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Old 06-25-2013, 10:17 AM   #1
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Concerned about future excess sagging skin

I just started back to Atkins Induction last Saturday, so I probably got into ketosis yesterday morning. I have been flip-flopping between low carb blogs of all types, but I came across a new topic a few minutes ago; one that has always concerned me: Sagging skin once goal weight is reached. I have about 90-100 more lbs to lose, and I am afraid that the Induction WOE will result in such fast weight loss (I usually lose 20-25 my first 2 weeks), and cause that unsightly sagging skin. I would much rather move into other phases and lose my weight slower than spend a big chunk of my time slapping my abdominal fat in disgust.

My questions to you all now are:

1) Does it make sense to assume, since i lose so much at first, that prolonged Induction would cause me to have excess skin once i've lost all the weight?

2) Does it make sense to move onto Phase 2 of the diet?

3) Has any one of you ever dealt with sagging skin, or fear of getting it, and what did you do to avoid having that problem?

The sagging excess skin I am talking about is the type that can only be gotten rid of by an abdominaplasty, or surgery.

This means a lot to me, and I would like to hear your thoughts on it. The more replies to this thread, the more motivated I'll be. Sometimes, super duper quick fast weight loss is NOT worth it.

Last edited by Taralb1981; 06-25-2013 at 10:25 AM..
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Old 06-25-2013, 12:14 PM   #2
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I can see your point -- you basically want to plan for the long-term, and not do anything now that you will later regret. But at this point in your fat loss journey, I can't imagine there being any *correct* answers to this particular concern because what *your* skin will do depends on variables that no one can accurately predict. Age and genetics are the key factors with regard to skin elasticity. So the fact that somebody else lost weight quickly and had saggy skin when they reached goal, doesn't mean that *you* will have that same experience if you lose at the same rate. Or the fact that somebody else lost slowly and did not have saggy skin when they reached goal also doesn't mean that *you* will have that experience, either.

For example, I started Atkins at 235 pounds on 11 May of last year. I wouldn't say that I've *quickly* lost bodyfat. It took me two entire months to lose 20 pounds when I started Atkins. And I stayed on induction for 10 months, losing 68 pounds during that time. As of my last weigh-in, on 31 May, I'd lost 85.5 pounds, which meant that I'd lost 8.5" inches from my starting waist measurement. But even though I've lost a lot of size from my waist, for example, I don't have saggy skin -- I still have a chubby tummy, even though it's smaller than it was when I started the diet. But my skin has adjusted pretty well. However, that's just my personal experience -- my results reflect the genetics that I was given. For reference, here's a photo of my tummy from my 31 May weigh-in:



Skin also continues to adjust after the body has stabilized at a particular size. I'm close to a lot of bodybuilders -- including both of my brothers -- so I know that the skin issue is an important concern in bodybuilding and especially in figure modeling. Bodybuilding is judged by aesthetic standards, so a "tight" or "thin" appearance of the skin is factored into the judging. It's one of the (many) reasons that physique competitors are coached to allow about 2 years, from the start of their conditioning, before they enter their first competition. And the 2 years only *really* applies to competitors who have a relatively small percentage of bodyfat to lose. Competitors who have more bodyfat to lose have to invest even more time because their bodies will need to make more significant adjustments. The timeframe and general outlook for these adjustments are all driven by the genetics of each individual body.

And the *average* person will have at least 6 months of significant re-adjustment after they've substantially cut their bodyfat percentage and stabilized at a smaller size (or with bodybuilders, stabilized at a larger size). Depending on their individual genetics, some bodybuilders have to get specialty treatments from a plastic surgeon because their skin is less-elastic than average. While other bodybuilders have extremely elastic skin and their skin looks great throughout the entire process and is never a major concern. Some guys get horrible stretchmarks when they grow. While others get huge without getting any noticeable stretchmarks. From what I've seen, ethnicity also plays a role. Most of the darker guys that I know seem to be able to make major changes without stressing their skin. But there are also some dark competitors who have extremely evident stretchmarks. It depends on the person.

There are a lot of *tests* that bodybuilders say will predict how the skin will react to changes. For example, one test involves "pinching" the skin on different areas of the body to see how it springs back. The *theory* is that the areas that spring quickly back to shape have skin that will (eventually) adjust to dramatic changes, and that the areas that don't spring quickly back have skin that won't adjust as well. But I'm pretty sure that this is all just superstition and that it's not actually based on anything that has actually been proven. It's just something the experienced guys (and some coaches) tell beginners who start freaking out about their skin. The experienced competitors know their bodies and know what to expect. For everybody else, body recomposition is a learning process.

It sounds like you've done this before and are basing your current weight loss projections on past experience. But if your previous experiences haven't actually taken you to goal -- and kept you at goal -- then sticking with your plan and losing to goal, at whatever rate your individual body and your diet tolerance will allow, and then maintaining the loss long enough to let your body's natural processes adjust will eventually show you how your skin and your overall body will respond to significant fat loss.
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Old 06-25-2013, 02:58 PM   #3
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I understand your concern. I am 40 yrs old with two kids so the chances of my belly skin going away are slim. However, I still look so much better than I did 45 lbs ago so I'm ok with it!! I did buy some very expensive firming lotion thinking it might help and I didn't see any noticeable change. As my weight loss has dramatically slowed down the last few months I do see my body shifting as Trillex described so hopefully things will continue to improve over time. I also invested some serious money in Spanx and they are worth every penny!!! I would recommend focusing on the weight loss and this WOE and try not to worry about the skin issue since there isn't much you can do to change it other than give it time. Good luck!
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Old 06-26-2013, 05:52 AM   #4
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I'm 44 yrs old 5'4 and I have a saggy stomach. Yeah I Hate it so much But to Me it's way better Saggy then Full of fat. I have had 3 Major surgeries in my ab area plus 3 pregnancies with 2 babies. Both over 8 lbs. My stomach will never be tight or have abs showing. My cousin had weight loss surgery over a yr ago and has lost over 200 lbs. She looks Amazing! And she's working out (Now) like crazy with a trainer to tighten that skin so that her surgery to remove excess skin isn't so hard or so much.
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Old 06-26-2013, 03:55 PM   #5
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Trillex, I read your story the other day, and oh wow it was so inspiring! It really motivated me, and has me looking forward to more LC days to come! It's very interesting what you said about how skin usually "settles in" to what it will be after the weight is lost. I thought that if a person lost weight too quickly from a low carb diet, that no matter what, that person would end up having huge amounts of excess sagging skin. That would not be good in my case since I'm the body type who gained weight all over!

Julie, I have always wanted to try Spanx, but doubted whether they would pull in this unsightly fat or not! I guess it wouldn't hurt to try them! It's wonderful that you are starting to notice changes in your skin, too!

Princessmommy, yes, you have a point. A stomach is always much better saggy instead of fat. It's a good thing that doctors don't look at saggy skin the same way they look at stomach fat IMO. I noticed that your WOE is listed as Low Carb. How many carbs a day do you try to eat at the MOST? The reason I ask is because I am doing Induction, or rather I should say, trying to succeed on Induction, and I may benefit better in a few weeks from just moving on to the other phases of Atkins, but I've been reading about South Beach Diet, Atkins 72, Paleo, Wheat Belly, and all of that other stuff. Just trying to get the slightest clue what diet I should be on!
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Old 06-29-2013, 09:16 AM   #6
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I asked my doctor this exact question. My doctor told me that each individual is different. So a person who was my weight at 258 LBS could have loose skin, but a person at 350 LBS may never get loose skin if they happen to have tight skin in the first place. He also told me sometimes if a person loses way to fast it can cause loose skin, but he said 99% of the time it has to do with genetics.
Fortunately as I have been losing so far, my skin is adjusting well. I'm keeping my fingers crossed it stays this way. TBH I would rather have a bit of saggy skin and be healthy, then go back to the way I looked and felt when I was 258 LBS.
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Old 07-28-2013, 05:40 AM   #7
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So far I have lost approx 160lbs...gained back 20.

I have/had saggy skin.

Neck, arms, thighs, tummy, breast...did I say neck lol?

I got a tummy tuck about a year and 1/2 ago....Just the tummy tuck alone they removed over 20lbs of skin. I also got a breast lift and reduction. My breasts were literally deflated after the weight loss. AGain...between the tissue and skin they took out was another 7 lbs.

I do have children which could explain the extreme loose skin in my tummy area (other then the weight gain).

But what bothers me the most is my neck. I wouldn't have guessed that I had that much fat there.

I have a friend that lost over 100lbs on the juice diet in less then 6 months(she also walked like crazy). She is upset now because she lost it to fast in additon she is in her mid 50's (almost 20 years older then me) which she thinks added to her skin not have elascticity.

But keep in mind everyones body is different....age has a huge factor I believe...as well as if you've had children etc.
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Old 07-28-2013, 07:44 AM   #8
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Taralb1981

As Trillex said, each person is different, and it is difficult to know how our bodies are going to react.
At this point, I would personally not worry too much about the sagging skin and I would concentrate on achieving your weight goals....
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Old 07-31-2013, 10:47 AM   #9
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This has worried me too but to be honest the baggy empty skin can be hidden better than a tummy with fat in it. Why I want to lose the fat is for health reasons mostly it's not good to have it around my organs and if that means I need 'magic' knickers that keep my skin in smoother then that is what I'll wear.

I'm also 41, have had 3 ops in my tummy / boob area (all medical) 4 pregnancies, 2 full term and been obese most of my adult life, so I'm not expecting to look like a toned person, just a slimmer one.
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