In today’s blog post. I wanted to answer the question of “How to lose subcutaneous fat.” This is an issue that a lot of people asking about. They were overweight, they put in the hard work to lean down but now they’re frustrated because of that loose skin that’s still hanging around afterwards.
But first, what is subcutaneous fat. I found the definition interesting and easily conveys what it is.
“Subcutaneous fat is a kind of a fat usually lies or get stored under the skin. Therefore, a female has the more chance to get it stored than their male counterpart does. That means the percentage of storing this type fat is more in women than in men. Your hand can grasp subcutaneous fat on any organ of your body”
(taken from What is Subcutaneous Fat?)
In other words, this is a layer of fat that usually gets amassed beneath body skin which is usually dissimilar to visceral fat. It has also a fewer negative effect on your health compared with visceral fat. However, this fat looks ugly on you and most people would want to get rid of it.
So how do you get rid of subcutaneous fat? First off, it’s important to understand that this is an issue that will vary hugely from person to person because it does depend on so many different factors.
For example, the older you are, the more likely you’ll be to have issues with loose skin, since your skin does loose elasticity with age. How overweight you were to begin with obviously plays a role as well. How fast you gain that weight is also another factor, so if it happened very suddenly then you’d probably more likely to run into issues with loose skin in comparison to someone who gain it more gradually over a lifetime.
In addition, how fast you lost the weight can come into play as well, because the faster you lose the fat the less time your skin is going to have to adapt. Sun exposure can also play a role, diet and then aside from that are just basic genetics because some people will just naturally have more elastic skin than others.
Now, aside from all of that, the key point that I want to make in this article is that in a very high percentage of cases the issue isn’t actually loose skin but instead it’s just an issue of excess subcutaneous fat that’s still clinging to the inside of the skin.
Skin itself is actually extremely thin, and so if you’re able to grab on to it and it’s much thicker than a few millimeters, Your focus shouldn’t be on eliminating loose skin at all. But instead it should just be on continuing to lose body fat and leaning down further.
Loose skin obviously is a legitimate issue for some people but unless you’ve truly gotten down to around 10% or 11% body fat as a male, and maybe around 18% or 19% as a female, you really shouldn’t be thinking about loose skin at all until you do.
And I say truly gotten down to those body fat percentages because most people really underestimate how high their body fat percentage actually is. I get questions from people all the time who send their progress photos and then say that they’re at 10% body fat when I can clearly see that they’re at least 15% or higher.
So, make sure you’re being honest with yourself and if this is a serious issue for you and you really want to be sure, then you can go ahead and get your body fat tested just to get a reasonably close estimate as to what percentage you’re actually at.
Now, aside from losing body fat the other very simple thing you can do is just build more muscle. So if you’ve been focusing primarily on fat loss and you’ve gotten down to that fairly lean body fat percentage, and you still do notice a bit of sagging or sort of looseness in your skin then shifting into a muscle building phase and adding more lean mass is going to help to fill your physique out a bit more and that of course is going to cause your skin to automatically tighten up along with it as well.
So, in a very high percentage of cases simply leaning down further in combination with gaining muscle and then giving your skin time to adapt. That’s going to take care of a good portion. if not all of your loose skin issue. You can also take basic steps to maximize your skin health and elasticity by eating a micro nutrient rich diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables. Consuming adequate protein each day around 0.8 to 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight.
You want to stay properly hydrated throughout the day, getting in a sufficient intake of essential fatty acids and avoiding unhealthy habits like smoking or excessive sun exposure.
Now, if you are a more extreme case where you were significantly overweight and you lost a large amount of fat and you’ve truly lean down to 10% or 11% as a male, 18% or 19% as a female, you’ve put in the effort to add some quality muscle mass, you’ve given your skin time to adapt and you still have a significant amount loose skin that you’re not happy with, in those cases you’re going to have to speak to your doctor because there’s probably nothing that’s going to get rid of it aside from surgery.
Things like loose skin creams, supplements, body wraps, all this stuff is highly unlikely to do anything for you and it’s almost certainly just going to be a waste of money. And surgery probably would be your last resort option if it is something that you’re really serious about.
I wish I could provide some sort of other solution but in cases where there is significant loose skin remaining even though you are lean and have gained muscle, I don’t know if anything other than surgical intervention that would actually get rid of it.
But keep in mind that it can be fairly expensive and it’s not a small surgery, so make sure you’ve done everything you can to get in to your best shape possible in terms of optimizing your body composition and make sure that this is something that you’re truly serious about before considering surgery as an option.
And the last thing I’d closed this article out with is to say that, don’t allow the idea of subcutaneous fat to deter you from losing body fat and getting in to better shape, if you’re overweight right now. subcutaneous fat doesn’t affect everyone, the skin is adaptable and often tightening up on its own as you improve your body composition and in any case you’ll likely be much happier at a healthy body weight but with a bit of loose skin as opposed to being overweight. Not just for what it will do for your appearance but also for your overall health.