If you've lost a large amount of weight in a short amount of time - say 30 pounds in one or two months - it's likely that you may have loose skin. Losing more than three pounds a week can deflate your body, and it reduces the elasticity of your skin.
But what can you do about it?
There are a few diseases that can cause massive weight loss in a short amount of time, such as hyperthyroidism, Crohn's disease, and parasites in your gastrointestinal tract. It's tough to prevent loose skin if you've lost a lot of weight as the result of a disease, as you are simply too sick to work out.
If you're losing a lot of weight thanks to a diet or fitness program, it's very important to remember to keep working out your muscles as you lose weight. Your body is burning a lot of fat, so you'll want to tone your muscles to ensure that they stay strong and occupy the space vacated by the fat stores that are being eliminated.
If you have lost a lot of weight, spend extra time toning up your muscles by doing high rep, low weight exercises. Here are a few to do:
- Bench presses (for your chest)
- Cable pushdowns (for your triceps, the backs of your arms)
- Barbell curls (for your biceps, the front of your arms)
- Squats (for your legs and glutes)
- Plank hold (for your abs)
Make sure to do sets of 20 to 25 reps, as that will tone the muscle without packing on muscle mass.
If you have visible folds of loose skin, the only way to tighten that skin is to build muscle beneath it. You'll want to pack on a few pounds of muscle, and you can do so by doing low-rep, high-weight exercises.
Your workout will consist of sets in the four to six rep range, with as much weight as your muscles can handle. This is how you will bulk up, and the expanding muscle fibers will help to fill in the empty space beneath your skin.
The sad truth is that no exercise will truly be able to tighten your skin. Once your skin has been stretched out by the fat beneath, it will have to slowly tighten on its own. It may never be fully tight, and the only way to stop the skin from hanging down is to turn the empty space beneath it into muscle. For this reason, you will do high-weight, low-rep exercises, as they are the ones that build the most muscle mass (size).
The best thing to do is to eat foods that will nourish your skin and promote the growth of elastin and collagen. These two nutrients will help to repair your skin and will cause it to slowly tighten over time. It will take a while for your skin to return to normal, but with the right exercise program and diet plan you'll see progress.