From time to time I get asked the question about loose skin. What can be done about it? Does it get better over time? Do I have loose skin myself?
Well, consider this. I have weighed 310 lbs in my life. I now weigh nearly 100 pounds less than that. When the body changes in size that much, there are going to be “left over” consequences. One of those consequences is loose skin. I notice it most on myself in the lower ab area. Now that my body fat is low, I have extra skin below my belly button. That’s just the result of having a whole lot bigger tummy in my past that forced my skin to stretch out to accommodate it. Now that I’m not that big anymore, the skin isn’t filled up, so it’s loose.
I can definitely say, though, that it’s tightened up a lot over the past couple years, now that I’ve stayed near the same weight for a while. When I first dropped the large amount of weight, it was a lot more noticeable. And slowly …. very slowly … it’s tightened up to where I don’t notice it a lot.
Many of you may experience the same thing, to various degrees, depending on how big you were before and how much weight you’ve lost now. The way I think of it is like the teens these days who put those crazy loops in their ears to stretch out their ear lobes. The body will adapt and stretch out. But if they stretch their ear lobes too far with those goofy rings, the only way to get their ear back to normal is surgery. Sure, once they remove the ring, the ear hole will shrink back some, but it can’t totally revert to it’s original form. There is too much skin now. And the same goes for us. Sure, our skin will contract back some, but it can’t go back to the perfect, tight skin we had as kids. That’s just a fact of life. And unfortunately, unless we want to have surgery to remove the excess skin, it’s something we have to live with.
But consider this = which would you rather have:
–some loose skin
–a whole bunch of body fat to fill up that skin so that it’s not loose?
I’ll take the loose skin any day of the week! It’s far better to be healthy, fit, and have some loose skin than to be overweight, unhealthy, and ready to burst at the seams! Don’t let some loose skin make you self-conscious. Let it be a reminder of what you used to be, so that you never want to go back again.
So other than surgery, what are your options to improve loose skin? First, give it time. When you lose a lot of weight fast, the skin is loosest. Over time, it tightens up some. It won’t go away, but it will get better. Like I said, I have noticed that myself. At the end of round 1, I had a good amount of loose skin on my lower abs. Now, two years later, it’s tighter. But when I bend over, or when I’m doing a plank or pushups, that loose skin below my belly button still pooches down slightly. Oh well!
Another option is various creams that are available to treat loose skin. I haven’t tried any, and I really have no interest in it, so I haven’t done any research on this option. If you would like to look into this type of treatment, visiting with a dermatologist would be a good idea.
But my take home message about loose skin, from my perspective, is ….. So what? Big deal! I can live with that! I’m not fat anymore!! That matters more to me.
And I’m sure the other guys who have dropped a lot of weight will tell you the same thing! A little loose skin is no big deal compared to the alternative!
Keep bringing it! Wear the battle-scars with pride! We have overcome!
Coach Wayne you're awesome! thanks for all the advices! I'm on my third round of p90x, on a bulk of 3000 cal. I was always very skinny but gained a lot weight before p90x. I am now very happy with my weight (185lbs) but I have some loose skin, but I can still see a little shadow of my abs. I been thinking of doing a fat shredder to see if I can see more of my abs, but I'm afraid to lose the hard-earned muscle mass and weight, any suggestions? My plan is to keep bulking but I would love to see my abs more defined, or is this impossible because of the little lose skin I have?
Chris, if there is still too thick of layer of fat, it will be hard to see abs. Abs are determined by your BF%. You can always go to Fat Shredder and run a smaller deficit to maintain your muscle mass. You will lose weight, but keep the muscle. Try cutting at -400 under your maintenance. That will be a slow cut, about 1.5 lbs every 2 weeks. Slow cuts are the best for keeping the most muscle.
I went from 235lbs to 165lbs a few years ago and did it in 6 months. I have loose skin and sometimes it bothers me, or is frustrating to look at. But, you guys are right it is a reminder of how big I used to be, a battle scar. A question I have is since a lot of us have loose skin: How do we measure our correct waist size(not pants size) because the loose skin gets in the way and makes the waist bigger than it actually is? Should we measure it laying on our back?
Joe, if lying on your back moves it out of the way, do that. For your own comparison just be consistent with how you measure. That way you will be able to accurately measure the changes you are making.
Loose skin definitly sucks but at least you have something to play with I guess. Me personally I went from about 240 down to 175-180 and 7% body fat doesn't look quite as good with loose skin. But it's a sign of success no doubt.
Hey coach, sometimes im at my friends or cousins house and it's disrespectful to bring your own foods to a friends dinner. If they are enjoying a fatty steak and starchy deadly white mashed potatoes covered in " I can believe they used that much butter" LOL.. Is it ok to just grab an apple and banana and count that as a meal?
Gurjeet - Yes, that would be fine. What also works well is to eat before you go. Then you'll have had the meal that fits your goals and won't be tempted/pressured to eat the other food. After that, snacking on an apple or banana would be good.
Great article Coach. I'm in this for the long haul so this helped put my loose ab skin in perspective that it's going to take a while to improve. And like folks have said, I'd rather have loose skin than all the fat I used to have.
As a skinny guy, I've never had to deal with loose skin, so this has been an interesting read for me(in a good way). Because I have relatives who are overweight, I'm always curious as to how I can see things from their perspective, so that way I'm able to better help them. I want them to understand that I'm not just blowing smoke because I've never had to deal with a weight issue, but that I'm genuinely concerned about their health. That's been my biggest hurdle with folks. They always say, "You don't understand what it's like", so I'm constantly researching and trying to gain perspective. Thanks for the article Coach!
I am with you coach. I have been over 330 in my life, and spent a lot of time in the 270-290 range. Now that I am around 200 pounds, I have loose skin and stretch marks. Like you said though...who cares! It does get better over time, and it just serves as a reminder of what can happen if you don't take control over your health.
I am really noticing the loose skin thing. Mentally the loose skin and obliques can make you feel fat. I can see the bottom of the "six" coming in and my BF% is getting lower every week. We will can look in the mirror and see flaws or look forward and see success.
thanks, i plan to stick to that same plan.. with kre alk, i need an hour?.. can i take it right when i wake up and then workout say 15 mins later.. or is that pointless... im up at 5am and working by 515am tring to decide on kre alk or not.. def want to gain some muscle and strength and cut bf.. thanks
Mike, that should be ok. Again, read the label but some take it afterwards too. It is just a good thing to get into your system prior to working out. You still take it on off days, so the timing is just listed for the optimal use.
Great post Wayne. My current situation is not loose skin but rather stretch marks. However, Ive never let this get me down. Like you said, its a reminder of an unhealthy life I had led and serves as a daily reminder to continue making the right choices in my nutrition and physical activities.
hey coach, supplement question. ive been taking purple wraath. i work out first thing in morning on empty stomach. i want to try kre alk (pills). when should i take them and how many? still want to cut fat. i am switchig to dynamitze iso whey from wheybolic 60. is all this ok.. do i need purple wraath with dynamtize..thanks.. dont want to gain weight. please advise. thanks
Mike - The Dynamitze is just whey isolate. So use that as you would any other whey. For the kre alkalyn, make sure to read the label. Kre Alkalyn EFX says to take two pills an hour before, but check you label. The Purple Wraath will really help fuel your muscles with BCAAs when you have an empty stomach. You could do whey before you workout, but you might need to wait a bit longer before starting in the morning.
I have a lot of loose skin but I am not even sure why. I only went from 160 to 143. I am back to 147 now and hoping that eventually, my abs will fill up the void. LOL. I agree though. It's best to hold skin than fat.
It's a sure sign of sucess, when we all have issues with loose skin! LOL! Thanks for all the great articles each week. I used to ask people before I decided to try P90X, does it really work? Now I am wondering about Loose Skin. Awesome!
Thanks for the post coach! I needed that because I have been feeling fat because I am on a bulk and have gained some fat. I've noticed it on my abs and legs. It bothers me, but I need to gain weight and muscle. My bf is still single digits, and probably lower than I think it is, (haven't checked in a few weeks)I lost about 30 pounds 2 years ago doing just cardio so I lost muscle as well. But I know I am not fat like I used to be, so I have to be happy with where I am now!
Now that I'm nearing the last of the 90 days, the lower section of my abs is where the skin is sagging, but at this point it's just a small piece of the big picture. I'm definitely with you on this, why waste your money on a precedure that cuts into your body, no thanks. If someone has to cut into my body, it's going to be an emergency, not to mention I would rather keep that money in my pocket and use it on something a little more productive and geared towards my health. Plus I feel like surgery to remove the loose skin is cheating and is the easy way out.
Nice information coach Wayne. I too used to weigh 310 pounds about 4 or 5 years ago. Happy to say that the last time I weighed myself I was at 226lbs. Happy to say all I have is stretch marks, no loose skin. Still can't believe I was that big. Again a reminder of how far I have come.