Weight loss conversations are taking place everywhere you look; television commercials, radio, internet, book stores, work, even your gym. Losing weight is a great thing and something to be celebrated when it's done through hard work and consistency. But, how often do you hear about what follows "extreme" weight loss? Many people are surprised when they've lost 100 lbs. or more, to find themselves left with the horrors of excess skin. Well, this is not a subject that usually accompanies weight loss but it is a very big deal for many who are left with this aftermath.
You may not know this but the skin is incredibly elastic. It can stretch and retract to a huge degree. In fact, the healthier you are overall, the better chance your skin has to return to its natural state after weight loss. Just how elastic your skin is, will depend greatly on genetics, age and environment. For instance, if you are someone who has to manage an astronomical amount of stress and pressure, whether it be due to work or even home, it can play a huge role in affecting your body by aging it. One of the most noticeable signs...wrinkles. Another instance consists of the amount of sun you subject your skin to, or the foods you eat, etc. All of these play a role in how your body changes over time, gradually affecting the changing of your skin.
Aging is a fact of life. How well you age depends on genetics and your lifestyle thus far. For example, someone in their teens to early 20's may experience extreme weight loss and the skin returns to its natural state pre-extreme weight. But someone in their 40's or older, may experience extreme weight loss and find that he or she has to deal with excess skin that did not return to its original state. One of the reasons will depend on how long you have been overweight. If it's been several years or more, the body has simply adapted to the excess weight and when it's no longer there, that skin is left, having been filled with the excess fat underneath it for so long. Another reason will depend on how quickly you lose the weight. Proper weight loss should be a gradual process of 1.5 to 2 pounds per week. This will minimize the onset of excess skin. However, there are exceptions in every case, it just depends on the individual..
If you are someone who is dealing with excess skin, or know of someone who is dealing with it, don't be alarmed. There are things you can do. One of the first things you will need to do, and have probably already started, is make sure your nutrition is intact. Food consumption has a lot to do with how you feel, but also how you look. Many foods and supplements work well for good healthy skin, such as; fish oil and flax oil. It is important to consume foods with antioxidants such as; vegetables and fruits.The best recourse for excess skin after weight loss is resistance training. It builds muscle underneath the skin. Muscle is metabolically active and lean.The muscle's job is to take the place of the fat you lost and prevent sagging excess skin. Don't forget one of the most overlooked components to weight loss and fitness, WATER! That's right, drink water and lots of it. It too does wonders for the body and the skin. Also, since muscle is made up of mostly water, the two are crucial to any changes you make in your body's transformation.
Here's something else you should do; give your body time to catch up. Many people's first reaction to loose skin is surgery. Surgery should be your very last resort. Sometimes, just allowing your body to identify with the changes it's gone through is all you need. When you remain consistent with your exercise and routine, the skin will gradually tighten even more. However, it takes time. Even if it turns out that it does not return to its original glory, it can get better.
Sometimes, after losing an excessive amount of weight, people "jump the gun". They see the loose skin and either resort to trying to find a surgeon, or dive back into old habits, slowly putting the weight back on out of sheer disappointment and frustration with the belief that they can't lose anymore. Instead of focusing on the weight they've lost, they convince themselves that they've tried, failed and nothing works; instead of continuing to fight, even when it feels like a lost cause.
When contemplating surgery, make sure you know that you have lost all of the body fat you need to lose. Know what your body fat percentage is. For example, if your body fat level is 40%, then you are not done with weight loss. Although, your levels may have come down a great deal, there is still a bit more to lose. The average body fat level for a man is 16% and for a woman, it's 20 to 25%. If a man is looking to get ripped, his body fat levels need to be in the single digits, and a woman's digits should be in the teens. So if this is the goal, then there are still things left to do before you consider surgery. The bottom line is this; you want tighter skin? Then, improve your body composition by building more muscle which decreases body fat. Don't just settle for the level of average, go for great! If you are consistent enough to get to teen and single digit body fat levels, more than likely, you won't be looking at excess skin. However, if you have lost all of the body fat you need to rid, and you do find that the loose skin remains, it's then that you begin to consider surgery. Skin removal is expensive and invasive. Recovery is also painful. So, make sure you have exhausted all avenues before going down this road.
Taking care of your body through exercise, diet and environment, has so many benefits that affect you long term. So consider the possibilities as new hope for rejuvenating life back into a body that once stretched itself beyond what was thought to be of no return.