What to Do If You Gain Weight After Liposuction

weight gain after liposuction
One of the first things to keep in mind is that you should be at a maintainable weight when you have the surgery.

Today, there are many innovative nonsurgical options available to remove unwanted fat.  You can melt it away with lasers, dissolve it with injections, and even freeze it away. Nevertheless, the tried-and-true method of liposuction remains a popular body contouring and fat removal treatment. Liposuction has been around for decades. Over that time, many misconceptions about the procedure have emerged.  Chief among them is the belief that liposuction can help you lose weight, and a lot of it.  Even worse, many people assume that liposuction will solve all their fat and weight issues.

The reality is that weight gain after liposuction is possible. While an ounce of prevention is really worth a pound of cure, there are numerous ways you can experience weight gain after you’ve had liposuction.

Understanding Weight After Liposuction

How liposuction works when it comes to weight and weight loss can be a bit difficult to understand. One of the first things to keep in mind is that you should be at a maintainable weight when you have the surgery. That means you shouldn’t be struggling to keep your weight at a certain point. If you have to severely restrict your diet or work out for five hours a day to keep the scale on a certain number, then that’s not a maintainable weight for you.

But if your weight seems to hover around a certain mark without you doing much about it and that mark is within a recommended range, then you’ve found a maintainable weight.

Let’s say your maintainable weight is 140 pounds. You have liposuction and your surgeon removes 5 pounds of fat. You drop down to 135 pounds. To keep the results from your liposuction visible, you’ll want to keep your weight at 135 pounds. If you gain back five pounds, you’ll still see some results, but  you might be bigger in areas where you didn’t have liposuction. If you gain more than five pounds, your results might become even less noticeable.

Re-Evaluate Your Diet and Exercise Routine

One of the first things to do if you notice yourself putting on extra pounds after you’ve had liposuction is to reassess your diet. Perhaps you got off to a good start and ate plenty of vegetables, fruits and lean proteins. But lately you’ve been getting takeout more and more and have let fatty, rich foods creep into your diet.

Recalibrating your diet and getting back on a healthy track might be enough to halt and reverse the weight gain.

The same could be true of exercise. If you were pretty good about working out in the beginning but now find yourself spending more and more time on the couch, it might be time to get back into the habit of hitting the gym.

Talk to Your Doctor

Weight gain isn’t always due to eating more or not getting enough exercise. In some cases, weight gain occurs because of a health issue or because you’re taking a new medication. If you’re concerned about weight gain and haven’t noticed a dramatic change in your eating or exercise habits, it could be worth it to schedule an appointment with your doctor. He or she can run tests or let you know if your weight gain is caused by illness or medication.

Don’t Try to ‘Speed’ Weight Loss

There are a lot of ‘diets’ out there that promise super dramatic results fast, like helping you to drop X pounds in X days. While many of the diets do help you drop pounds fast, they also tend to cause you to gain all or even more of that weight right back. Dramatic changes or extreme eating habits aren’t sustainable for the long run and can end up doing you more harm than good.

How to Avoid Weight Gain After Liposuction

While it’s not always possible to prevent weight gain after you’ve had liposuction, it is avoidable in many cases. It can be helpful to work with a nutritionist to learn more about how much food you should eat each day and what types of food will provide your body with the fuel and nutrients it needs.

You’ve probably heard it said that liposuction isn’t a weight loss procedure. If you’ve got 20, 50 or 100 pounds to lose, liposuction won’t help. Instead, you’ll need to drop the pounds through good old diet and exercise or by pursuing an actual weight loss surgery. Liposuction is meant to help eliminate areas of unwanted fat that remain after weight loss or that you’ve been carrying around even if you’ve been at a healthy weight your entire life.

The fat removed by the surgery is gone for good, but that doesn’t mean liposuction is a magical procedure. You can still experience weight gain after liposuction. In fact, patients who gain weight after liposuction tend to see the amount of fat increase in unusual areas, such as in their upper arms or upper abdomen. The removed fat doesn’t come back.

Since weight gain can happen to anyone, for a variety of reasons, it’s important to stay diligent after your fat removal surgery. It helps to work with your doctor to come up with a plan to avoid weight gain. Generally, following the two rules outlined below will help you keep the pounds off.

Keep an Eye on What You Eat

When you were working hard to take the pounds off, odds are you were very focused on what you ate and made sure not to consume too many calories each day. You also might have paid attention to the quality of the food you ate, not just the quantity.

Although you don’t have to follow a strict weight loss diet once the pounds are gone, you do want to make an effort to continue to eat a healthy diet. There are some tricks and tips you can try to reduce your calorie intake or to improve the quality of the food you eat.

  • Try eating five or six small meals, instead of three big ones. Eating smaller portions more often during the day helps many people get a handle on their total calorie intake. When you eat more often, you’re less likely to overeat at meals. It’s not uncommon for people who eat larger meals to consume more than they expected to.
  • Don’t skip meals. Whether you eat three meals a day or six, it’s important to make sure you eat every scheduled meal. When you skip a meal, you’re more likely to over-indulge at the next one. That means you might eat more than you would have in a single meal than you would have consumed over the course of two meals.
  • Find ways to sneak vegetables into your diet. Vegetables are low in calories, high in vitamins and fiber and generally great for your health. Yet, many people don’t get enough vegetables in their diet. Although it can seem difficult to eat as many vegetables as your doctor recommends, there are ways to sneak them into your meals. For example, you can toss a handful of spinach or kale into your scrambled eggs in the morning. You can also pile salad greens or lettuce onto your sandwich at lunch or make a point of eating a salad with at least three different types of vegetables in it at lunch.
  • Limit sweets and treats. You don’t have to give up ice cream or dessert completely to avoid weight gain after liposuction. Instead, focus on making treats just that — a treat. Let yourself have dessert once or twice a week, instead of everyday. If you try to deprive yourself completely, you might end up binging on chocolate or candy one day.

Add Exercise to Your Routine

A healthy diet isn’t the only thing that will help you avoid weight gain after liposuction. Exercising throughout the week (after you’ve fully healed and have gotten the OK from your surgeon, of course) has also been shown to help people avoid weight gain after liposuction.

A 2012 study from Brazil involved 36 healthy, average weight women between the ages of 20 and 35. The women agreed to have about 3 pounds of fat removed through liposuction. Before their surgery, none of the women exercised regularly. Afterward, half of the women began exercising. Those women went jogging or took a walk for 40 minutes three times a week. They also did lightweight training.

The group that exercised did not gain back their lost fat. Meanwhile, the other half the group didn’t exercise and actually became less active than they were before surgery. Not only did that group gain back fat in the four months after surgery, they gained more deep, visceral fat, which isn’t removed by liposuction and which is connected to health problems including heart disease.

When you start exercising after liposuction, your body is likely to use any remaining fat as fuel. Instead of gaining fat, you’re burning it. That can help you keep unwanted pounds off.

To get the most from your liposuction, you’ll want to make a commitment to improving your lifestyle habits all around. To learn more about what to expect from liposuction and what you can do after surgery to help maintain your results, contact Dr. Paul Vitenas, a board-certified plastic surgeon in Houston, Texas, today. Call 281-484-0088 to schedule a consultation.