So you’ve done it – you’ve finally found a diet and exercise plan that really works, and you are beginning to see significant results. Now that you are on the right path to the body you have always wanted, there is one more thing you need to take into consideration: what is going to happen to all that extra skin once the fat is gone?
If you want to avoid looking like a shar-pei once you have reached your weight loss goals, the following tips can help improve the elasticity of your skin and prevent sagging.
- Lose weight gradually.
Besides being unhealthy, rapid weight loss does not give your skin a chance to adapt to the changes in your body. By losing weight more gradually, your skin is better able to keep pace with your decrease in size.
Nutritionists recommend losing no more than a pound or two per week in order to allow your body to adjust to all the changes you are putting it through; by doing so, you will not only give your skin a chance to keep up, you will be far more likely to keep the weight off permanently.
- Build your lean muscle mass.
When you lose weight rapidly, you don’t only lose fat; you also lose some of your lean muscle mass. Loss of the underlying muscle tissue can cause skin to sag; by making toning exercises a regular part of your exercise routine, you can add muscle tone and prevent the appearance of loose skin.
As an added bonus, remember that the more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn, building up your lean muscle tissue can help you lose more weight in less time.
- Drink plenty of water.
Staying hydrated is an important part of staying healthy, every part of your system requires sufficient water to function properly. Your skin is no exception; by following the old rule about drinking at least 8 glasses of water per day, you help your skin to stay hydrated and maintain its natural elasticity.
Avoid beverages like coffee, black tea and soda, these products act as diuretics and can cause you to become dehydrated. Stick with pure water and herbal teas in order to keep your skin smooth and firm.
- Make sure you eat right.
If you are trying to lose weight, getting all the right nutrients is important to your overall success; you need plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains – and don’t forget the essential fatty acids that are necessary for heart health and brain function.
The healthy fats found in nuts, seeds, olive oils, avocadoes and fish can also help your skin adjust to your weight loss and stay looking firm and youthful.
- Avoid skin care products containing harsh chemicals.
Although you would expect the ingredients in skin care products to be good for you, many conventional products contain chemicals that can actually be damaging in the long term. Look for all-natural products such as cocoa or shea butter to help your skin retain moisture and vitality.
- Avoid yo-yo dieting.
There are many reasons why repeatedly gaining, then losing weight is bad for you. Yo-yo dieting is dangerous for your health, and each time you repeat the cycle, it becomes more and more difficult to keep the weight off.
Your skin also suffers from this unhealthy habit; each time you gain weight and stretch your skin, it loses more of its natural elasticity and becomes less resilient – imagine what happens when you blow up a balloon too many times.
There are hundreds of products on the market that claim to tighten skin and reduce the appearance of sagging and wrinkles; unfortunately, there is no real proof that any of these creams and lotions really work. Your best bet is to stick to a sensible weight loss program and follow the advice given here in order to keep your skin looking healthy and toned.