This is a holistic nutrition and wellness blog, so you’re probably wondering why I’m writing about liposuction. As you can imagine, I’m not here to promote it. The reason I’m writing about liposuction is that I was doing my research for health-related topics that people have searched for the most. I do this so I can answer the questions people want answers to. I was sad about the number of searches for the question, “Do you lose weight after liposuction?”
Sure, this question doesn’t mean people actually followed through with a liposuction procedure, but it just reminded me what a struggle a healthy lifestyle can be. Not because a healthy lifestyle is all that hard, a truly healthy lifestyle isn’t. But in the US, we have not only complicated it to the point that it’s overwhelming for people. We also have unending temptations of unhealthy fast and convenient food, high stress, and ridiculous expectations.
So I decided I was going to answer this question from a different perspective because all of the other answers come from plastic surgeons who offer this procedure. So here goes, let’s get into it!
What is Liposuction?
Liposuction surgery is a cosmetic procedure performed by a plastic surgeon to remove unwanted excess fat and improve your shape in “problem areas.” According to the Mayo Clinic, “Liposuction is a surgical procedure that uses a suction technique to remove fat from specific areas of the body, such as the abdomen, hips, thighs, buttocks, arms or neck.”
This isn’t necessarily a weight-loss procedure, as it might seem. This surgery is meant to remove stubborn fat that you are struggling to get rid of. In fact, plastic surgeons suggest that you be within 5-10 pounds of your goal weight and stay there, forever, for the best results. So this procedure is not for those with a significant amount of weight to lose. It is meant for those at a stable weight who are interested in refining their body shape. Weight gain after the procedure is totally possible, just in different areas of the body.
Do You Lose Weight After Liposuction?
Since liposuction is not a weight-loss procedure, you will not lose a significant amount of weight after liposuction. The surgeon will remove the equivalent of 5-8 pounds of fat from the treatment areas. Any weight loss after surgery will have to be attained through diet and exercise.
Problems With Liposuction
You might expect that I would elaborate on issues like the so-called “permanence” of liposuction being misleading or the procedure being very invasive in this section. I started to do that. But those warnings are what you will already find all over the internet as you’re searching for information about this procedure. I wanted to address a different set of issues with this fat removal procedure. Issues that have less to do with those stubborn pockets of fat and more to do with healing the relationship we have with our bodies.
Side note: experts claim that liposuction is “minimally invasive” but I encourage you to watch a video of this procedure or help someone with their recovery from this procedure and then decide for yourself how invasive it is. It may be categorized as minimally invasive compared to other procedures, but this procedure is invasive in my opinion.
Healing Your Relationship With Food and Your Body
What’s more important than the weight or the total number of fat cells they’ll remove from your body? That you’re reminded that your self-worth isn’t determined by those last 5-10 pounds of body weight that you can’t seem to get rid of. Or any amount of weight, for that matter.
What’s more important than whether you’re the ideal candidate for subcutaneous fat removal? That you know the best way you can finally be satisfied with your body is to ditch the impossible standards of our society and start a healing process within yourself.
Never mind preventing the growth of new fat cells in your hips or tummy. Let’s prevent the spread of dissatisfaction with ourselves and desperation for unattainable perfection. What we have here is an opportunity to choose between attempting to perfect different areas of our bodies or standing up in the face of ridiculous aesthetic goals inspired by a culture driven by things that don’t matter.
Healthy Alternatives to Liposuction
Friend, I am not here to discount your feelings or make you feel like you’re crazy for worrying about those last 5-10 pounds. It would be a lie for me to tell you that I don’t get endlessly frustrated about the 10 + pounds that come and go on my body like a roller coaster goes up and down. But it would also be a lie for me to tell you that it’s healthy for us to obsess over weight that is not making us physically unhealthy.
The truth is, it’s not realistic for anyone to say they don’t think about the weight they find to be excessive. But another truth is that your weight, especially as a woman, will always fluctuate. That 5-10 pounds that you’re struggling with, it’s totally normal and also healthy for that to come and go. It’s 100% normal for a women’s weight to fluctuate by as much as 5 pounds in a single day! You can easily gain and lose 10 pounds and gain it again with changing seasons in your life.
The issue here is not that little bit of weight, it’s what we think about that little bit of weight. The issue is that our society decides who “looks good” by how much and where fat is located on our bodies. That will probably never change. You have to decide that you don’t care what those standards are because you’re missing out on a peaceful and contented life by obsessing over them.
For Your Health, Not Other People’s View of Your Body
I want us to live a life of confidence and peace that doesn’t come from outside factors like our appearance. This isn’t a “healthy at any weight” speech, because I don’t believe that’s possible. This is about women (and men) being endlessly unsatisfied with the way their bodies look. The issue is the lengths people are willing to go to in order to get off those last 5 or 10 or even 15 pounds and for what, exactly?
We can say it’s for us but it’s not, it’s for other people. The reason I know that is that you cannot convince me that you would still be considering something like a liposuction treatment if no one would ever see you. If you and the plastic surgeon were the last people on earth, would you ask him or her to perform a surgical procedure to remove 11 pounds of fatty deposits? Or would you say it’s not worth it anymore?
With all that said, let’s talk about alternatives to liposuction!
Alternative Treatment Methods
If you’re determined to find a treatment to accelerate your fat loss, there are easier, safer, and non-surgical alternatives you can choose from. If you have your mind set on a procedure to rid you of that excess fat, there are options. I won’t be sharing them here because I’m not advocating for those sorts of things.
I just want to encourage you to do excessive research if you’re considering any of these procedures that give you the same results as liposuction results. Don’t get your information about the safety and efficacy of surgical or nonsurgical fat reduction treatments from the people who provide these services. Research studies and information from people and organizations who have nothing to gain from you getting the procedure.
Consistent Healthy Behaviors
You knew I was getting to this. This is what I’m all about and not for the sake of perfection. Hear me when I say this, you will not reach or keep your ideal weight and body composition without consistent healthy behaviors for the rest of your life. Even with all the treatments and procedures, what you put into your body and your physical activity will always dictate your overall appearance.
But what are healthy behaviors? Are they limited to diet and exercise? No, they aren’t. Healthy behaviors include a healthy thought/action relationship with yourself and your body. Obsessing over your food and exercise are not healthy behaviors. Having the “perfect” appearance doesn’t make you healthy. In fact, sometimes it can mean you’re unhealthy because the so-called “perfect” appearance is difficult to attain and people use unhealthy avenues to reach it. Having self-love and a desire to care for your body, mind, and soul are what lead to healthy behaviors.
Healthy Weight vs Fitspo
First of all, when you see your “fitspo” women (fitness inspiration) on social media or at the gym, you should know that they have worked consistently for a long time to get those results. I’m talking years, not 90 days. Those kinds of physical results are long-term results that are only possible with one approach: consistency of healthy behaviors. A balanced healthy diet and regular exercise that includes both strength training and an active lifestyle in general.
But just because you don’t look “fit” doesn’t mean you aren’t at a healthy weight or even that you don’t look “good.” The fitness industry is a marketing machine. Fitness clubs and gyms alone brought in around 30 billion dollars in 2021. That doesn’t include product companies, coaches, trainers, etc. They’ve succeeded wildly at making even those who don’t have too much weight on their bodies feel like they need to be doing regular intense workout programs and strict dieting.
We can work against that by intentionally looking for alternatives. For example, instead of googling liposuction, let’s search for things like How to Stop Comparing Your Looks to Others. Use your internal voice to coach yourself through why you feel the way you feel about your body, instead of continuing to put yourself down. You’ll find that those ideas about how you should look were planted there by other people and experiences. But you can change your thoughts and ideas.
Start digging into ways to love yourself through these thoughts and feelings. Read things like Your Body: The Comparison Trap and Seeing Through It. Focus on internal growth and transformation and you’ll find yourself in a much happier place.