Friday, January 20, 2012

This fear of loose skin

Last night while I was getting ready for bed, I did a body inspection. My body is not a pretty sight in the nude. My stomach is a railroad of stretch marks as are my butt, thighs and back of my underarms and knees. But really, only the stomach ones are noticeable unless someone looks with a discerning eye (only someone like my mother in law would point at the faded white lines on my calves like she did last summer). Those stretch marks are there, but the skin looks like normal skin with streaks. For some reason stretch marks on the stomach are completely different. They are deeper. They sink in and leave the skin feeling full of peaks and valleys.

Then there is the loose skin. Places it seems to be a problem are the under arms, inner thigh, stomach and around the elbow area and under my chin. Since I'm not at goal yet, I don't know how much is fat and how much is loose skin. It is hard to tell, because skin isn't a thin tissue. It's multi-layered and with it is attached fat. It's hard to describe.

I guess the best way to describe my stomach right now is pretty darn close to how a woman feels and looks just after having a baby. The stomach is all squishy and feels like jello. You can grab it wiggle it around and make funny shapes with it. That is loose skin. Loose skin is not like a piece of turkey flesh you can peel off the breast and I think that is what most people think about when they think about loose skin.

I'm not brave enough to show my own body in this state, but this is what loose skin on the tummy looks like and the thighs and so on. (Taken from a plastic surgeon's site):

Mine looks a bit worse than this (and more stretch marks). But, it's close.

What I'm noticing though, is that it is shrinking up. I don't have much hanging folded skin and that gives me hope that with a bit more time, it will still shrink up so that I don't have problems with folds of skin where I get rashes from sweating, especially in the summer. Something people tend to forget or don't even realize, is that skin is slow to shrink up. It can take years for it to bounce back up. So, deciding on a tummy tuck, or lower body lift, etc. 6 months or a year after weight loss is too soon. Give it time. Give it two to three years and give yourself two to three years to really heal and recuperate from the weight loss and to be sure you are going to maintain your weight loss too.

I know I can't erase the damage done to my body because of the decades of being overweight, but I'm also not giving up hope or feeling disgusted about my body because of it. I look a lot better clothed and naked thinner than heavier. AND I'm definitely healthier (the most important thing of all!). And unless I run into chaffing skin, I won't be doing any surgery.

I see so many women on weight loss sites fretting about the loose skin, but really, it's life. We all have imperfections. We all have life scars and it's OK. Really. And if a sexual partner has a problem with your life scars, they aren't worth having around. Any man or woman I know wants a healthy partner. Life scars seem irrelevant. We all grow older. We all will get saggy skin and we all will hopefully die when we are all saggy and baggy - life scars eventually happens to everyone if they live long enough. And wouldn't you rather live long enough?

Stats for 1/20/12:

Highest weight: 275  Now: 176.0

1 comment:

  1. My stomach is similar to the one show, although it's probably more toned now. With the last few pounds it's flatten out a lot (I used to have a built-in muffin top for love handles but those seem to have disappeared). I imagine I'll always have a bit of loose skin and a somewhat pudgy stomach but like you said I earned it through life and at least now I know that what I'm doing for my body is healthy. :)