Loose Skin after Weight Loss

By Dietitian Juliette Kellow BSc RD

Q I need to lose 7 stone and have finally decided to do something about it. However, I’m concerned that once I’ve lost weight I’ll be left with lots of sagging skin, especially around my stomach. I know exercise will help but at the moment I get tired just carrying my bulk around and anything that exerts me causes soreness and rubbing. What do you suggest?

A Well done on deciding to tackle your weight problem. As I’m sure you already know, half the battle is making the decision to lose weight. Now you’ve done that, you’re already well on the way to achieving your goal.

As you have a lot of weight to lose, I suggest you set yourself mini goals, for example, 1/2 stone at a time – achieving these smaller goals will help to keep you motivated. In the meantime, there’s plenty you can do to help reduce the chances of being left with excess loose skin.

You’re right when you say exercise will help prevent sagging skin after weight loss. While you might find it difficult right now, as the weight starts to come off, you’ll gradually feel more energetic and find it easier to exercise. For best results you should combine fat-burning aerobic activity to help shift the pounds with toning exercises to help the muscles shape up.

Once your doctor has given you the all clear to start exercising, I suggest you start by trying to walk as much as you can. As you lose weight and begin to feel fitter, aim to increase the distance and speed at which you walk. Once walking becomes easy, start to introduce a mixture of other aerobic activities such as swimming, cycling, jogging or classes, and toning activities such as light weights.

While fitness experts used to believe that sit ups were the best way to get a flat stomach, they now know you’ll get better results if you work all the muscles in your stomach, sides and back – the core muscles – rather than just the one that helps you bend!

Pilates is also great for toning these core muscles, as are stability balls.

If you're new to body toning exercise or haven't done any for a long time, take it slowly to start with. Also form is important when you're exercising core muscles, take a look at our PT's guide to safely exercising the abdominals.

Finally, you might like to use a body-firming cream each day to help keep your skin supple and smooth. Good luck!

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