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Body Image and Issues after Weight Loss Including discussions about excess skin and reconstructive surgery

Here's something I never thought would happen:

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Old 08-31-2012, 07:29 PM   #1
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Default Here's something I never thought would happen:

I was at work and a customer that I have never seen before (or at least I don't think I have) asked me if I had just come off of a big weight loss, which I have (overall loss of 90lbs!). The awkward part, and the key point here, is I have never seen this person before. The only way that I could think of for her to know that I've lost weight is the thing I complain about the most -- my arms. I didn't catch all of what she said, but I know it was something about how someone she knew lost a lot of weight and ended up getting surgery, and then she congratulated me on my success. That part was nice... but who is she to point out a flaw in my body and then go forth and tell me how to fix it? I mean I know in her mind she was probably just being helpful, but jeeze, I was already self-conscious about my arms as it is! Now I have to worry about random strangers commenting on them?

What would y'all do? Continue lifting and hope that they'll eventually go back to normal? Get surgery? Flaunt your flaps? I don't know what to do, and as far as surgery is concerned I have no idea where to begin looking for information. Any help is appreciated.
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Old 08-31-2012, 10:45 PM   #2
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You never know what's going on in people's heads - I wouldn't worry about what might have prompted her to ask. (Actually, I would have said, 'why yes, why do you ask?' LOL)

How heavy are you lifting? I have sloooowly worked my way up to 35 lb bicep curls (which the male summer intern college students in my office this summer can't do!) and it is definitely helping. I don't work out often, but when I do, I lift as heavy as I possibly can. I can do 2 sets of 3 reps per arm at 35, and that takes every bit of effort I can muster. I bought the New Rules of Lifting for Women and follow that.

My arms aren't great but my worst problem is my tummy. I'm doing a number of things and it's getting better, but it's not there yet.

I feel you!
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Old 08-31-2012, 10:57 PM   #3
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I admit to being a machine-whore, lol, but I have most of the machines concerning my upper body at anywhere between 45-60lbs; my leg press is at 150! But that has been me messing around and trying to see what the machines do and what I like doing as far as my body is concerned. I'm getting ready to get serious about it; I'm taking a notebook with me next gym-trip so I can actually keep track of what I do. I stay at the same weight, which isn't beneficial, but it's cause I can't ever remember what I last lifted at, lol. So I need to start actually tracking that. I'm wanting to get into free weights, too cause I have a set of back-boobs and some armpit fat that won't go away either, but those aren't near as worrisome as my arms.

The only reason I'm so "ugh" about my arms is cause you can actually see those, lol. There is no hiding my arms, unless I were to wear long sleeves all the time, and well, I live in South Carolina -- it's too hot for that! Lol
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Old 09-01-2012, 07:55 AM   #4
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I've found that once you know what to look for, it can be pretty easy to spot someone who has lost a lot of weight. I wouldn't actually go up to someone and say: "Hey you lost a lot of weight! Cool!" unless I was really comfortable with them, but because I can see the things in myself I know what to look for in others.

For example, my future father-in-law and my mother have lost a lot of weight and what others might just think is some stubborn fat, I can tell is loose skin.

I don't really have loose skin on my arms, but I DO have some wicked stretchmarks that go down to my elbows that I've had since I was a teen. You can't see them unless I wear a tank top or short sleeve shirt, but I'm sure people have seen them and put two and two together (especially since I wore tanks all summer).

During orientation for my students, one of them came up and me and said: "Oh my god! What happened to your arm?" I was confused, so I looked at my arms, thinking I got a cut somewhere or something. "What are you talking about?" I asked her. She pointed to my arms again and said: "Those stripes! What happened?" I laughed and said "those are stretchmarks, you get them sometimes if you grow fast," and I walked off. My coworkers looked MORTIFIED at the exchange but I thought it was funny (they all know about my weight loss).

Granted, I was dealing with a child and you were dealing with an adult, but I would recommend you just laugh it off ....and use it as motivation! That person was trying to compliment you though, but was a little misguided.

Oh and try out some deadlifts if you can. I find those work my whole body and ever since I threw some heavy deadlifts into my routine my arms, back, and legs have gotten some awesome definition! In fact I don't really like any exercises that focus on my arms so I don't really do them that often, but I think I still have the arm definition from the deadlifts :]
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Old 09-01-2012, 01:08 PM   #5
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mimsy, along with lifting heavy, I suggest being patient. You're young so there's a good chance that loose skin under your arms will tighten up in time. I'm twice your age, so there's little chance my arm flaps are going away - it sucks, but it's not the worst thing in the world. Look around - very few women have Michelle Obama's arms!
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Old 09-03-2012, 01:19 PM   #6
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Girl, get off those machines. They are not going to give you results. I can do 700 lb leg presses (1 or 2, anyway - you ought to see the look on guys' faces when they walk past and see that!) and it still wasn't getting me anywhere.

Seriously, read The New Rules book. It explains it a lot better than I can. But machines don't require you to use your balance and stability and stuff like free weights do. Machines aren't going to do what you need.
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Old 09-18-2012, 04:54 PM   #7
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wow that is very rude of her I think

As far as the surgery goes, me personally I won't opt for any kind of surgery if I can possibly help it I know I was extremely overweight so I am planning on kind of testing the theory of body fat percentage and loose skin on myself and so maybe I can help answer the question for other people.

I am going to get my body fat percentage as low as possible and as toned and tight as I can possibly get before I see what kind of loose skin I have and go from there. Also going to test body scrubs and whatever else I can find and just time to see how much it will tighten up on its own. I'll treat myself like an experiment lol because sadly a lot of the full body lift and tummy tuck pictures I am seeing on the internet when I go looking I can tell there is still a lot of fat left on them and they haven't lost it all and I don't believe for the most part it is just loose skin.

Judging by your weight and height I would suggest just keeping on working out and doing your weights eating right etc it might just tighten up on it's own once your body fat percentage gets very low which I believe would be the case in most cases. Since I am an extreme one I will really see when I get there myself lol

oh also yes age plays a very big part in it as well and you look young enough that I would guess it would mostly tighten up also by itself once the body fat percentage is there.

If you want your skin to tighten up you need to go by body fat percentage not weight or anything else in my opinion but thats just what I believe and gonna see if its true
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Old 09-21-2012, 01:50 PM   #8
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Oh my goodness, I was just having the same issue. I was feeling all good about how much smaller I was on my Top part. And wanted to just wear my sleevless tops without a cover up. But there I was looking in the mirror and looking at my flabby arms. I dont worry too much about someone saying somthing about my arms until now haha. But can relate to you 100%. As to what I would do is prob just nod my head and then walk away lol.
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Old 09-21-2012, 04:47 PM   #9
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I don't see where she pointed out any flaws. As for her comment about someone getting surgery after weight loss . Did she say what kind of surgery ? Maybe she had an appendectomy, or had her nose fixed, she could have had surgery for many things unless she specifically said she had a tummy tuck I would not assume she was pointing out flaws to you. She was paying you a compliment in the best way she could. I am sure she would be surprised her compliment upset you.
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Old 09-24-2012, 02:56 AM   #10
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I don't remember her saying anything about a specific surgery, but I do remember it being something like the person she knew had surgery after weight loss, and looked great afterward. This lead me to believe she was indirectly acknowledging that I obviously had spots that needed to be "fixed".

I still feel really awkward about my arms. As I lose weight, they aren't really shrinking at all and it's really starting to bother me now. I think the fat is going away, but the skin isn't going anywhere. Lifting weights hasn't really helped. I can see where the muscle is growing and see some definition (i.e. I can clearly see my actual arm, lol), but the fat/skin or whatever it is just hangs off of it and I think it looks awful. I really don't want to have to get surgery but I almost feel like I have to if I ever want a normal-looking arm. It's the only part of my body that I feel that negatively about -- everything else I could care less about because it can be covered by clothes but unless I wore long sleeves all the time, I can't hide my arms. It makes me sad just thinking about it. =/
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Old 09-24-2012, 10:56 AM   #11
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You're going to have to give your skin time to catch up to the fat loss. Work on reaching your goal, then maintaining for a few months, while exercising regularly, to see how things end up. You might be pleasantly surprised, or you might start saving up for surgery, or you might decide to live with how you end up, even if you're not totally happy with it. Sadly, this whole weight loss/body reshaping thing just takes time.
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Old 09-25-2012, 04:11 AM   #12
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I was actually just reading up on this Friday night, because I just know my arms are going to be an issue.
Most sites suggested to drink lots of water, take EFAs,toning, to lose 1-2lbs a week to give your skin time to shrink, and to massage the areas to get it going.
I think one site also said to give your body 1-2 yrs for it to try and catch up, if it was a quick weight loss.
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Old 09-30-2012, 08:26 PM   #13
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My upper arms are in pretty good shape but I've gotten "did you used to be fat?" (yes asked just like that. I don't live in the world capital of tact, let's just say) a lot because I have stretch marks on my inner upper arms.

A couple of doctors have also asked if I used to be fat or I'd ever been pregnant based on my stomach's appearance as well.

Suffice to say, people will say what they will say. You've done amazing and continue to do your best to get the body you want so they can say what they want. I agree with those who say give your body time to catch up. My loss has been pretty slow or pretty start-stop. I've had several maintenance breaks (e.g. 9 months within 235ish, 11 months at 180ish) and one thing I've seen is that your body DOES catch up and things do improve and tighten up. I don't lift weights and my strength work (such as it is) is mostly stuff like push ups and body weight-type stuff, but my arms did improve, my boobs whilst still pretty saggy are not as droopy as they were and my body did tighten up a little as I rested at each weight. For example, when I first got to 183, I was a size 10. 10 months later, still in the early 180s, I was an 8. So give your body time, and keep working on it.
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