I'm carrying about 15-20 pounds of extra skin since losing 180 pounds
There is no greater feeling in this world than the thrill of overcoming a lifetime of struggling with obesity like I did in 2004. Losing 180 pounds off of my 410-pound body was arguably the greatest achievement of my entire life. I am so very proud of this accomplishment and nobody can ever take that joy away from me because I did it. YEE HAW!
But there's just one problem now -- dealing with my excess, loose skin!
I previously blogged about this problem and it is even something I mention in Chapter 10 of my book, "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb." The more I look at that squishy-squashy skin in the mirror each day, the more frustrated I become that I have not been able to get it taken care of as the finishing touch on this amazing miracle that I have been given. Again, let me be clear, I am VERY thankful for my weight loss, but seeing all this skin can be rather depressing sometimes. I'm just being honest with you about how I feel.
The worst part is how this excess skin LOOKS -- IT LOOKS LIKE FAT!
Check this out:
Remember those Special K cereal commercials that asked, "Can you pinch an inch?" Well, yeah, actually I can pinch SEVERAL inches worth of loose, baggy, excess skin that will never go away until surgery can take care of it.
UGH UGH UGH! How in the world am I supposed to walk on the beach in public with my bathing suit and no shirt on with THIS blob of belly skin scaring people half to death?! It's rather sickening to look at and it's MY own body we're talking about!
And it's not limited to just my abdomen either! Look at this:
That's about 2 inches of loose skin on my inner thighs, which probably weighs me down another 5 pounds.
The last time I priced an abdominoplasty I was quoted $12,000 for all the related expenses as well as a couple months off from work. Since then, several people have pointed me to people who could do it for about half that cost, but that's still way out of my budget.
This has become such an important thing to me that I even applied to be a contestant on the NBC television game show Deal or No Deal. I had to fill out a 10-page application and shoot a five-minute video explaining why I wanted to be on the show. Guess what I showed the producers in my video? You got it -- my big, droopy, loose skin that resulted from my weight loss. Here's hoping they'll give a man a chance to fulfill his dream of having a tummy tuck without the worry of how to pay for it. They begin taping again soon for the Fall season so wish me luck!
Some people tell me I should just be thankful for my weight loss and simply ignore the loose skin problem. However, it is a HUGE mental test that I have had to endure and it is one I am still going through and will continue to go through until that fateful day when I will FINALLY be able to get it taken care of. You can't underestimate how discouraging this can be on someone who has worked so hard to get to this point. I could see someone with less emotional strength collapsing under the pressure of disappointment.
Others have chastised me for losing weight "too fast" and for not taking the weight loss slowly enough to prevent the hanging skin problem from happening. Say what? Uh, hello? All I wanted to do was lose weight because I was on the brink of destroying my health in 2004. The fact that 180 pounds melted off my body in a matter of 12 months is just what happened. Like I had control over how quickly my weight was lost. Puh-leeze people!
Would it have been better for my skin to lose that much weight over, say, three years? Maybe, but that's not a guarantee. I do believe people who lose over 100 pounds tend to have areas of loose skin regardless that may or may not firm up after weight loss. My biggest areas are in my stomach and inner thighs, with only a little bit of loose skin in my upper arms.
Will I fall into a deep bout of depression if I don't get this skin problem remedied in the very near future? I don't think so. I'm a lot more mentally stable than that. But I can't help thinking how much better I would feel about my weight loss and about the man I have become today if the skin would suddenly go away. POOF! Don't I wish! :D
From the people who have had an abdominoplasty done already after their weight loss (like this woman with a 150-pound weight loss and this man who lost 230 pounds), they say it is the best thing they could have done because it has increased their confidence and boosted their self-image despite those few days and weeks of pain they endured during recovery. I desperately want that, too, and am almost willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen.
It's frustrating that insurance companies won't even help pay for this procedure as a reward to those who have accomplished an incredible amount of weight loss. I suppose their belief that this is simply a "cosmetic procedure" only is somewhat true, although the benefits of having this done can have a direct impact on other areas of health to improve them immensely. It's good for the psyche which is good for the body.
My life will not end if this doesn't happen, but I sure would like for it to happen...eventually! I'd rather it be sooner than later, though. :)
If there is any licensed doctor in this field willing to donate their services for skin removal surgeries I need, then I would happily blog about my experience to help educate the public further about what all is involved in an abdominoplasty. Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to take me up on this offer.
Whether I am able to have the tummy tuck done this year or sometime down the road, I'm defintely NOT going to mope and complain about it to the point that I gain back the weight I have lost. I've worked much too hard and spent way too much energy getting the weight off and keeping it off over the past 2 1/2 years. And that's exactly what I intend on doing for the rest of my life so help me God.
Squishy-squashy, excess, loose skin or not. :)
6-20-06 UPDATE: Somebody sent me this link today about this subject, but I'm not sure what I think about it. I still think my stomach is too far gone to come back now.