Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
I am beginning Part I (of III) today... we will have a discussion involving my personal tips for surviving the holidays (how to improve our bodies and weight management tips), and then I also plan to provide tips on how to use the winter months to work on problem skin, to treat existing problems, but also tips on how to take a more proactive stance on anti-aging. I do not have all the answers, mind you, but I certainly have opinions, and isn't that what blogging is all about Tommy, honey? I get to express my opinions to whoever wants to listen!
As always, feel free to call us for some personal recommendations on anything that suits your fancy. We are hosting another "Cocktails and Consults" here at the office on Friday December 10th, from 10AM to 6PM, during which a portion of our proceeds on services rendered or purchased that day will go to Support The Boys' Haven. Join us for drinks, appetizers and some live talks and demonstrations on Botox, Juvederm, Sculptra and Vaser Shape. We will have special pricing that day on skin care and injectable products, as well as laser services... and it will help a really good cause. Angela Ariatti is helping us to organize the day's events, and is our Boys' Haven sponsor. (She is also Lexie and Kaitlyn's riding instructor and incredible female role model/mentor, ie., "life coach").
The most important things to remember when re-evaluating body proportion and "problem areas", is to do your best to be patient with yourself, and to be realistic as you reset your goals. We can all make some level of improvement in our physical fitness, but a balanced program is required. Diet, exercise, reasonable goals and a real commitment (and sometimes, intervention, surgical or otherwise) are necessary. I am a physician and a plastic surgeon, not a dietician, nutritionist or fitness instructor. I do however, care about my fitness , have done a fair bit of reading and research over the years with respect to diets and exercise disciplines, and have a large experience with different techniques myself on a personal level, and consider my medical background and training to be a sound base for the evaluation and interpretation of various methods of staying fit. Coupled with the fact that I have a significant surgical experience in treating and caring for patients - men and women - who care about their physiques as they age, I think I am at least able to render some sound advice on this subject. So...here are my thoughts, for what they are worth...
After menopause, or even in the pre-menopause or "perimenopausal years", there is no doubt about it...hormonal fluctuation and decreased metabolic rate are all contributing factors to the slow, steady weight gain many women experience, so that despite sometimes our best attempts to stay lean, we are undone. Finding an exercise program that is truly enjoyable to you is often the key to the next challenge, which is finding the time to work it into a busy schedule. I like to run and bike and ride horses...all of which I like (or must) do outdoors. Although I have a treadmill and elliptical trainer, I much prefer to be outside, so I use these devices mostly in the winter months. Although I think the commitment provided by working out with a trainer is wonderful, motivational and ensures that the proper change and flexibility of varying a workout routine is adhered to, I simply find my schedule too restrictive and inflexible to allow me the luxury of a regular workout with a trainer. (Not to mention the cost involved with finding a good trainer and the typical gym membership.) In recent years, my husband and I have just found it more time-efficient and doable for our schedules to buy a bit of workout equipment to keep at home so that we can work out whenever we want. In addition to our treadmill, elliptical and bike trainer, we have some free weights, and I recently purchased the P90X DVDs to firm up "softer" :-) areas this winter. Basically, any regimen that incorporates some aerobic conditioning and training with resistance training using weights or bands will work, and you don't have to spend a lot of money on a home gym. Aerobic training that is consistent and maintained at a certain heart rate level for a sustained 30 to 45 minutes 4 to 5 days a week will improve fitness. Much less than that will probably only help you maintain a certain fitness level, rather than improve fitness.
In addition to the proper work out plan, of course one must add a smart diet. Having read all of the diets my patients routinely ask me about, like...The South Beach Diet, Sugar Busters, The Zone, Atkins, etc...I think of things rather simplistically as follows: If calories taken in exceeds calories out, those extra calories will be stored as fat. If we eat the wrong kinds of carbs, they work just like sugar. Most women are fairly protein-deficient and need to eat more lean meat. The best proportion of food calories consumed is about 30% fat, 40% carbohydrate, and 30% protein. When you eat (in relation to the calories you burn that day) is as important as what you eat. Certain types of work out or training periods may change the recommendation of the above things a bit, but in general, these seem to be sound principles. So what I try to do is eat small frequent meals (around 450 cal per snack or meal 6 times a day, or a larger meal earlier in the day with fewer snacks) so that I can burn more easily the calories consumed, try to eat more lean meat and "good carb" vegies, limit sugary foods, consider the rule of portion size (palm of hand size), and not eat after 8PM. I love what is taught in The Zone...that food really is a "drug" that we put in our systems every day, that the food we eat regulates the hormones insulin and glucagon to regulate glucose metabolism and fat storage, and that if we want to better utilize (rather than store as fat) the calories we consume, we must eat to stay in "the zone", where our body's glucose levels stay fairly constant, we are utilizing the calories we are consuming, there are not large rises and falls in sugar levels which then cause us to store the excess glucose as fat, and we maintain a stable glucagon and insulin milieu (and therefore, stabilize weight). If it is weight loss we are after, then we MUST consume fewer calories than we utilize, and to avoid muscle loss, that means combining calorie restriction with exercise. Although I learned this from every trainer I have ever known, and I still believe this to be the best way to achieve longterm successful weight loss and improved fitness, I would also say that I now believe that sometimes (especially after the onset of those menopauseal years), that I do see the value of jump-starting one's slowing metabolism, via alternative means.
We have recently begun to offer short courses of metabolic supplements to some of our surgical and nonsurgical body contouring patients who are trying to achieve timely weight loss in order to enhance results seen with both Vaser Shape, a nonsurgical method of body contouring now available in my office (see my website or previous Blogs) and Vaser Lipo (operative liposuction). We would be happy to evaluate anyone who wants to hear more about HcG injections or sublingual drops in this context. I do believe that patients who can "reset" their metabolic rates with these supplements will be more likely to maintain results they achieve with (Vaser Lipo) or without surgery (Vaser Shape).
The bottom line is that it is really exciting to get to assist patients with their body change goals in a very holistic manner, because as a woman who is also a plastic surgeon, I can help my patients with diet and exercise recommendations, with metabolic supplements and weight management tips, as well as meaningful interventional techniques, ie, Vaser Shape (non-surgical ultrasound body contouring), and Vaser Lipo (surgical liposuction, with or without tummy tucks or lifts).
As always, we welcome the opportunity to design a plan specific to each patient's needs.
Happy Thanksgiving! (eat more turkey than mashed potatoes)