I’ve received a lot of questions concerning what happens to the extra skin on your body when you lose a large amount of weight. (Including a good question last Friday.)
It’s funny, because when I lost 150 pounds, this wasn’t even a concern of mine. I just knew that I wanted to:
- Stop watching the nurse move the scale clunker to the 300 pound mark
- Stop shopping in Plus Size stores such as Lane Bryant or Catherine’s Stout Shoppe (that was really what it was called)
- Get on with living my life at a healthy weight
What would happen with my skin just didn’t come into play in the beginning of my journey. In 2012, with the plethora of weight loss television specials and fascinating shows that detail obese people having plastic surgery after losing weight, the issues of excess skin after weight loss is well publicized and often discussed.
I know I write candidly about a variety of topics, but I am a bit reticent to write in detail about my physical appearance. I thought I would just share what I feel comfortable in sharing. When I was 300 pounds. I was unfit, morbidly obese, felt unattractive, and had extremely low self-esteem. As my weight ballooned, the bad feelings I had about my physical appearance increased. When I saw myself in this picture I realized what the weight had done to my legs. You may be different than I am, but sometimes I can look in the mirror without really seeing what I look like.
I share this picture so you can see that moving away from obesity was my primary goal. I did not want to look like this or feel like this any longer.
When I got serious about my weight loss and finally saw the scale moving in the right direction I was just so ecstatic to see numerical results that at first I didn’t pay a lot of attention to the physical details of weight loss. The first 50 pounds didn’t make a lot of difference in my physical appearance, but by 100 pounds everyone could see that something good was happening. By the time I had lost all my weight and could wear a size 6 in most clothes, the change was dramatic.
I felt great both physically and emotionally for the first time in years. I also realized there were some unflattering physical consequences to large weight loss. Where my stomach, legs and arms had previously been distended with fat, there was now some excess skin. Over a period of time, some of this firmed up with concentrated cardio and weight training but only to a certain point. After fourteen years and four more babies, it is as good as its going to get.
Does it bother me? A bit. Would I not have lost the weight had I known about the excess skin? No.
It doesn’t bother me that much, and the benefits of not weighing 300 pounds certainly outweigh any cosmetic issues. The issues I have are minor compared with the issues I had as an overweight person. For the most part, clothing hides the problem areas and that’s what is important to me. People ask me if I will have plastic surgery to correct these issues. Even if I could afford it, I’m not sure what I would do. The risk of plastic surgery is real and the skin issues are just cosmetic.
That being said, there are people who have lost hundreds and hundreds of pounds through surgery or diets. Their skin may not rebound to the point where they can move easily or even bathe properly. In those cases, plastic surgery is true physical necessity, not just an option as in my situation.
The skin is not attractive externally, but in some ways it reminds me of where I was and where I never want to go again. Don’t be frightened by the prospect of excess skin if you have a large amount of weight to lose. If the skin bothers you, cosmetic surgery is an option that although pricey-offers very nice results.
Remember that along our journey to health there are bound to be hills and valleys. As you travel your road, don’t concentrate on what may be a valley, but rather concentrate on how you will feel when you stand on top of the mountain, tall and proud of what you have accomplished.
How do you feel about excess skin after weight loss? Does it bother you or is it not an issue? Diane