Kudos to Kevin Federline

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I was recently struck as I watched an interview with Kevin Federline,  Britney Spears’s  X, who was discussing the media ridicule of his massive weight gain following their breakup.  He is now in the process of losing weight and already looks great.   As a body builder, plastic surgeon, nutrition expert, professional dancer (as is Kevin) and author of The Brown Fat Revolution (Brown Fat Diet), I want to give Kevin a huge shout out!   He stands as a role model for overweight celebrities as to how to inspire viewers.  So many celebrities are weight-challenged and continue to demonstrate to their fans that despite daily personal  trainers, personal nutritionists,  motivational psychologists, they  cannot gain control of  what they eat and  lose weight.  I have heard so many women say to me, “hey, if she cannot do it with all of that personal help, how can I?”  Well, ladies check out Kevin.

As a clinician who has evaluated patients for 28 years concerned about the appearance of their bodies, I felt that Kevin’s body language, verbal tone and facial expressions were indicative of a young man who had successfully learned how to love and respect himself and move on with life despite a celebrity style divorce and  the circus-like attention that followed.    He stands as an example for men and women who use all sorts of excuses as to why they are fat.  He knows that his devastated heart was controlling what went into his mouth and why he got fat. He now appears to be moving on with a positive, self-respecting maturity.   Kevin learned that it was necessary to gain control of emotion and  perspective.   Food did not make him feel better.

Great comeback, Kevin!

Cozy Foods

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Barbara, the monster snow storm is hitting Connecticut today and my wife and I are pretty much in a welcome lock down at home.   As the author of The Brown Fat Diet , I intuitively know what to eat to stay in shape;  however, this morning,  I found my mind acting differently.  I was thinking about baking a cake/brownies or having pancakes for breakfast!   The power of the brain and memory!   Hmmm how to handle this conflict of food choice that I am sure so many of us feel on days like today?

The brain (specifically, the amygdala) has this incredible ability to connect to past experiences and create cravings for things associated with good times.  In this case, probably,  those  unexpected and welcome days off from school, when my mom would cook all the comfort foods.

Those of you who follow me or have read my book, The Brown Fat Revolution, know that I strongly believe that occasional side steps when you are on a diet are OK and actually work to keep you comfortable with food and not feel deprived.  So, I will have a brownie today and whole wheat pancakes with low sugar syrup/no butter and not feel at all guilty.

Life is about the experience and not to embrace the connections that we have garnered from the past in a positive way and enjoy is nonsense.  After 20 years of eating according to the principles of The Brown Fat Diet, I can firmly testify that this one day of  relaxation combined with visual beauty (the snow) and gustatory coziness will not affect the shape of my body!

Cupid's Chocolates!

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February 14th, only 6 weeks since the New Year’s resolution to lose weight and here comes the first holiday threat to your self-control:  Valentine’s Day.  If your sweetheart gives you chocolate, do you say, “Sorry, on a diet.”  Absolutely, not!  That is extremely unattractive.  You can stay on board with your diet but still enjoy Valentine’s chocolate. 

I recommend good quality, dark chocolates in a small attractive box or bag.   Isn’t it more romantic to share two wonderful chocolates with your Valentine with a glass of champagne than to buy a big velvet box?  Is size a measure of love?   I remember those 1 and even 5-pound boxes of chocolates that they would sell in the drug stores when I was a kid.   Not romantic!  What is the message here?  I love you, so let me help you get fat! To not have chocolate on Valentine’s Day is almost un-American.  Do it!  Enjoy!

Anyone who has read the introduction to my book, The Brown Fat Revolution, knows that I  am a chocoholic!   I am a bodybuilder who once relished a complete box of Mallomars after a hard day in the operating room.   So, I realize the therapeutic effect of a great piece of chocolate.    A piece or two is healthy.  A box, that’s another story! 

In The Brown Fat Diet I recommend eating dark chocolate in small pieces to control that occasional  and completely normal urge.   When you gotta have it, go ahead and have it.    Here is what to do:  Get a bag of dark chocolate Hershey’s kisses, put them in the freezer  and pop 3 or 4 when you get the urge.  Freezing them makes them last longer in your mouth so your taste buds can savor them and prolong the pleasure.

To ignore chocolate on Valentine’s Day is almost un-American.  Do it!  Enjoy!  But don’t eat a box!  Make it dark, make it of high quality and make it reasonable in quantity.

Guiltless Super Bowl Sunday

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If you are on The Brown Fat Diet from The Brown Fat Revolution, or any diet, you may already be getting sweaty palms about what to eat today on Super Bowl Sunday! 

Make this your “choice day” for the week.  In The Brown Fat Diet this is the one day per week when you can let it go.   Once you are eating healthfully, you will not really want to go eat two pizzas and chocolate cake, even on choice day!  If you were to indulge, your body just would not feel well.   However, I think everyone should enjoy life to the fullest and give themselves some leeway in the alcohol and food department during an event like the Super Bowl.  

I like to drink beer instead of liquor since there are so many great low cal, low carb choices.  Check this out for calorie counts: http://www.beer100.com/beercalories.htm

And enjoy those classic goodies:  buffalo wings, nachos, burritos; just control portions.  You will be just fine psychologically on Monday morning when you resume The Brown Fat Diet or other food regimen.  Do remember that working out more to make up for these calories will have minimal effect.  Get back on track by resuming good eating habits. 

The Brown Fat Diet is a way of life for me, so I plan on just resuming eating the way I have for fifteen years, assured that I have maintained optimal brown fat and not deposited loose yellow fat.    I work too hard in the gym to blow it, but I’m confident that one choice day, Super Bowl Sunday, will have no effect in the long run.  So relax and enjoy!

No Time to Work Out?

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So many of my patients tell me that they do not have time to exercise, they can’t afford a gym membership, they’re not comfortable working out in front of other people, or they are afraid they’ll bulk up if they weight train.  Hearing those concerns, I developed an exercise program for my book, The Brown Fat Revolution, that’s an at-home, inexpensive, total body lean muscle workout that will give you back those firm arms, flat belly and youthful posture.  No bulking up!  I promise.

In The Brown Fat Revolution exercise plan, lean muscle is increased in all of the muscles, so your basal metabolism is fired up to burn excess calories and prevent the formation of ugly yellow fat; this is the fat that hangs off of your arms and belly.

As you stick to The Brown Fat Diet , you will form brown fat, the fat that makes your face look young and your feminine curves look defined and sexy.

My secret:  Use resistance bands.  Studies have shown that they are 24% more effective than weights in lean muscle gain and definition.  They are inexpensive and easily stored at home or in a suitcase for travel.  The fitness model for my book is a Yoga instructor and she found the photo session with the bands a real kick-ass workout.  That made me feel really good!  No work, no gain.

So, get the bands, get the book, and get going!  No excuses!  Get rid of that old yellow fat and rebuild the volumes of youth with lean muscle and brown fat!

NY Times: Targeting Fat Without Surgery

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This week’s New York Times article titled, “Zap or Chill?  Targeting Fat without Surgery” was brought to my attention by my friend, an anesthesiologist at Yale, who was really raising the issue of why the public does not understand that most of this nonsense is just that — nonsense!   He hasn’t lived in the world of plastic surgery where “The American Journal of Vogue” holds more importance to some patients than The American Journal of Plastic Surgery

Apparently one laser-based device, the Zeltiq, which promises to tackle love handles without surgery, was presented on “The Doctors.”  I did not see the show, but I know the plastic surgeon on the show personally, Dr. Andrew Ordon, and I can assure you, he is experienced  enough to know what does and does not work!  But the public sees it on TV and advertised and marketed to be the miracle for love handles or muffin tops.  The positive marketing tools:  an office procedure, no anesthesia, not too expensive, quick recovery, projected magical results; even the most rational person would sign up. 

In my book, The Brown Fat Revolution, I present the first mainstream cycling diet — cycling of carbs and proteins — which stabilizes insulin and fat deposition.    Once you adhere to this diet, you will see the muffin top melt and the love handles disappear.  Both are made of yellow fat, which shreds right off in weeks.

There are no miracles in plastic surgery!   The best way to take control of your shape is to eat well.   Love handles and muffin tops are made in the kitchen.   Standard liposuction and liposculpture can be very successful after one has achieved her best shape by controlling what goes in her mouth.  So, the best way to target fat without surgery is to eat well.

Little Girl with an Old Face

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On Monday, February 1, 2010, the TODAY Show had a riveting segment on a 13-year-old English girl with the face of a 50-year-old woman.  She is the victim of a genetically-determined disease called Lipodystrophy Syndrome.   In this disease, there is little or no subcutaneous fat, so the skin is not supported or filled with fat, and the normal facial shapes that we associate with youth are absent.   This girl indeed looks 50.   Her mother, who is 40 but looks 70, has the same syndrome, as do three of her seven siblings.

This heart-wrenching story highlights the obvious psychological trauma that awaits this young girl as she enters her teens, when peer criticism typically ranges from acute to mean.  

As a plastic surgeon, I can think of a number of treatment options to fill her face so she looks like a teenager.   Sculptra, an injectable poly L lactic acid first used in men with AIDS and now approved by the FDA for aesthetic facial filling, would be an excellent option.  It is long lasting, extremely effective for global filling, and has not shown any allergic reactions.  It is basically the same material used for decades to dissolve sutures.  Therefore, I do not see any contraindication in a young girl.   Since she does not have fat to spare, we cannot transfer fat as a graft, which would be another good option.  

I am trying to reach out to this family.  The course of this young girl’s psychological life can be dramatically changed with two office visits and Sculptra!   Her mom needs to know that this is available. 

As the author of The Brown Fat Revolution, I make the point that fat is the most important determinant of facial aging.  The effects of Lipodystrophy Syndrome illustrate that point.  This 13-year-old face doesn’t look old due to gravity, the descent of tissue, or wrinkles, the common characteristics that we think cause aging.  The only missing structure is fat!  Women need fat to look young and healthy.  They need toned, well-structured brown fat!   Brown fat is the answer to an ageless face.

Getting in Shape

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While in Philadelphia this weekend, instructing doctors on non-invasive techniques to make the face look younger, I was having breakfast.  Beautiful hotel, beautiful restaurant.  The  breakfast menu had a boldly outlined box at the upper left  corner entitled, “Getting in Shape.” There were four choices, three of which were loaded with calories and carbohydrates!   I get crazy when buzzwords like “whole wheat” are used to disguise a bad choice, one that definitely would not help anyone “get in shape.”

Here it is:  “Wheat Belgian Waffle or Pancake with Cinnamon Apple Compote!”  Does the use of “whole wheat” make this a “Getting in Shape” breakfast?   Since we are using “wheat” as an adjective, is it okay to eat a whole loaf of bread?  Absolutely not!  This supposedly shape-enhancing choice would deliver a whopping dose of calories in the form of carbohydrates.  Insulin would spike, the sugars would be quickly removed from the blood and be stored as yellow fat, and then there would be a rebound effect and you would be very hungry in less than two hours.   All of us have experienced this syndrome after a carb-loaded meal.  Just think of how you feel two hours after Thanksgiving dinner!

In The Brown Fat Diet, I teach women how to keep insulin levels even to avoid the deposition of yellow fat in all of those problem areas:  arms, lower belly, back, flanks.   This hotel’s poor breakfast choice would have set up the fat metabolism for the day and I can assure you, if you ate a “Getting in Shape” breakfast like this too often, you would not be empowered by the shape that you see in the mirror.