Friday, September 9, 2011

Will I be able to accept my body's flaws?

I'm working really hard to do what's best for my health and my looks - for me and for my family. And, in that respect I'm doing great and I really should be able to put my head around the fact that I will have damage/reminders of my past weight and from life (childbirth).

While intellectually I know that things will get better with time (shrinking up skin) and that being healthy is way more important than vanity, it is still hard to deal with what I see in the mirror every morning and at every fitness class. And then I have my husband who is totally accepting of my body's flaws and he's totally encouraging me to do what's best and not worry about the loose skin and stretch mark scars. They don't bother him and he knows things will get better over time too (loose skin). But... it's still hard to deal with.

I have several trouble areas - some bug me more than others. I have stretch marks everywhere - back of legs, inner and outer thighs, under arms, butt, hips and tummy and breasts. I got them from so many sources - starting with breast growth (these faded and you would NEVER know I had them except near my armpits), then regular growth spurts in puperty - outer thighs, hips and butt. And then childbirth - tummy and gaining weight - upper arms, more on butt and thighs and upper arms. My skin just doesn't stretch without scarring. And for the most part I can accept those flaws.

What I'm having a hard time with is the flappy skin. Like my arms. the tops of my arms are getting nicely shaped with long, lean muscles. They look good. However, I then have bat wing arms swinging below. I see them in short sleeves and definitely sleeveless stuff. Same with inner thighs (not quite as bad) and my stomach. I'm losing the fat in these areas, but not the skin. When I go to find photos of similar problems on other people's bodies, invariable, they are plastic surgeon sites because no one wants these problem areas.

These images are not of my body, but they show similar problem sites to my own. I actually tried to choose photos that wouldn't gross people out too much and they are actually BETTER than my own body's problems, but you will get the idea:

First, the bat wings. Mine are worse, but I have these:
Then, my stomach is nowhere near as flat as this lady's, but they are very, very similar stretch marks - a bikini is not in my future:

And then this is as similar as I could find of the problematic stomach. Mine is different, but similar enough to give the idea. Mine is less fat above the belly button and a bit more below it with more stretch marks. This is a before and after tummy tuck photo of someone:

I would say, "this is life and this is how my body has weathered life.", but when I look at my husband's body, he doesn't have such life battle scars. But, he's never gained the kind of weight I have either - though he did gain about 50 and has lost most of it. He has no loose skin, no visible stretch marks and his body looks almost exactly as it did when we got married 18 years ago - just less hair on top of his head, the back of his calves.

So... I'm having to learn to live with the imperfections. I could get a tummy tuck or other skin removal surgery someday I suppose, but by the time I would consider it (giving my body 2-3 years to try to tone up over that time as yes, it does take that long for loose skin to get better sometimes), we will be paying for college and just can't afford it. Plus, for vanity purposes? I just don't think I could go through that much pain just to look better when naked.

Therefore, I have this battle in my head of learning to love the body I have. I am the one who made it what it is. It's just hard to accept after all this hard work that I can't erase the fact of where I have been - a constant reminder is left behind. But maybe that's a good thing?

Stats for 9/9/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6 Now: 187.2 (new low)

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