When You Lose Weight Do Your Feet Get Smaller?
If you have recently lost weight, you may need to invest in a smaller size in more than just clothes. The perks of losing weight include more energy, better health and self-esteem, smaller clothes and, in some people, even a smaller shoe size. You can also add foot exercises and stretches to your routine to boost the health of your feet.
To understand why a smaller body might coincide with smaller feet, it is helpful to understand the function of fat. According to Mayo Clinic nutritionist Katherine Zeratsky, fat is stored energy, packed into efficient cells to be burned off when your body needs it, such as when you exercise. Hormones and genetics dictate where fat cells are stored in each person, including the feet. Although different people are predisposed to lose fat in different body areas first, eventually even the fat stored in your feet will get burned for energy.
Swelling of the legs, ankles and feet, called "edema," often accompanies obesity. Edema can be caused by something simple, such as a poor diet or too much salt intake, or something more complex, such as a poorly functioning heart or kidneys. The lymph system -- part of the human circulatory system -- can have a hard time moving fluid in an obese person, resulting in fluid pooling in the lower extremities. As a person loses weight, bodily fluid circulates better and there is less edema in the feet, resulting in noticeably skinnier feet.
Excess body weight can be harmful to the feet. Bones and ligaments in the feet can spread, due to both lack of regular exercise and the strain of excess body weight. This can lead to foot pain or progression of an inflammatory condition called plantar fasciitis, in which the connective tissue of the bottom of the feet becomes irritated and painful. Losing weight, along with regular foot exercises and stretching, can help counteract foot pain associated with being overweight.
It is important to properly support your feet during and after weight loss. Get a pair with a stiff sole for optimum support and soft upper to minimize irritation. Also, try them on in the afternoon or after a long walk, when feet will be a little more swollen. High heels are generally bad for feet. When you are picking shoes for activities such as walking or dancing, be sure to only wear them for those activities, as specialized shoes can harm feet if worn for other things.
- MayoClinic.com: Weight Loss: When You Lose Weight, Where Does the Lost Body Fat Go?
- St. Louis Health and Wellness Magazine: Do These Hormones Make Me Look Fat?
- MayoClinic.com: Leg Swelling: Causes
- MayoClinic.com: Weight-Loss Basics
- New York Times: Plantar Fasciitis
- MayoClinic.com: Plantar Fasciitis: Risk Factors
Meghan Palmer has written about health and lifestyle for publication for seven years. As a doctor of chiropractic with a degree in English, Palmer combines professional knowledge with real life experience for her health, lifestyle and parenting know-how. Palmer's recent work has been published in "The Rogersville Review" and "The Anniston Star."