Thursday, November 13, 2008

Can Diet and Exercise Beat a Tummy Tuck?

“Several dozen would-be cosmetic-surgery patients gathered at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan recently to hear a lecture on the latest procedures by a prominent plastic surgeon. But the surgeon, Dr. Gerald Pitman spent the first 20 minutes of his talk trying to discourage the audience from having cosmetic operations in the first place. ‘Ask yourself ‘Can you avoid it?’, Dr. Pitman said to the audience last month. ‘What kind of lifestyle changes can you make?’ Dr. Pitman often asks the same questions during initial consultations with patients at his Upper East Side office, to find out whether they have tried diet and exercise to improve satisfaction with their appearance before choosing surgery. In fact, he has asked some patients whose extra weight could make surgery risky to get in shape before he operated on them. He has referred some patients to a swimming coach. ‘Some people think liposuction and tummy tucks are alternatives to diet and exercise,’ Dr. Pitman said. ‘They are not.’ During the lecture, he endorsed a number of behavioral changes that might improve both health and appearance. For example, resistance exercises, which help retard osteoporosis, may have a secondary benefit. ‘You will look better because your posture is better,’ he said. Ditto for aerobic exercise for heart health. ‘When you do aerobic exercise, you release endorphins,’ Dr. Pitman said. ‘You feel better, so you look better.’”

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