This horrible pandemic seems to be finally slowing down and practices like self quarantine and volunteered isolation to prevent spread of the disease are soon to be eased. Working from home with constant access to the refrigerator, the need for more comfort foods to ease stress, increased alcohol intake, and loss of access to our gyms have caused unwanted weight gain at the worse possible time, the beginning of summer! This blog describes a healthy and realistic diet to lose unwanted pandemic poundage!

I know what you are thinking: the world really needs a new fad diet, and from a plastic surgeon no less! This is different, because it is a reasonable diet and easy to stick with and promotes better healing and decreases inflammation, swelling and bloating. I originally adopted it as a guide for pending plastic surgery patients, but it easily adapts to any desired weight loss plan.

For many plastic surgical procedures, reaching an ideal weight greatly enhances the final result. Operations such as breast reduction and augmentation, Abdominoplasty (Tummytuck), Liposuction and even a Facelift are positively impacted by weight-loss prior to surgery and maintenance afterwards. I often counsel patients that liposuction is not a weight-loss tool, and if weight-loss is planned and or desired, it is best to try to reach that goal prior to surgery. When this is accomplished, the surgical result is improved.

That prompted me to advocate a specific diet for my patients to help them reach and maintain their weight goal, promote better healing, and hopefully embrace a healthy lifestyle. The diet is enhanced by any sort of exercise routine that firms muscle and burns calories, all promoting a better surgical result. I know the diet works because of the results I have seen in my patients, and I follow it also. I love to eat, and the diet allows me to maintain my boyish figure… No snide comments please!

Inflammation causing swelling is the body‘s way of protecting itself, or can be a reaction to a traumatic event. For instance, a severe ankle sprain prompts significant swelling to the injured area because the body increases blood supply to the region, bringing added nutrients to promote healing. A similar reaction occurs after surgery; the body increases blood flow to the area of trauma or surgical site. However, too much swelling actually hinders healing and needs to be controlled. Ice and elevation reduce the swelling in the sprained ankle, and a proper diet can decrease overall inflammation in the body.

This diet is essentially a modification of the Mediterranean Diet, choosing foods rich in antioxidants and Omega-3 fatty acids. It means choosing monounsaturated oils like olive oil over trans-fat oils used in fast food. The key principles of the diet: eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole-grains, and lots of fish or fish supplements. The reasons are simple: Studies have shown that unhealthy fats increase inflammation, while healthy ones decrease it. Fruits and vegetables decrease inflammation as do foods rich in fiber, preferably 30 g a day. Depending on your size and exercise activity, limit yourself to 2000 to 3000 cal per day. Weight loss will be slow but steady, but you are more apt to keep it off with this approach. Give this diet a chance and you may never need my services!

Listed below are 10 easy steps to a healthy but delicious diet.

1)  Eliminate unhealthy fat intake. Avoid margarine, deep fried foods and foods with trans-fat and saturated fat.

2) Increase your intake of mononsaturated oils. Use extra-virgin olive oil, walnut, canola or flaxseed oils.

3) Eliminate the unhealthy “white“ carbs. Avoid refined flour, sugar, white rice and foods high on the glycemic index.

4) Eat plenty of healthy whole grains. Brown rice and bulgur wheat.

5) Avoid refined and processed foods.

6) Include plenty of fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants. Blueberries, strawberries and dark leafy greens like spinach and kale.

7) Hold the salt and spice it up. Use more anti-inflammatory herbs and spices for seasoning.

8) Eat lean protein sources like chicken. Reduce red meat and avoid full fat dairy products.

9) Eat fish high in omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon, arctic char, sardines, anchovies, black cod, mackerel and even oysters are excellent sources.

10) Drink red wine in moderation. One or two glasses daily. Studies show it can be good for your heart!

Prior to starting any diet or exercise regimen, check first with your doctor.

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