Could I stand naked before a full-length mirror to get my fat cells frozen?

Hilary Fannin: A clinic offered to freeze the fat off me but I bottled it at the last minute

‘I imagined all the frozen lipids crawling back in from the cold and snuggling up under my subcutaneous layers while I slept.’ Photograph: iStock

I bottled it. I could not stand stark naked in a beige room in front of a full-length mirror and wait for the door to open.

I completely bottled it. I just could not stand there avoiding eye contact with my sceptical self while a potted orchid surveyed me from its perch on the windowsill.

I bottled it. I just could not drag myself up the stairs in the lavender-scented beauty clinic, step out of my baggy leggings and wait for a young and frighteningly flawless clinician to knock politely on the door. I could not bear the thought of her coming in and standing behind me, tapping her meticulously manicured nails on a clipboard and surveying my six-decade-old body in the glass. I pictured her uncapping magic markers and circling problem areas on my naked body, and I simply bottled it.

I’d been offered the chance to sample, free, a newish beauty treatment so that I could write about it for this column.


While I wasn't an 'ideal client', I still had (she searched for an adequate phrase) 'a visible shape'

I sat down with the area manager of the clinic in question, a lovely young woman with milk-white teeth and fawn-like lashes, while she extolled the virtues of cryogenically freezing my fat cells and then massaging away the frozen lipids to leave me free of pesky pockets of adipose tissue. I went with her to the treatment room and, perched next to a therapy bed, listened while she explained that I would experience “intense cold” as bits of me were deep-frozen. (You don’t say!) Then, she went on, once the “thermal event” had been achieved and various lumpy bits of my personage resembled a large dollop of duck fat (the kind you might find in the back of the freezer next to the turkey giblets on a cold January morning), their dissolution could begin.

I might, she continued, experience “some discomfort” as my chilled bits were tugged, pummelled, kneaded and hammered into submission.

She told me how happy clients were when their pouches were streamlined and their love handles dissolved and they were free to gallop out of the clinic as svelte as dewy-eyed antelopes.


I sat in that treatment room looking at the brightly coloured magic markers that the clinicians employ to demonstrate on people’s bodies the bits that might be reduced or dissolved. Grinning through my dentistry, I asked myself what in the name of the divine jaysus I was doing there, allowing myself to be woven into a snowy fantasy of eternal youth.

And yes, I too could experience satisfactory results, she told me brightly, because while I wasn’t an “ideal client”, I still had (she searched for an adequate phrase) “a visible shape” with which they could “work”.

The ideal client, I helpfully suggested, was probably not a woman in her 50s with a slowing metabolism who likes to lie around with a couple of glasses of wine shouting at current affairs shows on the television. No, she agreed, the ideal client would already have achieved their “ideal weight” when they rocked up to the clinic for a date with the ice bucket.

Some of those clients, who are ready and willing to turn their scant lipids into frozen turnips, are, I ascertained, perfection-seeking gym bunnies who, despite their shaky “body confidence”, like to “maintain themselves to a very high standard”.

There is, however, “no quick fix”, the clinician solemnly informed me.

Apparently if, after your treatment, you were to fall off the wagon and throw a bucket of Sauvignon and a couple of packets of chocolate buttons down your throat, the Siberian corrective could “reverse”.

I imagined all the frozen little lipids crawling back in from the cold and snuggling up under my subcutaneous layers while I slept.

I said a polite goodbye to my guide, the unblemished believer, and wound my way along the scented corridor, back to the waiting room, to pick up my parka. There was a television there, bleating out testimonials from ecstatic young women who looked like they’d been cut from a cloth that wasn’t entirely human. A girl of maybe 20, waiting for an appointment, was watching the screen, her face rapt.

Driving home, I listened to a report on the radio about girls, some as young as 13, looking for Botox. It’s just one of a number of treatments that body-dysmorphic children, suffering from a loss of self-confidence, believe will make them happier.

Get a grip, I told myself in the rearview mirror. The only thing that needs to be cryogenically frozen is my own shagging vanity.