You should feel wonderful! You have had to get a whole new wardrobe because you shrunk four sizes! You have new energy and a new enthusiasm for life!
Yet… you are not happy with how you look, because… you have loose hanging skin!
If you’ve lost weight recently, you may have noticed that you have loose skin hanging around. Whether it is flaps under your arms, or a hanging pouch around your stomach, loose skin can be an embarrassing issue. This happens with any diet where a lot of weight is lost. If you think about it, this is just a logical occurrence. All that stretched skin is no longer padded with all the layers of fat! So it is vital to remember:
It was not the weight-loss that damaged or stretched the skin… it was the excess fat and weight gain!!
Now you have lost the weight, you are at least healthier! But the stretched skin still remains! But there is some good news…stretched and damaged skin is not usually permanent. However, it can take a while for the skin to catch up and contract, in some cases, for instance where the person was previously severely obese, it can take up to two years!
The good news with the TLC-Program is that skin generally recovers much quicker and more effectively than with any other fatloss program. This is due to the human Growth Hormone that improves the elasticity of the skin.
However, there are several factors that can affect how quickly, and to what extent, your skin recovers after being so ‘abused’ with excess fat. If you are older, have poor nutrition, aren’t hydrated, have excessive sun exposure or smoke, you will have decreased elasticity, and recovery of damaged skin will be slower.
Why does the Skin Get Loose: Skin is an elastic living tissue that stretches as we move and grow (or shrink). It’s not one big piece of rubber that covers your body, but an actual organ. The human integumentary system (skin) is also not a passive layer of tissue that remains stretched out like an empty plastic bag after losing large amounts of bodyweight. Skin is a living organ, actively adapting to the body’s internal and external environments.
However, there are limitations: “There is an inherent elasticity in everyone’s skin, but once you get to a certain size, the elasticity decreases,” explains Jason Spector, M.D., assistant professor of plastic surgery at Weill Medical College of Cornell University.
What are the biggest factors that determine skin elasticity?
The two biggest factors that determine skin elasticity are age and genetics. And unfortunately, both are out of our control!
What can you do?
As you lose weight and loose skin begins to appear, don’t panic! Your skin will slowly return to a shape that fits your new body. But that process can take up to two years, so here are steps you can take to make your skin tighten faster:
- Only lose weight with a proven Program such as the TLC-Program that triggers the correct hormones in the body to improve elasticity of the skin
- Maintain a lower fat diet and eat lean proteins to help minimize the extra skin, even after you’ve lost the weight. (as per the TLC-Program and TLC-Lifestyle guidelines)
- Hydration is essential. Water is a crucial component of maintaining skin elasticity. That means drinking plenty of water [64 ounces or eight cups per day].
- Eat lots of water-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables
- Eat Protein Two ingredients that keep skin plump and elastic are collagen and elastin, and the protein to help form these is found in cottage cheese, milk, legumes, tofu, beans, seeds, nuts and fish. The oils in these foods will also help with skin elasticity.
- Care for Your Skin Avoid harsh detergents like sulfates in soaps, shampoos and dishwashing liquids. Limit sun exposure, stay away from tanning booths, and limit exposure to hot and chlorinated water, since all of these elements decrease elasticity.
- Exercise: Exercise will not tone the skin. However, by adding muscle, you can form a tight layer under the skin. That can improve how the skin looks, and take away some of the sag effect.
Plan of Action:
- Purchase a TLC-Program.
- Carry a water bottle around with you all day.
- Keep your skin moisturized with inexpensive lotion and water
- Exercise for muscle tone
Do You Need Surgery?
Skin can only be stretched so far before it loses some of its innate ability to snap back. If you’ve had a 9-month pregnancy, then you can tighten your loose skin. In contrast, if you’ve carried 50-100 extra pounds on your body for a long time, you might need to resort to plastic surgery and stapling to tighten loose skin. As mentioned earlier, elasticity of your skin will naturally decrease with age. Although you have control over staying properly hydrated, eating the right foods and caring for your skin, you simply have no control over your age! So rather than letting age stress you out, you should focus on the things over which you do have control — like exercising and eating right — and you’ll find that you always look better than your peers. And feel great! Surgery is an expensive, drastic intervention that should only be considered in extreme cases.
Can all this extra skin be healthy?
Look at the alternative? It is far better to have extra skin than the alternative – extra weight. Sagging skin puts much less stress on your heart and metabolic system than fat.
To find out more about the benefits of a TLC-Program go to www.tlcforwellbeing.com or contact the TLC-Call Centre for more information: 0861 000 852 or +27 31 767 4244
Written by: SE More