Plastic surgery consultations extend beyond the cosmetic to overall health and wellness of patients. Plastic surgery is often seen as a shortcut to achieving a better body, but embarking on the path to a new look begins with a new approach to diet, exercise and weight loss. In this interview, Doctor Widder the “D.C. Butt Doctor” discusses his approach to overall health and wellness as well as the book “Sugar Busters” by H. Leighton Steward, Morrison Bethea, Sam Andrews and Luis A. Balart.
Q: When people come in for liposuction or tummy tuck, do you also talk with them directly about diet, exercise, weight loss, or overall health issues?
Yes, I do talk about health in general. If someone smokes, I try to convince them to stop that bad habit. If they are overweight, I usually recommend a book for them called Sugar Busters that talks about choosing low glycemic index foods. I don’t believe in diets. Diets are temporary. Most people can’t really maintain a certain diet over a long period of time, because it’s difficult. But if you make lifestyle changes, it’s easier to maintain it over the long haul.
When I give patients the book Sugar Busters, it helps to explain to them the physiology of how the body makes fat. For example, it is ok to eat pasta, but whole wheat pasta. If they eat white pasta – refined flour pasta – that’s no good. That is a high glycemic food, which causes insulin surges and winds up damaging the body. You can eat rice, but brown rice. If you eat white rice, again, it is a food that is causing the release of insulin and too much insulin is the enemy. You want to reduce the release of insulin as much as you can. All of this is discussed in the book quite extensively. Sugar Busters, for me, is the food lifestyle Bible. I always have copies of this book in my office and I give them to my patients free of charge to educate them on how to eat correctly.
Q: Do you find that most people who come to you are interested mainly in appearance or are they also interested in improving health?
Well, the majority of patients are probably interested in improving their looks and they’re looking for the easy way – a shortcut. That’s reality because we’re humans. To do it in the other way is very difficult. People are busy and have so little time. They don’t have the energy required for intense exercise. If you want to lose weight by exercise, you really have to do it in a very dramatic way, for hours. There was an article in the Washington Post two years ago that talked about how many hours you have to exercise according to your age. In your 20’s, you can exercise only half an hour a day and still maintain your healthy Body Mass Index (BMI). When you get to your 30’s, you’ll need an hour for the same result. In your 40’s, it’s an hour and a half. By the time you’re in your 50’s, who can do two hours of exercise a day? It’s very difficult. So instead, people are coming to my office to make those changes through liposuction or tummy tuck. Other patients are working very hard in the gym and just can’t develop calf muscles, pec muscles, or buttock muscles. So they come into the office to get implants that give them the look they want.
Some people will consider a change in lifestyle. I give them the book and a few of them make those changes, but the majority want to make life easy. When people improve their looks, their confidence goes up and the attention of the people around them or the people they’re interested improves. They find immediate gratification from the procedures I provide.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to share about using Sugar Busters to help your patients?
The original book came out in the 1980s. Since then there have been a few editions with updates. But the principle has always been the same – becoming aware of low glycemic index foods and insulin levels. That’s what they base the whole theory on and it works. I personally followed the book and lost 28 pounds in six weeks. Sugar Busters is an easy read and you can also apply it very easily. It just takes a little bit of will. It takes will because you do have to give up on a few things that are very tasty. Overall, it’s important to help people find a realistic approach so that it is something they’ll stick with. Most people aren’t going to give up their staple foods, but substitutions can help. Instead of white potatoes, try sweet potatoes, or brown rice instead of white rice. I tell my patients: Even if you don’t apply all of the principles, if you can do only 80%, you will see significant, positive changes.
Do you have any questions about healthy eating, exercise or diet following plastic surgery? Contact Widder Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery in Northern Virginia for a free consultation: http://www.widderplasticsurgery.com/contact.php. Or call: (703) 506-0300