I decided to start with the question what makes the skin able to shrink? Skin elasticity is the skin's ability to expand and retract to it's former state. What allows our skin to do that are elastin and collagen. Elastin and collagen are proteins found in our skin that allow it to stay flexible and firm. As we age past our twenties our elastin and collagen decreases and our skin thins out. What's funny is the skin creams are a sham. They will tell you they have "Anti-aging" abilities. What they really do is coat the skin and moisturize (which isn't all that bad). There is no miracle product that will assist with this process. That doesn't mean that I should give up hope for my skin. There are quite a few things that I can do that will help my chances to shrink down once the weight is gone! For one, proteins that help keep the elasticity of the skin are found in
- foods rich in vitamin C (citrus fruits and strawberries plus veggies like broccoli, sweet potatoes, and red bell peppers)
- foods rich in lysene and copper (Meats and dairy)
- protein rich foods (meat of course but also non meats like seeds, nuts, legumes, beans, soy products, and some whole grains.)
Healthy fats, Zinc, selenium, vitamins A, E, and C are all paramount to healthy skin. Multivitamins will help cover the bases if I am lacking any vitamins and minerals from my daily intake. My diet needs to be balanced to be sure I shrink to the max!
To go along with diet is proper hydration. I need to make sure that I am drinking at least 64 ounces of water every day to aid with shrinking skin. Water flushes toxins out of the body and carries nutrients throughout the body. The aqua adventures don't stop there. It's important to keep the skin hydrated as well. Hydrated skin is better able to repair itself, so I must moisturize regularly, especially after I shower. Another suggestion is to buy a loofah brush or exfoliating wash and scrubbing your skin in a circular motion in the shower for 15 minutes daily. By scrubbing the skin you get rid of the dead skin cells that block moisture from being absorbed. This also stimulates the skin to grow new cells to increase elasticity. Scrubbing the skin frequently increases circulation as well.
Age and DNA can tie into how much elasticity each person's skin contains. It all varies. As our bodies age, the skin thins out and elasticity slowly breaks down. This process begins after our 20's. Some people can go into their 40's and have better elasticity than someone in their 20's. It partially depends on DNA. Other factors I found that can damage skin and decrease elasticity is Sun exposure and smoking.
While I was on my search for answers I came across a blog that already boasted a success story at 344pounds.com. Shawn Tyler Weeks was in a similar situation that I found myself in. He weighed 344 pounds and decided to make the change in his life. Using primarily calorie counting and diet he's lost almost 150 pounds in 15 months. So I shot him a message on facebook asking about loose skin. His response was brief and to the point.
"Minimize loose skin by building muscle -- that's the ONLY thing you can do. Don't spend money on gimmicks or products. They don't work.
Good luck on your weight loss journey. ROCK IT!"
Weight training is very important in the battle of saggy skin prevention. Muscle mass will fill out the areas of the body that may have saggy skin. Often times when dieting to lose weight, the body will shed muscle weight, as well as fat and water. Some people think that they saggy skin is just loose when actually there is still small deposits of fat left and not as much muscle as there was before. The example used is if someone weighed 150 pounds and gradually gained 100 pounds of fat then lost 100 pounds to get back to 150, they may have fat deposits that look like loose skin. This happens if weight training isn't included frequently while the weight was lost so they may have lost 80 pounds of fat and 20 pounds of muscle. There are no specific exercises to tighten skin while losing weight. General weight lifting will suffice.
The final option I found was a worst case scenario of surgery. Many people opt for this at the first sight of loose skin. The only time that any of the sites suggested surgery is if the loose skin is causing infections and discomfort. That's the only way that insurance companies will cover it. The drawbacks of body sculpting surgery is
- Pain- Several incisions are needed to remove the excess skin which means many stitches, bruises, pain, and welling. No thank you.
- Recovery time- It can take up to six weeks to recover from this type of surgery. To prevent wounds from reopening, physical activity is at an extreme minimum.
- Scar Migration- After time scars can widen (due to weight gain) and migrate to different areas of the body. The only way to correct that is if there is MORE SURGERY.
- Keloids- This is a no-brainer. I have 40+ scars sprinkled all over my body from ACNE. Why would I put myself under the scalpel when there's an 90% chance I'll end up with thick scars all over my body.
It can take up to two years for the skin to catch up with the rest the body that has shed 100+ pounds. DNA, diet, fitness, age, and hydration all factor into the final outcome. Like I said before, 4 pounds of loose skin is better than 100 pounds of extra weight. I've already come to terms with the fact that I will never be a model. I feel as though loose skin won't be a huge problem for me, but it's a crapshoot. I prepare for the worst just because reality hits you hard bro. This research doesn't answer my concerns in regards to how I will look but I know now a few methods to make sure that I can minimize the saggy skin. For the time being I'm going to continue my water crusade because I don't drink enough consistently. Also I gotta find a loofa brush! That's all for now! I'll be writing and posting again soon!