What You Should Know About Extreme Weight Loss and Your Skin

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What You Should Know About Extreme Weight Loss and Your Skin

There is a downside to weight loss that no one will ever tell you about. It is especially true if you are losing weight fast. Rapid weight loss gives you the looks of a shriveled zebra. You end up with loose, itchy skin, and worse yet, stretch marks.

It sounds like an amazing feat to lose 50 or 100 pounds of weight in no time, but if you are losing more than two pounds a week, you are more likely to face skin complications. These facts are not meant to discourage you. You should lose weight, but in a controlled fashion.

But, if you have developed any of these complications then you need help to deal with them. That is what this article is all about. This article will walk you through the potential effects of rapid weight loss on your skin. It will also tell you how to cope with these skin changes. So let’s get to it.

The Real Problem is Not Always Loose Skin

Loose skin is a legit problem after rapid weight loss, but is it really your skin or is it just some more fat? That is the first thing you need to determine. Here is an easy way for you to find if you have loose skin or some more fat to lose:

  • gymsGrab the area of the body that you think has got loose skin.
  • Feel that area. If that area is too soft and jiggly, chances are that it is more fat to lose. Still, you might mistake extra fat with skin this way.
  • A more accurate method is to measure the skin fold thickness using skin fold calipers. Following is how this method works:
  • It is better if you consult a doctor or a fitness expert for this measurement. But, you can do it yourself, too. For that you need a skin fold caliper. You can get this caliper from fitness outlets, gyms or online fitness shops.
  • Grab the area of the body you think has got loose skin. For example, if you think your abdomen has loose skin then grab a fold of your abdomen. Grab it just below your belly button.
  • Now measure the thickness of this fold using the skin fold caliper. If it is between one and two inches, it is skin. If not, then it is just some more fat you can lose.

If the results of these measurements come out in the favor of extra fat, then you need to lose it. Your skin will sag no matter what you do, unless you lose the stubborn layer of fat clinging to your skin, but what if it is loose skin and not fat? This article will get to the detail of this in the later sections.

You must remember that your skin is not just a dead structure attached to your body. It is a living organ with incredible abilities to adapt to your changing body. If you gain fat, your skin will stretch, too.

The real problem is that the layers of stubborn fat are not easy to lose. You cannot cut that fat just by ordinary cardio or dieting regimes. You need something more solid.

Here are the top four strategies for you to get rid of this stubborn layer of fat.

Make Intermittent Fasting a Part of Your Routine

weight lossIntermittent fasting is the new weight loss fad. In fact, it was one of the top 10 fitness and weight loss trends during the year 2015. But, what is intermittent fasting?

Intermittent fasting is when you alternate between intervals of eating and fasting. To put in simple words, you fast for eight to 12 hours and then eat for the next eight to 12 hours.

Intermittent fasting is a scientifically proven method that speeds up fat loss. It works best on stubborn body fat, like your belly fat. A research done at the Baylor University, Texas studied the effects of intermittent fasting. The participants of the study did intermittent fasting for 12 to 24 weeks. Results showed that the participants lost as much as 5 kg body fat on an average just after 12 weeks. After 12 weeks, the body weight also reduced by 10 percent.

Here is how intermittent fasting works:

  • You do not eat anything for half the day. This way you end up eating fewer calories than usual. Fewer calories mean more weight loss.
  • Even when you are fasting, your body needs energy to do its functions. First of all, your body calls upon your blood sugar and muscle glycogen for that. Glycogen is a form of sugar stored in your muscles. But once these sources of energy run out, your body looks for alternate sources. That is when your body starts burning the body fat as a source of energy. That is how you burn fat.

Intermittent fasting is a way of living, rather than a dieting plan. Here is what you need to do on day to day basis:

  • The fasting interval:Do not eat anything for 8 to 12 hours. The best time to do that is at night when you are asleep. Do not snack on anything during that time.
  • The eating interval: The first thing you should do in the morning is a round of HIIT training as soon as you get up. What is HIIT? The detail is the next strategy. You can then eat for the next 8 to 12 hours. Focus more on following:
  • Drink lots of water.
  • Eat more vegetables and fruits. They will give you fiber that will help you feel fuller for longer.
  • Eat nuts and seeds as snacks.
  • Go for wholesome and unprocessed grains and cereals.
  • Use brown sugar and honey as sweeteners.
  • Drink green tea at least once a day.

Indulge in HIIT

you runHigh Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is the new fitness trend. What cardio does in 30 minutes, HIIT can do that in less than 10. But what is HIIT?

HIIT is like cardio, but with some changes. In cardio training, you run, swim or jog at a continuous pace. Although this method is time tested, but newer research says that it is not so effective.

According to research, there is a way of working out that is more effective than steady cardio. If you alternate between rapid workout and intervals of rest, you can burn more fat. That is how HIIT works.

According to one research, your body burns 28 percent more calories during HIIT workouts. Also the body loses more fat this way.

How to do HIIT workouts? It is quite simple. HIIT workouts are more like other workouts. You do same cardio or other workouts but alternate between exercise and rest. Take running for example. In HIIT, you run for five minutes at your highest speed. After that, you rest for the next five minutes.

You will see the best results when you combine intermittent fasting with HIIT. So, HIIT should be the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning.

Four Ways to Get Rid of Stretch Marks

Almost everyone who has lost weight would know this struggle. Rapid weight loss leaves you with the souvenirs of ugly looking, itchy stretch marks. But, what causes these stretch marks? Here is the explanation:

  • When you gain weight, your skin stretches alongside your expanding body. The size of collagen protein in your skin increases exponentially. Although this is an adaptive mechanism of your body, but it has a downside, too. During this phase, your skin gets over-whelmed, which distorts its architecture. This way, you end up with ugly looking stretch marks.
  • The increasing body size expands your skin, too. This also makes the existing stretch marks more prominent.

The stretch marks are prominent, and they become itchy, too. So, what can you do to get rid of them? Here are The four most effective strategies to get rid of your souvenirs of weight loss:

Using Lemon Juice for Stretch Marks

Lemon juice is full of vitamin C. Vitamin C is a proven home remedy to reduce stretch marks. It also improves skin appearance.

lemonHere is the list of ingredients and things you need:

  • A medium sized organic lemon. You can get it from the food aisle of your grocery store.
  • A cotton ball
  • A small container

This is how you can use lemon juice to reduce stretch marks:

  • Clean the affected area with plain water. Now pat it dry.
  • Squeeze half of the lemon into a small container so that you get its juice.
  • Dip the cotton ball into this juice and apply the juice over the stretch marks.
  • It may sting a bit, especially if your stretch marks are itchy. But, keep the lemon juice on for half an hour.
  • After that, wash it off with water or take a bath.

You should use this method for at least four to six weeks to see considerable improvement.

Applying Egg Whites to Your Stretch Marks

It is another effective way to deal with stretch marks after weight loss. Egg white is full of proteins that your skin needs to stay young and free of stretch marks.

Here is the list of tools and ingredients you need:

  • Two eggs
  • One whisk or a spoon
  • A brush or a sponge
  • Olive oil – optional

Here is what you need to do:

  • Wash the area of stretch marks with plain water. Tap it dry afterwards.
  • Break two eggs and separate their yolk from white. What you need is the egg white. You can use the yolks in any dish or soup.
  • Now whisk the egg whites till froth comes on the top.
  • With the help of a brush or a sponge, coat the egg white on the area with stretch marks.
  • Wait until it is dry.
  • Rinse it off with plain water.
  • You may massage the area with olive oil or any other moisturizer afterwards.

You should do that at least once a day in the evening. You need to repeat the process for at least a month to see results.

Tretinoin Cream for Stretch Marks

CreamTretinoin is a cream containing retinoic acid or vitamin A. It is one of the most effective creams for skin problems like acne, wrinkles and stretch marks. Vitamin A is an essential nutrient for the proper growth of your skin tissues.

You can buy this cream from an online vendor or from any pharmacy. You should always consult a doctor before using this cream as you may be allergic to its constituents. Use this cream following the directions of your doctor.

Laser Therapy: Your Last Resort

If nothing else works, then this is the last resort for you. Laser therapy is a proven way to deal with stretch marks. Laser therapy ablates the affected skin tissues and evens out skin consistency.

This method is safe and has minimal or no side effects. But this method is costly and it is always difficult to find an expert.

Loose Skin: Five Things You Can Do

As mentioned before, the results from skin fold thickness tell you if you have loose skin. If that is the case, then your problem is genuine and you need to look into it.

But what causes loose skin after rapid weight loss? To understand this, you need to know the normal structure of your body. Your body contains layer of muscles. A layer of fat usually covers this layer of muscles. Then is the layer of skin that sits on top of these two layers.

When you gain weight, you are actually introducing more fat into the fat layer of your body. Nothing changes much in the layer of muscles, but the skin layer receives the hardest blow. Your skin contains a protein called collagen. This protein gives your skin the ability to stretch. When fat makes way to the fat layer, collagen starts to stretch. With it, your skin stretches too. That gives you a protruding tummy.

But, when you lose weight, you lose a lot of fat, too. There is nothing left to fill in the void that the fat loss has just created. This effect is even more pronounced when you lose weight fast. With rapid weight loss, your skin does not get the time to readjust according to the changing body shape. This is when the skin starts to sag and you start looking like as if you were in your 70’s.

lose weight fastWhat is the solution? Well, the best way to avoid that is to lose weight in a controlled fashion. Although it is hard to shed the temptation of rapid weight loss, it is difficult to deal with the aftermaths. According to experts, you should not lose more than two pounds weight every week. This gradual change gives your skin enough time to mold itself to the changing body contours.

But, what if you are stuck with sagging skin? Here are the fivemost effective strategies to get rid of the sagging skin after rapid weight loss:

Build Up Your Muscles

You need to fill the void that follows fat loss. One logical way of doing that is to increase the bulk of your muscles. The muscle gain will fill in the looseness of your skin and will give it a healthy look.

Your skin sags more in certain body parts. These usually include your belly, buttocks and arms. You should do focused exercises that specifically target the muscles of these areas. Here are the targeted exercises for these body parts:

  • Abdomen: Crunches, leg raises, flutter kicks, heel touches and planks.
  • Hips and Thighs: Squats, lying leg lift, plank leg lift and leg stretches.
  • Arms: Push-ups, pull-ups, punches, bicep curls and triceps curls.

Doing Pilates or swimming are both great ways to target your main muscle areas.

Quit Smoking

You may not be a smoker, but you should quit it altogether if you smoke. The reason why you need to give up smoking is that it affects your skin health.

A research done at the International Association of Ecologic Dermatology included 64 women volunteers. Researchers studied the effects of smoking on skin. They concluded that smoking results in premature aging. It also leads to increased skin pigmentation and poor skin elasticity.

These effects get magnified if you smoke and lose weight rapidly. So give up smoking for healthy, radiant and tighter skin.

Eat the Rainbow

Your dietPeas has a great impact on how your skin looks. A tighter skin is a sign of well-nourished body. So if you want to keep your skin healthy and sag-free, you should eat healthy.

Here is what your diet should look like:

  • Eat a lot of vegetables and fruits. Vegetables and fruits contain fiber that helps you lose weight in a healthy fashion. Moreover, research shows that these foods are choke-full of nutrients like vitamins and minerals. These nutrients are much needed for a healthy looking skin.
  • Research links protein intake with improvement in skin health. So make sure you get plenty of protein. Good protein sources include:
  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Peas and beans
  • Lean, grass fed beef

Skin and Muscle Supplements

There are a lot of natural supplements that can promote healthy muscle gain. These supplements include:

  • Gelatin: As your skin sags, it loses a lot of proteins. So you need to find the right type of protein to make up for what your skin has lost. Gelatin is the best protein for that purpose. Results of a study showed that adding one cup of gelatin to your daily diet can improve skin elasticity. You can get this supplement from any pharmacy or online vendors.
  • Omega 3 fatty acids: Besides proteins, your skin needs a lot of other nutrients too. One such ingredient is essential fatty acids. Essential fatty acids act as the building blocks for normal skin elasticity. Make sure the supplement you buy gives you 2,000 mg of omega fatty acids. You can get these supplements from online stores or any pharmacy.

Body Lift: A Surgical Option When All Else Fails

surgical procedureIf nothing works, then you can go for a surgical procedure called the body lift. In this procedure, the surgeons will remove your extra skin and body fat. They will then stitch together the remaining skin. Although this procedure is safe; but it is quite costly. You can talk to your doctor or any plastic surgeon for more details about this procedure.

Losing weight is a great achievement, and you should congratulate yourself for your accomplishment. Do not let your remaining stretch marks and loose skin ruin your efforts. Do not let them define you. You are beautiful.

Do not let these things take away the fact that you have worked hard and long to lose the weight. Remember, you are much healthier now. Just follow the methods mentioned in the article and you will be ready to show off that summer body of yours.

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