Loose Skin and Weight Loss
Quick weight loss is the coveted dream of dieters all over the world. To enjoy better health and confidence - and to do it all in a matter of months - is the hope of everyone who goes on a crash diet or undergoes bariatric surgery.
Sometimes quick weight loss is attainable. It can even be sustained if the dieter is willing to make long-term lifestyle changes that promote a healthier weight. But sometimes rapid weight loss comes with unforeseen consequences.
Loose skin is a common complaint among people who have lost a lot of weight in a short amount of time. Now that they have lost a massive amount of fat, their skin hangs in drapes from their arms, back, and stomach.
For some, this is merely a cosmetic concern. For others, it leads to impaired range of motion.
While loose skin is a sad fact of quick weight loss, there are ways to avoid it, or to deal with it if it becomes a problem.
Slow Weight Loss = Tighter Skin
For starters, you could lose weight at a slower pace. If you lose your extra pounds over the course of years instead of months, your skin will slowly shrink to adapt.
However, some people are prone to saggy skin due to age or genetics. For them, even a moderate weight loss could result in unsightly folds.
Other people must undergo bariatric surgery for the sake of their health, so slow weight loss might not be an option. If prevention doesn't work, there are ways to get rid of loose skin.
The Surgical Approach
Cosmetic surgery is the fastest way to rid yourself of excess skin. Arm lifts and tummy tucks are popular procedures for getting rid of flab. Both are expensive, but many patients feel that the renewed confidence they feel is worth the price.
If you decide to have surgery to remove loose skin, schedule an initial consultation to discuss your expectations. The surgeon will recommend the appropriate procedures, and will show you before-and-after photos of patients who underwent the same surgeries.
What if you can't afford cosmetic surgery, or you have a health condition which makes you an unsuitable candidate for voluntary surgery? In that case, you can try losing more fat.
The Fat-Loss Theory
Yes, lose more fat. You may be thinking, "I haven't got any more fat to lose! My skin looks like empty bags!"
In extreme cases, such as cases where the patient cannot move around normally, excess skin should be trimmed away by a surgeon. But for everyone else, a little more fat loss could do the trick.
The theory goes like this: If you pinch the skin on the back of your hand, it feels thin as paper. That's because it has very little subcutaneous fat.
But if you pinch your stomach or the backs of your upper arms, you might notice that the folds of skin are thicker there than on your hands. That's because, despite appearances, you're still carrying a layer of fat in those places.
Losing fat does not necessarily mean losing weight. In fact, as you ramp up the strength-training to build muscle, you may notice a weight gain. That's because muscle is denser than fat. You will end up smaller, but heavier - and healthier.
This approach takes patience and perseverance. It could take months or even years for you to reach a low body fat percentage.
It could take just as long for your skin to shrink to its former size. In the end, your metabolism will be faster than ever thanks to your increased muscle mass.
Loose skin happens. If it's happening to you, explore your alternatives by doing a little research and deciding which path you want to take. Whether it's prevention, surgery, or fat loss, your choice will bring you closer to the body you want.