By dotFIT experts
on October 07, 2008
Dieting to lose weight is difficult at best, and generally ends in frustration for the average person. The majority of people gain most of the weight back within the first year. However, there are three strategies that have consistently proven to be effective in losing weight and maintaining the loss. More...
By Registered Dietitian
on September 17, 2008
Although many people succeed at losing weight, few manage to keep the weight off for the long haul. Those who have are referred to as “successful losers” and research studies on these individuals reveal the keys to permanent weight loss. More...

How does one tighten up the excess skin that remains after a significant amount of fat is lost?

Answer: First of all, congratulations on your weight loss! Many factors influence how the skin responds when there is significant weight loss, including:

  • Age: the older one gets the less resilient the skin is and the less likely it is to tighten up naturally.
  • Genetics: some people have more resilient skin, allowing it to better adapt to the new body size. The protein elastin is responsible for the ability of the skin to stretch and return to normal, and some people simply produce this better and for a longer time period of their life.
  • Hydration: poor hydration can lead to skin that is less "taut" and firm, leading to a saggy, wrinkled appearance.

Finally, be sure to give your skin time to correct itself. If it is still early in your weight loss program, be patient; things may improve. Weight training to add muscle can help fill in some areas and tighten the skin around it. There is a certain limit to what skin can adapt to, and your prior weight may have exceeded the skin's ability to contract.

It is not uncommon in those who have lost a lot of weight to have many pounds of loose skin left over. If this is the case and you are bothered by it, there are medical interventions that can be used to remove the excess tissue.

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