Loose skin is always a hot topic among those trying to lose weight. And everyone’s reactions/ideas/thoughts on the matter are a little bit different. I’ve written about loose skin before, a couple of different times. (See “10 Things I Wish I’d Known” and “Skin Talk”)
But lately I’ve gotten a lot of questions in my Ask box about loose skin — in general and about mine specifically. Some of the questions are anonymous so I couldn’t reply in person. The general theme of these questions? People are legitimately worried and nervous about losing weight because of loose skin.
The best advice I could offer? Please do not let the fear of loose skin keep you from getting healthy. Please.
I have loose skin. It’s not disgusting. I was expecting to have loose skin. It’s no surprise. And, some days it’s hard to look at. But other days I look at it and think “Wow, lady, look how far you’ve come.”
My saggy skin is most likely here to stay. I’ve been overweight and obese most of my life, so my skin’s been stretching since forever. So it’s not apt to go back to where it started. Besides, I do not have the magical genes that make loose skin retreat.
And I know that creams and pills and diets can’t make your skin regain it’s elasticity. There are no exercises for this. Sure, I can (and do) work out the muscles under my skin and the saggy skin is starting to lie differently on my body. But it’s still loose. And flappy.
So, what about this skin? Where is it loose?
- Arms: Well, my arms are actually not too bad. When I’m going about my everyday business, you can’t really tell. I did notice when I was wearing a short-sleeved shirt on vacation and waved my dad over for a photo, my soup coolers were flappin’. But, for the most part, I’m too focused on my new, lovely biceps and triceps to notice.
- Legs: My upper thighs are pretty saggy. They jiggle a lot. And the loose skin floats really funny-like when I’m in the pool or hot tub. My thighs, though much smaller than they used to be, still rub together, but when I’m wearing the right pants, there’s certainly a nice little window of light that shines through the top.
- Butt: Yeah, I have loose skin on the bottom of my butt. This is where my loose skin is most annoying, but mainly when doing hill runs or jumps during spin class. Other than that, the right pair of britches and jeans work wonders. Plus, T2 is so focused on making my “booty pop” that soon enough I’ll have enough back there that the loose skin won’t matter.
- Boobs: Yeah, my boobs are saggy skin now, too. They never have been big, but now they’re not only not big, they’re flat. Ah well. There are all sorts of “miracle,” “wonder” and “sexy” bras out there that help with that little problem.
- Belly: Yes, my belly. This is where the skin is most noticeable. The skin definitely sags and hangs. It prevents me from wearing some shirts (due only to my own self-confidence, probably) because of the way they cling to the skin. But, when I see myself fully dressed I think I look fine, normal good. I certainly look better than I did 100 pounds ago. And I have an infinite number more choices for clothing and shirt styles than I did then, too.
With loose skin, knowing your body is important. You need to know what looks good on you and what makes you feel good. If you’re not comfortable in something, don’t wear it. I used to have to pick and pull at my shirts all the time. I refuse to do that now. But, it takes some learning to be able to dress for your current body. I’m still overwhelmed in the stores and still have to take multiple sizes and styles into the dressing rooms with me. I’ve also come to love the really cute tanks that help hold things together under your clothes. They look like normal tank tops and provide a nice sliver of color while holding your stomach in a bit.
Knowing how to dress is one way to deal with loose skin. Other people — once they’re lost all the weight they want to lose and keep it off — choose to have surgery to remove some of the loose skin.
I may or may not have the surgery. I don’t know if I’ll want to. And, honestly, it’s too soon for me to make that decision. I’m not even at my goal weight yet. I’m just learning to love this version of me. I’m not sure I want to change her.