If you obsess over extreme weight loss stories, you may have noticed excess, saggy skin on the bodies of the newly svelte. You might worry that after all your hard work losing weight you'll end up with unattractive sag. But if your goal is to simply lose 10 pounds, then you do not need to be concerned. There are many factors that go into saggy skin, and typically it is only a problem after significant weight loss. You may notice a jiggle after losing 10 pounds, but likely it will be for a different reason than saggy skin.
Blame Your BMI
Skin is a living organ that adapts to its environment, doing its best to stretch and reduce along with your changing weight. However, in some cases you may change your body faster than your skin can adapt to keep up. According to John Jakicic, director of the Physical Activity and Weight Management Research Center at the University of Pittsburgh, your BMI level before you lose weight is an indicator of whether you should expect to get saggy skin. Obese individuals with a BMI of 30 or more are likely to have excess skin after significant weight loss.
10 Pounds, No Sag
You may wonder how much weight loss constitutes a significant amount. Dr. Alan Gold, president of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, cautions that a gastric bypass can cause a patient to quickly lose 50 percent or more of their total body weight, which often leads to saggy, excess skin. But for weight loss of 10, 20 or even 30 pounds, the results are far less severe. If you are simply trying to get rid of the 10 extra pounds you picked up on a vacation or holiday, you don't need to worry about saggy skin.
Breaking Down the Jiggle
When you lose 10 pounds, you may notice a jiggle in your belly. This is not saggy skin, this is soft fat. For those who start up an exercise program after enjoying a sedentary lifestyle, the increased blood flow to your abdomen turns hard fat into soft fat. Don't be discouraged by the jiggle; this means you are making progress and getting rid of unwanted fat. Keep up the good work to banish the blubber.
You Are What You Supplement
It is unlikely you will get saggy skin from losing 10 pounds, but you can still take steps to protect your skin's elasticity. A study conducted at Stanford University discovered that supplements including gelatin and fish oil may improve skin elasticity. Another study published in "The Journal of Dermatological Treatment" discovered that the supplement known as Evelle increased skin elasticity in women by 9 percent. It never hurts to take extra good care of your skin, regardless of how much weight you plan to lose.
- NBC News: Lose Weight, Gain a "Loose Suit" of Skin?
- Hussman Fitness: You Really Do Change from the Inside Out
- NuSkin: A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Pilot Trial to Assess the Effects of 5 Different Food Supplements on Skin
- The Journal of Dermatological Treatment: Supplementation with Evelle Improves Skin Smoothness and Elasticity in a Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study with 62 Women
Meredith Berg received her B.F.A. in directing from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. Now living in Los Angeles, she works as a film and television writer, comic-book editor and director of plays and films. In addition, she loves tackling paleo recipes, workout routines and DIY projects.