There’s nothing worse than working your way through a diet only to end up with skin that hangs like a curtain from a window. Unfortunately, it’s a common byproduct of weight loss. Here’s what you can to minimize the amount of loose skin during weight loss or even improve the issue after you’ve lost weight.
Loose skin is a common result of weight loss programs, especially ones that make you lose weight at a faster rate. Sagging skin during and after weight loss often occurs when weight is lost rapidly. Rapid weight loss does not allow your skin’s elasticity, its ability to stretch, to adjust to the weight loss and your new shape. Loose and saggy skin after weight loss is common on the stomach, buttocks, arms and legs but can occur anywhere. By losing weight healthily and gradually, you can prevent sagging skin.
Since it has to stretch as we move, grow, and as in the case of weight loss (shrink), skin is an incredibly elastic living organ. Yes, that’s right, skin is not just one big piece of rubber that covers the entire body, but is instead an organ, and just like all the other organs in your body, it is comprised of cells.
Why Loose Skin Happens
First, let’s take a look at the anatomy of your skin and the surrounding area. Two layers of tissue reside underneath your skin: adipose (or fat) followed by muscle tissue directly beneath. Both fat and muscle push up against the adjacent layer of skin, keeping it relatively taut before you lose weight.
The issue of loose skin begins long before any weight loss occurs. Instead, it starts when a large amount of weight is gained. When you gain weight, your skin’s surface area increases to accommodate the new fat tissue (which is why “stretch marks” sometimes occur).
While your fat cells shrink when that weight is lost, you still retain the same surface area. The new void under the larger surface area creates a layer of skin that may “hang,” because there is less tissue underneath taking up space. This is what’s known as loose or “sagging” skin.
The amount of loose skin that remains varies by individual. In fact, not everyone’s skin sags afterwards, and it depends on several factors: total weight gained and lost, age, total muscle mass, and genetics among them.
What can you do?
Step 1 – Maintain Muscle Tone
Lose 1 to 2 pounds per week. This also allows your skin’s elasticity to adjust to the weight loss. Do weight lifting and strength training exercises in addition to cardiovascular workouts. Lifting weights tighten the muscles underneath skin, which firms up the area.
Another reason behind loose skin after weight loss is the decrease in muscle mass. When you lose weight too quickly, a lot of the weight comes from your muscle tissues. This is a common effect of crash diets. When your body is deprived of nutrients and calories, it resorts to digesting fat tissues as well as muscle tissues. This muscle loss results in sagging skin. To avoid this, it’s important that you regularly perform toning exercises to maintain your muscles. A strength training workout can also help you develop muscle mass.
Step 2 – Don’t Wait
The elasticity of your skin decreases as you grow older, so if you want to lose weight without suffering from loose skin, you shouldn’t put off weight loss. Perhaps you continue to indulge in unhealthy foods with the excuse that you will just try to lose weight later. The more you put off losing weight, the less elastic your skin becomes. When you do eventually get around to losing weight, your skin might not be able to adapt as well as it used to.
Step 3 – Hydrate Your Skin
Hydration is an important factor in maintaining taut and smooth skin. It’s important that you drink a sufficient amount of water daily to make sure that your skin retains its elasticity. Avoid drinking soft drinks, energy drinks and caffeinated beverages, because these will only rob your skin of essential nutrients. If you’re looking for a drink to help you relax, drink herbal teas instead.
Step 4 – Eat Healthy Foods, and the correct amount of calories to LOSE at a Healthy Rate!
The health of your skin not only depends on the products you use, but on the foods you eat. Make sure you get plenty of nutrients from your diet. Protein, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats are all essential for healthy skin. Reduce your calorie intake by 500 to 1,000 a day (no more) to lose 1 to 2 pounds a week. Try keeping track of everything you eat and drink in order to add up your calorie intake accurately. A healthy weight loss goal is to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week. Losing more than 2 pounds per week will mean the weight is less likely to stay off permanently and sagging skin.
Last but not least understand that fitness is a never ending journey. We however want to comfort you in knowing that if you have loose skin, some level of improvement is still under your control without the need for surgery.
The Key is getting started