Many women who come to me have gained weight.  Particularly after babies, and the more babies the merrier, you may not be able to get back down to the svelte self you once were.  Some of it is from pregnancy- did you overeat? not exercise? Some of it is from young motherhood- are you sleep deprived? eating to stay awake? nibbling on all of the goldfish and mac n cheese? going to the umpteen million kiddie parties with cupcakes? or finishing the tidbits on your kids plates while cleaning the dishes (guilty as charged)?

So what am i going to say?  Eat broiled fish and salad?  Lose the weight by “chasing your children” and breastfeeding??


I love to read Men’s Health magazine.  The articles are great.  Here are some good rules of thumb, and he focuses on the tiny changes- not the “I am going to exercise for 2 hours every day” kind of programs, but the “I am going to not put the extra food on the table” kind of things. So I am not going to write this article again- I think he did a great job.  But I will post it here because he cites some interesting studies.  And much of the body work I do as a plastic surgeon has everything to do with weight.

7 Habits That Make You Fat
By David Zinczenko of Men’s Health

FAT HABIT #1: Putting the Serving Dishes on the Table
Researchers at Cornell University found that when people served themselves from the kitchen counter or the stove, they ate up to 35 percent less food than they did when the grub was on the kitchen or dining room table. When there’s distance between us and our food, the scientists theorize, we think harder about whether we’re really hungry for more.

FAT HABIT #2: Getting Too Little (or Too Much) Sleep

A sleep schedule is vital to any weight-loss plan, say Wake Forest University researchers who tracked study participants for 5 years. In the under-40 age group, people who slept 5 hours or less each night gained nearly 2½ times as much abdominal fat as those who logged 6 to 7 hours; also, those who slept 8 hours or longer added nearly twice as much belly fat as the 6- to 7-hour group. People with sleep deficits tend to eat more (and use less energy) because they’re tired, says study coauthor Kristen Hairston, M.D., while those who sleep longer than 8 hours a night tend to be less active.

FAT HABIT #3: Not Multitasking While Watching TV
We don’t need to tell you that too much TV has been linked to weight gain. But here’s what you may not realize: You can have your TV and watch it, too. Just do something else at the same time. Washing dishes burns 70 calories every 30 minutes. So does ironing. Here’s another thing to keep in mind: Cutting TV time even a little helps you burn calories, say researchers at the University of Vermont. In their study, overweight participants who cut their viewing time in half (from an average of 5 hours to 2.5) burned an extra 119 calories a day. “Nearly anything you do—even reading—uses more energy than watching TV,” says study author Jennifer J. Otten, Ph.D.

FAT HABIT #4: Drinking Soda
Researchers say you can measure a person’s risk of obesity by measuring his or her soda intake. Versus people who don’t drink sweetened sodas, here’s what your daily intake means:

½ can = 26 percent increased risk of being overweight or obese

½ to 1 can = 30.4 percent increased risk

1 to 2 cans = 32.8 percent increased risk

More than 2 cans = 47.2 percent increased risk

That’s a pretty remarkable set of stats. You don’t have to guzzle Double Gulps from 7-Eleven to put yourself at risk—you just need to indulge in one or two cans a day. Wow. And because high-fructose corn syrup is so cheap, food marketers keep making serving sizes bigger (even the “small” at most movie theaters is enough to drown a raccoon). That means we’re drinking more than ever and don’t even realize it: In the 1950s, the average person drank 11 gallons of soda a year. By the mid-2000s, we were drinking 46 gallons a year. A Center for Science in the Public Interest report contained this shocking sentence: “Carbonated soft drinks are the single biggest source of calories in the American diet.”

FAT HABIT #5: Taking Big Bites
Dutch researchers recently found that big bites and fast chewing can lead to overeating. In the study, people who chewed large bites of food for 3 seconds consumed 52 percent more food before feeling full than those who chewed small bites for 9 seconds. The reason: Tasting food for a longer period of time (no matter how much of it you bite off) signals your brain to make you feel full sooner, say the scientists.

Fat Habit #6: Not Eating Enough Fat
You don’t have to go whole hog on a low-carb diet to see results. Simply swapping a few hundred calories of carbs for a little fat may help you lose weight and reduce your blood-insulin levels, according to researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. People in their study who consumed just 43 percent of their calories from carbohydrates felt fuller after 4 hours and maintained their blood-sugar levels longer than those who ate 55 percent carbs. Carbs can cause blood-sugar levels to spike and then crash, leading to hunger and overeating, says study author Barbara Gower, Ph.D. Fat, on the other hand, keeps you satiated longer. Some easy swaps: butter instead of jam on toast; bacon instead of potatoes; low-fat milk instead of a sports drink.

FAT HABIT #7: Not Getting the Best Guidance!
Signing up for e-mails (or tweets) that contain weight-loss advice can help you drop pounds, a new study reveals. When researchers from Canada sent diet and exercise advice to more than 1,000 working adults weekly, they discovered that the recipients boosted their physical activity and ate smarter. People who didn’t receive the reminders didn’t change.

EAT RIGHT RULE: If your food can go bad, it’s good for you. If it can’t go bad, it’s bad for you.

Oh my.  How confusing all this liposuction stuff is, even for me, a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. If it confuses me, I can only imagine how it must confuse others. So here is a quick and dirty breakdown of what is out there, and my opinion of what it does…

UAL, ultrasonic, Vaser liposuction

  • UAL is ultrasonic liposuction.  It uses ultrasonic energy to help fat cavitate, or liquefy/break up.  It has been around since the mid 1990s.  It is wonderful at breaking up fibrous fat, and is thought to potentially tighten the skin a bit.  It never caught on as much as some other methods. Why if it is so good did it not catch on?  The machine was expensive.  They marketed mostly to true plastic surgeons (there aren’t many of us), so they didn’t sell many machines.  Some people who didn’t know how to use it well would get skin burns and issues with seromas, so they would bad mouth it.  After all this time, I am still a huge fan.  I find it is a good caliber, it really breaks up fibrous fat (which all you athletic people have, and you men, and anyone with any prior surgery and internal scar), and it helps create a smooth even result.  I still love it.
  • Vaser is ultrasonic liposuction.  A slightly smaller caliber, not quite as strong an energy as UAL.  Still effective at breaking up fat.  Good.

Laser liposuction, Slim lipo, Smart lipo

  • Laser liposuction uses laser energy to break up the fat.  Again, just like ultrasonic liposuction, the energy can potentially cause burns.  If you liquefy the fat and don’t remove it with traditional liposuction, you will get seromas.  My biggest issue with laser liposuction is the marketing.  They purposefully lead patients to believe there is no anesthesia needed, it retracts the skin well, no traditional liposuction is needed, and you will be back at normal life in a day or two.  ANY TIME YOU DO A SMALL AREA THESE THINGS ARE TRUE.  When you do any larger area, which even here with my uber atheletic Palo Alto patient population most of my patients need, they still use ultrasonic liposuction FIRST and then the laser second.  For normal sized cases where they only use the laser, it takes forever.  Because the laser is such a small caliber, it is like painting a room with a small paintbrush, not a roller.  Time on the operating room table is a risk factor for complications.  Smoothness of fat removal is important as well, and painting a room with a small brush doesn’t give that smooth airbrushed quality which a roller can.  Again, I think energy to break up fat is a good thing for most liposuction patients.  When I went to the seminar where they tried to sell me these machines, the instructors admitted for most cases they used ultrasonic first and finished the patients with the laser.  I don’t think lasers are bad.  My issue is with their misleading marketing.  Also these companies are focused on selling machines.  I am concerned about their integrity because they specifically target nonplastic surgeons to do the procedure.
  • Smart lipo. Brand of laser liposuction
  • Slim lipo. Another brand.  They argue they are faster than Smart Lipo. ??

Noninvasive liposuction.

  • No incisions. Not a surgery.  External machines which “melt” the fat, which is then absorbed into your body.   Sonosculpt, Zerona, Cryolipolysis, Ultrashape are some of the machines touted.  There is also mesotherapy and lipodissolve, where you inject fluids under the skin to melt the fat.  I was on the board of directors for a fledgling company which was trying to address noninvasive liposuction.  I think it is a fantastic idea, but has many issues still.  Most of the companies which show true reduction in fat volume could not control the smoothness and amount of fat removal.  And it was painful.
  • The goal with liposuction is not just the amount of fat removed.  You want the contour to look smooth.  I had a patient who came to me from Wyoming who had mesotherapy.  It has never really taken off for a reason.  There is no “standard” solution.  For my patient, the solution injected caused her to go into liver failure, and she was taken by emergency helicopter to Salt Lake City and was in the ICU for a week.

When fat is liquefied, it gets absorbed into your bloodstream, so safety and health issues to consider:

  • ?Change in blood triglyceride and cholesterol levels?  I recently went to a talk for a noninvasive liposuction machine.  They said the triglyceride and cholesterol levels were fine after the procedure.  When I asked for more detail (I was curious), they had only taken a single blood test six weeks after the procedure to look at levels.  That does not tell me the safety at all!  What was the level in the blood during the procedure? An hour after? 6 hours after? 24 hours?  I need to know my patients who are doing elective procedures for cosmetic reasons are safe.  If your blood stream is flooded with fat, can it cause organ damage? etc etc.
  • ?How much fat can you safely remove at a time?
  • ?Smoothness and evenness of fat removal?
  • ?Fat emboli in your blood stream?
  • ?Is the size reduction long lasting?  We all have seen massage and body wraps “take off inches” which we know will come right back after a few days.

So. I have gone into this on my website with liposuction pitfalls: I and II.  I may repeat myself a bit, but I hope to educate you and demystify the madness a little.  I like to think of myself as a girlfriend’s guide to plastic surgery.

Tell a friend.  I am always so sad when I meet a patient after they have been snookered into surgery by promises of a rainbow: no pain, no surgery, no scars, no downtime.  And some things I can’t fix.

There is a price for plastic surgery.   (yes. yes. I am a plastic surgeon who will not give you a hard sell to do surgery do surgery do surgery.)  Because plastic surgery, the yummy mummy, mommy makeover is not for everyone.

When you get done having your beautiful babies, you wait a bit.  I strongly recommend you wait a bit.  What will your post baby body be like? Will your breasts stay full or will they deflate? Will they be anywhere near your neck or will they touch your waist? Will your belly look like you are permanently 4 months pregnant or will it get back into an okay territory?  How bad does it look when you sit down? And most importantly, does it bother you?

We all have these thoughts.  No woman goes through labor and gets done and doesn’t think UGGH when they see their belly skin flop over when they lie on their side that first day. Thank heavens we are ramped up on adrenaline looking at the beautiful new baby next to us, and then sleep deprived and can’t see straight for the next few months.  When women show up in my office, they have thought about doing surgery for months, sometimes years.  They are not happy.  On a frequent basis some thought haunts them.  “I can’t buy a bathing suit.”  “I was dancing and my bra padding migrated down my dress.”  “I look like a boy.”  “I look four months pregnant all the time.”  “I can’t do sit ups.”  “I have to always take in my jeans at the waist, because when I buy pants to fit my thighs the waist is too big.”  “I look like I hopped out of National Geographic.”

If you are happy with your body, don’t do anything.

Seeking advice from a plastic surgeon is the next step.  You have thought about it, talked to your friends perhaps, and read too much on the internet.  You need a doctor to evaluate you.  Please here take my advice:

  • See a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.  Anyone can call themselves a plastic surgeon.  True plastic surgeons are trained as general surgeons first.  We are well trained to do all breast and body surgery.  I keep seeing women who have the wrong surgery done (especially liposuction when they needed a tummy tuck) because the doctor is not a real plastic surgeon.
  • See more than one doctor.  I joke if you see three plastic surgeons, you’ll get at least two different answers on how to do something.  Many patients fall into what I call a grey area: no surgery is perfect, but all will improve the situation.  An example:  You have lost breast volume and are mildly droopy.  Do you do a breast implant alone? Do you do an implant with a lift?  Do you just do a breast lift? Every woman is unique in what they look like and what they want to look like.  My Palo Alto patients are smart women.  They know their body, they know what amount of scar is okay, they know what look is okay.  I educate them, so they can make the right choice for them.

So, getting back to my original point, you pay a price for surgery. The price is not actual money (though yes, you do need to pay actual money too).  There are some procedures where the “price” is low: the surgery is easy, short, fast recovery, little downtime, small scar, scars heal well.  There are other surgeries where the price is higher: longer, bigger surgery, longer recovery, larger scar, higher chance of other things.