Stretch Marks, Saggy Skin, & Excess Fat-OH MY!
As a certified personal trainer, I get asked many questions on a daily basis. However, three of the main things I get asked are:
- How can I get rid of stretch marks?
- How can I tighten up loose or saggy skin?
- How do I get rid of excess fat?
Since I answer these questions so often on an individual basis, I figured I would write this blog for the masses of ladies out there who need it! Since stretch marks, loose skin, and fat are all separate issues, let’s break them down one by one.
How can I get rid of stretch marks?
If you have had a baby, gained weight fast, or lost weight fast, chances are you’ve got your fair share of stretchies. I had stretch marks before I even had a baby due to weight gain from weightlifting… and then weight gain from plaine ole eating fast food and neglect. The skin stretches so quickly that the collagen and elastic tissue are damaged, leading to the characteristic line-like appearance of the skin
However, a lot of people get them simply by growing as teenagers due to growth spurts. Before I go any further, let me tell you that is it normal and nothing to be ashamed of. However, so many women are.
I will be blunt-there is no way to make stretch marks completely disappear. Surgical interventions and laser treatments may help make them appear barely even there, but most DIY remedies will only lighten them up over time. Yes, time is your friend. Think of it as basically a scar-scars fade over time and your marks are no different. But again that is okay!
The best and natural way to fade your stretch marks is the following method:
- Hydrate your skin. By calming and nourishing the skin, you reduce the redness and inflammation that can exaggerate stretch marks. This is why I recommend that my clients use Bio Oil. I have been using it since the beginning of my first pregnancy almost 4 years ago and it has prevented many stretch marks during and after pregnancy. It has also faded old stretch marks on my thighs from squatting and growing my booty! It works wonders and I still use it nightly in certain places after my bath.
- Add Retinol to your routine. Retinol is ah-maa-zinggg to simply put it. It is used to fade deep wrinkles and dark sun spots on your face, but it is also an amazing secret for fading stretch marks as well. I personally use Paula’s Choice Resist Retinol Skin Soothing Body Treatment on my thighs and belly twice per week since Retinol is so strong and works so well. It also helps to stimulate new collagen production to give your skin more elasticity which is why you have stretch marks in the first place.
- Brush your skin. Dry Body Brushing is a natural remedy you can do to reduce the appearance of both new and old stretch marks and eventually turn them white in appearance and become less noticeable. Dry body brushing is a very powerful skin exfoliator. It digs deep into the pores to cleanse dirt, grime, dead cells and other toxins. I use this body brush as it is easy to handle and the bristles are strong.
How can I tighten up loose or saggy skin?
The second most asked question that I get is on loose skin. It is usually a tad bit hard to answer this question because it truly depends on how loose your skin actually is. Your skin stretches naturally during weight gain and retracts once you lose the weight. But not all skin goes back to its normal volume and thus you are left with excess skin that is just hanging there.
You need to figure out whether your loose skin is truly skin or is it fat? The only way to get rid of severely loose skin is surgery. This is just the plain truth. There are no creams or treatments that you can do on your own to tighten up skin that is loose beyond natural repair. However, if your skin is semi-loose, I do have a few natural options for you that have been proven to help tighten your skin.
- Hydration. Water is a crucial component of maintaining skin elasticity. From both food and drink, you should be taking in at least two liters of water each day. Use a water tracker bottle such as this one to help you easily keep track of your daily water input.
- Eat well. Two necessary ingredients that keep skin plump and elastic are collagen and elastin. Protein-rich foods such as cottage cheese, milk, legumes, tofu, beans, seeds, nuts, and fish all contain collagen and elastin forming components, as well as oils to help maintain healthy skin. You can check out my new Strong Body Guide: 12 Week Nutrition Guide for tons of daily meal ideas to help tighten up loose or saggy skin.
- Skin care. Daily exfoliation (helloooo body brushing) can help to remove dead skin cells and increase skin circulation. A hot bath with sea salts and minerals can improve skin tone. Skin tightening creams with herbal formulas and ingredients such as aloe vera, hyaluronic acid, yeast extract, soy protein, vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin A can help to hydrate and increase collagen and elastin formation in skin. My favorite skin tightening cream is the StriVectin-TL Tightening Body Cream. It is the ONLY cream that has worked to tighten my belly skin right after delivery and it also worked 7 years ago to tighten my loose skin from dropping 50lbs. It is a miracle-all their products are.
- Build muscle. A big part of tightening loose skin is building muscle. The reason for this is simple. There are two layers of tissue underneath your skin: fat and muscle, both of which press up against your skin and keep it from sagging loosely. When you gain a large amount of weight, your skin must expand quite a bit to accommodate the increase in body size. When you lose the fat, however, and especially when you lose it quickly, your skin doesn’t necessarily shrink at the same rate as your fat cells. This imbalance can lead to loose skin. My Strong Body Guide is perfect for building muscle and toning up! I have had many clients who have come to me praising the program for tightening up loose belly, thigh, breast, and arm flab. Best part of all? You can do it straight from your living room floor-no gym needed!
- Eat more Gelatin. A study conducted by scientist at Stanford University found that supplementing with 250 mg of gelatin per day improved skin elasticity. Getting gelatin in your diet can be a little tough, though, unless you enjoy eating a variety of strange foods like oxtail, chicken feet, or short ribs. Supplementing is the easiest way to go here, and here’s the product I would personally use (NOW Foods is a trustworthy company).
- Up your Fish Oil. Healthy fatty acids such as your Omegas are amazing for hydrating your skin and improving the skin elasticity. I love these because there are no fishy burps afterwards!
How do I get rid of excess fat?
Lastly, most ladies want to know how to get rid of excess fat. Most of us have a little bit here and there that we would love to get rid of so I will share some tips with you.
First off-leave the liposuction alone. You do not need it! Fat loss takes some time, but losing it naturally will not only help keep the fat from coming back to your body, it will also help you change your lifestyle for the better.
- A good workout regimen. You need to get active first and foremost. Most ladies (and moms in particular) have little time to make it to a gym or dedicate to their fitness. This is why I created my Strong Body Guide! This guide features 12 weeks of full workouts, 5 days per week. It also comes with a free online support group in which you can interact with thousands of other ladies who are on the plan. Support is important to keep going and this is why I created our SBG community!
- A healthy diet. Along with the Strong Body Guide, I released a 12 Week Meal Plan to go along with it. The meal plan stays the same for two weeks, alternating days so it is easy to follow and less stress for you. The meals are simple to make and each week comes with a grocery shopping list for that particular week! The support group is also included with this guide as well.
- Hydrate. Funny how we keep seeing hydration as the remedy to everything, right?? It is because it truly is! Staying well-hydrated makes sure your metabolism runs at top speeds. Even slight dehydration makes it sluggish. Try drinking one glass of water prior to each meal and each snack to keep yourself from overeating. The water will fill you up, therefore prompting you to take in fewer calories during the meal. Add a slice of lemon to your water glass and you’ll often find that the taste you had for whichever food you desired has passed.
- Sleep. Sleep is another underrated part of a proper fat-loss program. If you aren’t sleeping enough, your insulin sensitivity will decrease, which means that hormone will be less effective at shuttling glucose from your blood into cells, where it belongs. So what does your body do? It pumps out more insulin, still hoping to finish the job. The problem is that insulin is also a fat-storage hormone. Since your cells will be starved for glucose also means you’ll encounter carbohydrate cravings and lousy workouts. Few healthy food choices are made after midnight. Going to bed an extra hour early is also a perfect way to combat night-time eating, which can be disastrous to your progress.
- Relax. Stress is BAD for weightloss and fatloss. We’ve known for some time that stress is connected to weight gain, because a high level of the stress hormone cortisol has been shown to up appetite, drive cravings for “junk” food, and make it oh so much easier to accumulate belly fat. Try relaxing a bit by winding down with a bubble bath and-my personal favorite-tea! I personally drink Teami Blends’ Relax Tea nightly to help me fall asleep naturally and ease my insomnia. However, I also drink it to fully relax after a stressful day chasing around my kids or working hard. Feel free to take 10% off your Teami order + free shipping with code DIARY at checkout!
Your trainer and friend,