Category Archives: Body Contouring

What is a weight loss plateau?

If you’ve spent any time at all trying to lose weight, you’ll probably look at “plateau” as a dreaded word. Plateaus represent an obstacle in the battle to lose weight. But what is a weight loss plateau?

photo of scale with measuring tapeInformation is scarce.

I realized I’ve never actually asked, “what is a weight loss plateau”, so I googled “definition weight loss plateau” and found… nothing. Okay, so obviously google returned hundreds of search results. But they were all focused on breaking through a plateau and resuming weight loss. Call me crazy, but I think looking for a solution to a problem before actually defining the problem is putting the cart before the horse.

Definition of a plateau.

If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ll know that I’ve lost 50 pounds over the past year and a half. I’ve spent the past six months working with an amazing weight coach, Dr. Katrina Ubell, and she offered the first actual definition of a plateau I’ve ever heard. As Katrina defines it, a plateau is:

  1. No weight loss for 2-3 weeks,
  2. while following your plan 100% of the time.

Plateaus are long!Woman yelling at scale

I think so many of us fail to lose weight for a week, or even a few days, and huff in frustration, “Stupid plateau.” But when we ask, what is a weight loss plateau, it’s pretty evident that plateaus are longer than the normal variation in weight loss. It’s super common for weight loss to go in fits and spurts. If you don’t believe me, look at the graph of my weight over a seven month period. Even when I’m losing weight steadily, I’ll stay at the same weight for many days. This is a normal part of the process!

If you aren’t following your plan, you’re not in a plateau.

If you think about it, a plateau is something external. It’s your body no longer losing weight, despite changes in your eating habits. Really it’s your body adjusting to a new weight set-point. So if you’re sneaking bites of dessert, or eating more than your plan allows, a plateau is not the reason you aren’t losing weight. You aren’t losing weight, my friend, because you aren’t following your plan.

I love this definition because it negates the vast majority of the time we think we’re in a plateau.  Often we’re not giving our bodies enough time to adjust, or we’re not really following our plan.

So what do you do if you truly are in a plateau? I’ll touch on that in a future post, but for now I’m going to direct you to Katrina’s fabulous podcast on the topic of plateaus. Thank you for joining me today! If you like what you’ve read, enter your email on the right side of the homepage to subscribe to future blog posts!

Dr. Greer is a Plastic Surgeon in Cleveland, OH. Her passion is helping moms regain their self-confidence by getting rid of sogginess, wrinkles, and stubborn fat. You can read more about her at www.greerplastics.com.

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Disclaimer: This webpage is for general information only. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical illness, or give any specific medical advice. Because medical knowlege is constantly evolving, I cannot guarantee the accuracy or timeliness of any information in this blog.

Will liposuction give me a flat stomach?

will liposuction give me a flat stomach - diagram of abdominal muscles and woman's stomach showing rectus diastasis

When diet and exercise don’t work, surgery may be an option to obtain a flat stomach. In previous posts I’ve talked about abdominoplasty and combining abdominoplasty with liposuction. But how do you know which is right for you? It depends on what is causing the problem. And there are several possible culprits:

Stretched abdominal muscles.

The rectus abdominus muscles are your six pack muscles which extend down the front of the stomach, as you can see in the diagram below (left). The two strips of muscle spread apart during pregnancy or with significant weight gain, and they don’t always rebound back into place when the pregnancy ends or the weight is lost. This widening is called a rectus diastasis (diastasis means separation). If you look at the photo below (right) you can see the space between the muscles. Surgery is the only way to fix a rectus diastasis; the separated muscles are brought back together in the midline using suture, recreating a flat stomach. This is one of the main components of an abdominoplasty surgery.flat stomach - diagram of abdominal muscles in a womanflat stomach - photo of woman's abdomen showing diastasis between her abdominal muscles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Excess skin

Extra skin can also prevent you from having a flat stomach. Excess skin is another common side effect of weight loss or pregnancy. And like a rectus diastasis, the only way to remove excess skin is surgery. Skin removal is the other main component of an abdominoplasty.

Excess fat

This is where liposuction comes in. Liposuction removes fat over a focused area, which can be perfect if you want a flat stomach. But most people don’t realize that there are two types of abdominal fat. Subcutaneous fat is the fat right under the skin, and this fat can be removed using liposuction. While you’re reading this, go ahead and pinch the skin of your stomach between your finger and thumb. The thickness of this pinched skin is determined by how much subcutanous fat you have. If it’s a big, wide fold of skin, then there is lots of fat under the skin, so liposuction will go a long way toward giving you a flat stomach. Compare a pinch of skin over your abdomen or hips with a pinch of skin over your forearms or neck and you’ll see what I mean.

The second type of fat is called visceral fat. This is the fat which surrounds your internal organs. It is inside the abdominal cavity, below your abdominal muscles, and liposuction cannot remove this fat. If you have a lot of visceral fat, the only way to get a flat stomach is to lose weight. Read more on weight loss in other blog posts.

Surgery can in many cases give you a flatter stomach. But what type of surgery you need depends on what is causing the problem. Seeing a plastic surgeon for an consultation is the best way to find out. You can find a board-certified plastic surgeon in your area by checking the American Society of Plastic Surgery website.

Want to learn more about liposuction? Check out my website to learn about how liposuction is done, what areas of the body can be treated, and what the recovery is like.

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Disclaimer: This webpage is for general information only. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical illness, or give any specific medical advice. Because medical knowlege is constantly evolving, I cannot guarantee the accuracy or timeliness of any information in this blog.

3 weight loss myths to ignore, and what to do instead.

The internet is full of weight loss myths; everything from you should exercise to lose weight (caught you off guard there, didn’t I?) to juice cleanses will somehow rid your body of toxins. But there are some more pervasive and common weight loss myths that I think most of us still believe.

weight loss myths

Here are my top three weight loss myths:

Weight loss myth #1: If you eat fewer calories than you burn, you’ll lose weight.

The human body is a complex machine. Body weight is regulated by a plethora of weight loss mythshormonal cascades, which are affected by not only the quantity of food we eat, but the type of food as well. This weight loss myth also relies on the concept that the amount of calories we burn is independent of the calories we take in. And that’s just not true. So please, STOP counting calories.

What you should Do instead:

Focus on high-quality food like fresh or frozen vegetables, fruit, full-fat dairy, and whole grains. Avoid processed foods that contain flour and sugar. Rather than counting calories, your goal should be to stop eating when you are full, but not uncomfortably so. Your body has mechanisms to tell you when to stop, but they get out of whack when we eat a lot of processed food containing flour and sugar.

weight loss myths

Weight loss myth #2: Eating low fat food is good for you.

There is very little science to support a low fat diet. There are three main areas where dietary fat has been labelled “bad”. First, dietary fat, and especially saturated fat, has long been taught to be a cause of heart disease. Yet decades of research have not found evidence to support this. Second, we have also been taught that dietary fat increases cholesterol levels. But 80% of the cholesterol in our blood is actually made by our bodies. It does not come from dietary fat! The last reason fat is thought to be “bad” is because it has more calories than protein or carbohydrates, the other two macronutrients. But here’s the thing: our bodies evolved to eat fat. They release hormonal signals that we’re full after eating fat. This is not true for eating flour and sugar, which are relatively new food sources on the evolutionary scale.

What you should do instead:

Eat plenty of saturated and unsaturated fat. Fat-containing foods such as olive oil, butter, coconut oil, and avocados will keep you feeling full longer. But this does not extend to trans-fats. Trans-fats are artificially created saturated fats, and unlike natural saturated fats such as lard, they do increase the risk of heart disease.

Weight loss myth #4: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

We’ve long been taught that eating breakfast increases your metabolism. Like the myth of the low-fat diet, there really isn’t much evidence to support this. The other big problem with breakfast is that most common breakfast foods in the U.S. are total junk disguised as healthy food. Cereal, muffins, instant oatmeal, and even yogurt all contain loads of sugar.

What you should do instead:

If you’re hungry first thing in the morning, choose unprocessed foods like eggs, regular oatmeal (not instant or quick oats, as these are processed into smaller particles that the body handles differently from a hormonal perspective), cheese, or bacon. A veggie omelette is a great start to the day. And if you’re not hungry, simply don’t eat. I promise you this will not slow down your metabolism or make you gain weight.

weight loss myths

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about my favorite weight loss myths. If you’d like to learn more about how our bodies respond to food from a hormonal perspective, I highly recommend the Intensive Dietary Management website by Dr. Jason Fung, a Canadian kidney specialist who treats obesity.

 

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Disclaimer: This webpage is for general information only. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical illness, or give any specific medical advice. Because medical knowlege is constantly evolving, I cannot guarantee the accuracy or timeliness of any information in this blog.

The best way to get a flat stomach after having a baby

Tummy tuck, flat stomach, abdominoplasty, flat stomach after baby

Get rid of saggy skin and have a flat stomach, permanently.

Having a baby changes your life, and your body.

I know the feeling: you look in the mirror, turn sideways, and suck it in, but that loose skin and lower belly pooch won’t completely go away. Here’s the good news: you can get rid flat stomachof that saggy skin and feel great in your jeans again!

Before I explain how to fix that saggy stomach, let’s explore what causes the sag:

  1. Skin stretches with pregnancy and weight gain. After the baby is born that excess skin will shrink up quite a bit, but often not all the way.
  2. Your rectus muscles (that form a 6-pack) stretch apart to accommodate the baby. Just like your skin, the muscles don’t necessarily bounce back to normal.

    tummy tuck before and after, abdominoplasty, tummy tuck

    Before and after tummy tuck

 

To get that flat stomach back (and regain your self confidence!), you need to remove the extra skin and tighten the stretched muscles. And that means surgery.  No amount or combination of exercise will accomplish what a tummy tuck can.

 

And here’s the great news: the results are permanent! If you stay at a stable weight, your flat stomach (and increased confidence) will be around for a long, long time.

 

insider guide to plastic surgeryDr. Greer is a plastic surgeon in Cleveland, Ohio. Her passion is helping moms regain their confidence by getting rid of sagginess, wrinkles, and stubborn fat using surgery, laser, Botox and fillers. Check out her website for more information, or to download a FREE copy of “The Busy Mom’s Guide to Plastic Surgery.

 

 

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Disclaimer: This webpage is for general information only. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical illness, or give any specific medical advice. Because medical knowlege is constantly evolving, I cannot guarantee the accuracy or timeliness of any information in this blog.

Liposuction cost – how much for a flat stomach?

Let’s talk a little bit about liposuction today, specifically liposuction cost. I’ve always loved lipo as a tool to make my patients look great. But now that I’ve experienced it personally, I’m an even bigger fan.

liposuction cost

I had lipo of my stomach, hips, inner thighs and knees about three months ago. I was awake for the entire surgery. And if you’re thinking “say what?!”, let me reassure you I will talk about this experience in detail in a future post. But rest assured, you do not have to go under general anesthesia for liposuction. And the results are amazing! I’ve always had that little bit of pudge over my lower abs, and I am happy to report it is completely gone. No more muffin top, which means I’m rocking the hip-hugger jeans for the first time in my life!

But I digress. I promised to talk to you today about what liposuction costs. I’ve talked a little bit about the cost of cosmetic surgery in previous posts, but lets review what’s involved really quickly so you don’t have to link to another post.

When you are handed a cost sheet at your surgery consultation, it will likely have the following items on it:

  1. The surgical fee. This is just the portion your surgeon charges.
  2. The facility fee. This is the cost for time at the surgery center or hospital where your surgery will be performed.
  3. The anesthesia fee. If you have surgery awake or just under light sedation, then this won’t apply.
  4. Other add-ons. This may include the cost of implants for a breast augmentation, or scar cream for after surgery.

I don’t know about you, but I hate feeling nickel-and-dimed, so I try to keep my liposuction cost sheets pretty all inclusive. This means I include the posteroperative compression garment and the scar cream in the cost, so that you aren’t being asked to pay for add-ons after the fact. The surgical fee, facility fee, and anesthesia fee are all based on the time involved. So for liposuction cost the two variables are patient size (i.e. body mass index, or BMI) and how many areas we’re treating.

  • If your BMI is in the normal range (18.5-25) and we’re treating your stomach and waist, you can expect to pay around $5500. This would obviously be a little less if you didn’t have general anesthesia.
  • If your BMI is higher, say 30-35, then it would be more like $7500 to have your abdomen and waist treated.

Again, these numbers are just generalizations. If you would like a treatment plan personalized to your goals, please call me to schedule a consultation: (440) 974-8577.
You can also check out my website for more liposuction before and after photos.

Talk you to all again soon!

Dr. Greer is a plastic surgeon in Cleveland, Ohio. Her passion is helping moms regain their confidence by getting rid of sagginess, wrinkles, and stubborn fat using surgery, laser, Botox and fillers. Check out her website for more information, or to download a FREE copy of “The Busy Mom’s Guide to Plastic Surgery.

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Disclaimer: This webpage is for general information only. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical illness, or give any specific medical advice. Because medical knowlege is constantly evolving, I cannot guarantee the accuracy or timeliness of any information in this blog.

What is the recovery after liposuction?

As with any operation, your recovery will be unique to you. Everyone has a different pain tolerance and recovers at a different rate. That being said, the recovery from liposuction is generally very tolerable.

Image courtesy of office.com

Image courtesy of office.com

  • Pain is usually less than with an abdominoplasty, C-section, or other types of surgery that go through the muscle layer. You’ll likely have moderate pain the first one to two days after surgery, and then you’ll experience more soreness than anything. Most of my patients take narcotic pain medication for the first couple of days, and then transition over to ibuprofen or Tylenol within a few days after surgery.
  • You will have a large amount of drainage from your incisions over the first 24-48 hours. This will taper off and stop by day two after surgery. This fluid is the numbing fluid which is used to break up the fat during liposuction. It is tinged with blood, so it is usually pink or red.
  • Liposuction also causes quite a bit of swelling and bruising. The bruising fades within a couple of weeks, but you will have to wear a compression garment for up to three months after surgery to help the swelling resolve.

If you are considering having liposuction, be prepared to take from several days up to a week off work, depending on how physically active your job is. Walking and light exercise are fine after the first week, but I do recommend my patients avoid any heavy cardio (e.g. running) or weightlifting for a full month after surgery.

 

Any questions regarding liposuction? I’d love to hear them in the comments section!

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Disclaimer: This webpage is for general information only. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical illness, or give any specific medical advice. Because medical knowlege is constantly evolving, I cannot guarantee the accuracy or timeliness of any information in this blog.

What if my family doesn’t want me to have Plastic Surgery?

Having Plastic Surgery is a big decision, and it is common for families to want to weigh in on the topic. But what do you do if your family is against you having surgery? This is actually a scenario that I see a few times a year. Before I delve in to how I help patients through this type of situation, let’s talk first about the financial aspect. Cosmetic surgery can be expensive. If your family or spouse doesn’t support your decision because they don’t think you as a family can afford it, you need to approach this like you would any big budget decision. Finances affect the entire family, so this is definitely an area where you and your spouse need to be in agreement. But if you’re single, and you are responsible for your own finances, it really doesn’t matter what other people (e.g. your grown children, friends, you parents) think. Your finances are your decision.shutterstock_325360154

With that out of the way, there are two other common objections that I see family and friends make.

  1. They worry about your health and safety. Whether you are medically a good candidate for surgery is a decision that should be made by your surgeon, possibly with input from your primary care physician. I have had family members tell me that they don’t think their mother or father is medically healthy enough to have surgery, but when I review the patient’s medical history, there is actually nothing concerning that would increase the risks of surgery. The only thing you can do here is to reassure your family that your doctor thinks you are medically healthy enough to have surgery. Seeing your family doctor for additional input may put your family’s mind at east, as this information would be coming from a trusted and known source, rather than a doctor you’ve just met.
  2. They don’t think you need surgery. This objection comes up quite frequently. And this isn’t really surprising, because it’s a value judgement. If something bothers you, that is all that is important. Now granted, people do sometimes obsess over an area of the body that actually needs minimal improvement. And this is where your surgeon’s judgement is important. If I think that I can make a visible improvement that will make a patient happier, then I recommend surgery. But if I think that no improvement is possible or that the patient won’t be happy regardless of the results, that is not a patient I offer surgery to.

To summarize, the financial aspect of surgery is a decision that should be made as a team if you are married or otherwise share finances with someone. But if finances are solely your decision, then the opinions of other family and friends don’t matter. The other aspects of the decision to have surgery are 1) whether you are medically healthy enough, and 2) whether you’ll be able to achieve the results you want. Those parts of the decision should be made in collaboration with your surgeon and your primary care physician.

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Disclaimer: This webpage is for general information only. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical illness, or give any specific medical advice. Because medical knowlege is constantly evolving, I cannot guarantee the accuracy or timeliness of any information in this blog.