Weight Loss Support - saggy, disgusting loose skin!

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03-09-2009, 12:38 AM
I tried to post this a few weeks ago, and it wouldn't 'stick.' One of the moderators tried to help me, and suggested this particular forum.

I am 54 years old, in September of 2008 I weighed 305. Right now I weigh 264. Slow loss, but still loss, right?

Am already having problems with really saggy skin. Surgery to have that removed will be out of the question. I just don't and will not ever (unless I win the lottery) have the money to do that. I'm getting really nervous about it because of the things that are happening already and what it looks like. I know many of you must have dealt with this........is there anything that can be done to make it at least look a little better? Girdle? Wet suit??

03-09-2009, 12:45 AM
I'm getting a little nervous too. I've lost 64 lbs, and it seems I'm already getting the stereotypical "bat wings." I used to be "hard fat," most places, and now I'm "squishy fat," which is why I haven't changed sizes yet, I think. I'm still about the same dress size only "squooshier." I imagine I'll need full-body "spanx" (or the wetsuit), when I'm done. Or maybe elastic bandages, like a mummy.

I'm on medicare, so plastic surgery is also going to be unlikely.

03-09-2009, 01:52 AM
You know, I don't mind mine all that much. Granted, I won't be running around in a bikini, but honestly, would I have otherwise?

It's a lot easier to hide the little bit of skin than it is to hide the fat. And building muscle helps in visible places, like the arms.

03-09-2009, 07:41 AM
I think the plastic surgeons recommend you wait two years after reaching your goal weight to see what tightens up and what doesn't. Those of us who are older have less chance of things tightening than younger people with elasticity left in their skin, of course, but you might find as you continue to lose that some of your loose skin does go away on its own. It's all a very long, slow process, which is frustrating, but you're doing it the right way. And Mandalinn's right, strength training will help.

I have major bat wings going on. My arms have always been freakishly large, and I know that's going to continue to be a problem area for me. My arm muscles are really defined these days, but there's a ton of extra skin just hanging there. It's depressing, and I don't know if I will ever be able to do anything but live with it. Having said that, my arms are much smaller than they used to be, and I'll take them over the ones I used to have.

03-09-2009, 08:27 AM
I've been dealing with this as well, and it's an extremely touchy subject for me. My husband has left me because I'm so unattractive now (that's his current reason). I've got a lot of sagging skin around my arms, belly and inner thighs.

I've done a lot of reading on the subject. Yes, a lot of factors come to play with the saggy skin. First, when we're losing weight, we do get squishier. We're starting to lose the support of the undercarriage of fat. There's a subcutaneous system that holds our fat in place, and as our fat cells shrink, it gets jiggly. It does take a couple of years after we've lost the weight for that undercarriage to snap back into place.

While we are dieting and exercising, our bodies are working in a caloric deficit mode. Our bodies use up all the calories we've taken in for the day, plus another bit from our "storage system" (only about a third of the calories we use daily come from stored fat). If we don't eat enough protein during that time period, our bodies will go for our muscles for fuel as well. That's why it's important to get enough protein, plus to do weight training exercises while we're losing weight. It's also important to do cardio exercises because those specifically burn calories from fat.

So now we're all jiggly and droopy and we're wondering if we're ever going to stop resembling an amoeba. I've been assured by some people, one of whom is in her 50s, that our skin will shrink, but we have to do a few things to help our bodies along with this. We need to get our percentage of body fat down below 20% and keep exercising. And to help it along even more, the skin needs to be dry brushed (http://www.naturalhealthtechniques.com/HealingTechniques/Dry_Brushing_Technique.htm) on a regular basis to remove old skin cells and get the circulation going properly. Deep tissue massage can also help to rejuvenate the connective tissue in our bodies. And make sure to keep drinking adequate water to help clear out toxins during the weight loss process. Hot and cold showers are also reported to help. Good nutrition is also important, to help feed the right nutrients that support better skin health (essential fatty acids and antioxidants).

I guess we all need one more important thing...lots of patience!

I'm actually considering buying one of those post-surgery body compression stocking things to support my whole body and skin while I'm losing weight. I get so discouraged by my sagging skin. I'm going to talk to my doctor about it first, though.


03-09-2009, 08:43 AM
What's aggravating to me, is that I am now within pounds of what I weighed in college, and at that time I had also dropped 50 pounds, and was thinner and firmer after that weight loss. This times around I have the same exact folds that I had when I was heavier, just smaller. I am small and I carried a lot of weight in my back, so my back is now atrocoius looking, and still bulgy in shirts. I had hoped that I'd at least look thinner dressed, and I'm still dealing with the bulk showing thru my clothes. Surgery is not an option for me either.

03-09-2009, 09:56 AM
I lost 80 pounds, from 220-140, and I had saggy skin under my arms, on my sides (upper...by the boobs), not to mention my boobs, inner thighs and stomach. The skin under my arms has tightened some with weight training, but the rest is just gross. I was working out the other day and was bent over...I looked down and saw stomach skin DANGLING.

How has it affected me? I'm about a billion times less confident now than I was before, but it's getting better. My husband hasn't seen me naked in more than a year, and I'm having issues in a lot of areas because I think my body just looks gross.

Thighs Be Gone
03-09-2009, 10:11 AM
The area that I noticed the most on me are my breasts and stomach. They are smaller yes, but saggy. The skin feels so droopy.

The fantastic news though is that loose skin is very easy to hide under clothing. Before I may have been firm, but who really cared! I wore tents for clothing and was constantly trying to disguise my girth to no avail. Wonderbras do great things for a small and drooping breast. Slacks that fit properly--or jeans or skirts--do the trick for the tummy.

I would like to have surgery for my breasts and stomach but am not "hung up" on it. I feel much better now than I did before and I certainly look better. I recently had a full physical--my blood pressure and cholesterols were ROCKIN'!

I am giving myself one year after my goal is met and then I will talk with a surgeon to decide if am for or against the surgery.

Lori Bell
03-09-2009, 10:20 AM
I have saggy skin, but it's not all that noticeable under my clothes. At my highest every thing was visible, even with tent shirts and stretch pants, I was super morbidly obese, and EVERYONE knew it. NO hiding it. I don't know, maybe I'll have surgery someday, probably not. I'd rather use the money for a new swimming pool. Then I could put on a bathing suit and not worry who's freaking out on my deflated skin. My husband doesn't seem to mind the extra skin...he's just happy to have "contact"...lol ;)

I don't love my extra skin, but I like it a lot better than skin so tight it was leaving stretch marks and expansion welts. You have 2 choices, stay fat and tight or thin and saggy.

ETA: Thighs - lol we both wore tents! ;)

03-09-2009, 10:32 AM
i have to say this is my biggest fear with loosing weight, in the past i have lost about 14-21 pounds and not had an issue but now i need to loose around 50 pounds and i dont know if saggy skin is going to be an issue.

i really hope not.. as i hate my body and being naked in front of my hubby which is causing a lot of upset and is a cause of my depression..

anyway i guess we will see as i plod along.. any suggestions of advice if you think this will be an issue with this amount of weight loss will be appreciated

much love


03-09-2009, 10:42 AM
I had wondered why my diminished body still looked so flabby on the underside of my upper arms, on my stomach and inside my thighs. This stuff looks pleated sometimes & actually floats when I'm lying in the bath tub. I didn't realize loose skin was the culprit until I started reading the 3FC forums regularly. (You learn so much here.) I don't like it, not at all -- but I really cannot see spending $$ on this in this economy, when I am happy to keep my job from quarter to quarter & when I am saving for a down payment on a co-op. The important thing is, I am healthier than when I started. If I have to wear a one-piece Speedo for my swimming lessons on Sunday, so be it. Two years ago, I never would have gotten into a bathing suit AT ALL ... let alone signed up for swimming lessons.

I see surgery as a "maybe," a few years down the line, if I have successfully maintained my new weight & if the economy improves & I do get into a co-op with a manageable mortgage.

03-09-2009, 10:43 AM
Ahhhh yes the saggy skin issue. I'll tell ya, it is a worry. I carry my weight in my stomach (which hangs horribly and pushed everything down south, that also looks horrible), my butt (which isn't so bad), and my thighs (ack...ACK). The bat wings on my arms are...well...hanging and it bothers me, but not as much as the tummy and south of the border.

I mean you can shove things in clothing, yeah whatever, but my whole thing is "how can I make THIS look sexy?" lol

I guess the thing is if someone loves you for you, then they look past all your flaws. Besides I might have surgery one day to remove excess skin and I've done a lot of reading on the subject. I've already spent hours obsessing with before and after picture and to be frank, I've banned myself from it as it was becoming an issue with me. I just need to focus on loosing weight. Carrying around all this weight hurts me emotionally and physically. Having excess skin is going to happen and it does bother me to look at what is currently hanging.

One thing I have read over and over again is not to have surgery until a certain amount of time after you have maintained your goal weight. Some people do have to get surgery because of a health issue though, that is entirely different. I think the minimum amount of time is around 2 years after hitting goal.

*looks at her tummy* I mean I look like a pear...and not that cute thing pear everyone buys at the supermarket. I look like that fat yellowish pear....all chunky and :?:

03-09-2009, 12:33 PM
I was thinking about the loose skin after weight loss question, and I agree it doesn't seem fair that after losing the pounds that we have this to deal with next. Anyway, I thought about Kirsti Alley and her weight loss. The only thing I know about her weight loss is when she made a deal with Oprah to come back on the show in a bikini. Since she is in her 50's (I think) I wonder why she did not have excess skin?

Just thinking out loud. :dizzy:

03-09-2009, 12:45 PM
One alternative to surgery is to focus on clothing. Most of loose skin problems can be hidden by clothing. For swimming, frankly, I think bikinis are over-rated. I have a black one-piece bathing suit with little translucent panels that I think looks hotter than any bikini I've ever seen. Maybe add a breezy shawl wrap for the beach if skin on the arms are a problem. There is also some very sexy, supportive clothing that can be worn for intimate moments. A lot cheaper than surgery and even those with the tautest skin can really enhance their appearance with the right clothes in the right context.

03-09-2009, 12:51 PM
I worry about this because I have a "double belly" and my lower abdomen is huge, and I just know I'm going to have a ton of extra skin there. I'm not against saving up to get it removed, though. If you should wait two years after you lose the weight, that gives me two years to save up right there. (Right now I'm saving up for the $1500 my insurance doesn't cover of a breast reduction, since I'm 5'1" and a 40I. I was a DD at 135# so I know that even if I lost nearly 100#, my breasts are still going to be way bigger than I want them to be.)

Money is tight, but I figure I have a couple years before I'm even at my final goal, so hopefully things will be better by then.

03-09-2009, 01:06 PM
There's a young lady at my gym who has lost about 125lbs (if I had to guess -- definitely more than 100, though) and she is in her late 20s. She has a whole lot of skin hanging around, and I know it is not mostly fat because she is an aerobics instructor and has tiny calves and ankes.

You know what? I think she looks amaaaaazing! I think she wears a body smoothing top under her regular tops or something. But, really. Is it worse to have sagging skin and be healthy or have a whole lot of fat and be at risk for diabetes and heart disease?

I don't have a lot to lose, but after two pregnancies (and c-sections!) and about 5 years of being overweight post-pregnancy, my abdomen is a train-wreck. I'll never wear a bikini, but so what?

I think each and every one of you with sagging skin should be so proud of your weight loss! :-)

03-09-2009, 01:13 PM
I'm not losing weight for appearance sake, but for health reasons. I'm pretty body-confident at my current weight (and was at my highest weight), so I'm thinking I probably will be at my lowest weight. I'm not saying I won't enjoy looking nicer (whether that's only in clothes, or not). It won't be the end of the world if I look funnier naked than I do now. I'm more concerned with the potential health and physical comfort issues of having excess skin, and therefore excess skin rub.

(Possibly TMI)
I'm not worrying about my husband making the adjustment, because I had a tumor removed from my breast the week of our wedding. The tumor (as we hoped, but there were no guarantees) turned out to be benign, scar tissue from an old car accident. That breast now looks a little funny, especially in some positions, there's an actual divot, a deeply concave spot where the tumor was removed. My husband is so sweet, he says it's his "favorite" of the two, because it's a reminder to him that he didn't lose his wife. I'm thinking that a guy that sweet is going to see loose skin as just more well-earned battle scars. Since our intimate life (being that we're both fat and disabled) is full of humor now (it has to be, with some of the challenges we face), I'm sure that skill will come in handy when one or both of us are saggy and flappy.

I'm a bit more concerned with the physical problems that can occur with very loose skin. Skin infections, friction burns.... I know some insurances (and hopefully medicare) will pay for "medically necessary" removal of extra skin, but I know it's a nightmare of red tape to convince the right people that the procedure is medically necessary. Where I have the most skin is in the stomach and inner thigh area, and I saw a woman on "Big Medicine" on TLC who was built a lot like me, about my age (a tiny bit older), and she had to have 80 lbs of skin removed. She looked like she'd been wearing a pair of skin pants five or six sizes too big for her. It took her nearly a year to convince her insurance to cover the operation (she was getting very serious skin infections and the skin was actually interfering with her ability to walk).

One advantage I do have, is that I am losing slowly. So slowly, I might qualify for the record in slowest weight loss. I've always heard that losing slowly does tend to help minimize the loose skin, at least a bit. I'm hopeing anyway.

03-09-2009, 01:37 PM
I've undergone a dramatic and fast paced weight loss - the bulk of it gone in a year. The skin issues are NOT what I envisioned, thank goodness.

I weight train, intensely and often. My arms are fine - I could and WILL proudly wear a tank top in warmer weather, they are always bared at the gym in very short sleeves. There is no evidence whatsoever that they were once much larger. My stomach is improving dramatically as I lower my body fat. The difference between my abs now and 4 months ago is remarkable - the lower my body fat, the smoother and tighter the skin. My ab muscles are visible and defined. While I haven't lost substantial weight in the past 4 months I have significantly changed my body's composition. The lower body fat makes such a great difference, it's crazy madness.

I probably sound cocky, and I don't want to sound like that. I've just worked as hard as humanly possible to fill any potential problem areas with muscle and to eat the right stuff. I know a great deal of credit can be given to genetics, but I've also put my fair share in. It's amazing, what dumbbells can do for you. People are always commenting that you could never tell I was once morbidly obese - there's not any evidence of extra skin visible (I don't wear loose clothing or try to disguise anything). A strange compliment to me, one I never envisioned I'd hear.

What suffered is my chest. Oh, my poor girls. I'm a 32 A now. But you know, that's fixable and they fed my son for 2 years. I'd never get down on myself about that. A cool thing about the weightlifting is that I'm able to create a false cleavage line on my pecs - pair that with a great bra from Victoria's and I've got a normal looking set of knockers. :lol:

FWIW, I'm 32.

03-09-2009, 01:42 PM
My husband is so sweet, he says it's his "favorite" of the two, because it's a reminder to him that he didn't lose his wife.


03-10-2009, 11:07 AM
Because I have yo yo'd my entire life I don't think my skin will ever "snap" back. It's kinda like the elastic on underwear; it reaches a point of no return. Also, age is a huge factor.

I had originally thought that I would have a tummy tuck and lift/augmentation but as time goes by I'm not so sure. I too have been somewhat obsessed with before and after pictures and stories; some are incredible and others are down right scary. As others have said clothes can do wonders to cover and compliment what we have so why take that chance.

My new concern is with what can't be covered; my face and neck.

03-10-2009, 11:37 AM
I'm at the halfway mark of my weightloss journey. I'm sure I'll have at least some loose skin on my lower abdomen and chest at the end of my journey.

I don't know what's going to happen with my arms. I have massive, massive arm muscles ~ biceps and triceps ~ I have gone through periods where I have worked out intensely and big muscles are the result. I am very, very hopeful I will end up with arms like FB (above; my hero!) ~ the Linda Hamilton/Terminator II arms. For all the work I've put into them; I should! :) I restarted going to a gym last week and right now I am putting a lot of additional work into shoulders/chest to try to give myself a mini-breast lift if I can. That area needs work.

I am pretty hopeful that my legs, butt and everything else will shrink back into shape...hope so, anyway.

My main concern, moreso than saggy skin, is lower leg edema. My lymph system doesn't function properly, hasn't since I was 20 years old, and my feet/legs/ankles are always swollen. The last time I lost down to 180 or so, everything quit swelling. I hope and pray that happens again...losing weight seems to be ameliorating some of the swelling ~ I just hope it ALL goes away.