If you’ve ever fought the battle of the bulge, and most of us have at some point in life, you have probably seen people who lost a lot of weight suddenly look a lot older.

An old saying I’ve heard for years is that fat don’t crack. Meaning being fat will fill out your wrinkles as you age. So if somebody 50 or older lost 40 pounds, or any sizable amount of weight, the wrinkles they had been hiding would suddenly come to the forefront.

I won’t name names, but I’ve known a couple of people over the years who lost tremendous amounts of weight in their 50s and they suddenly looked 20 years older. It was genuinely shocking the way they looked. You would have thought they’d contracted a horrible disease and lost the weight that way.

This phenomenon has finally been given a name: Diet Face. A study was done, there’s always a study, to find out why fat doesn’t crack, but being skinny will age you 20 years.

The Medical College of Wisconsin studied 19 people who lost weight and turned old and found “that rather than gravity sagging the skin, weight loss caused the aging process to accelerate, deflating cheeks and making the jowls look heavy.”

I once lost a bunch of weight, nearly 60 pounds, but I was in my mid-30s, so I didn’t suddenly look 20 years older. At least nobody told me I did.

Some people wonder if losing the weight is worth it if you suddenly look older. Would you rather be young looking and overweight or thin but looking ready for the grave?

Health does factor into it. You might look 10 years younger than you actually are, but your insides don’t care how your skin looks nice being all stretched out. If you’re skinny you’ll probably feel better, but people your own age will be calling you gramps or granny.

Lead author Dr. Aaron Morgan, of Medical College of Wisconsin, said: “In particular, we think deep facial fat loss removes support from the overlying fat. That causes deepening of the nasolabial fold, which runs from the nose to the mouth. Meanwhile, fat loss closer to the surface makes the cheeks appear deflated.”

It means the jowls descend and you lose definition around the jawline. Volume loss around the eyes means they may look hollow and sunken.

The study did mention some celebrities who lost weight and suddenly looked older: Simon Cowell, Dawn French, Davina McCall, Renee Zellweger, Celine Dion, Lenny Henry and former Chancellor Nigel Lawson.

I’ve only heard of three of them and looking at pictures, they all did appear noticeably older, but they were also skinny, and I’m pretty sure that’s all that matters in the world of fame.

The authors of the study said face lifts could probably solve a lot of problems associated with Diet Face, but while face lifts might be an easy, common thing for celebrities, for us normal folk, they’re super expensive and kind of scary. I mean, anytime you get cut on, you have to be a little apprehensive.

It really just comes down to wanting to appear younger than you are no matter your age. At 35 you’d love to be mistaken for 25. At 45 you’d kill to look 35 and at 55 any younger age will do.

When I was young, people in their 50s looked old. Super old. Or so I thought. I get the feeling a lot of people I thought were in their 40s were probably in their 50s and they probably didn’t want to correct my mistake.

It is amazing how what once seemed old doesn’t seem that bad once you get close to it. I always thought being in your 50s would be the worst thing ever. Why even bother staying alive at that age, I wondered.

But here I am, heading into my mid-50s and, while I’m tired a lot more often, I really don’t feel all that different than when I was 45. Or 35 for that matter.

And I do need to take off a few pounds, but I don’t want to suddenly look like I’m in my 60s. Cause I’m sure there’s nothing worse than being in your 60s.

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