Does anyone have any tips for tightening up the loose skin that hangs about looking flabby after weightloss? Did the skin on your upper arms, inner thighs, and stomach get smaller? What exercises, nutrients or topical agents helped your skin snap back after significant weight loss? How long did it take for your body to change form?
The answer to this question is dependent on your age, your genetics, how you gained your weight and how much you gained. The skin has a good bit of elasticity to it but this varies from person to person. The bottom line question is did you damage your skin when gaining the weight. Did you cross the threshold of your own skin's ability to recover? The damage is done on the way up not on the way down so there is very little to do about it now.
Think of a balloon that you blow up then let it sit until the air goes out of it naturally. It will never look the same as it did before it was blown up. It's lumpy and bumpy and looks like it was filled up then emptied. That's what I looked like after I lost weight. I hadn't realized how damaged my skin was until after the weight loss and the stretch marks were visible. They were made during the weight gain but you couldn't really see them until I lost the weight. With all the damage to my skin from my weight gain I had to have surgery. Lots of surgery.
I get a little angry when I read all these little anecdotes for how to avoid having excess skin as most are just plain stupid and made by people who don't understand the underlying issue of skin damage and recovery. Or they can't or don't differentiate between someone losing 25 lbs and someone losing 125 lbs. They don't differentiate between someone who gained 10 pounds year for 10 year and someone like me who at one point gained almost 100 lbs in a little over a year. I love Mark Sisson but I thought that article of his (referenced in this thread) on the subject was the worst thing he's ever written. Quoting flakes like that? Please. That was beyond insulting. I assure him I was not just covered with subcutaneous fat. Many people have subcutaneous fat but it doesn't make them look like a melted candle or doesn't double over onto itself in folds. That's entire piece was just a joke.
Think about women who have grown babies inside their bodies and happened to their skin because of it. Some women snap back and you can't tell they ever had a kid. Some are left with a pool of loose, baggy, wrinkly skin that will look that way the rest of their lives. Most seem to fall in the middle by showing a little softness and looseness in their abdominal region but still not the way they were before. Surely it's not hard to see that a women bearing triplets is going to have much more damaged skin (and other stuff) than a woman who gives birth to a tiny baby and hardly "showed" at all during her pregnancy. Surely we can understand how a 20 year old is probably going to fare better than the 40 year old when it comes to how much abuse her skin can take. Yet for some reason we want to blame fat people who end up with loose skin and wonder why they didn't do something to prevent that from happening? It's a ridiculous notion yet we persist with this idea that lose skin is either a myth or a righteous punishment for those of us who just didn't "do it right".
All I can say is focus on losing the weight and keep it off for a year. Only then will you know what you are stuck with. Most will never do that so don't borrow trouble. Wait until it actually belongs to you. If it makes you feel better to be "doing something" then dry brush and use CO or whatever else you want to do. It certainly won't hurt. Then in the end you will look like what you will look like. It's a crap shoot and it's pretty much out of your hands at this point. Just focus on the weight loss and the maintenance of the weight loss for a year and keep your fingers crossed that you are young enough and your skin was tough enough to have weathered the abuse it took.
I went from about 180 to 120 in the course of 4 months last year (5'4.5", female, 29 at the time) and my skin would catch up, in a very funny and delayed fashion, some areas taking a bit longer to pull back up, like my butt and thighs, but everything did. I had saggy arms for about 2 weeks at a time, a flabby butt for about a month after the weight loss stopped and I began to gain back some muscle (though my weight remained stable, so I continued to lose a bit more fat), and a wrinkly old neck for about a week that really freaked me out. I did daily dry skin brushing, scrubbed my butt, legs and arms in the shower with epsom salt, and used Now Solutions Cocoa Butter with Jojoba oil (75% cocoa butter, 25% jojoba), and it really worked.
Another factor might have been due to the fact that most of my weight loss was through an extended all liquids fast due to a stomach issue (which is why it was so quick) and there were many days when I couldn't stomach anything at all, even fruit juices, and I think that the water fasting itself led to a really intense autolysis, and might have been part of what helped my skin bounce back so quickly.
All of my previous trouble spots definitely got better, which for me were butt, legs and thighs being that I am pear-shaped. I didn't do any exercises at the time other than walking, but this was due to the lack of energy from the stomach problems I was experiencing.
In addition to the brushing, scrubbing and so on to keep skin happy from the outside, and excercise to fill it out from within, collagen and elastin are the bottom line (no pun intended). Best source is homemade bone broth, but you're somewhat doomed by your gestation and early childhood nourishment. K2 has been know to improve skin quality pretty rapidly.
I have never lost huge amounts but I think if you do lose weight and keep moving then skin tighens up. I stll have some loose skin from having gestated twins to 40 weeks (!) but it doesn't bother me and the slimmer I am the less it is noticeable. Just keep moving. I do lots of heavy lifting of boxes and things around the house rather than exercise so my arms have never really been very flabby.
Here is an excellent albeit rough article from Marksdailyapple on the subject. http://www.marksdailyapple.com/how-to-get-rid-of-excess-skin-after-major-weight-loss/#axzz1pR87bPud
Slow, healthy, sustainable weight loss 4 Answers