Losing weight can change your life. It works wonders for your confidence, as well as your energy levels. When you've dropped those pounds and then start getting the compliments, you feel like you're on top of the world. And while the clothes are on, you are on top of the world. But when the clothes come off, there's a new problem you might have to deal with, something that most women who lose a lot of weight have to go through--and it's something that can make you feel just as insecure as those extra pounds.

I'm talking about loose skin and it can be a real drain on your confidence.

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Loose skin can make you feel like you're stuck in a fat dress long after the fat is gone. And the reason a lot of women get loose skin is because they go about their weight loss in the wrong way. They fall in the common trap of trying to lose the most weight in the least amount of time--at any cost. They don't care how the weight is lost, as long as the clothes start getting looser and the scale starts moving, they're happy.

But a lot of the ways to lose weight fast are almost guaranteed to leave you with loose skin.

First, let's talk about those low-calorie starvation diets. The HCG diet is a popular one. Or you may have seen your Facebook friends talking about Isogenics. These diets promise impressive weight loss results in just a few weeks.

But here's the problem: When you eat such low calories, a lot of the weight lost is going to be muscle! Now, this might not seem too bad to you. You probably don't have plans of winning any weightlifting competitions any time soon, so who cares if you lose muscle. As long as you're getting smaller, right?

Well here's the problem with that: Muscle is what gives our body form. So by losing it, even if we're "lighter" we still don't necessarily look better. We may be smaller, but we're going to look flabbier too.

But here's the real issue with losing muscle: Your lean muscle is what holds your skin in place! So when you burn through that muscle, there's nothing there to keep your skin tight and toned. That's why you get that "loose skin" look we all hate.

So how do you prevent it?

Well, first you have to ditch the low-calorie diets. Your goal should be to lose the most amount of fat possible, while keeping the most amount of muscle. To do this, you're going to want to eat small meals frequently throughout the day. This helps to keep your metabolism elevated. These meals should be whole foods and high in protein, which is the building block of muscle.

Now that you have your diet handled, you have to get on the right exercise program. Doing too much cardio also eats away at your muscle. That's why marathon runners look the way they do (luckily most of them were never fat, so they don't have that loose skin). A much better plan would be to do cardio on some days--whether it's biking, running, swimming, etc.--and on the other days, train your muscles!

No, it won't turn you into a bodybuilder. What it will do is add shape and tone to your body and tighten up your skin. Squats and lunges are great muscle-building exercises you can do without worrying about getting "bulky."

By following a balanced diet and a balanced exercise program, you'll be able to look great with your clothes on--and when they're off! You won't have to feel self-conscious about your loose skin anymore. So get those meals in, do your muscle-building exercises, and let me know how it works for you in the comments section below.

And please, if you have any friends dealing with loose skin, share this with them. You can make a huge difference in their lives!

Image via Thinkstock

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About the author

Ingrid is a holistic health coach, personal trainer, fitness motivator, and wellness author. After finding the key to losing 50 pounds in 90 days, she wants to share how she did it with her free course 9 Simple Secrets I Used to Melt Away 50 Pounds

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How is this supposed to help people with loose skin? The advice is for women who haven't yet lost the weight...
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