Losing a large amount of weight can come with challenges. When someone needs to lose 150 pounds fast in order to improve their health or to prepare for pregnancy or surgery, it can result in loose skin.
Loose skin can be uncomfortable, causing chafing and making certain clothing and activities uncomfortable. There are some preventative measures that can be taken to prevent loose skin after losing 150 pounds, without surgery.
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Unfortunately, it is impossible to tell how much loose skin you will have as a result of weight loss. According to Columbia Health, the amount of loose skin after weight loss can depend on the amount of weight loss and the speed at which it was lost, as well as your individual skin elasticity.
Go Slowly for Best Results
Even though it is tempting to try and find the fastest way to lose 150 pounds, losing weight at a slower rate is a healthier option. According to the Office on Women's Health, when weight loss occurs gradually, it is more likely to stay off permanently. According to a 2017 article published in the journal Advances in Nutrition, losing weight gradually prevents muscle loss that occurs during rapid weight loss. In turn, this will help keep your body composition more firm.
If you feel that you need to lose 150 pounds fast, talk to your doctor. However, it is beneficial to lose weight at a gradual pace, preserving muscle mass and allowing skin elasticity to gradually adjust to new body composition. The Mayo Clinic suggests aiming for one to two pounds per week, by cutting 500 calories per day through diet and exercise.
Focus on Nutrients and Hydration
A beneficial way to prevent saggy skin from weight loss is to eat nutritious meals filled with nutrients and antioxidants. The Mayo Clinic suggests eating a varied diet, including orange and yellow fruits and vegetables like carrots, peppers, cantaloupe and oranges, as well as berries, legumes, leafy greens and tomatoes, for the maintenance of healthy, taut skin.
Additionally, healthy fats found in fish such as salmon and mackerel help to smooth and plump the skin after weight loss. Avoid highly-processed foods, refined sugars and foods high in sodium, which can all cause dehydration.
Keeping well-hydrated improves skin health and can help prevent skin damage, wrinkles and sagging. Penn Medicine recommends drinking between 48 and 64 ounces of water daily, depending on your body size. You can also obtain hydration through foods such as watermelon, yogurt, lettuce, tomatoes, grapes, cucumber, leafy greens, applesauce and hard-boiled eggs.
Moreover, the Mayo Clinic suggests using moisturizing creams which help to plump sagging, loose skin. Choose products containing additional healthful skin-plumping ingredients like niacinamide, hydroxy acids and peptides.
Build Muscle with Strength Training
Maintaining muscle mass is important to prevent loose, sagging skin after losing 150 pounds without surgery. It is also beneficial to build muscle through hypertrophy training to fill out the loose skin that can come as a result of weight loss.
In order to build muscle mass, the American Council on Exercise recommends lifting weights for two to three sets of 6 to 12 repetitions per exercise, at 70-80% of a one-rep maximum. Aim to lift weights at least twice a week as recommended by the US Department of Health and Human Services. Be sure to work all your major muscle groups and allow for adequate rest between exercise sessions. Usually that means at least one full rest day between strength-training workouts, but sometimes beginners need a little more rest.
For best results, losing weight slowly is ideal to prevent loose skin. But in some cases, having a bit of loose and sagging skin is unavoidable after a major weight loss. Keep in mind that surgical options are available and consult your physician if you think this option could help you.
Consult with a physician before beginning any weight loss or exercise program.
- Columbia Health: "Weightloss and Excess Skin"
- Women's Heath: "Weight Loss and Women"
- Advances in Nutrition: "Preserving Healthy Muscle during Weight Loss"
- Mayo Clinic: "Fast Weight Loss FAQ"
- Mayo Clinic: "Healthy Skin FAQ"
- Penn Medicine: "How to Tighten Loose Skin"
- American Council on Exercise: "How Muscle Grows"
- University of Wisconsin Health: "The Benefits of Drinking Water for your Skin"
- Mayo Clinic: "Wrinkle Creams: Your Guide to Younger Looking Skin"
- US Department of Health and Human Services: "Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans"