Dr. Sattler's Blog on Fitness and Nutrition

I have consciously focused on creating content for this website that is related to my field - plastic and reconstructive surgery. But over the past few years in my Seattle area plastic surgery practice, I've encountered dozens of patients that had questions about diet, exercise, health, and nutrition as components of a healthier lifestyle. I'm not a nutritionist, or a physical therapist, but I do have some information to share with you on these topics.


A 'diet' should become your lifestyle, your 'eating style'. A good diet should be something that you enjoy, look forward to eating every day, and can prepare in a reasonable amount of time. Otherwise, your diet becomes a passing fad and you won't benefit from what it has to offer. The diet that has worked for me personally and will probably work for you can be summarized with a few simple statements.

  1. Drop the sources of carbohydrate from your diet that contain processed flour, sugar and high amounts of starch. Stop eating these products.
  2. Substitute vegetables and some fruits as your carbohydrate sources instead of the 'carbs' that we all know and love.
  3. Substantially increase the amount of protein from meat and fish sources, preferably from local, grass-fed or line-caught sources. Think 'wild salmon' and 'grass-fed beef' !
  4. Cook for yourself and your family as much as possible. Don't eat out. Portion control is important, and we tend to overeat when we are not cooking and cleaning up. 
  5. Drink more water, a lot more. Keep a water bottle with you at all times. About an ounce of water per kilogram body weight per day is sufficient for most. For a 150 lb person, that's close to six 12 oz. bottles of water.


If you exercise regularly, several things will happen to you. You'll likely live longer. You will lose some weight. Your bone density and muscle mass will improve. You will sleep better at night and likely will see some improvement in mood, sex drive and mental clarity. Let's admit that we all want to 'look better naked', which is one reason to consider cosmetic surgery in the first place.
Let's see what else we can do beyond cosmetic surgery to look and feel terrific.
Here is my exercise advice in a few simple statement.

  1. Lift weights. Moving your body against resistance has a number of obvious benefits. Less obvious are the immense cardio-pulmonary benefits that one derives from weight lifting. Weight lifting has also been shown to improve growth hormone production, enhance testosterone production in men, and improve mood. Your clothes will fit better and your confidence will improve. People will notice a difference. 
  2. Get Outside. Doing a workout outside of the gym, in the Great Outdoors, is a lot more fun and motivating than the same workout at home or a super globo-gym. Get a mountain bike, sea kayak, or some back-country skis and explore the amazing outdoor world we have in our backyard here in Washington.
  3. Short and fast is better than long and arduous. We all are super busy. Workouts take time away from family, jobs, sleep and other pursuits. The benefits of hard, fast exercise (high intensity interval training or HIIT) during a short time period are much greater than long arduous suffer-fests like marathon running or a 100 mile bike ride. Long distance efforts over several hours puts the athlete at risk for injury, prolonged fatigue and boredom.   I'd recommend checking out a Crossfit gym, Olympic weight lifting gym or a personal trainer in your area for ideas on hard-fast exercise routines. Do them 4-5 days per week, 20 mins per session. 
  4. Take a Class. If exercise is not fun, you are not going to look forward to it and you will find excuses to not do it. Other people generally make activities fun due to the added social element. That's called a 'community'. Check out a barre class, Crossfit gym or a Mountaineers class to immerse yourself in a fitness oriented community. Other members in the class will hold you accountable for 'showing up' and working hard. Try it!
  5. Good for Skin. Vigorous exercise has been shown to increase the thickness of the dermal layer of your skin. Youthful skin has a thicker dermal layer ! Read a summary of the research here.

Preparing for your Cosmetic Surgery with Nutrition

The following are general recommendations to prepare your body for the 'trauma' of cosmetic surgery. I use the word 'trauma' because any type of surgery is injurious to your tissues. Proper healing of that soft tissue injury is essential for a good, stable cosmetic result with an acceptable scar quality. Based on my experience with surgical patients over the past 15 years, here are my recommendations for peri-operative nutrition for all surgical patients, especially multi-site body contouring patients.

  1. Begin a light exercise routine at least 3 months prior to your surgical date. The goal is to improve your cardio-pulmonary fitness, which will allow more oxygen delivery to your healing tissues. Stair climbing, kettle bell work, cycling, rowing, hiking, jogging on hills are all good ways to prepare. 
  2. Increase your protein intake. I recommend (for healthy patients with normal renal function etc) to increase protein intake to 1.5 grams per kilogram of body weight daily (divide your weight in lbs by 2.2 to get kilograms). That's a lot of protein. You'll need adequate protein to heal the surgical injury we will create with surgery. I would start this diet 2-3 weeks prior to surgery date and continue for one month post op. Try the addition of a of a whey protein (20-30 grams per 1 scoop of whey protein powder in most products) shake post-exercise to bump up the protein intake without adding a lot of calories.
  3. Stop smoking. Never start.
  4. Begin a Vitamin C supplement (1000 mg) and a Multi-Vitamin tablet daily for one month prior to surgery and one month post op.

That's all for now !


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