Diet and exercise versus plastic surgery for those new year’s resolutions.

As we pass into a new year, there are those inevitable resolutions to lose weight, eat better and exercise more. Perhaps your goal is to fit into a favorite dress or pair of jeans. We all try to be serious about these resolutions,  but often they are all too easily abandoned in a few weeks.

My advice is to carve out specific time for exercise and stick to it even if you’re tired or busy with work or home activities. This is your time to take a break from the action of daily living and do something for you. Pick the exercise that is the most fun for you -it’s easier to stick to it.

I believe that sensible diet and exercise is the single most important element of health, fitness and looking your best. Nonetheless, there is a growing role in American society for aesthetic surgery and aesthetic treatments to enhance one’s appearance. While a healthy diet and active lifestyle help your skin look its best, the biggest intersection between plastic surgery and exercise relates to body size and shape. This raises the question about when liposuction or Coolsculpting is appropriate and when you can succeed with diet and exercise alone.

Much as we would like to believe that if we just “hang tough” we can produce the body shape we want with diet and exercise, there are focused areas that rarely reduce in this fashion or don’t reduce enough to create the visible change we desire. Love handles and saddle bags are the most common areas treated with liposuction exactly because they don’t change much even with a singificant change in body weight.  Often individuals with ideal body weight still manifest an excess in this area.  Over-dieting will merely result in loss of muscle mass with little change in these areas.  These are the ideal applications for liposuction or Coolscultping.  Treatment of focused areas with liposuction has a very brief recovery time.  This is an area where liposuction is the meaningful option and diet and exercise play only a small role. 

Larger areas can be treated as a head start or finish-up to a diet or exercise program.  Still, you will not look your best after removal of excess fat if the underlying muscle is not toned.  In these cases, aesthetic services are providing support for the mainstay of diet and exercise.  Liposuction is not a weight loss strategy.  For patients who want a weight change and not a shape change, diet, exercise, medical weight loss programs or surgical weight loss procedures are more appropriate. 

All of this can be summarized by saying that there is no one option that is right in all circumstances.  A consultation with an experienced plastic surgeon who can offer invasive and non-invasive options will provide the most useful advice about treatment selection. 

I hope with determination and focus we can all succeed this year at achieving our aesthetic goals or whatever resolutions are most important to you!