Loose skin post weight loss or pregnancy is a daunting notion for many as they tread forward down the road of fitness and recovery.
Educated prevention is always the best medicine…
During weight loss, one of the main concerns experienced is knowing if the skin will bounce back to its optimal tightness along the way. Although there is a wide spectrum of weight loss from extreme to moderate, which will also have an effect on the skin’s ultimate elasticity, there are additional factors anyone can practice to enhance the skin’s ability to rebound.
Showering in cold water is a great step towards gaining and repairing your skin’s elasticity. The cold temperature causes blood to flow to the surface of the skin, and also causes contraction of the skin. The crucial, healthy natural oils produced by your body can survive a cold wash, where hot temperatures greatly diminish these oils on a subsurface level. Cold showers are great in the morning to awaken with blood pumping, or post workout to mitigate muscular stress as well as cool off. Surely this habit is one that hot shower lovers will need time to ritualize, but the benefits greatly outweigh the comfort of a steamy rinse.
Note: Cold showers at night might keep you awake- Stick to any time before 7 pm.
Replenishing your skin with extra moisture is a ritual that everyone should follow at least once a day, and always directly post-shower. Choosing natural alternative lotions or oils can make a positive impact on the health of your skin by avoiding any harsh chemicals or parabens that are known to damage the skin among other health adversities.
Coconut oil, on its own or in conjunction with other natural lotion or ‘butter’, is a miracle worker on virtually all skin types- head to toe. Its antibacterial/ anti inflammatory properties, as well as its vitamin and mineral density make coconut oil a topical haven for recovering skin. Apply this oil lightly to skin after every shower.
Massaging your skin at least two times weekly will help your skin to tighten and adapt to your body’s compositional changes. Massages greatly improve blood flow to surface fascial areas which may otherwise have poor circulation. This allows the lymph nodes to drain toxins into the bloodstream for excretion, thus improving the health of these neglected areas and lessening the inflammatory response from said toxins. The use of a natural lotion or oil during massage also increases the skin’s elasticity and topical absorption of the product’s nutrients, necessary of optimal skin health.
A self massage may be performed with your hand or smooth palm-sized stone (or other natural massaging utensil), or with a massage therapist. If you are performing a self-massage, be sure to use a natural oil or lotion. The kneading technique for loose / adipose-dense areas is a firm press / small circular motion. These areas are sensitive to any pulling of the skin, so this should be avoided. Start by kneading your hands, then your arms and legs. Lastly, massage your full torso as thoroughly as possible and end with your feet. After a shower is usually the best time for a self massage.
Sufficient and Proper Nutrition:
In order for your body to adjust to the various changes it experiences during weight loss or pregnancy it is crucial to augment the diet to contain nutrient dense, healthy foods. Intaking a wide range of vitamins, minerals and macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fats), in proper proportion, complemented with generous water consumption will keep the body satisfied, running smoothly and in the most prime mode for reparation and adjustment. Although it can be argued that vitamin A, E and D top the list of importance, all nutrients do work synergistically, and therefore the most healthful and effective results will come to fruition by taking a comprehensive look at your eating habits as a whole. Limit your intake of processed foods, which often times are full of “empty” energy, leaving your body’s operating system ever hungry for the nutrients it lacks. Eat a wide variety of vegetables and fruit, choosing a copious spectrum of natural colours for various benefits. Supplementation of nutrients such as Co Enzyme Q10 (or Ubiquinol, the more metabolically available version of Co Q10 for those 45+ years of age), protein and a general multivitamin can really boost your body’s response to weight loss and aid in full systemic health including the skin.
Muscular Strength Through Resistance Training:
Strength training during weight loss is key for bodily adjustment. A balanced regimen of cardiovascular and resistance (strength) training optimizes the body’s systemic health. A muscular body has a wide range of benefits, including better blood circulation and metabolic efficiency since its cells actively burn more calories, even in their off time. The building and maintenance of muscular tissue will also aid in ‘filling the gaps’ of lost adipose tissue, smoothing the skin.
Age has a considerable effect on the skin’s elasticity. Typically, the body’s hormone production lessens at the age of 50, which closely relates to skin elasticity. Motivate yourself to start your weight loss and skin health regimen as soon as possible to take advantage of your body’s current ability to adjust! For a person of any age, there are ways to enhance the body’s hormone levels naturally through diet and exercise, so it is never too late.
Adequate rest is crucial to allow your body to recover and maintain optimal function. This means your nightly sleeping as well as a proper rest regime to compliment your training program. During proper sleep, the body produces its peak amounts of Human Growth Hormone (HGH), paramount for the reparation of all bodily tissues- including muscles and skin. Also, having a proper training program which highlights the importance of catabolic and anabolic phases is important to keep hormone levels balanced favourably, including naturally producing and enhancing your body’s HGH. More simply put, the body needs breaks from the stress of training, which can be achieved by cycling muscle groups worked daily, exercise intensity and more.
While the main focus of any weight loss program is obviously to lose as much excess adipose tissue as possible, the concept of pacing is equally important to retain the skin’s elasticity. Once or if your waist measurement reaches 50% or less of your full height, weight loss should be limited to 1-1.5 lbs a week. This will give the body appropriate time to optimize its adjustment to its new found weight loss. As well, pacing yourself will ensure that you do not restrict yourself dietetically or overtrain, both of which result in degenerative effects. If your waist circumference exceeds 50% of standing height, weight loss can be considerably rapid until this point has been reached.
Weight loss of excess adiposity is the journey to the healthiest version of yourself, and, as such, should be treated as a lifestyle! Trying options that yield temporarily rapid results will only be temporary. Adjust your nutrition, activity levels and self care in a sustainable manner and you will keep the pounds off, feel fantastic and wear the most radiant skin for you in all the years to come.