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Personal Trainer? Or Plastic Surgery

So you’ve decided it’s time to lose a little weight. That’s great! Now you’re exploring your options. Cabbage soup diet? Ick! Jumping around in a super intense new gym? Too much work—and your knees aren’t what they used to be. Liposuction? Maybe a quick and easy fix is the ticket? What to do, what to do...

If you have a considerable amount of weight to lose (100 pounds or more), any sound plastic surgeon will tell you to try dieting and exercising to reach or get close to a healthy goal weight before going under the knife. He or she might recommend bariatric surgery, particularly if you have genetic or hormonal issues thwarting your weight-loss efforts.

If you don’t have a lot of weight to lose and there are some trouble areas that are bothering you, then liposuction, a tummy tuck, or some other type of cosmetic procedure could be just what you need. But so could hiring a personal trainer to kick you in the pants. How do you know which direction to go? We asked the experts.


“The perfect candidates for skin tightening and liposuction are generally fit and at a good weight but have one stubborn area that persists despite diet and exercise,” said Dr. Levine. “However, sometimes there are patients who are only mildly overweight and are not candidates for a bariatric procedure, but at the same time are having difficulty losing weight,” he said. “In this instance, I often opt to do a smaller procedure that they want to help them get over the hump, renew confidence, and ramp up their workout and diet programs. I have had much success with this approach.”

“A personal trainer helps you change your lifestyle and practice habits that will allow you to lose the weight, tone those problem areas, and maintain the look that you want,” said Steven McDaniels, director of fitness and recreation at Beacon College in Leesburg, Florida. “Even if surgery can give you the look you want, there is no replacement for healthy eating and exercise to stay in shape and look good long term.”

On the other hand, “sometimes people have trouble areas of the body that would require extreme dieting and excessive exercise to achieve the improvement they seek,” said Dr. Elie Levine, the director of plastic surgery at Plastic Surgery and Dermatology of NYC. “In this case, surgery is a wonderful option to eliminate the aesthetic concern.”

Basically, if you haven’t worked out in 10 years and you’re dealing with some flab, eating right and exercising under the guidance of a personal trainer can help you get the tight and toned body you want. However, if you have already tried dieting and exercise but still have stubborn pockets of fat (like a belly pooch), or sagging skin from having babies or from extreme weight loss, then plastic surgery (like liposuction, a tummy tuck, or other procedures) can get you the results you crave.


Plastic surgery cannot get rid of visceral fat (fat that collects around organs in your abdomen). High amounts of visceral fat in your body can lead to all kinds of health issues such as diabetes and heart disease. Only proper diet and exercise can reduce this type of fat.


It is impossible to spot reduce an area with exercise alone, but Steven McDaniels, director of fitness and recreation at Beacon College in Leesburg, Florida, suggests a few exercises you can do to strengthen and tone common trouble spots.

• Muffin top: side bends, side plank hip lifts

• Belly pooch: scissor kicks, reverse crunch

• Bat wings: triceps kickbacks, triceps dips

• Saddle bags: side leg raises, side lunges

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