. A sweat crept across my brow, my arms, my back. I felt faint.

When the nurse popped her head in to check on me, I asked if this was normal.

“It can be,” she said. “Give it a few.”

I slowly sipped some grapefruit-flavored generic LaCroix and continued my yogic breathing. The sensation, mercifully, passed. I pushed play on my audiobook.

The time, 35 minutes exactly, didn’t go by quickly. Finally, the beeper beeped.

Then came the worst part of the whole experience. The “Massage.”

Once the doohickey is removed, your ample adipose is a bright pink, frozen block of butter. The nurse rubs it for two minutes so you don’t end up with weird lumps. As anyone who grew up in the Midwest knows, it’s not so much the cold toes that hurt, it’s when the toes warm back up.

I counted every second of the two minutes.

The process, including the warmth and vague nausea, repeated itself on the second banana roll. A few more chapters of torrid murder story, and I was outta there.

That night, I felt kinda numb and tingly, but it wasn’t a big deal. I did some light exercise and went to sleep early.

I’m almost two weeks out now, and I swear I already see results, but it’s … yeah … probably psychosomatic. I’ll keep y’all posted and give my full review in a couple of months.

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