What to Eat to Prevent Weight Gain Since Cant Workout After Breast Augmentation?

I'm huge into health and fitness and I am pretty much addicted to working out and so not working out for 4 weeks freaks me out! I am great at doing my meal replacement shakes and oatmeal and lean meats for dinner with veggies but what are some other tricks to not gain weight while I can't workout and other things that are good to eat? I'm also nervous about losing my muscle definition in my arms. Thanks!

Doctor Answers 9

Will you get fat and lose muscle tone while healing after breast augmentation?

This is a common concern, especially for those who really sweat the details of their daily intake and usual exercise routine. BTW, congratulations on discovering the key to maintaining weight and fitness: "Calories in vs. calories out!"

Although there can be many specific recommendations, such as Dr. Minniti's excellent ones, I'll trust that you are well-versed in both what is good for you as well as what your body needs and tolerates (not to mention enjoys). So let's stick to basics.

Healing after surgery requires a significantly-increased  energy source, so even if your intake doesn't change much from your pre-surgical (with daily exercise) routine, your decreased activity levels after surgery are offset by the increased caloric needs of healing. In other words, if you decrease caloric intake while you are healing (to try to accomodate for being less active), your body doesn't have the fuel to heal properly. This is not trivial!

And if you feel that you will lose tone and definition while not exercising, realize that you can still be active, just not in periodic bursts of high-cardio burn. You can walk and move constantly (without raising blood pressure or pulse), burning calories and maintaining muscle activity, all while maintaining the consistent energy needed to heal without excessive bleeding, bruising, or even re-operation. Not to mention capsular contracture.

Specific things to avoid while healing after breast surgery are activities that involve the arms, especialy repetitive ones, such as elliptical trainers with arm motion, Nordic Track-like devices, rowing machines, etc. Treadmill use or jogging is best avoided at first (3 weeks or so--ask your surgeon) to minimize up and down movement of the breasts. When this is allowed, you should wear a supportive jog bra or two.

Realize that complete healing takes an average of 7 months, but you can safely return to daily activities right away, exercise activities in 3-4 weeks, and super-strenuous activites (kickboxing, contact karate, pole-vaulting, trapeze sex, etc.--just checking if you're really following me here) in about 6 weeks. As long as you return to your usual full-burn activities gradually, and according to your surgeon's recommendations (to avoid injury or damage to your new breasts), you will be able to do everything you did before surgery without concern. (Although you will also need to avoid tanniing beds or nude beaches for about a year until your scars fade completely.)

Also realize that thinking you "know better" than this ends up with you having a re-operation and doubling the time from your usual routines, plus the addition risk, cost, and reduction in likelihood of desired cosmetic result! Losing weight or exercising while trying to heal is not a good idea! Best wishes! Dr. Tholen

Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 238 reviews

Post Surgical Nutrition


First, patients having a routine breast augmentation are doing lower body exercise in 7 days, and light upper body in 14 days.  I'd have another discussion with your doctor about such a long hiatus.

As for proper nutrition, if you are really going to be inactive, then cut your carbs! Trade oatmeal for eggs in the morning.  Stop the protein shakes, and in general, avoid processed food. Whole vegetables and berries only, along with chicken, eggs, and occasional beef.  Stick to this and you'll stay lean!

Best of luck!

Gerald Minniti, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 78 reviews

Prevent Weight Gain after Aug

I don't think one needs to be overly concerned with this (easy for me to say, I know...) but it's only a few weeks at the most and, in that time, you're not likely to get too far behind.  You'll be able to catch up quickly once you restart your routine, although I advise my patients not to start working out until at least three weeks after surgery.

I hope that this helps and good luck,

Dr. E

Not working out after Augmentation

It sounds like you have a good idea of what to do to keep being healthy after your surgery.  The most important thing you can eat for healing reasons is protein.  These are the building blocks for healing tissues.  You don't have to wait a full 4 weeks to work out - it is true that you should not work on your arms during this time - but you can walk or ride the bike a couple weeks after surgery.  You just don't want to do anything bouncy or increase your blood pressure immediately after surgery to cause bleeding.  Good luck!  K. Roxanne Grawe, MD Columbus Plastic Surgeon

Avoiding weight gain after surgery

If you exercise less, you will probably not have as much appetite either.  If you really want to avoid weight gain, weigh yourself frequently after surgery.  Also you should be able to substitute your exercise with something less strenuous, like going on long walks and gradually easing back into excercise with your surgeon's guidance.  No need to freak out, you sound motivated enough that it should not be an issue in your case.  Good luck!

Ronald J. Edelson, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Preventing weight gain after surgery

As a fellow exercise-addict, I understand your concerns.  However, I would also advise you to relax.  Since you are compulsive about your diet, nutrition, and exercise, it is likely that you will quickly return to your original fitness level following surgery.  Also, make sure that you have enough protein and vitamins in your diet to promote good wound healing.  Please be sure to follow your surgeon's instruction since he or she is the one who is doing the surgery, and discuss any questions or concerns with him or her.  Good luck!

Anureet K. Bajaj, MD
Oklahoma City Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Weight Gain & Surgery

Thank you for your question. Exercise is a good addiction. It promotes health and norma weight. If you stick to the regimen you discribed you should heal well without gaining weight. Most surgeons allow light activities like walking after a couple of weeks. This will help you psychologically with your weight concerns. You are unlikely to gain a lot of weight in your postop period. Concentrate on having an uneventful recovery.  All the best.

Eating and Convalescence After Breast Aug.

You can regain your muscle definition after you recover, so stop worrying.    You can slowly increase your activity level after your surgery, but if you push your muscle too hard (if you have submuscular breast implants) you can tear the muscle and it will hurt for months. Follow your doctors directions, since he or she knows you and your situation the best.

If you need guidance for your eating, study the Zone Diet.  You eat more when you are active and go back down to baseline when you are unable to be active.  That way you maintain your weight just fine.  The Zone Diet is a life style and very healthy.  It gives you the lists of appropriate foods to choose from, balances every meal, and gives you the exact portion sizes for you.  That way you don't need to be concerned if you are eating the right amounts of the right foods. It takes all the worry away!  Best of luck for a speedy and uneventful recovery.


Deborah Ekstrom, MD
Worcester Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Tricks to avoid weight gain after augmentation

You should be able to do lower body exercise by two weeks after, such as a recumbant bike. The secret to avoiding weight gain though is having a meal plan and sticking to it. It sounds like you know what to eat. Just avoid the temptation to fill time while you are less active with food and snacks.

Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.