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Lost baby weight...Now need to tighten loose skin
momsterprincess posted:
I have had 5 children, my last was born 20 months ago. I was never real good at keeping trim during my pregnancies and always gained 30 lbs. or more. Since the birth of my last child I went from about 195 lbs. to my current weight of 142 lbs. I am 35 years old, 5'5 with a medium frame. I would like to lose about 7 more lbs. but my major concern is the loose skin on my lower belly and the stretch marks. I can't afford surgery and I need to know if there is ANYTHING that will help get rid of all of that besides time. It can be exercises, creams or any tricks that are known to work. Please help!
Rich Weil, MEd, CDE responded:
Your BMI is 23.6. That's a healthy BMI (25 is overweight, and you are about 9 pounds away from that, so your weight is fine). I suggest that you shift your focus from body weight to body composition (the amount of fat and muscle you have). You can monitor your body fat by using a bioelectric impedance (BIA) scale. You can buy a BIA scale for around $45. Check and for more information. You could also measure circumferences. The standard circumference measurements are arms (flexed and relaxed), chest (after a normal exhale), shoulders (the widest part), waist (the narrowest part below the ribs and above the belly button), abdomen (across the belly button), buttocks (at the maximum extension of the buttocks), gluteal/thigh (high on the thigh at the groove where the buttocks end), mid-thigh (halfway between the crease in the groin and the top of the knee cap), and calf (at the maximum circumference, either with leg hanging freely off a table or with legs 8 inches apart and weight distributed evenly). Keep the tape horizontal during measurements and pull the tape lightly so it indents the skin only slightly.

As for your skin, some creams dehydrate the skin which might give a smooth appearance, but it's temporary and in most cases doesn't help at all. How much your skin will tighten depends on your age (35 yo is in your favor), length of time the skin was stretched and how much it was stretched, how much weight you lost, amount of collagen and elastin in your skin, and genetics (you have no control over that). Time is what it's going to take and so you will need to be patient (I don't know how long it will take, but in 4-6 months you should see some improvement if it's going to improve),. Aerobic and resistance exercise is what you need to be doing. I suggest 4-5 days of cardio for 30-40 minutes, and resistance exercise 2-3 days a week for all the muscle groups. With exercise you have a shot at tightening the skin, plus it will tighten and tone muscles under the skin, which can pull on the skin and help to smooth it out.

WebMD has some nice articles on stretch marks. You can search on it on the top of the page. Here's one article.

Take care. Rich

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