During this time of the year during the winter holidays, if you find that the joys of the season have lead to the overweight depression, you are not alone. Data from the National Institute of Health suggests that most Americans who gain weight during the holidays never lose those extra pounds and the weight keeps adding up throughout their lives. Maybe this year, ‘New Year, New You’ will prevail!

Individuals go in droves to sign up for fitness memberships even more than they flock to Plastic Surgeons offices to get themselves trimmed up for the spring. But if all the ‘trimmings’ of the winter excess have caused you to put on some pounds, take a look at how that happened, and correct it. That is right, hitting the gym or the operating room is nowhere to start. You may find it hard to believe, but weight is lost in the kitchen and health is gained in the gym. Both are important, but to really lose the pounds you need to lose the bad dietary habits.

Let’s look at this more closely. In order to lose a pound of weight, one must burn 3500 calories more than they ingest. Here’s an example; take a 200-pound male. If he is moderately active, he might consume about 3200 calories a day to maintain his weight. If he wanted to lose a healthy 1-pound per week with exercise only, keeping his eating the same, he would have to burn 500 calories more per day. That would require him to jog about 3.5 to 4 miles per day, depending on his speed, every day for 7 days per week. That amount would total the 3500 calories needed to lose that pound. On the other hand, cutting 500 calories from his diet (the equivalent of two Starbucks Frappuccinos, or three soda drinks per day), would achieve the same result. Most of us would have an easier time with cutting the calories by altering caloric intake.

So you may ask, why does a Plastic Surgeon concern himself with weight loss? It is nearly a daily occurrence that I see patients coming in for consultation for either liposuction or Tummy Tuck surgery desiring to improve their waistline to fit better into their clothes. Liposuction is a procedure to remove localized areas of fatty deposits, like love handles, tummy pooch or outer thigh areas. If one is heavy all around, and there is no distinct location of the fat, then weight loss is usually required to achieve the ideal result. I start out the conversation with something like, “I want this consultation to be focused on encouraging you to achieve the results you want, which will happen with a combination of your weight reduction and my surgical techniques” (or something to that effect). When I first started in practice in 1989, I recall the occasions of patients coming back to me one to two years after liposuction surgery saying, “you didn’t take enough off”. After showing the patient their 6 months post op photos and demonstrating the nice contours achieved, the patients then realized they had gained the weight back, sometimes due to the fact that their clothes fit better and the stop mechanism of a tight fitting belt was less of a problem after the surgery. Currently, by working with patients and helping them make better dietary choices, they not only lose weight before the surgery, but they have adopted good eating habits to keep the weight off, and more importantly, become healthier. Our job as physicians and health professionals is not only to make them look better, but be healthier too. For the past 9 years, the Aesthetic Associates Centre has been running regular nutrition and weight loss classes to help individuals achieve better health through nutrition. The average patient loses 25 pounds in the 12-week program. Many will consider plastic surgery to finish off the contouring, but some often achieve their goals without surgery, and although we may have lost a patient to weight loss, we have gained a client with a healthier future. So don’t let the joys of the holidays control our waistline. Let’s take control of our health. Eat healthy and be healthy!