I have always been insecure about the size of my upper arms. It is a rare sight to see me without sleeves — it’s such a well-known insecurity that friends, family, and longtime readers will send me encouraging messages when they see me in something sleeveless, like I’m triumphantly facing my fears. In fact, the only time that happens outside of the beach or a swimming pool is in photos, when I can carefully position my arm just so, taking 50 shots to get that one where I feel okay about it. And the only reason that’s a thing is because Amanda Wachob, the tattoo artist behind the floral pieces on my arms, gave me a reason for wanting to show them. During our first session of my yellow roses, I told her I was hoping that covering my arms in flowers would make me less insecure about them. It helped, but it wasn’t a cure. My workouts have always targeted toning my arms (Ballet Beautiful, you promised me ballerina arms!), which only help so much. I can’t target fat loss to just my upper arms, and even at my thinnest, which was about 35 pounds lighter and two or three sizes smaller, my arms were still bulky and I was never without sleeves. They have always felt too big for my body. That’s why I turned to CoolSculpting.
I hate that I hate my upper arms. It’s exhausting. And to be clear, this is self-imposed insecurity. I’ve had people on the internet criticize my body, but save for a couple of mean, arm-specific comments, it’s all me. I’m not worried about people criticizing my arms. What I am worried about, however, is being criticized for wanting to change my upper arms. Anytime I have mentioned anything about wanting to get back in shape, or a joke about how I haven’t worn a bikini since I was a teenager (actually, that’s just a fact), I have gotten chastised for not being body positive. Instead of people telling me how I need to change my body (although I still have plenty of that), I have people who ridicule me for wanting to change anything about my body. I’m expected to be 100% happy with every part of me, or else I’m a disappointment. Trust me, I wish I could be as body positive as others — I truly do. I’m pretty okay with my body as a whole, but to pretend I am completely confident and satisfied would be incredibly dishonest. If I could wake up with JLo’s abs, you’d better believe I would jump at the opportunity. But the one thing I’m wildly insecure about isn’t my stomach, my legs, or even my face. It’s just my arms. That’s it. I’d pass up JLo’s abs and keep my own (or lack thereof) if it meant I could change my upper arms to suit my frame.
CoolSculpting is completely non-surgical, clinically proven, safe and effective way to freeze away unwanted fat.
Let’s be clear: this is not a weight loss treatment. It’s meant to remove unwanted fat that does not respond to diet and exercise. For instance, I could stand to lose some bulk on my stomach, right now — but that’s all from eating whatever I wanted over the holidays (worth it!) and going back to healthy eating and regular exercise are all I need to lose it. I know my body. My upper arms, however… let’s just say I always work on my arms and they just need some extra help.
After reading about it and talking to my friends, I somewhat impulsively booked a consultation while I was in Florida, which turned into my first treatment. Keep in mind that my first treatment was with the older technology, and my second (very recent) one was with the new technology that reduces treatment time in half. Although I didn’t find the first treatment to be uncomfortable at all, the second experience was very different, which was done by Laura Dyer at Dr. Amy Wechsler Dermatology. I found the newer technology made the treatment much more comfortable (and, again, the treatment time was cut in half!), and since they had multiple machines, I got both of my upper arms treated at the same time. I was in and out in under an hour, including the waiting room. Honestly, I had planned on being there for much longer, so I had a totally free afternoon. Holly went with me and couldn’t believe how quick it was — we had time to get lunch and go window shopping after! It was so easy.
While it varies from person to person, I didn’t find my first treatment itself to be painful. When they massaged my upper arms and warmed them up, it was a little less than pleasant, but nothing intolerable. I did, however, have a few “zingers” that afternoon, kind of like when you whiten your teeth and get those sharp, fleeting…zingers. I can’t think of another way of putting it. With my second treatment, however, none of those zingers. My arms had some mild numbness due to the cold, which is to be expected, but felt normal as the day went on.
I can only tell you about my own personal experience, but let’s just say that I went back for my second treatment because the first treatment worked enough for me to want to do it again. It took a full three months to really see the full results, but my mom and I measured before I went in (thanks, mom!) and at the three month mark, they were significantly smaller — almost an inch around. Not at the target size I want (that’s how disproportionate they are to the rest of my body), but it made enough of a difference that I actually wore a camisole and a sleeveless dress for the first time. It also just made me feel more confident: I started wearing off the shoulder dresses and tops more often, and ones with arm cutouts — something I used to avoid. I was told I would need 2-3 treatments to get my desired results, and I waited about a year before I got my second one, which was about a month ago. I’m curious to see how much they change between now and the three month mark, and I’ll be getting my third as soon as I make an appointment. I didn’t take any “before” pictures from my very first treatment, but since I teamed up with CoolSculpting to document my progress for the final two treatments, I took some before my last appointment. I’ll share my before and afters once I am at the three month mark from my final treatment. I have realistic expectations: I’m not expecting to have Jessica Biel’s perfectly toned arms, but I’d love to be able to show off my tattoos without thinking about how bulky my upper arms look. Wish me luck!
This post was made in collaboration with CoolSculpting. All opinions are my own.