You’ve done it!
You have finally reached your goal body weight that you have worked so long and hard to achieve. But, what is left behind may be less appealing than you had predicted.
Many times, when individuals lose a considerable amount of weight, they are left with what appears to be loose and saggy skin hanging down in the abdominal, thigh and hip areas. This can be quite disappointing after all the hard work you have put forth in order to achieve your new body.
However, there are things you can do to address this issue and send that “extra skin” packing.
Common Misconceptions of Extra Skin
To start off, lets put it out there that what many times is thought of as extra skin, is not skin at all. Although we often don’t think of it this way, our skin is a living organ that adapts to the environment around it, whether it be inside or outside of our body.
So, if the left over hanging flesh is not skin, what is it?
Most often, the extra hanging stuff left behind after weight loss is stubborn body fat. This layer of fat under the skin weighs the skin down causing it to look saggy and loose. This layer of fat is soft and flabby and can easily be grabbed, making it appear to be skin.
There are also some cases when the extra skin left behind may actually be skin. You can identify this by grabbing the areas that are hanging around. If the tissue you are grabbing is only a few millimeters thick, it is likely that you are actually dealing with excess skin.
What to Do About Extra Skin
Now that we know the difference between extra skin and stubborn fat, we lets address the real reason you are probably reading this article. What can you do about the extra skin look that is left behind after weight loss?
When dealing with stubborn body fat, the easiest way to see results is by continuing to reduce your overall body fat. This should be done by tracking your body fat levels to ensure that it does not drop too low and to make sure you are losing body fat and not lean body mass. In order to calculate and track your body fat percentage correctly, I would recommend finding or hiring someone who knows how to do so correctly.
If you have already reached a healthy body weight and do not want to continue losing weight, try adding in an exercise program that focuses on building lean muscle mass in order to maintain your weight while losing body fat. This will also help you rebuild lean body mass that is often decreased while losing a considerable amount of weight.
If the tissue left behind is in fact loose skin, you may have to go through surgery to get it removed. As we age the elasticity or our skin and its ability to adapt to its surrounding environment declines. There are some things you can try to improve the elasticity of your skin such as eating a healthy diet.
How to Avoid This Issue In the First Place
The extra skin look, whether it be stubborn fat or actual extra skin, is usually caused by losing body weight fast. This usually involves losing lean body weight in addition to unwanted fat.
In order to reduce the chances of ending up with this extra tissue, it is best to maintain a healthy diet while consistently following a good exercise program that focuses on maintaining lean body mass. Also, do not try to lose the weight too quickly. Remember, you didn’t put the weight on over night and conversely you are not going to loose it over night. Your body, including your skin, needs time to adjust as you lose weight.
A good goal to shoot for when losing weight in a healthy manner is 1-2 pounds per week. This may not seem like a lot, but over time it will pay off.
So, whether you are just starting on your weight loss journey or you have already reached your goal, remember the things discussed above regarding extra skin. Whether the flesh left behind is actually skin or just stubborn body fat, you don’t have to live with it forever. If you are just starting out on your weight loss journey, try to stick to a healthy diet and exercise program.
The IdealShape Up Challenge is a great place to start! It’s a 12 week fitness and nutrition program that will help you build lean, toned muscle while burning fat. The IdealShape Up Challenge will keep you on target to help you lose weight slowly but surely. That way you can prevent sagging skin or help you firm up areas that need some help. Plus, it’s fun and free, sign-up today!
By Wes Young