Congratulations, you did it! You made the necessary dietary changes and sweated your weight away at the gym! You've hit your weight loss goal and feel incredible. There is just one problem, your skin didn't snap into shape with the rest of your body.
But don't lose heart, there are a few things you can do to help yourself out. Here are 5 ways to manage your loose skin after major weight loss.
1. Embrace the weights
While lifting weights won't get rid of excess skin, working on muscle tone can help you appear more taut. And the heavier you lift, the better. "Don't be afraid to lift heavy weights; it takes a lot less time to achieve the same degree of muscle with heavier weights, and the quicker I built muscle, the faster I toned up," says Kelly Coffey, a personal trainer who underwent gastric bypass and lost 170 pounds. To be on the safe side, ask for some professional help when you're first starting this plan. Get guidance on your form and lifting safety.
2. Update your support system
A great bra and underwear can help a lot, according to Claudine DeSola, stylist at Caravan Stylist Studios in New York. "Good intimates are a great way of helping conceal excess skin in the belly area," says DeSola. Look for bras with front closures and thicker bands which create a cleaner, smoother look across the back. And opt for high-cut briefs or Spanx, which DeSola says will make everything feel more secure.
3. Come out of hiding
DeSola recommends having a little fun with form fitting layers. "A slightly fitted tee with a sweater on top and a thick belt is a great way to cinch your waist," says DeSola. Mid-rise jeans, ones that hit right below the belly button are also a great option. If you are looking to be a little sassier than that, try a wrap dress in a bold colour. Look for one that lands right at or just below the knee. Pair with heels and you can't help but look longer and leaner.
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4. Ditch the negativity
Wear your extra skin like a badge of honour. You made a commitment to losing weight and living a healthier life, your skin is proof that you succeeded. And think about it, you've succeeded where so many people have failed! "Excess skin isn't the terrible tragedy that so many of us think it will be; it's just another one of the details about your body that makes you you," says Coffey. Just be proud of yourself.
5. Make like a snake
Unfortunately, the only way to actually get rid of excess skin is to have surgery. If you have tried all other options and are still unhappy or if your skin is becoming irritated, it may be time to do a consult with a plastic surgeon. "Because the skin has stretched over so many years, it's very difficult for that skin to go back to where it was before; it will not return to its natural consistency or elasticity," says Raul Rosenthal, MD, president of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. According to him, patients who undergo plastic surgery after extreme weight loss experience a better quality of life and are more likely to keep the weight off.
Have you lost an extreme amount of weight? How have you handled your excess skin?
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