If you’ve lost a lot of weight in a short time – say 30 pounds in a month or two – chances are you have loose skin. Losing more than three pounds a week can deflate your body and reduce your skin’s elasticity.
But what can you do about it?
There are a few diseases that can lead to massive weight loss in a short time, such as hyperthyroidism, Crohn’s disease, and parasites in your gastrointestinal tract. It’s hard to prevent sagging skin if you’ve lost a lot of weight due to illness because you’re just too sick to exercise.
If you’re losing a lot of weight through a diet or fitness program, it’s very important to remember to keep working your muscles while you lose weight. Your body burns a lot of fat, so you’ll want to tone your muscles to make sure they stay strong and take up the space freed up by the fat stores that are being eliminated.
If you’ve lost a lot of weight, spend more time toning your muscles with high-repetition, low-weight exercises. Here are some things to do:
- Bench press (for your chest)
- Cable pushdowns (for your triceps, back of your arms)
- Dumbbell curls (for your biceps, forearms)
- Squats (for your legs and glutes)
- Plank hold (for your abs)
Be sure to do sets of 20-25 reps, as this will tone muscle without building muscle mass.
To build up muscle
If you have visible folds of loose skin, the only way to tighten that skin is to build muscle underneath. You’ll want to pack on a few pounds of muscle, and you can do that by doing low-repetition, high-weight exercises.
Your workout will consist of sets of four to six reps, with as much weight as your muscles can handle. This is how you will bulk up, and the expanding muscle fibers will help fill in the empty space under your skin.
The sad truth is that no amount of exercise will truly tighten your skin. Once your skin has been stretched by the fat underneath, it will need to slowly tighten on its own. It may never be completely tight, and the only way to keep the skin from hanging down is to turn the empty space underneath into muscle. For this reason, you will be doing high-weight, low-repetition exercises because these are the ones that build the most muscle mass (size).
The best thing to do is to eat foods that nourish your skin and promote the growth of elastin and collagen. These two nutrients will help repair your skin and cause it to slowly tighten over time. It will take some time for your skin to return to normal, but with the right exercise program and the right diet, you will see progress.