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Maintain Your Post Surgery Body

October 9, 2012

You completed all the hard work before preparing for your body contouring procedure. You met with your surgeon and implemented the recommended lifestyle changes regarding smoking, nutrition and any other advice. You adjusted your eating and exercise routines, losing enough to get within 30% of your ideal weight.

Most importantly, you understood that body contouring such as liposuction isn’t a weight loss quick fix or a way to eliminate cellulite, rather it is a procedure to reduce localized fat deposits after you have done all you can to slim, trim and firm your body.

Now that you’ve had your tummy tuck, lipo, or procedure such as breast or thigh lift, you’re pleased with what you see in the mirror. But that’s just the first step in achieving a better looking body. The next stage is all about maintenance — doing what you need to do to ensure that the results you have today are still there a year from now.

It’s Not Just About Looks

Even if you originally decided to have your plastic surgery procedure because of how you appeared on the outside, the steps you had to take to prepare for your surgery improved your inner self as well. Statistics have shown that excess weight in general is a health hazard.

For example, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), a body/mass index rating between 25 and 29 (overweight category) increases the risk for type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and CVD. At the obese limits (30.0–34.9) the risk is considered high; the higher your body/mass index number, the more at risk you are. Also, if most of your fat is around your waist rather than at your hips, you’re at a higher risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes, with the risk increasing if your waist is greater than 35 inches for women or 40 inches for men.

Every pound you lost pre-surgery made a difference, since even a small weight loss (between 5 and 10 percent of your current weight) will help lower your risk of developing those diseases, says the NHLBI. And if you started an exercise program to help lose that weight before your procedure, you also put your overall system in the best possible condition to recover from the surgery.

Cardiovascular workouts will improve your body’s ability to take in and use oxygen and will help in your recovery from procedures involving general anesthesia. Exercise in general is good for your body, providing the potential for reducing blood pressure, lowering the bad cholesterol level while increasing the good cholesterol level. For diabetics, it can also favorably effect the ability to use insulin to control glucose levels in the blood, noted author Jonathan Myers, PhD, in his article “Exercise and Cardiovascular Health.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise increases the production of endorphins, your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, while it helps shut down the mind’s worry cycle. It also increases your self-confidence, combats symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety, and can help with problems falling or staying asleep.

Staying on the Right Health Track

Now that you know the benefits and may have already recognized them in yourself as you prepared for your body contouring procedure, how can you keep yourself on the right track? Here are some tips from the experts for creating a healthy eating and exercise schedule. Remember, always consult with your plastic surgeon and other healthcare providers before beginning any exercise or diet program.

Healthy Eating Strategies

When creating your new eating plan, a good place to start is with the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health’s new Healthy Eating Plate and Healthy Eating Pyramid.

On the Healthy Eating Plate, half your plate will be a variety of colorful produce and fruits, one-fourth whole grains, and a balance healthy protein such as fish, poultry, beans, or nuts. Make sure to choose healthier oils such as olive or canola, drink plenty of water, and have little of no sugar with tea or coffee. As for dairy products, keep it to one to two servings per day — less than the 3 cups recommended by the USDA for adults. The Healthy Eating Pyramid provides an even more detailed breakdown, built on a foundation of daily exercise and weight control.

If this represents a major shift in how and what you have been eating, remember: it will take time to adjust to the new routine. Interestingly, a study from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) showed that even modest lapses in healthy eating, lifestyle choices and sleep duration were linked with long-term weight gain - dietary changes have the strongest associations with differences in weight gain. Researchers also found that consuming more healthful foods and beverages was most important versus counting calories or total fat and sugar. Other recommendations were to choose higher quality, less refined carbs, reduce intake of liquid sugars, starches and refined grains, and consume more minimally processed foods instead of highly processed foods.

Exercise 101

You’ve got your nutritional needs met — now it’s on to ensuring your new slim and trim body stays slim and trim! A balanced post-liposuction exercise program, incorporating cardio, weight-training and flexibility exercises can help maintain your post-liposuction shape. 

Cardio/Aerobic

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), you need about 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, or an equivalent mix of the two each week to maintain your weight. You need even more to lose weight and keep it off, unless you also adjust your diet as mentioned above. Moderate-intensity aerobic activity means your breathing and heart rate is noticeably faster, but you can still carry on a conversation - for example, walking a brisk, 15-minute mile. Vigorous-intensity aerobic activity means your heart rate has increased substantially, and you are breathing too hard and fast to have a conversation.

Weight-training

Strength and resistance training is another essential component of a comprehensive workout plan since it builds and tones muscles while boosting your metabolism, noted the American Council on Exercise (ACE). Your goal should be to strength train two or more days a week, working all major muscle groups: legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms.

Flexibility

It’s not enough to be fast and strong. You also need to be flexible. Exercises such as yoga and other flexibility training done two to three times a week will stretch major muscle and tendon groups, and help maintain range of motion.

Keeping an exercise and food journal as you go are the best ways to track your progress. Maintaining these changes to your lifestyle is the best way to keep your new shape. Continue reading to learn how to dress to best accentuate your shape after body contouring

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