Board Certified
Plastic Surgeon
Since 1989

Diet, Exercise and Weight Loss | Plastic Surgery Consultations

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?

Healthy Eating and Surgery

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.

Sugar Busters

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

 

Plastic Surgery Implications for Weight Loss | Tummy Tuck and Liposuction

Weight Loss and Plastic Surgery

A welcome side effect of plastic surgery is that many people who have a tummy tuck or liposuction experience additional weight loss.  Dr. Shlomo Widder discusses this natural phenomenon and why it is important to maintain healthy eating habits post surgery.

Q: How does the tummy tuck procedure result in weight loss?

The reason you lose weight after a tummy tuck is that the procedure is not only a tightening of the abdominal skin but also tightening of the abdominal muscles. When you tighten the muscles, you increase the pressure on the stomach, and that in turn sends a message to the brain that says, “Stop filling me up.  Stop eating.”  That’s how patients lose weight.

I always tell my patients about that; it is part of my initial talk.  I tell them that hunger is managed in two ways.  One is a chemical, which involves sugar.  When the blood sugar goes down, you feel hungry and you eat.  The other is mechanical.  When the stomach is empty, it starts contracting and you might hear all those gurgling noises.  It is saying to the brain, “I’m empty – Fill me up.”  The stomach has special cells that measure pressure, but the brain is not so sophisticated as to tell the difference between pressure from food in the stomach or pressure from the outside.  So we can fool the brain by adding pressure from the outside by tightening the muscles.

I just did a tummy tuck for a military guy.  He told me that he was constantly hungry.  He was in good shape – trim and muscular – but he hadn’t reached what he physically wanted to achieve.  His stomach muscles were loose from lifting heavy weights.  Sometimes men, due to heavy lifting, rip the attachments of the abdominal muscles and it causes this problem.  For some women, a similar thing can happen when they have children.  The pregnancy stretches the abdominals and laxity of the muscles result.  If the muscles are loose, they just extend outward when you eat.  You don’t feel satisfied, so it is easy to keep on eating.  After his tummy tuck surgery, this man I mentioned, felt full and much less hungry.  He’s already lost 10 to 15 pounds and he’s achieved his weight goal.

Q: What will occur if you get liposuction or another procedure that encourages weight loss, and then continue a habit of overeating?

It depends on the surgical technique used.  When my patients have liposuction, I tell them that they have to lose, at least, the same amount of weight that I remove from them.  If they don’t lose that amount of weight, any new fat gained can go into those sections where I did not do the liposuction.

In order to do effective liposuction, you really have to enter with the suctioning cannula from many different directions in order to remove as many fat cells as possible.  For this reason, I take a very aggressive approach and go from multiple directions.  If a surgeon goes from only one or two entries, fat cells will be left between the tracks of the cannula, the tube that is used to aspirate the fat.  Each fat cell is able to store more fat by increasing its size by 50%.  So if you leave a lot of fat cells, two to three months after the procedure, it may look as if nothing was done.  But if you go from multiple directions and are very aggressive with the fat cells removal, the number of fat cells that remain will be reduced dramatically.  Then, no fat or very little can go in those areas in the future.  However, it can go elsewhere. If a patient keeps overeating in the same fashion as before, since the fat can’t go into the liposuction area, it might go to the shoulders, face, butt, breasts, and so on. So the secret really is for me to do a very thorough removal of the fat cells and for the patient to lose the same amount of weight that was removed by the liposuction.

 Q: If a person has a tummy tuck or liposuction, how long before he or she can take on an exercise regimen?  Are there exercises you recommend in addition to a shift in dietary lifestyle? 

 For liposuction, I limit their exercise for two weeks, and then for the following two weeks, they can increase exercise in a gradual fashion. On the first week back, they can exercise at a 25% capacity of what they did before.  The following week, I advise they go to 50% of their former activity level.  Then one month after the surgery, they are free of any limitation.  For a tummy tuck, they have to wait six weeks before any physical activity or lifting.  Then as with the liposuction, they can gradually return to normal activity over a two week period.  After two months, they are back to full speed.

The main type of exercise I recommend is cardiovascular, or aerobic.  Any type of cardio can get you in good shape.  It could be a stationary bike, it could be a treadmill –all of those machines at the gym are good.  The key is to put forth at least 20 minutes of constant effort during which the heart rate is raised to two-thirds of maximal capacity.  Do this, and you’ll be burning fat and lose weight.

For a free consultation and 5% off any surgical procedure, schedule an appointment on our website! http://www.widderplasticsurgery.com/contact.php

*Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person. Images may contain models.