Regular followers of this blog would know by now that I am on a weight loss and healthy lifestyle journey. I have lost 27kg so far and I feel better about myself than I have ever felt in 33 years. We all know that when losing weight we risk getting flabby and sagging skin. 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. So I was very well aware of this from when I started dieting and took measures to prevent it.
Why Loose Skin Happens
First, let’s take a look at the anatomy surrounding our skin. Two layers of tissue reside underneath your skin: the 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 put on. When you gain weight, your skin’s surface area increases so as 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 in different people. In fact, not everyone’s skin sags after dieting, and it also depends on several factors: such as the total weight gained and lost, age, total muscle mass, and genetics amongst others..
Some people have a massive amount of loose skin that only surgery can fix. Others have none at all, despite significant weight loss.
Then there are those in the middle, where there’s room to prevent loose skin during weight loss as well as improve it afterwards.
I thought about this from day 1 of my diet and luckily so far I have very little flabby skin.
1. Lose Weight at a Reasonable Pace
There’s a high correlation between how quickly you lose weight and the amount of loose skin they end up with.
In order to lose weight, you must eat less than what your body burns. When the deficit you create is reasonable and you’re losing around 0.5 kg – 1 kg per week in the beginning, and of course the majority of the weight lost is fat. While if you chose these fad crash diets with 500 cals only per day a you will lose weight faster in the beginning but there’s a higher risk that this weight loss will come from muscle tissue, especially when done over a prolonged period of time.Keep a slow and steady pace and a caloric deficit of around 15% below your maintenance calories. You’ll retain much more muscle tissue, thus keeping your skin “tight.” And it will also be more sustainable long term – a crash diet is not only unhealthy but unsustainable.
Similar to the reasons above, incorporating strength training will allow you to maintain more muscle mass, or even build muscle if you have never done this sort of training before.
Lastly, make sure to keep protein intake high. During caloric deficit this will not only prevent the loss of lean mass, but also ensure that you have the optimum amount for building blocks to actually bulil new muscle. so always make sure you take some form of protein after you train to allow for muscle recovery. I have recently starting taking a protein shake when i come back from the gym.
2. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
As if you needed another reason to drink more water? Beyond what it does for your energy and overall weight loss, staying hydrated is one of the biggest contributors to skin elasticity. So important, in fact, that The American College of Sports Medicine reported that individuals who stay adequately hydrated along the entirety of their weight loss journey are less likely to have severe sagging skin.
3. Make use of the right supplements
It’s critical that your diet supplies the right macro nutrients to accelerate weight loss and promote overall health. Other nutrients can work wonders in building skin elasticity, but it’s harder to get them through a normal diet.
One such example is gelatin, which has been shown in some studies to increase elasticity in skin. Another example is fish oil, as one of its multiple benefits includes improving the skin elasticity in women. You can get this oil from oily fish and avocados but you can also take fish oil supplements.
There is also the option of taking a collagen supplement, such as Imedeen, Collagen makes up about 30 percent of the protein in your body, and it is known as a binding supplement that provides support for the skin and holds muscle and joint fibers together.
So collagen is super important when it comes to your skin health… especially when it comes to weight loss and loose skin! Taking Collagen can help support your skin from the inside out, and strengthen its’ elasticity and ability to hold its’ firmness and form even after significant weight loss. I started Imedeen about 2 months into my diet and I am really glad I did. Apart from the fact that my skin looks radiant, my dark circles have decreased and my skin feels great even after waking up early to go jogging in the heat and in the cold too now.
4. Use firming oils
Invest in a good firming oil and apply it everyday after you shower to make sure to maintain appropriate elasticity in your skin! I am using the Collistar Firming oil because its a dry oil, has an amazing smell and leaves my skin feeling 10 years younger but there are many great firming oils available out there.