Who doesn’t love a good success story? Without question, my favorite part is the before and after picture. A simple snapshot gives so much hope, inspiration, and a feeling of ‘I can totally do this!’ to an individual who is currently struggling with their weight. Countless inspiration boards on Pinterest tell me that I’m not the only one who finds strength in the accomplishments of others.
That being said, those before and afters that we love so much often hide or camouflage one of the harshest realities experienced after a significant weight loss: extra skin.
If you’ve recently dropped a significant amount of weight, then this issue needs no introduction. You worked your booty off (literally!) only to be ‘rewarded’ with a body you did not envision.
Today, let’s bring this reality into the forefront and talk about how you can approach dealing with loose skin on your own terms.
Hidden Problem Made Public
(Note: Simone did not use any of IdealShape’s products during her weight loss journey. We just wanted to share her experience.) Simone Anderson recently pushed the topic of loose skin into the forefront with her (now viral) post on Instagram. After posting her initial before and after, Simone was inundated with negative comments questioning the validity of her transformation. She decided, after many hours of tears and soul-searching, to post a response that shut down the bullies.
What followed was an outpouring of support and admiration for the strength Simone displayed by sharing such a personal image with the world. It hits home for so many of us because we’re dealing with these same problems. Simone’s excess skin was a big cause of insecurity. Not long after posting the above image, she decided to undergo surgery to remove the extra skin.
Introspection Time! Understanding YOUR Feelings
Surgery to remove excess skin was the right choice for Simone, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for you. If the loose skin on your body is not causing physical discomfort or complications, a shift in your perspective may be the best approach for you.
When it comes down to it, the most important thing is feeling absolutely comfortable and confident in your own skin. Instead of feeling less-than adequate, wear your extra skin as a badge of honor. Because in reality, it’s proof of how much you’re capable of accomplishing!
An essential step in becoming comfortable in your new skin is to quit comparing it to the bodies of others. Any energy you spend on comparing your body to that model on TV or that ‘perfect’ girl on Instagram is energy that’s wasted. The fact that your body doesn’t look like theirs does not make it any less healthy or beautiful. Just because your success story might not look like those on your Pinterest board doesn’t mean your success is less incredible or deserving.
Getting Rid of Loose Skin: Your Options
Sometimes, excess skin can create physical problems. No amount of change in your perception can impact physical side effects.
Exercise & Diet Approaches to Loose Skin
Reduce Percentage of Body Fat
People often confuse excess body fat with extra skin when in reality they are two very different occurrences. If you can pinch more than a few millimeters of excess, you still have fat to lose under the layer of existing skin. While this might sound discouraging, it’s actually the easier of the two to effectively address through diet and exercise.
Build Additional Muscle
If your excess skin is not severe, building additional muscle could be just the remedy to your problem. Include muscle-building exercises in your routine and fill the gap that was once occupied by fat with lean muscle.
Adapt Your Diet and Supplement Intake
By adjusting your diet and supplement regime, you can improve your skin’s overall elasticity. Just as with building additional muscle, adjusting your diet and supplement intake will only make a visible impact if your excess skin is moderate. Eating the right fruits and vegetables, as well as looking into supplements like Gelatin and Fish Oil to improve skin’s elasticity.
Non-Surgical Topical Approaches to Loose Skin
Laser and Radiofrequency Treatments
There exists a slew of non-invasive cosmetic procedures aimed at tightening skin. Most frequently, these are used on the face and neck area. However, they are being used to effectively tighten skin on the tummy area. Thermage, Syneron, and Ulthera are a few of the more popular varieties. You can expect an improvement of around 20%, making this another great choice for light to moderate excess skin.
Creams, Wraps, and Spa Treatments
It seems like everywhere you turn there’s another miracle wrap promising to tighten skin and make you drop inches in an instant. Well, as they say, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! When it comes down to cold hard scientific data, creams and wraps have absolutely no backing in their claims of grandeur. Save yourself the money and time by avoiding them altogether!
Surgical Approaches to Loose Skin
The most effective way to get rid of extra skin is through surgery by a board-certified plastic surgeon. Clearly, this isn’t a decision to be made lightly. Body lifts and tummy tucks are major procedures that require commitment and recovery time.
What to Look for in a Plastic Surgeon
After you’ve made the decision to go the surgery route, you face the important decision of selecting your surgeon. Here are a few considerations to integrate as you start your search:
- Make sure your surgeon is board-certified by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
- Get reviews from past patients. Ask your family and friends if they can make a referral. Or look online at credible review sites like RealSelf for reviews from other patients.
- Research their backgrounds and find out if any malpractice suits have been filed against them. Perusing your state’s medical records is a great place to start.
- Make a list of questions to bring with you to consultations. Include questions around the frequency with which the surgeon performs the surgery as well as the last time he performed it.
- Book consultations with multiple plastic surgeons. This will give you the chance to assess your comfort level in the surroundings and the surgeon’s bedside manner. It’s important that you feel completely confident and trusting in whomever you select.
- Bring someone you trust to the consultation. Having a second opinion and a second set of eyes gives you someone to bounce your feelings off of. They’ll also most likely remember a question that you might have otherwise forgotten.
Types of Procedures
No matter where the excess skin is plaguing you, there’s a procedure to address it specifically. With dramatic weight loss, it’s not uncommon for individuals to undergo several of these procedures over the course of several months. Your plastic surgeon will not perform more than one or two of these procedures at once because they are so taxing on your body.
The types of procedures that are available include:
- Body Contouring (Body Lift)
- Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)
- Mastopexy (Breast Lift)
- Inner Thigh Lifts
- Brachioplasty (Arm Lift)
At the end of the day, loose skin is caused by dropping weight too quickly. That being a reason why individuals who undergo weight loss surgery almost always deal with extra skin after the pounds have shed. If you’re still on your weight loss journey, there are several preemptive steps you can take to lessen the extra skin problem you’ll face after you’ve met your goal weight.
Dropping weight at a steady pace is necessary to avoid excess skin issues in the future. The IdealShape Up Challenge is a great place to start! It’s a 12 week fitness and nutrition program that helps you burn fat and build lean muscle. The IdealShape Up Challenge keeps you on target to drop pounds at a consistent pace. That way, you can prevent sagging skin or help you firm up areas that need extra love. Plus, it’s fun and free. Sign-up today!