The Distressing side effect of losing 110lbs
How a woman loses weight but then is left with the problem of loose skin.
You may think that weight loss will bring a slimmer, healthier, more confident person. That may be the case but some women get rid of one problem of being overweight and develop another with loose skin. This can be just as depressing or greater as the problem they had in the first place.
When the skin is stretched too much it can loose its elasticity and strength. After losing the fat, the skin then can no longer retract.
This article is about how one woman dealt with her excessive skin after weight loss and the steps she went to remove it.
Does this put you off losing weight or would you be happy to trade loose skin for a slimmer you?
Photographed by Jessica Peterson.
I used to be obese. At my heaviest, I weighed 265 lbs. In my early 20s, I went on a diet and lost, in total, 110 lbs.
Don’t get me wrong: I was happy I lost weight. I’d accomplished something I’d always considered impossible. But, it didn’t mean I got to reverse time or have a do-over with my body. The Before and After pictures you see on billboards — they’re a lie. After dropping the weight, I had so much extra skin that I could lay on my side and pull it a half-foot in either direction.
Photographed by Jessica Peterson.
For a long time, I tried to get the skin to go away with lotions and exercise. Eventually, I resorted to plastic surgery. I didn’t do it to alter the way I look naturally; I just wanted a chance at the body I could’ve maybe had if I’d never put on weight.
Most of these photos were taken a month prior to my surgery, and the last one two months after it — my “after.” They’re seven years old. I tracked them down for this article, and seeing them for the first time in ages, I instantly remembered what it felt like to have all of that skin on me. How insecure I used to be about it. And how I thought for sure everything would be better if I could just make the skin go away.
I’ve had four procedures in total. I got implants the size of my old breasts and a body lift. Two years later, I went back in for a circumferential body lift. They made an incision around my entire waist, cut out a 6-inch belt of skin, and then sewed me back together, removing over 10 pounds of my skin in total. I also got a thigh lift: They cut up my legs from knees to groin and took out as much skin as they could. To heal, I had to sit in bed for a month with my legs spread open. Sorry, roommates. Now, I have a scar that runs completely around my waist, as if a magician cut me in half. I have two scars running up my legs like inseams. But even surgery couldn’t remove the extra skin entirely. When I hold my arms and legs out, I still look like a flying squirrel. I have stretch marks running down the tops of my shoulders, and there’s extra skin hanging off my arms and inner thighs. If I bend over, my boobs droop like empty pouches.
I think there is this idea out there that you either love and accept your body, or you’re trying to fix it. I am in neither camp. Or, maybe I’m in both simultaneously. I try to accept myself, but I struggle. I want to be in better shape (but, I don’t want to go to the gym). And, my weight fluctuates, so that doesn’t help.
The advice I got was this: Stop using the past to poison your present. Don’t let who you used to be prevent you from getting the things in life that are available to you now.
See the after Surgery photo on the next page