When you begin a weight loss journey, your dream destination is body confidence. However, many men and women arrive at their goal weight only to be left with an unwanted reminder of their former self: loose and saggy skin.
Lose weight too quickly or fail to exercise to build muscle while shedding the pounds and you may well be left with folds of excessive skin.
But the good news is that the effects of weight loss on the skin composition can be minimised by following some basic principles.
Keeping active is important in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle but resistance- type exercise will also help to build a leaner, more toned body.
Aim to exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes, five times a week. Combine cardiovascular exercise such as swimming, walking, running and aerobic classes with muscle building and toning workouts such as weights, yoga and pilates.
Strength and conditioning exercises- using dumbbells, resistance bands, free weights and resistance machines- will not only help the skin to stay tight and toned, but also become a secret weapon in your weight loss arsenal. Muscle burns three times more calories per day when at rest than fat.
Mix it up:
To shape-up all over, focus on your upper body one day and lower body the next. Remember that your body becomes used to the same type of exercise over a 6 to 8 week period, so keep changing it up to keep your body on its toes!
Using the FIIT (Frequency, intensity, time and type) principle, change two of these every 4 to 6 weeks and you will continue to see positive changes in your body.
Your skin is roughly 50-65% water and skin that is dehydrated is tight, dry, rough to touch and flaky. The amount you need to drink per day will vary according to your age, sex, activity levels and other factors such as breastfeeding. The Scottish Slimmers nutritional expert recommends 13 cups for men and 9 cups for women per day. If you exercise regularly, you should increase your intake by roughly 2 cups per day.
Eat your greens:
As we age, our skin becomes less elastic but a diet that is low in fat and sugars and high in nutrient-rich foods keeps the elastin and collagen supplies in your body at a higher level.
Collagen helps to keep your skin healthy and vitamin C is essential for collagen production.
Be sure to include lots of peppers, broccoli, spinach, sprouts, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, cranberries, strawberries, kiwi, raspberries and oranges in your diet.
Foods that are rich in linoleic acid such as chicken, nuts, seeds and vegetable oils also help to support the skin’s strength and structure.