How to Lose the Flab After Losing Weight
After you lose significant amounts of weight, you may left with the excess, overstretched skin, a condition sometimes called a "loose suit." The degree to which this will happen depends on age, gender, the speed and amount of weight loss and genetic predisposition. You can take several steps to improve your appearance and reduce skin flab.
Build muscles with weight training. Filling out flabby skin with firm, strong muscles is good for your appearance and your health. Do strength workouts on two or three non-consecutive days each week. Select weights you can lift for a single set of eight to 12 repetitions. Perform exercises that involve all major muscle groups in both pushing and pulling motions.
Perform at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercises, such as walking or biking, or 75 minutes per week of high-intensity cardiovascular exercises such as running or cross-country skiing to continue to burn fat and improve muscle tone.
Improve your skin elasticity. If you smoke, quit. According to Mayoclinic.com, the chemicals in tobacco smoke damage the collagen and elastin, both of which gives your skin strength and elasticity.
Wear sunscreen to prevent skin damage. Consult your dermatologist for prescription creams and lotions to reduce superficial wrinkling and improve skin elasticity.
Wait to consider surgery until you have maintained your new weight for at least two years; first to see how much of the flab will be eliminated through natural methods and second to see if you will maintain your weight loss. If you still have flab that is unsightly or interferes with daily activities, consult a board-certified plastic surgeon about the possibility of body-contouring surgery.
Although body-shaping garments won't help you lose flab, they will conceal it.
Drink at least one liter a day of water, as dehydrated skin can worsen the appearance of superficial wrinkles.
Avoid creams and lotions sold over the Internet or over the counter that claim to reduce cellulite or fat. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, most are ineffective and several are harmful.
- NBC.com: Lose Weight, Gain a ‘Loose Suit’ of Skin?
- TheNewYorkTimes.com: Newly Petite in Skin That’s XL
- PubMed.gov: Body Contouring Following Massive Weight Loss Resulting from Bariatric Surgery
- ObesityHelp.com: Life After Bariatric Surgery
- American Council on Exercise: Strength Training 101
- MayoClinic.com: Is It True That Smoking Causes Wrinkles?
- Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center: Aging Skin
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Thigh Creams (Cellulite Creams)
Carol Poster began writing professionally in 1974. Her articles have appeared in "Outdoor Woman," "Paddler," "Ski Magazine," "Women's Sports & Fitness," "Dance News," "Show Business," "The Athenian," "PC Resource" and "Utah Holiday," among other publications. Poster holds an M.F.A. in creative writing from Eastern Washington University, as well as a Ph.D. in English from the University of Missouri.