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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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March 19, 2012

Dear Mark: Excess Skin After Major Weight Loss?

By Mark Sisson
292 Comments

Today’s Dear Mark topic is a sensitive one: excess, or loose skin after major weight loss. This is a problem for a lot of people, and it can really take the sails out of someone who’s had otherwise seamless success losing weight. I may ruffle a few feathers here, but I assure my intent is merely to give folks who have loose skin the best shot at reaching their desired body composition. So, as you read my response to the reader question, keep that in mind.

With that said, let’s get to it:

Hi Mark,

Excess skin after weight loss is a big topic in most weight loss communities, yet I rarely hear about it in the Primal community. Does the Primal lifestyle prevent excess skin? Are there any tips from either yourself or from the members of the community about avoiding or preventing excess skin after weight loss? I am currently approx 100 lbs overweight so this is something that really concerns me.

Gabrielle

Before getting into potential methods of treating and/or preventing excess skin after weight loss, let’s explore the phenomenon itself. What exactly is loose, or excess skin?

Most cases of loose skin are actually just cases of excess subcutaneous body fat covered by skin. And because subcutaneous fat is “soft” fat, it is looser and easier to confuse with skin. It droops and jiggles and the skin that surrounds it conforms to its shape. That’s not to suggest that legitimately loose skin isn’t a real problem, because it is. But I would wager that many if not most cases of loose skin can be explained by overly stubborn deposits of subcutaneous fat.

Stubborn fat is actually a real thing. As Martin Berkhan explains, adipose tissue is full of alpha-2 and beta-2 receptors. A-2 and b-2 receptors are the major lipolytic receptors in adipose tissue, meaning they interact with the catecholamines (adrenaline and noradrenaline) to cause stored body fat to release. B-2 receptors are associated with “easy fat,” or fat that burns off easily. A-2 receptors are associated with “stubborn fat,” or fat that’s harder to burn. All adipose tissue has both a-2 and b-2 receptors, and the higher the b-2:a-2 ratio, the easier it is to burn the fat. The lower the ratio, the more stubborn the fat. Belly fat has a notoriously low b-2:a-2 ratio, which is why it’s usually the last to go (especially for men). If your belly fat is stubborn, it may resemble loose skin even as the rest of your body has mostly leaned out.

If your loose skin is thicker than a few millimeters, there is residual body fat. And because adipose tissue – which, remember, is actually a major endocrine organ, rather than an inert piece of tissue – remains, the skin has no reason to return to its former size and elasticity. As long as the subcutaneous fat attached to it remains, the skin will appear loose and drape-y. Skin that fills your hand when you squeeze it isn’t just skin.

This isn’t really bad news, believe it or not. It actually means that you’re almost there. It means that your “loose skin” isn’t necessarily out of your control. If indeed it is simply stubborn subcutaneous fat, once you manage to lose the excess fat, the “loose skin” might just disappear along with it. In fact, I’d imagine that most such cases of “loose skin” can and will be remedied in this manner. Men, get down to around 10-12% body fat before you start considering surgery or anything drastic. Women, get down to 15-17% body fat before taking any surgical steps.

Hey, if that sounded harsh to you, at least I’m not as bad as Ron Brown, PhD, who claims loose skin is nothing but a myth. Go ahead and check out his argument, but try to avoid meeting his steely gaze. Lock eyes with Dr. Ron at your own peril; you will be consumed. Despite the intense shirtless photo, he has a point that skin is not a passive slab of flesh. Instead, it is an active organ that should be able to adapt to the body’s “internal and external environment.”

That said, if your loose skin is paper thin, closer to the thickness of your eyelid or the back of your hand (about 1 mm thick), and resembles rolled up papyrus or parchment, you likely suffer from excess skin. What can be done to prevent or deal with actual excess skin?

First and foremost, any weight loss regimen must be accompanied by resistance training. Yeah, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: you have to be lifting heavy things in order for the best things to happen to your body composition. There are a few genetic outliers who can put on muscle as easily as breathing, but those folks probably won’t have the problem of loose skin anyway. For the rest of us, however, we need to lift weights in order to maintain and/or build lean mass during weight loss. If your loose skin is caused by a rapid diminishing of body mass, packing on a bit more mass in the form of muscle can mitigate the problem.

There’s no hard data on this, but I’d imagine that crash diets, ones that consume lean mass and fat mass indiscriminately in the pursuit of rapid weight loss, will be more likely to leave you with excess skin. If you’re losing weight and feeling weaker, disoriented, lazy, rundown, and generally crappy, you’re probably doing it wrong. Weight loss should imbue you with vigor and strength, easy, smooth energy. You should be burning clean body fat for energy, not breaking down your lean tissue. Remember what I wrote last week about fasting preferentially targeting body fat versus lean mass? Yeah, fasting might be just the ticket for ridding yourself of stubborn body fat while avoiding the accumulation of excess skin due to concurrent lean mass breakdown.

Another major cause of loose skin is compromised skin elasticity. If your skin loses elasticity, it will lose its ability to spring back to its former glory. Lost elasticity is usually thought of as a characteristic of growing old, but it can also strike younger people. Besides finding the fountain of youth, what can you do to improve skin elasticity?

One study found that dietary gelatin improved skin elasticity (PDF). Eating real bone broth, fatty gelatin-rich meats like oxtail, poultry feet, or short ribs, or even using gelatin powder as a supplement might be able to restore or preserve skin elasticity. You’re already getting dietary gelatin anyway, right?

Another study found that a proprietary blend of nutrients, including selenium (salmonbrazil nuts, seafood), zinc (oystersred meat), vitamin C (vegetables, fruit, raw liver), and various carotenoids (fruits and vegetables, red palm oil), was effective at increasing skin elasticity.

Vitamin C is important for collagen formation, which is vital for skin elasticity. Make sure to get enough vitamin C.

If weight loss occurs and you’re at a low-enough body fat percentage to determine that you truly have excess skin, give it several months before you turn to the scalpel. My guess is that for Primal eaters who are eating a nutrient-dense diet (including plenty of the aforementioned nutrients), truly excess skin won’t be as big a problem as it might be for the general dieter.

Now I’d like your help. Did you have excess skin after weight loss? Was it truly just skin, or was there also fat left over? Please, leave a comment and let everyone know what worked – and didn’t work – for you. Thanks for reading!

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292 Comments on "Dear Mark: Excess Skin After Major Weight Loss?"

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Brian
Brian
4 years 6 months ago

So if I am already lifting heavy things and fasting, but I’m seeing no change in the amount of stubborn fat, what other options do I have? Lift more, fast more, or are there other changes I can make to lose the last couple pounds?

fritzy
fritzy
4 years 6 months ago

If you aren’t incorporating sprints in your regimin, now’s the time to start! Good luck, Brian!

Lauren
4 years 6 months ago

Perhaps look again for allergens and eliminate them.

Joshua
Joshua
4 years 6 months ago

The last couple pounds? Is that all? How about the option of don’t worry about it? If your goal of losing weight is some arbitrary ideal of relative attractiveness, you’ll never get there. That is a long and frustrating road ending ultimately in dissatisfaction. If your goal was improved health, then you are already there. Continue to live a healthy lifestyle and if your body composition changes, fine. If it doesn’t, fine. If you can’t have what you want, want what you have.

Brian
Brian
4 years 5 months ago

Thanks for the lecture. Exactly the motivation I needed.

Deuce
Deuce
4 years 5 months ago

Totally. Well said Joshua. You gotta keep these things in perspective.

Manda
Manda
3 years 6 months ago
I get what your saying but don’t knock the guy down. And the fact is that there are real issues that come with the extra flap of skin. Especially if you’re exercising you can get rashes under folds of skin, and finding clothes to fit what would be your normal body plus a sag of skin is difficult and can be uncomfortable. Somethings that seem to be about “attractiveness” can also be about sheer logistics. I would also add there is something to be said about trying to attain a body that makes you feel good. It’s nothing to cry… Read more »
peter
peter
3 years 1 month ago

Well said Manda,I never can understand why people feel they have a right to “lecture” rather than just either be helpful or say nothing.

Rich
Rich
2 months 1 day ago
I’d disagree. I’m happy to be healthy but I like the idea, and still see the slow moving results, of seeing striations of my muscles and watching them grow. I eat clean, lean, fully balanced meals with raw foods and have been serious about it for 2 months. I initially lost 150 lbs but plateaued at 220 lbs from 375 lbs at my heaviest. Having always been overweight, I first strived to get to my goal of the hundred club. For 1 year, I never managed better than 217 lbs until I became serious about my goal back in May.… Read more »
mark
mark
3 years 2 months ago

I tried crossfit, and strength cardio, that did help out a little.

Rach
Rach
2 years 11 months ago

Fasting can send your body into starvation mode making your body store fat cells. Maybe cut your calories, but you should consume at least 1,000 I’d say, especially if you’re lifting and working out.

Shayne
Shayne
2 years 7 months ago

Intermittent fasting will not put your body in starvation mode; your body will need at least, 48-72+ hours to realize it is being starved. If proper fasting techniques are used followed by adequate hydration, there is nothing to worry about.

Joanna
4 years 6 months ago

What an interesting article! I’d also like to hear what people who have lost lots on the Primal diet have found in regards to this issue.

As for someone just starting on a weight loss program, I think these recommendations are great. IF already sounded pretty good from your last article. Now with the skin benefits it sounds even better.

I can see an opportunity for making a good weight loss supplement with all the recommendations above mixed in with some gelatin. Maybe you should consider it!

Cthulhu's Mum
Cthulhu's Mum
1 year 3 months ago
Hey there – I’ve lost quite a lot on the Primal diet this year (I was 123kg -> 271lbs at the start of the year; as of this morning I weigh 84.3kg -> 185lbs. I’m female 30yrs and 6’1 with a large frame, so I’m within the radius of weight I want to be! [I set 180lbs +/- 5lbs as my goal] Hooray for me!) I started occasional 24hr fasts about 6 weeks back (I think I do them about once a week, but it’s whenever the fancy strikes me. I’ve recorded them, though, and know it’s 6 so far).… Read more »
Danielle
Danielle
4 years 6 months ago

Well, good news and bad news there. Good news is I might be able to wear a bikini again after all. Bad news is yes, I DO have a fair bit of “stubborn” belly fat. Time to start lifting something heavier than my 50-lb son.

Deuce
Deuce
4 years 5 months ago

Just don’t go fattening up your son for the sake of skinnying up yourself;)

Jeff
Jeff
2 years 5 months ago

Try to get the son to 150, 175 pounds before you give up on using him as a muscle strengthener.

rob
rob
4 years 6 months ago

I lost a lot of weight but have the problem with stubborn fat at the waistline, it’s not much just enough to be annoying … it’s gradually coming off but I don’t see any easy way to get the job done, have to exercise more and consume fewer calories, it’s not coming off of its own volition, that’s why they call it “stubborn fat.” If it was easy then everyone would enjoy low body fat.

liberty1776
liberty1776
4 years 6 months ago

Second that. My face lost weight quickly, as did my waistline. But my stubborn adipose tissue remains. I know what I have to do- totally quit drinking beer/alcohol until my desired physique is achieved.

Side note: My stretch marks located on my love handles have been slowly disappearing.

Louise
Louise
4 years 6 months ago

I have to second the comment on the beer/wine. It seems to halt my weight loss completely. Too bad, as that would be my preferred 20%.

As I lose weight, I notice stretch marks in all sorts of places I had never worried about before. For example, on the bottom of my upper arm. I actually find this post very inspiring–there is no chance that I will ever have surgery to get rid of my belly flap, so it’s going to be fat loss or nothing. Maybe someday I will look good in a bathing suit!

Carlos Morales
4 years 6 months ago
I lost a 130 pounds, and I have stretch marks from hell; they look like silver tiger stripes on my belly. I have loose thin skin on the bottom of my stomach, and I doubt it’s adipose tissue; had a dermatologist look at it, and he recomended surgery to get rid of it. It kind of sucks to be honest, every time I look at my stomach I see the indentions of my abdominals, with large stretch marks that remind me of how fat I was. I think this may be a larger issue in the paleo community, but people… Read more »
Carlos Morales
4 years 6 months ago

By the way, it’s hard to take Ron Brown’s article seriously, when it looks like an Angel Fire website with no sources, before and after photos, and a general lack of research proofs. He could be right, but he’s not doing a very good job proving it.
It reads like a rant, “It’s easy, just stop eating” seems to be the mantra with very little science to back it.

Deuce
Deuce
4 years 5 months ago

Absurd. He clearly and thoroughly details why “just stop eating” is exactly the wrong approach through some 4 paragraphs that you obviously didn’t read before coming here to bash him. Nobody is trashing you based on your inane comments. If you’re going to sit at your computer and bash people you don’t know, at least be right about what you are bashing.

garry
garry
3 years 7 months ago

Hey fruit cake; how can you say, “Nobody is trashing you based on your inane comments,” YOU JUST DID BY SAYING THAT!!! (btw, your name sounds awefully close to what you are with your put down of that poster! lol

Jim Parker
Jim Parker
5 months 19 days ago

Ron Brown is fully aware that his claims are very misleading and in many cases completely untrue. All you have to do is go to youtube to see plenty of cases of extra skin after weight loss even with muscle building, and the videos demonstrate it is skin, not skin covering fat.
His goal with that website is to make money, not to honestly help people.

Hailey
Hailey
4 years 4 months ago

Also, Ron Brown’s speciality is psychology… He has no professional training in biology…..

bbuddha
bbuddha
4 years 6 months ago

Congratulations on the weight loss. regarding stretch marks….the tendency to that is very individual. I was pregnant at the same time as a good friend of mine. I got HUGE; think land whale (daughter was 9 lb 3 oz) and had no stretch marks on my stomach, did get some on my legs; weird huh? my friend didn’t get nearly as big and her stomach was covered with them.

Katie @ Wellness Mama
4 years 6 months ago

I would definitely try the gelatin and vitamin c that mark recommended. I took both of those during and after my last two pregnancies, and got no new stretch marks, and the ones from past pregnancies went away too.

Carlos Morales
4 years 6 months ago

Will do, just made a big vat of homemade chicken broth and saurekraut so I’ll be jacking up my gelatin and c.

Kay
Kay
3 years 8 months ago
That is awesome to hear that the gelatin and vitamin c worked! I am really excited to find out about the gelatin. I plan on incorporating these while during my weight loss regimen. I have two children and a I have a lot of stretch marks in all different areas of my body. I have also just finished my journey with Cancer and praying that losing weight won’t be as hard as it was prior to my cancer knowledge. I had thyroid cancer. Which gave me a hard time losing weight more then 10 lbs never happened. Thank you for… Read more »
Brenda Giacumbo
Brenda Giacumbo
4 years 6 months ago
Carlos you should be proud, losin 130 lbs. shows amazing determination and self discipline!!! The stretch marks…I can see where it would be a reminder of how “fat” you were, BUT you can also look at them and see how far you have come and where you never want to be again! Losin 20 lbs is a major accomplishment for most people…you lost 130 lbs, WOW!!!! My daughter is 17 yrs. old, she lost 10 and was bothered by the stretch marks. I had her use Bio-oil and maderma…they are so faint now that she barely notices them….hope it helps… Read more »
Relly
Relly
4 years 28 days ago
I’ve lost 80 lbs total after gaining 60 lbs with my pregnancy. I had stretch marks all over my body and a horribly shaped body/stomach. I have been doing strength training as well as cardio for about 60 minutes a day, 5 days a week faithfully! And I can honestly say my body has somewhat resumed its shape. I can probably lose 10 or more lbs to be at the 15% body fat, but the “extra skin” has diminished a considerable amount and my stretch marks are almost gone! I’m definitely back in a bikini! This article is completely right… Read more »
Carol
Carol
4 years 23 days ago
I am so glad to hear this- at least you gave me a time frame of hope. I lost 76 pounds and not from pregnancy but a middle age crisis weight gain that I had for a few years. After my pregnancy I lost weight with no residuals save a tiny bit of stretch marks/looseness of lower abdominal area. That was a huge adjustment to the skin so I am hoping that I will adjust in time again. So sorry I let myself go, but we all make mistakes. Hoping I can look at least decent again though I will… Read more »
Mandy F.
3 years 5 months ago
Relly, How long did it take you to notice that your tummy was getting back in better shape? I’m just curious. I gained 40 pounds with my second child. But have lost it all plus am now back in my sizes from high school but I still have that pooch in my tummy and some extra skin post pregnancy. I work out 5 times a week doing a variety of things – treadmill, yoga, Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30 DVD, etc. I can tell I’ve transformed already but I still have a ways to go. Your story encourages me and… Read more »
Lorrie
2 years 2 months ago
Just reading all the wonderful success stories of weight loss. Way to go! I work with people who’ve lost weight and struggle with loose skin. I would highly recommend the body wrap from my company. Visible results can be seen with nine out of 10 people in the first 45 minutes! They can be used anywhere from the neck down to tighten, tone & firm the skin. Recently I’ve bred working with a young woman who’s lost 150 pounds. We started wrapping her upper arms. She thought her only hope was surgery until she tried the wraps! Contact me at… Read more »
Santos
2 years 7 months ago
I had a child 10 years ago. I was 95 pounds when I had him. I cant remember how much I gained, but I went right back to my original size. Of course, I have excess skin on my stomach. I never paid much attention, I thought I could never lose it, but now I am not okay with that. I havent been in a bikini since and I would really like to. Is this possible after letting it go so long? I have been working out at least 3 times a week and only have been doing it for… Read more »
Echo Slow
Echo Slow
3 years 1 month ago

Tanning in the sun with coconut oil, would reduce stretchmark visibility! Works great

alex
alex
3 years 3 days ago

I hope you mean a protective tanning cream with coconut oil, as going in the sun after putting on PURE coconut oil will literally fry you. If you are using pure coconut oil you should use it after a shower and do not dry yourself. This will feed your skin and keep some of the moisture in. And please do not go in the sun for at least 6 hours after using PURE coconut oil.

Stephanie
Stephanie
3 years 3 days ago

alex, I am very fair and use coconut oil (without anything else) as a suntan lotion. I find it works very well and I don’t burn. I find that diet effects my ability to burn (which I used to when I ate grains) more than what I put on my skin.

Tamara Talbot
2 years 3 months ago

Actually, organic coconut oil is used as a natural sunscreen in Asia. I use it while in Thailand and I never burn!

Primal Texas
4 years 6 months ago

After losing the bulk of my weight, I didn’t think it was excess skin leftover… definitely belly fat. Apparently there is more than just white and brown fat… Thanks for the breakdown of a-2 and b-2 receptors. And, thanks for the new reading material on Lean Gains.

Grokitmus Primal
4 years 6 months ago

After being so obese my skin is a trophy 🙂

Carol
Carol
4 years 6 months ago

Ha! That’s what I say about the loose skin under my chin! ;^)

Kelly
Kelly
4 years 6 months ago

I gained 100lbs with each of my three pregnancies. (Obviously, before my Primal days.) As I always lost the weight quickly following birth it was an abrupt change. I had a lot of extra skin. For other health reasons, I did a ten day water fast. An unexpected bonus at the end of the fast was significantly firmer skin. Joel Furhman has some excellent books on fasting safely for longer than a few days.

Agi
Agi
4 years 6 months ago

Huh…I wonder what the science is behind that? Good to know though 🙂

Jen
Jen
4 years 6 months ago

My nutrition professor told us if obese people drink a lot of water during their weight loss phase they will avoid getting loose flesh / stretch marks. He recommended very low carb with a half hour of walking per day ( to start). Once the goal weight is achieved add more fruit and veg.

My weight gain has been completely stress related. When I did yoga I was so fit ( and calm).

trekfan
trekfan
4 years 6 months ago

This post was absolutely what I’ve been wondering. I have major belly fat/loose skin left that just hangs there. I’ve lost 100 pounds since July but strength training hasn’t been in my regiment a lot. I’ve been factoring in fasting and cutting back on dairy/starchy vegetables but now I need to get some strength training in. I was hoping for an easier solution but if this is the way to go, so be it. I’m at 23% BF and I need to get that down. Thanks for the answers Mark, even if it wasn’t exactly what I was hoping. 🙂

Caleigh
4 years 6 months ago

I have lost 40 pounds so far, and am looking to lose about 40 or 50 more I’m not at a place to say if I’ll have excess skin or not. However I’ve had stretchmarks on my stomach and hips since I was 9 years old and have yet to learn to love them.

Excess skin is really not a big issue with me at the moment, as I’m still working to reach a goal of primal living, although my opinion may change once I’m closer to reaching it!

cgk
cgk
4 years 6 months ago
no solutions here, but this is definitely on my mind because of age – 47 and shifting through that phase of life where everything wants to change. Somewhere long ago, I heard 70lbs over ideal weight is where you start to get into skin problems. I’ve hit that mark at the end of a couple of pregnancies. And stablized at about 35lbs overweight. Primal + leptin reset has taken care of all but the last 15lbs. That is definitely more central obesity where the bumps, bulges, muffin tops still hang out. But skin on face/hands/feet/forearms/lower legs all look good. Other… Read more »
primal headshrink
4 years 6 months ago

how do you do leptin reset while on paleo diet?

Michelle Lynne Goodfellow
4 years 6 months ago
I’ve gained and lost the same 40-50lbs throughout my adult life (currently in the lower end of that range), and the weight loss has always been very quick, and at the expense of lean muscle tissue. At my thinnest, I’ve always had very “jiggly” loose skin on my belly, buttocks and thighs. It was bad enough last time (two years ago) that I felt very self-conscious wearing a bikini on vacation, because while I was slim, the skin puckering and folding was quite noticeable. After reading this blog post, I can appreciate that I definitely still had a lot of… Read more »
Steve
Steve
4 years 6 months ago

Mark,

When advising us to consider a body fat percentage of 10-12% (men) before considering plastic surgery, did you factor body frame type? I’m an ectomorph with about 6% and have a bit of a lower belly pooch that has been difficult to get rid of. Most likely because of diet. I still consume about 15% of junk food, i.e., ice cream and the occasional weekend wheat treats.

Thanks,
Steve

Ned Kock
4 years 6 months ago
One thing I would add is that, for those who are formerly obese, extra adipocytes created via hyperplasia may store water for a while. This is speculation on my part, but I suspect that the extra adipocytes are eliminated after a certain amount of time at a low body fat level. The body seems to be good at getting rid of tissues that are not used. It is not uncommon for formerly overweight athletes, who need to dehydrate themselves to make weight, see the loose skin “disappear” as they lose a significant amount of water. I don’t recommend that for… Read more »
Mike
Mike
4 years 6 months ago

I think an important point people miss is that fat is not just human lard. It is adipose tissue with a blood supply and nerves. Would you cut off part of your liver or any other organ? No, and shouldn’t cut off skin or fat tissue.

Ben Boom
Ben Boom
4 years 6 months ago
Okay, this post was written for me, LOL. I discovered I am gluten intolerant just before Halloween; I dropped not only wheat, but as a result of studying the new world I inhabited, I also dropped nearly all carbs and started researching paleo diets. The change agrees with me and I feel great. I lost about 30 pounds but I’m really too skinny now and I don’t want to lose any more. I’m 5’ 10 and I now weigh 136, which should tell you how low I am. Now, I’ve been able to work out through all this, and that… Read more »
David
David
4 years 6 months ago

“Squats are out”… why is that? You don’t need your thumb for squats using a proper overhand grip. And especially not front squats. You can probably even get away with deadlifts using a mixed grip without the hook grip to preserve your thumbs, though you’ll be limited a little. There’s also resistance bands, box jumps, sprints, burpees, lunges, weight vests, dip bars, gymnastic rings and a hundred other things that can be combined in various ways to provide some form of resistance training.

Ben Boom
Ben Boom
4 years 6 months ago
Guys, please credit me with trying everything I can think of before telling me I can do squats. This thumb problem has been a nightmare, nothing like any physical problem I’ve evr had. I’ve seen two hand surgeons, two physical therapists, my family doctor, an acupuncturist, a rolfer, and a naturopath and not one of them has a clue what is going on, except perhaps the naturopth who suspected I might have I wheat issue. Well, we confirmed that! All my other symptoms disappeared with the removal of the wheat, but the thumb injury , while much better, has remained.… Read more »
Donal O'Callaghan
Donal O'Callaghan
1 year 10 months ago

Consider that the thumb problem may be a nerve-issue that presents in the thumb, but originates further back along the nerve, perhaps how you (mis)use your shoulder or neck-muscles; or how you hold (twist? shorten?) your spine.
Alexander Technique has helped me to sort such ‘mechanics’ of many problems over the years – whiplash, blow to spine, hip pains, knee pains etc, always by careful observation and a macro approach

fritzy
fritzy
4 years 6 months ago

Try offset squats, shrimp squats or pistol squats–bodyweight squats that will really shred your legs!

Ben Boom
Ben Boom
4 years 6 months ago

Thanks, LOL. I really need the regular kind of squats for the core strengthening. The ones that just work with body weight alone don’t do that much for your core; they do work your legs but it’s my center section that’s weak. That’s where I really need some improvement.

I appreciate the suggestions; thanks.

Arielle
Arielle
4 years 6 months ago

You absolutely need to use your core muscles when doing bodyweight squats, or you simply are doing a correct squat.

kristina
kristina
4 years 6 months ago

how about a weight vest?

Steve
Steve
4 years 5 months ago

I’m very curious about your comment that bodyweight squats are not good for your legs. Could you elaborate? I’d appreciate it.

msvee
msvee
4 years 3 months ago
Hello Mr. Musician, I have a sister who had renards disease and she went to a rumatoligist. she had lost two fingers going to several different doctors who said she had burgers disease and they amputated them. Well in the end she had reneards disease and her rumatoligist gave her some type of cream to put on the sore spots on her finger and they healed. I don’t suspect that you have renards disease but I do think you would do well to go to a vascular specialist or a rumatoligist. My heart goes out to you at this time…Take… Read more »
Leila
Leila
3 years 5 months ago

You should try wrist wraps. Valeo has the best ones. They take the pressure off your hands and forearms and let you focus on pulling with the muscle group you’re training.

MR PALEO
7 months 21 days ago

Ben,

Don’t feel bad… this is my “profession”, and I am 5’8″ and 130 lbs with a 28″ waist and 42″ chest… and I STILL have unwanted skin/bodyfat… of course, being 63 doesn’t help !

Arnold (MR PALEO)

TJ
4 years 6 months ago
Thanks for this article. I had been somewhat concerned about ending up with lose skin, as I have already lost a decent amount of weight with a decent amount more still to lose. Maintaining or building muscle while losing the fat, looks to be the key to tightening up the skin. I have kept my protein intake up fairly high as I try to eat at least 1 lb. of grass fed beef and/or 1 lb. pork/fish and/or 8-12 pastured eggs per day to help maintain my muscle mass. Looks like I am probably doing the right thing. Thanks again.
ioelus
ioelus
4 years 6 months ago

I was just thinking about last week. My wife has turned away from pasta and bread at last and joined me on this, but isn’t seeing a change as quickly as I did. She worries, after two children, she’ll never have the abdomen she wants. I can’t wait to see the comments here.

peggy
peggy
4 years 6 months ago

Too many women (& men) look at pictures in magazines, on the internet, etc. & want to have the same body as they see. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having an “imperfect” body. Don’t set unrealistic goals for yourself. Being fit & healthy are priority one.

Arty
Arty
4 years 6 months ago

And PhotoShop does wonders 🙂

ALL pictures in ALL magazines are done via Photoshop. You can make a 600 lbs couch potato look like a gazelle.

Dani
Dani
4 years 4 months ago

That was by far the best mental image I have ever gotten on this site, thank you.

Jenna
Jenna
4 years 6 months ago

I have the same problem after 3 children. One of my issues is a bit of abdominal diastasis. Tell her to consider looking into the tupler technique to help bring the abs in a bit. It’s really common in women who have had babies, even years later. Aside from that, though, I have stretch marks up over my belly button… I have very little hope on that one, so I hope that’s not her problem :-/

lisa
lisa
4 years 6 months ago

must check out leangains, its amazing.

Carol
Carol
4 years 6 months ago

This is a very good topic and one that’s been on my mind for a while. You validated what I was wondering; a layer of sub-Q fat around my waist. Being 62 might be a factor, but I’m not budging it. I lift heavy things, eat fat, cut the protein, count calories and IF. I also curse hormones. 😛 I guess I’ll ramp up everything.

Peggy The Primal Parent
4 years 6 months ago

The same guidelines go for keeping skin tight during pregnancy. Skin stretches out a lot and if nutrition isn’t great, then the belly will just hang postpartum. The nutrients Mark listed are all great for keeping skin taut.

Amy
Amy
4 years 6 months ago
I was very unhealthy during my pregnancy, knew nothing about nutrition back then, and I threw up constantly until 5 months, at which point I was 15 lbs lighter than I was when I got pregnant. And I was thin to begin with. After 5 months they fed me nothing but massive amounts of carbs to fatten me up. It worked and I was huge, gained almost 50 lbs by the time the birth happened. That gave me toximia, so was hospitalized for two weeks before the birth. After the birth I lost every pound and never had a single… Read more »
Wenchypoo
Wenchypoo
4 years 6 months ago

Who’s your doctor, and is he/she taking new patients?

Gary Deagle
4 years 6 months ago

Being a trainer I have had a handful of clients lose a lot of weight and noticed that whether or not they have tons of excess skin or stretch marks was more or less random. Some of them did bounce back and have their excess skin tighten up over time as you mentioned.

Gerry
Gerry
4 years 6 months ago

On a similar note, any suggestions on how to eliminate stretch marks from previous rapid weight gain?

cTo
4 years 6 months ago

“Go ahead and check out his argument, but try to avoid meeting his steely gaze. Lock eyes with Dr. Ron at your own peril; you will be consumed.”

HAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Michael C
Michael C
4 years 6 months ago

Didn’t he play the American in Enter the Dragon?

Kevin
4 years 6 months ago
Well, I’ve lost around 80-90lbs at this point since taking up Paleo/Primal around a year ago. I’m not down to my goal weight quite yet and even though I’m down 8 inches on my waist I still have the option to shall we say “tuck” my belly in my belt or have a overhang. 😉 It’s getting less and less though, so I’m confident given time it will fade away as I lose the rest of that stubborn fat. It’s kind of odd, I have veins I can easily see now on my hands/arms, my face is thinner, but I’ve… Read more »
Cal
4 years 6 months ago

Keep at it Kevin! Eventually you’ll see veins on your stomach (and from that point there’s not much further to go ;)).

Joshua
Joshua
4 years 6 months ago

May I humbly suggest going with the overhang? Front-butt is not good for anyone’s look.

caroline
caroline
4 years 5 months ago

HAHA!!! Front butt!!!

Craig Danner
Craig Danner
4 years 6 months ago

The best thing that I have found for loose skin is exercising on a rebounder. Hope that helps. Grokkin roll.

jeanette
jeanette
4 years 3 months ago
What is a rebounder? You know I was on HCG diet 500cal. a day diet/with appetite suppressants daily for 6 weeks, would give myself injections pregnancy hormone that helps to burn the body fat within us, and I went from 225 to 174 and I feel great. Although I am 45 years old mom of 6 kids and grandma of 5 going on 6 grandkids, I’m more energetic than what i was before. Now i’m on the lipo diet 1000 cal. have to watch my carbs only or less than 15 carbs in whatever i eat. Plus injections that have… Read more »
Frank Walker
2 years 8 months ago

I am researching the hCG diet for potential use by one of my adult children. I am looking for practitioners in Southern California (especially Orange County). You commented that the hCG diet worked for you, would you recommend your doctor to me?

Julie A.
Julie A.
4 years 6 months ago
I have a very saggy, extra-skin look to my belly, mostly due to the state of gestational diabetes I was in for nearly five years. I have lost 80 lbs over the past two years, and as I continue to get recover my abdomen strength and pre-baby body I can palpitate the muscle through the saggy, soft fat that remains. I’m just discovering the primal/paleo lifestyle, after dismissing years of casual comments from my doctors that I’m probably allergic to wheat and corn. I’m seeing a difference after just a week of moving toward the grain-free, low carb ideals and… Read more »
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[…] article at:   Mark’s Daily Apple Related Posts: Our Skin the Outer LungDear Mark: Salt and Blood PressureDear Mark: Fat Causes Brain […]

AJ
AJ
4 years 6 months ago
I have lost 30 pounds since the fall, and though everyone keep saying “you don’t need to lose more” the terrible fat on my stomach really bothers me. I was wondering if it was the result of 6 pregnancies. I don’t know my body fat percentage, but I am 5’8″ and weigh 125 lb and train with Cross Fit 6 days a week. Even still I can grab a huge handful of belly fat! I am not totally paleo, but I eat VERY LITTLE carbs (and yes, I do know what this means). I also have been incorporating IF for… Read more »
HopelessDreamer
HopelessDreamer
4 years 6 months ago

having 6 kids will definitely do some damage…i have 5, and there is no getting rid of my stretch marks or loose skin. its not fat, and its not excess, but DAMAGED skin from pregnancy IMHO. i’m thin and have good muscles, but that ruined skin is just a badge of motherhood.

Harriet
Harriet
4 years 6 months ago

Its some decades since I had children. After 5 pregnancies I had lots of stretch marks and a flabby tummy. My stretch marks are now all gone and the flab has come and gone depending on my diet. I can’t blame my still too large gut on babies as I lost it at one point.

I’m going to look into the skin elasticity – gelatine idea and trial that. I’ll go and buy some soup bones and put them in the slow cooker and have some of that each day.

Amy
Amy
4 years 6 months ago

“Not totally Paleo” is probably the kicker. Are you eating brown rice, or some other whole grain? Alcohol?

In my experience, either of those can prevent the loss of belly fat.

Andrea L
Andrea L
4 years 6 months ago

I’m currently in the lots of loose fat skin phase… ugh. I used to be up around 310lbs at one point in my life and 2 pregnancies… Losing these last 25lbs has been the absolute hardest thing to conquer but I’ll do it! I love feeling strong and encourage everyone to strive for strength first. I’d rather be in this last stage with the knowledge that I can repair my body with food or use S.A.D. food to destroy it.

lisa
4 years 3 months ago

Andrea, are you on F/B? I’m at the last 5-10 lbs, have lost 115 and am about 18% bf, believe it or not, still a little loose “fat skin” on my lower belly…the rest is actual fat fat in the form of cellulite (yay-not!) under my but and inner thighs…I really can’t see losing more than ten pounds and still be healthy (not even to get on stage)….any way, if you’re on F/B, find me! Would love to stay up to date on your transformation…look me up @ cookie bigness – Hope to hear from you!

Jim Sifferle
Jim Sifferle
4 years 6 months ago
About eight years ago, I was nearly 300 pounds. I lost 100 pounds through caloric restriction, better (but still SAD) food choices, and lots of exercise, over the course of six months or so. I had “loose skin” even though I was just starting to see shades of a six pack in good light. From there, I yo-yoed between 200 and 240, struggling with a SAD prescription to health. Last year, I went paleo (Thanks Mark!!!) and reintroduced resistance work in place of much of my cardio. Now, I’ve EASILY leaned out to 193 with no caloric restriction, have a… Read more »
Michelle
Michelle
4 years 6 months ago
I have lost about 110 pounds of the 120 I want to lose; I have a sagging belly. However, I recently saw a picture of myself naked from 5 years ago when I was very heavy and 40 weeks pregnant and realize its not so bad. All in all, I didn’t do bad at all – no neck skin and very little excess looseness in my arms and legs – you’d only know it if you went looking for it. I also notice that despite having what appears to be no collagen left some areas are very slowly firming up… Read more »
trekfan
trekfan
4 years 6 months ago

These responses are great; they give me hope I can rid of the lump of useless flesh that is the remainder of my fat guy days. I don’t have anyone to blame but myself for my condition, but all you good folks are coming back from pregnancies and decades on the SAD; me, I’m just 23 and ate myself to death for years on end. I was 266 as of late July and now I’m 166. If you guys can get rid of that stubborn body fat, I can do it too. Primal rocks. 🙂

Michelle
Michelle
4 years 6 months ago

Trekfan, I feel confident enough to *guarantee* you will lose any sagging skin, up through about age 32 I had no trouble with that (there were several weight losses in there lol).

trekfan
trekfan
4 years 6 months ago

I’ll take that guarantee to the bank, Michelle. I sincerely hope it goes away because I desperately want it to. Thanks for the support 🙂

Anthony D'Amato
4 years 6 months ago
Interesting read. I’m a 27 year old male, 5’11, and I recently lost 215lbs in just ONE YEAR through a VLC paleo diet, going from 375lbs to around 160lbs. (I was recently featured in Time Out Chicago magazine, as well: http://timeoutchicago.com/shopping-style/sports-fitness/15061307/fitness-paleo-diet)… I was eating more than ever, walking around 5 miles a day (leisure and exercise), and eventually doing some lifting (small weights, loading up duffle bags with books or shoes and carrying/swinging while walking, etc). Come 4/1/12, I will have maintained around 10lbs of this weight for two years, staying gluten/wheat/soy/grain/alcohol and sugar-free for my routine diet (besides the… Read more »
Joy Beer
Joy Beer
4 years 6 months ago
If I can make you feel better, and I hope I can, it can truly take a bit… I gave birth at age 37 to a large baby (9 pounds, 11 ounces), and I’m very tiny and short-waisted. I didn’t gain much fat, but my belly stretched out VERY fast and huge. The belly skin draped, and stayed droopy for several years even though I was quite trim… My baby is 9 now, and I’m approaching 47, and the skin on my tummy looks really great compared to when I was a 30 something. It should only have gotten worse… Read more »
Kim
Kim
4 years 6 months ago

Thank you for posting this response. Just what I needed! 🙂

saba
saba
3 years 28 days ago

hi
I have been attracted by your note
it was really hopeful
I have a problem with my breast skin.Unfortunately it became stretched.and there are so many stretches on them. do you think that if I become fat, it helps to disappear those stretches?
I am suffering so hard
and ur answer soon
Thank u so much…

alicat
alicat
4 years 6 months ago

Hey Anthony, I checked out the article and you look great! I can totally feel your pain and I hope that Joy’s post was an encouragement. Keep hanging in there.

Joy Beer
Joy Beer
4 years 6 months ago

Oh! That’s right alicat, I need to check out the article now… Yes! You are no longer the “funny fat guy” but a VERY handsome young man. Keep nourishing yourself, body and mind, and please forgive your past self. The funny fat guy was doing the best he could with what he knew. I comfort my own self with that mantra, for things QUITE worse than being overweight. 🙂

Anthony D'Amato
4 years 6 months ago
Joy Beer and alicat, you two are so sweet. Thank you for the great compliments. I’ve been going back and forth with a few people on MarksDailyApple Facebook page, and they have been very encouraging. I know that 25 years of bad habits isn’t going to fix itself in 2-3 years, it’s just discouraging and another road block. It’s never been about “looks” for me, either. I just want to live longer and experience as much as I can with what I’m given. I would never have fantasized that I’d look the way I do now. I absolutely can’t afford… Read more »
TomD
TomD
4 years 4 months ago

I read somewhere that your skin completely replaces in 7 years. Anyone else hear/read this?

Maggie
4 years 6 months ago
“Lock eyes with Dr. Ron at your own peril; you will be consumed.” Ahhhh…thanks for that hearty laugh. What a picture! I have stubborn fat on my butt and thighs, and as I slim down it becomes more noticeable. Now I’m being more diligent about lifting heavy things and sprinting, and next week I’ve planned my first IF. I’m trying to keep my focus more holistic, and remind myself that if I keep doing what I’m doing, I’ll feel great and a year from now I’ll probably look like a freakin’ rock star. Sounds like a great way to celebrate… Read more »
fitmom
fitmom
4 years 6 months ago

I lost weight by counting points (you know the program), and my weight loss looked like i had deflated. Extra skin, sagging. On primal, everything seems to tighten up. I’ve found that pull-ups (or partial pull-ups) are the best tonic for abdominal & tricep areas.

Megan
Megan
4 years 6 months ago

Losing fat may cause icky feelings if excess lipid-soluble toxins, such as phthalates and dioxins, are in an individuals fat stores. Dioxins are present in much of the food chain, and phthalates seem omnipresent.

Gabriele
Gabriele
4 years 6 months ago

My name is also Gabriele (with only one “L”) and i lost a lot of weight and ended up with plastic surgery. I was older, though, and had had 3 kids. If you are young, and haven’t given birth, you might not need it. It depends on how fast you lose it and how elastic your skin is. Gabrielle, if you would like to email me i’d be happy to answer more questions! I’m at gabrielenesta@hotmail.com.

Cassandra
Cassandra
4 years 6 months ago

Oh no! I got lost in his steely gaze and blacked out for 20 minutes.

But seriously, this article is awesome. I have definitely related to the belly fat issue since having a baby. My body fat is no where near that 15%, but this gives me a lot of hope!

Holly J.
4 years 6 months ago
I lost 100 lbs going low-carb first. (Now mostly strict-paleo due to gluten allergy and an autoimmune disease – still have about 50 – 70lbs to go for my liking.) While pool-side on vacation last year, my mom pointed out it was amazing that I didn’t have extra skin after dropping that initial weight so fast. I thought it had something to do with eating well and good fats (primarily whole foods, mostly home-cooked meals). I’ve been lifting (very) heavy weights since that 100 lb mark. I have had 1 child (almost 10 years ago) and I am 31. My… Read more »
Olivia J
Olivia J
1 year 5 months ago

Hi Holly. I wonder, did you have any problem with facial skin sagging after loosing such substantial amount of weight?

Diesel
12 days 1 hour ago

You give me hope….

Mary
Mary
4 years 6 months ago

I wonder if the stubborn fat (loose skin) also has to do with inflammation… lack of sleep, stress, recovering from our years of self-abuse, that sort of thing. I don’t have a photographic memory but I do recall Mark talking about something like that in a previous post.

Sanctus Real
Sanctus Real
4 years 6 months ago
I have already lost at least 35 pounds of fat with the Primal lifestyle. I say ‘at least’, because I know I’ve gained muscle as I’ve dropped fat. I didn’t do my body fat percentage when I started this a year ago, so it’s really hard to tell. I have the flabby skin thing going on right now, but I’ve always been aware that, as long as I can feel fat in the skin, my problem is that I need to reduce my body fat. I’m not in a hurry for this to happen, and I figured it would eventually,… Read more »
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Judy
Judy
4 years 6 months ago
Hi Mark, Thanks so much for addressing this issue. I’m now into my 7th year of maintaining a 122 lb loss and am 5’8″ tal. I was 54 yrs old when I started out almost 8 yrs ago and am now 61 yrs old. I have lots of loose skin and subq fat. I’m convinced that for me, surgery is my only option. I remain grateful to have not only lost the weight but to have kept it off too. I can only hope and pray that I find the money to have my surgery ff my waist.as I find… Read more »
D'Ann
D'Ann
4 years 6 months ago

Well, this is a bit depressing. I am 75, losing on Paleo/Primal but at a plateau right now. I cannot do heavy lifting because of degenerated (as in totally!!!!) disks in my lower back and a bulging disc in the cervical area. Belly fat is really stubborn and I would be able to wear two sizes smaller except for my waist measurement. Any hope here????

Ed
Ed
4 years 6 months ago

Have you tried IF yet? It worked wonders for me when I hit my first plateau.

lilliew
4 years 6 months ago

What is IF? I’m in a long plateau too, am limited somewhat on exercise.

Gem
Gem
4 years 6 months ago

Sad to say I have some under my arms that is definately full of fat after a 20kg weightloss. Really empowering post for fat fighters out there to not give up or give in. I’m off to lift some heavy things.

MissJenn
MissJenn
4 years 6 months ago

“Lock eyes with Dr. Ron at your own peril; you will be consumed.” I LOL’d

Allison
Allison
4 years 6 months ago

I don’t know how effective this is maybe Mark can do another article. I have been taking MSM supplements and MSM lotion. In time, I suppose I will be able to share if this method has been effective.

Storkbite
Storkbite
4 years 6 months ago
Following a 100+ pound weight loss, I suffered the same fate with lots of saggy skin. So far, exercise hasn’t improved it. I tried moisturizers, exfoliants, hyaluronic acid, MSM, BioSil collagen activator, ash soap… it all failed. My BF% is around 6.5% now, so I’d have seen a difference if there was going to be one, I believe. I asked my dermatologist too. Same response as mentioned earlier- consider a tummy tuck if it bothers you that much. Estimated cost ~$9k and 6 weeks of down time. It just isn’t worth it at this point.
Rac
Rac
4 years 6 months ago
Those interested could look into BioSignature Modulation? According to their approach excess cortisol (stress hormone) will cause you to store belly fat. They use this approach (in combination with lots of other stuff) at my gym and it seems to work well. Quite a few Cross Fitters and similar who have been working out every day but just can’t shift the belly fat (despite being mega lean everywhere else). Turns out the stress created by their training regime is often to blame (too many met cons – they can be addictive folks). Any sort of chronic stress will have an… Read more »
Kathy
Kathy
4 years 6 months ago

I wish I’d known in my 20’s that it isn’t how many calories you consume, it’s the quality and type of foods. Then maybe I could have avoided the yoyo dieting that led to the lumpy frame I have. But I know now, and I’m healthier and happier despite the ‘residue’. There’s to much to enjoy in life to spend my time worrying about not looking good in a swim suit.

Dave PAPA GROK Parsons
Dave PAPA GROK Parsons
4 years 6 months ago
I lost Major…but did it at the rate 7-10 lbs per month..I always thought that a slower loss gave the body a chance to get used to it and what was happening..I also did those two hand straight arm frontal keg lifts..I was actually pulling the skin and gut back in as I got the keg to the full over head position. I could feel it when I set and lifted with GOOD form while doing this. Nothing is the same each of us and many things can play a part in this..I am not sure that RAPID MAJOR weight… Read more »
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