life_after_liposuctionAs many liposuction patients come to discover, the most difficult part of the liposuction process often isn’t the surgery itself or even the weeks of post-op discomfort, it’s maintaining their new physique when the process is complete.  In fact, many are so intent on getting through the liposuction ordeal they never even stop to consider life after liposuction.

Liposuction has entered mainstream American culture like no other kind of elective surgery–surpassing breast enlargement as the most popular in the US.  According to a recent survey published in the Journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 80% of liposuction patients polled say they were satisfied with their results, with 75% of those saying they would recommend the procedure to a friend or family member.

However, in that same survey, nearly half of those patients say they re-gained weight in subsequent months; not because the procedure didn’t work, but because they didn’t take the necessary steps to maintain their new body.  According to national statistics, liposuction patients are 3 times more likely to gain weight if they don’t follow a healthy diet, and 4 times more likely to put on unwanted pounds without regular exercise.

One of the most common misconceptions about liposuction is that it’s a tool for weight management: a quick-fix procedure to get rid of excess fat.  In reality, the goal of liposuction is simply to contour the body by removing diet- and exercise-resistant fat deposits from specific target areas.  Although these deposits are permanently removed, that does not mean that the patient can’t or won’t gain weight just as before.  (There are still plenty of fat cells left!)   Thus, liposuction should never be used as a quick-fix for weight loss, and should only be used in combination with exercise and a healthy diet.

If you’re considering liposuction or have recently undergone the procedure, experts agree that there are a few key points to consider:

  • If you don’t already have a gym membership, get one.  Gyms all over the country offer regular specials that make it increasingly more affordable.  (Maybe you could ask family members to get you a membership for your birthday or Christmas.)  If gyms are beyond your budget, talk to friends or family about starting a walking club.  Many communities have walking clubs already established and always welcome new members.
  • Get a good pre-liposuction picture of yourself — one you’re embarrassed to look at — and put a copy on your refrigerator, one near your bathroom scale, and one in your wallet and promise yourself often you’ll never let that happen again!
  • Examine your diet.  Eating healthy does not always mean eating less–it means eating better.   Your primary goal should be to eat more fruits and vegetables while cutting down on sugars, carbohydrates, and saturated fats (junk food).  Additionally, watch your portion sizes and no binge eating.  And be aware that starving yourself can not only have a very negative impact on your body, it will prevent you from losing weight.  (You have to consume calories to burn calories!)
  • Get in the habit of keeping a bottle of water with you at all times.  Keeping yourself hydrated fends off snacking and promotes elimination.  If you just gotta have something other than water, drink fruit juice–100% fresh when possible.
  • Create the mind-set that salt is a cooking additive–not a condiment.  Take it off the table and only use it when cooking actually requires it.  Limiting your salt intake will help decrease dehydration, bloating, and high blood pressure.

All in all, be clear from the start that making your liposuction a success story depends on how you take care of your new body post-op.  Although liposuction provides people the chance to look and feel better, you must manage your overall health through diet and exercise for the results to last.