Read on, as you learn that you are not alone and it is ok to be disappointed with the parts of your body that are not ideal. Please get comfortable in my experiences of dealing with the excess skin and then take advantage of the 5 strategies that helped me ease out of disappointment and into owning IT.
Flap,flap, flap, flap, flap…..do you hear that? It is the sound of your loose skin slapping your body as you do jumping jacks; jumping jacks of pain.
Having gastric sleeve surgery changed-my-life. I lost weight and felt like I could really see who I really was. For example, when I wore clothes, I would graciously accept the compliments of “ you look so good” .“ I see you boo”. “Look how small you are”.
To the compliment giver, I smiled and would say thank you. In my mind, I would say, “if they only knew”. I would go home and take off the spanx, full back-support bra, tank top and shirt. I tried very hard to conceal the lie of what I really looked like. I stopped accepting the compliments and started telling people that I don’t deserve the compliment. Sadly, I LITERALLY took a “friend” into a bathroom and started disrobing; I had to PROVE that I was living a lie. Why? I have no idea. I guess, I just needed them to know that I wasn’t a fraud. All it did was make my skin, the constant topic of concern.
After a follow-up with my surgeon, I showed him my skin and the pictures of what I look like with all of my clothes. I remember reading his expressions to see if he was going to feel sorry for me or ……..actually, I don’t know why I surveyed his face? Maybe, I just needed him to see what I saw and acknowledge the disgusting truth of my loose skin. Every follow-up appointment ended with my issue with the loose skin. EVERY SINGLE ONE. It became an obsession.
I became hyper-focused on my skin, so much so,when in conversation, I would watch the person’s eyes dart to my arm whenever I raised it. I worked on how to pose, so that folks wouldn’t notice my flabby arms. I wore shirts that covered just enough skin, that it wouldn’t expose the truth. I avoided being touched, as best i could. I can’t tell you the hugs I missed out on. The high fives of celebration. The moments I couldn’t enjoy myself because I just knew that people were looking at my skin.
I have always wanted to wear short sleeved shirts at the gym, for kickboxing. I could never bring myself to it because I knew that with every jab…..my arms would whip around and creates ripples that could move mountains. I couldn’t concentrate on working out and making sure that folks weren’t looking at my loose skin. It was energy consuming. It would be ah-mazing if I had $14,000. It would change my life if I could make love to my husband without a top. Better yet if we get lost in the moment and I would forget the top,altogether. Nope! I am too concerned with holding my jiggly parts. I am holding my jiggly parts so that he won’t have to see or hear the flapping skin. My attention is out of the moment and silently I gave in to being a pillow princess; a-pillow-princess.
My husband has made me feel like I am the most beautiful woman in the world. He touches my body like a man who loves his woman. Sometimes, he fights to keep the light on, so he can look at me. I mean look at me. I hate every minute of it. In the dark, I am a size 10, with soft skin and a small waste. In my mind, when the light is on, I am a deflated pillsbury doughboy. I am unleavened yeast. I am Gumby that was left outside in the hot Atlanta sun. I am not present. It hurt him and it started to hurt the intimacy in our marriage. I tried everything; I tired from running to turn the light off first, from making sure I had the right shirt on or being satisfied with not making too much sounds, with my body.
My body-My body-My body. The notion and the absurdity that I didn’t acknowledge that, is strange, don’t you think? I remember actually apologizing to people for MY body. If my arm touched theirs in church, I would apologize. If someone put their hands on my arm, I would mentally apologize. I silently apologized for every moment someone brushed up against me, passed me or just if they saw my arms moving. I apologized. Isn’t that absurd?
The more I thought about it. The more I realized that I can’t apologize for almost 24 months of ZUMBA, kickboxing, walking, running, cycling, weight training, dropping pant sizes and kicking ass. The more I thought about it, I realized that my body has carried me through a surgery, rapid weight loss, moderate weight gain, muscles, painful childhood memories, disappointments, hurts and hangups. I don’t remember the exact day but there was a day where I stopped apologizing for my loose skin. I didn’t say that I was totally ok with it, I just stopped apologizing for it. I decided to wear my arms out, in tank tops and sleeveless tops. I decided to live and because of that my life changed. The intimacy in my marriage changed. The openness the truth of who I am, changed. I made a decision that I am going to wear what I want because, the reality is….I am smaller, faster, stronger than what they see. My body is what it is but I worked hard for the muscles that I have and GOT-Damn it, I’m going to show it; loose skin and all. No matter what. Make sure your curves are always poppin. You earned that right. I couldn’t keep this feeling to myself. I decided to share this with you.
Let’s change your life! I overcame the disappointment of loose skin, due to rapid weight loss and I created a few strategies to make through this and stop apologizing for not looking like what is expected. I assembled TOP 5 strategies of pushing through and owning my gumby curves.
Get Naked! Close all of the windows and start in one room, until you can venture out into the rest of the house. Get comfortable with YOUR body. Look at her. Look at the areas where there is more skin. Touch it, flap it around, do whatever you can to “humanize” your body AND not act as if it betrayed you. Laugh if you have to. Just try not to cry. Do this every chance you can, until the tears dry up and you can actually look at yourself with pride.
Follow the next steps….
- One day a week, wear a cute article of clothing that you probably would have hesitated to wear. Now, it is up to you, if you want to wear it outside? That is up to you. Work on that. Just remember that the earth isn’t going to swallow you up. People may not even notice that this is a groundbreaking move. You are going to walk out, when you are ready, and rock it!
- Get support garments, until YOU decide not to wear them. I don’t think that there is an invention for arm spanx. I love SPANX but I don’t rely on it. Use the garments (if you want) to keep “things” secured.
- Remind yourself of what your body brought you through. If you like to journal, remind yourself of the times you exceeded a weight loss goal or a tough workout routine(crossfit or ……). Remind yourself that the magazines are just illustrations of what could be and not what is. Remind yourself that you are human and keep moving.
- Look into plastic surgery. If you are unable to live with the skin and really want to get rid of it. Consult a board certified plastic surgeon and go under the knife. If you are going to have surgery, make sure that you are doing it for you and not for more attention. Don’t do it to boost your self-esteem. Do it because it is getting in the way of the deadlifts that you are trying to do or that it is annoying, having to tuck your arm skin……into your sleeve. Do it for something like that. Your self -worth and value is not weighted by the skin. It is weighted by your determination.
In the meantime, Live!
Comment below and let me know how this worked for you. Give the forum tips that have helped you deal with your excess skin. You know I love a good photo……show off your new body (with the excess skin or post surgery). You should be proud of who you are, right here and right now.