Effective ways supported by science and my personal experience.
Many people after substantial weight loss can have difficulty in losing stubborn loose skins. While this seems to be a minor concern for young people, it can be a significant concern for people over 40 who lose large amounts of weight in a short time frame. From my understanding, excessive loose skin may affect people psychologically and is associated with low self-esteem and social withdrawal.
From my personal experience, I know that loose skin can be stubborn and hard to remove using traditional methods. For example, even though I lowered my body fat percentage and increased my lean muscle mass substantially after losing weight, the loose skin was still staying there after many years. It didn’t bother me much, but I preferred to get rid of it.
Through my studies, I learnt that there were practical and simple ways to get rid of loose skin; however, these simple solutions were not necessarily easy. They required lifestyle changes, persistence, and commitment.
One of the proven methods of removing loose skin is surgical. Surgical removal does not seem to be a viable option for many people due to prohibitive cost and health risks.
So, how can we realistically and safely get rid of loose skin?
The most viable and preferred option is to melt and gradually remove them naturally. The natural methods are backed up by a scientific discovery called “autophagy.”
What is autophagy?
Autophagy is an evolutionary and catabolic process in all living beings.
Our cells degrade and recycle intra-cellular damaged organelles, misfolded and mutant proteins, and even viruses and bacteria to maintain cellular health.
Autophagy means “self-eating”. This natural phenomenon is a method for our bodies to clean damaged cells and generate newer and healthier cells.
This intelligent biological process, called autophagy, helps us get rid of our “zombie cells”. Similar to Schrodinger’s cat in quantum experiments, zombie cells are neither dead nor alive. Therefore, their instability may pose critical health risks to maintain our body’s homeostasis.
Scientists are conducting studies on autophagy since the 1990s. However, the most significant breakthrough manifested by the research of Yoshinori Ohsumi, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology in 2016. Ohsumi’s discovery was the explanation of the morphological and molecular mechanisms of autophagy.
How can we initiate autophagy in our daily life?
There are several practical and natural ways to activate autophagy.
The practical and natural solutions are mainly lifestyle changes within our control. The most common methods are fasting, exercising, detoxifying, exposing to cold and heat.
Many scientific studies demonstrated the caloric restriction and fasting regimes to initiate the autophagy.
For example, a study examined the physiological role of autophagy as an intracellular recycling system with an emphasis on nutrient metabolism by Kuma & Mizushima.
The field has a high focus on research and is evolving. Autophagy studies are intense in science and medicine, even conducted for cancer research.
Scientific experiments on fasting were conducted both in animal and human studies. For example, in a 2015 study, fasting protects mice from lethal DNA damage by promoting small intestinal epithelial stem cell survival. In another study in 2017, fasting inhibits colorectal cancer growth by reducing M2 polarization of tumour-associated macrophages. There are many more studies beyond the scope of this article.
There is a growing body of knowledge on exercise inducing autophagy. For example, a 2012 study in the Autophagy journal asserts that exercise induces autophagy in peripheral tissues and the brain.
My personal experience leveraging autophagy
I learned that autophagy could be initiated by fasting, exercising, detoxifying, exposing to cold and heat. By leveraging this knowledge and obtaining guidance from my health consultants, I developed a personal health and fitness regime.
My purpose was not only to get rid of my minor loose skin but also improve my fitness and health holistically as a by-product. Therefore, this regime turned into a new lifestyle for me.
I want to share my experience for awareness briefly. As we are all unique from biological, genetics, physiological, and psychological perspectives, we need to tailor our regimes based on our personal needs. The regime I introduce may not necessarily match to other people. I share this information for awareness purposes only.
My autophagy initiating regime included several actions.
From a dietary perspective, I eat one meal a day. This regime enables me to stay in a fasted state for at least 16 hours a day. This regime is also commonly known as intermittent fasting.
From exercise and fitness perspectives, I perform 30 minutes cardio on the trampoline on the fasted state, 10–15 minutes callisthenics every morning mainly pull-up and push-ups, 30 minutes of weight training for two to three days a week.
I also apply cold and heat exposure frequently. For example, I take 3–5 minutes cold share every morning. I go to a health center for a 30-minute dry sauna or infrared sauna at least twice a week.
Our skins need to be hydrated to stay healthy. Therefore, I ensure that my electrodes are at an optimal level. Due to my special diet, I am careful about having enough sodium (mineral salt) and magnesium for my body.
Another key health measure I apply is regularly removing the toxins and heavy metals from my body. Even though perspiration through sauna helps me for this purpose, I also use activated-charcoal based on scientific proof.
I improve my skin health especially for the abdominal area using dry brush a which increases blood circulation and stimulates the nervous system.
It is important for me to refrain from chronic stress which can cause adverse effects on my health. One of the most important lessons was fully recovering before starting another intense exercise session. Another critical lesson was not to overdo cardio, instead, stick to either moderate amount of cardio or supplement my anaerobic exercise with high-intensity interval training particularly on a safe trampoline.
From a psychological perspective, I learnt to reduce my stress and anxiety.
Finally and gratefully, I got rid of my disturbing excess skin in my abdominal area by learning the mechanism of autophagy. I created new and tailored lifestyle options suiting my physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual needs.
Getting rid of stubborn loose skin after substantial weight loss can be challenging and time-consuming. The natural process called autophagy can help us remove useless and broken cells in our body.
Understanding autophagy initiating factors and designing a lifestyle can be a natural and sustainable solution for removing undesirable loose skin.
The key to success appears to be building healthy and sustainable lifestyle habits.