I caught a glimpse of myself in my full-length mirror and did a double take. It took a minute to fully comprehend that what I was looking at was my own body. “I look skinnier than I did before I became pregnant with my son,” I texted my friend. I twisted and turned, still in a bit of shock as to how dramatic my results have been. Even my surgeon joked about how he had given me abs and a waist. Six weeks ago, I had a full abdominoplasty (aka tummy tuck) with liposuction, and while I had an idea of what to expect, the results have been life-changing. The procedure itself is by no means minor, but completely doable. And since you know what to expect regarding Tummy Tuck Recovery, I thought I’d share some tips on how to maintain the look of your abdomen after a tummy tuck. While I would do the procedure again in a heartbeat if I had to, I prefer to do what I can to ensure my results last indefinitely.
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How to Maintain Your Tummy Tuck Results
One of the first things my surgeon at CosmetiCare told me was that abdominoplasty is not technically considered a weight loss procedure. In fact, if I had a lot of weight to lose, his suggestion would have been to wait until I had achieved a majority of that goal before undergoing abdominoplasty. I was within 5-10 pounds of my desired weight before having a tummy tuck. Two weeks post-op, and my surgeon gently mentioned that it was important for me to be consistent about maintaining my weight with diet and exercise, to maintain my tummy tuck results. In the six weeks following my surgery, I have lost 6 pounds, which is reasonable considering the amount of skin and fat removed during the procedure.
My friend Mary had told me that after undergoing a tummy tuck, I would never look at food the same. Her statement was truer than I realized, particularly considering that I am a total foodie. Not only do I feel uncomfortable when I over eat, I do not want to do anything that might alter or even reverse my tummy tuck results. The decision to have a tummy tuck is an important one, and the cost and time involved with recovery must be weighed carefully. People do not talk often enough about the sustained commitment required after this procedure. The reality is that excess weight gain because of pregnancy, lack of exercise, or an unhealthy diet can negatively alter the affects of a tummy tuck.
Here are just a few steps I have taken in the past several weeks to ensure that I enjoy the benefits of my tummy tuck for years to come.
- Knowledge is Power: For years I tried to lose weight unsuccessfully. I truly thought I was eating a healthy diet and that my exercise regime was sufficient to lose the weight I wanted so badly to lose. It only took one week of maintaining a food diary to begin to understand that it was not so much what I was eating as it was how much. I was overeating. And while nothing I could have done with regards to diet or exercise would have been successful in toning my abdominal muscles and tightening my skin, I would have had less fat to remove during the procedure. At present, I am using MyFitnessPal to record everything I eat and drink to ensure I am staying within my recommended caloric intake.
- Change the Way You Look at Food: I am considered one of the healthier eaters in my circle of friends. But like most people, cheese and chocolate are my weaknesses. After my surgery, I began viewing food from a different lens. Everything I consume counts, and in order to stay within my recommended caloric intake, I have to decide if what I want to use those 1200 calories on. I can choose to satisfy my taste buds with empty calories, or choose foods that provide the protein and essential nutrients my body needs.
- Understand the Relationship Between Weight Loss and Exercise: Over the weekend, I walked over 4 miles, in one of my biggest exercise feats since my surgery. That 4 miles, which resulted in sore, tired muscles gave me an extra 57 calories. Before having a tummy tuck, I assumed that an hour of cardio negated that slice of chocolate cake I craved. The reality is that only 20% (at most) of weight loss can be attributed to exercise. Weight loss can only occur when the number of calories consumed is less than the number of calories expended.
- Commit to Portion Control: Last week, I went to brunch with a group of friends. On previous occasions, it was not uncommon for me to over-eat and then “make up for it” later. When my meal was served, I immediately cut it in half and asked the server to box it up. Serving sizes at most conventional restaurants often exceed daily recommendations of calories and nutrients. Understanding serving sizes is an important part of controlling caloric intake and maintaining or losing weight. These days, going out to eat does not intimidate me because I go in knowing that I’m only going to eat half (or even less than half) of the meal that is served.
- Find Someone To Help Keep You Accountable: I already know that there will come a time when I cave on my desire for macaroni and cheese. Which is why I have a friend who has committed to keeping me accountable with my nutrition and exercise goals. Consistency can be difficult, particularly when work is busy or I find myself on-the-go. Having someone who cares enough about me to check in and help me stay committed to my goals is invaluable. It also helps to have that friend remind me of all that I have gone through when temporary amnesia sets in.
3 Unexpected Results of Tummy Tuck Surgery
I went in to CosmetiCare with a realistic perspective on what my body would look like after a tummy tuck. My surgeon let me know that most (but not all) of my stretch marks would be removed and that my stomach would look slimmer, thinner, and more toned. Despite perusing through his portfolio, I never imagined my stomach would look as flat and toned as it does today. And while a flatter, more toned stomach is the end-result, I have found that there were some unexpected benefits of having abdominoplasty.
- My clothes fit better: I have a set of clothes that I never wore after I became pregnant with my son. Those cute outfits lived in the back of my closet for years, but I could never bring myself to get rid of them. Four weeks after my surgery, I decided to try on some of those outfits, and surprisingly, they fit!
- I feel more confident: Only those closest to me know how self-conscious I was about my stomach. I built my wardrobe around that are of my body daily, and I never left the house without Spanx. I wore loose-fitting shirts and constantly found myself holding in my stomach to masque its appearance. For the first time in years, I felt comfortable and confident putting on a fitted dress to attend a play here in Orange County. And as I go through my closet, I’m purging all the baggy clothes that no longer fit me and my feelings of insecurity about my body.
- My posture has improved: During a tummy tuck, the abdominal muscles are surgically tightened. I have found that I no longer have to hold my stomach in to ensure my posture is straight. My doctor likened this part of the procedure to an internal corset.
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COSMETICARE & SOUTH COAST OUTPATIENT SURGERY CENTER
1101 Bayside Drive, Suite 100 Newport Beach CA 92625. 949.718.6900