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Curing "loose skin"

Do you have loose skin, following rapid or significant weight loss? Don't let this problem get you down. You can tighten that baggy skin and restore your skin to the size that fits your new body rather than your old, fat one.

Curing "loose skin syndrome" after a significant loss of subcutaneous bodyfat requires a three-pronged approach:

  1. Building new muscle under the skin, to make up for much of the volume formerly taken up by fat. The muscle, in addition to taking up the slack, will provide the beautiful curves the body is meant to have. It is impossible to build an unappealing amount of muscle, unless you are taking steroids. Even then, doing so is not easy.
     
  2. Providing the body with the nutrients it needs to improve cell elasticity so the skin can shrink, and the nutrients it needs to build new muscle. When you build new muscle, you also build new bone to go with it. Building muscle improves your posture and your cardiovascular system. A final benefit of building muscle you reach a higher level of metabolism. This allows you to keep the fat off, and it makes you less sensitive to temperature variations. If you feel cold while others feel warm, your metabolism is too low.
     
  3. Providing adequate mechanical support, so the skin doesn't stretch due to gravity.

New Muscle

Letís look at how to build new muscle. Most people approach this all wrong. Building new muscle involves three main principles:

  1. Load the major muscles heavily, in as "natural" a manner as possible. Lifting free weights accomplishes this, while "working out" on gym machines does not. The four most productive exercise are the squat, the deadlift, the pullup, and the bench press. Any variation of these will produce results, with or without weights. Gardening (with feet, not knees) on the ground and bicycling are variations of the squat.
  2. Get adequate rest, so muscles can grow. This means getting on a schedule where you work only one major muscle group in any given day, and allow several days of rest before heavily working that group again. If, for example, you plant your garden on Tuesday, use kneepads in any subsequent work for the next week to ten days. Listen to your bodyóit will tell you when your muscles just donít have any juice.
  3. Eat a carbohydrate and a protein within two hours of working out. Examples include a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, an apple with peanut butter on it, eggs on toast, or a protein shake with fruit.

Nutrition

What about nutrition? You need the following nutrients, and you are not going to get sufficient quantities from foods alone. However, you should focus on the foods that do provide these. Keep in mind that grains should be a very small part of anyoneís diet.

  1. Vitamins C, B6, and B12. C does not work without B. For a C supplement, get one that is cold-pressed only, or you wonít get the enzymes that allow it to work. A sustained release supplement is best. Keep in mind that whole-food sources of C have the enzymes and come in a time-release delivery system. Supplements should simply be concentrated whole food, not chemical derivatives. Red meat is an excellent source of B6 and B12, plus the creatine you need for building new muscle and for maintaining cell volume in the muscles you have (creatine causes muscle cells to "wick" water from surrounding blood vessels).
  2. Essential Fatty Acids. Notably, Omega 3. Natural sources are nuts and cold water fish. So are seeds and green leafy vegetables. So, have that spinach salad with nuts and seeds on it, and a dash of flaxseed oil. Donít have croutons, as grains defeat Omega 3.
  3. Water. Drink plenty of water throughout the day. This helps you maintain cell volume, which helps take up slack in the skin. Drink enough that your urine is clear.
  4. Protein. You need small amounts of protein, six times each day. Each portion should be about the size of your fist. For a woman of average size, this would work out to about a dozen eggs a day if all the protein comes from eggs. However, eggs are not a perfect protein source, so be sure to tap other sources. Meat, soy products (except tofu), beans and rice, milk, and whey protein supplements can work together to round out your protein profile. If drinking milk or taking whey, do so only within two hours of intense exercise or after your cells are depleted from a night of sleep. The casein in milk helps buffer whey, but this is a protein that spikes your insulin and "burns" fast. Never take whey before bedóit will simply turn into fat. Exception: the new whey supplement that has a time release delivery engineered into it.
  5. Calcium. Your body wonít add muscle if the bones arenít there to support it. Take a calcium supplement that contains magnesium and phosphorous.

Nutrition tips:

  1. Always eat a breakfast that includes a protein about the size of your fist, plus carbohydrates at least that large. Even twice that large is fineóthis is a great time to take in your carbohydrates. Examples include eggs with a side of blueberries, eggs and oatmeal, steak and tomatoes, amaranth pancakes, a protein shake with fruit (even a banana or small glass of orange juice is fine at breakfast).
  2. Avoid eating a carbohydrate by itself. This wastes the carrier ability of the carbohydrate to bring protein into the cells, and it also creates an undesirable insulin response.
  3. Six meals a day, and keep them small. Try not to go more than 2 or 3 hours without food. If you are going to be away from food sources, pack a small plastic bag of nuts (raw, unsalted), or bring a food bar. Note that most food bars are junk. Read the labels carefully.
  4. Variety is king. Donít eat the same foods all the time, and donít buy from the same store all the time.
  5. Donít follow the Food Pyramid. Its reliance on grains is a recipe for obesity. We feed cows grain to fatten them before slaughter. Itís easy enough to see the effect of the grain-centric diet just by looking around today. If you replace "grain" with "green," the Food Pyramid improves dramatically.
  6. When eating out, ask that your food be as unadorned as possible. No sauces, creams, or breading. If you make a habit of this, you will learn to enjoy the taste of food, rather than the taste of hydrogenated oils and sugar.

Mechanical Support

Do note, you have connective tissue involved here--so, provide support for that sagging skin. You may wrap your abdominal area with an elastic bandage for most of the day, for example. This will help that connective tissue to shorten, thus reducing the sagging. If gravity is pulling on the skin and stretching it, that has the same effect as fat pushing it out.

 

Assessment:

If you donít see a visible improvement each 30 days, you are doing something wrong. Go back and check what you are doing. You may wish to keep a logbook or at least a food diary while you figure this out. All it takes is one slip in one area to foil all the other efforts you make.

 

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