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Obesity and Weight Management

`Love handles` remain after significant loss

05/22/2008

Question:

I`m a 5`8" guy who weighed 262 on 1-1-07 and now weigh 164 lbs. I did this with weight watchers and walking; I have a bad back and can`t do much in the way of the typical abdominal crunch or sit-up type excercises. The BMI chart says that the middle of my ideal body weight range is about 145 lbs, so that`s my target. Even after losing close to a hundred pounds, I find that I still have an annoying flap of tissue hanging aroung my middle; a lot of which I would guess is excess skin...and this seems not to respond to weight loss. My question is: if this is excess skin, will I be able to "work it off"? It took me over a year to get this far and I`m looking at this as a lifetime change in eating and excersice habits, not a "diet" to just stay on until I reach my ideal weight.....so this will be a long-term problem for me. Thanks

Answer:

Congratulations on your successful weight loss!  You truly sound like a person who has made a lifestyle change.  Part of the excess skin that you have is just that - excess skin.  Skin is somewhat elastic and will over time partially return to the size it was, but this takes longer than weight loss and is dependent on your genetics.  Most people who lose as much weight as you have lost never eliminate the excess skin without plastic surgery.  You should also be aware that even regularly exercising, normal weight people often have "love handles" as they age.

With your limitations to exercise, you should discuss your exercise options with your doctor and then work with a trainer or fitness facility that has trained instructors to help you with your special needs.  Strength training will be especially important to you in trying to replace muscle mass that may have been lost during your weight loss period and maintaining the muscle mass you have.  A good trainer will have you balance your strength or resistance training with aerobic exercise which is more effective in burning calories.

While you have lost weight using a reputable plan, you would be wise to have your diet evaluated by a registered dietitian to determine that you are not missing nutrients that your body needs.  Your doctor can make this referral.

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Response by:

Shirley A Kindrick, PhD Shirley A Kindrick, PhD
Team Leader of Comprehensive Weight Management
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University