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

New here..Struggling with dating with post-weight loss body :-/

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Old 05-15-2013, 10:44 PM   #1
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Unhappy New here..Struggling with dating with post-weight loss body :-/

Hi everyone! My name is Kristen and this is my first time posting here. Here's a brief rundown of my journey. I've been overweight my entire life. By the time I reached my early 20's I was over 300 lbs. A health scare in 2007 influenced me to finally begin my weight loss journey. In 2 years I lost over 170 lbs just by healthy diet and exercise. I've gained some weight back and am now 150ish, looking to get back down to the low 140's/high 130's which I feel looks and feels best on me..

...but that's not why I'm posting here today. I'm posting because I'm having a really hard time adjusting to my current weight with my current body. I have severe excess skin all over. Arms, legs, stomach, back, boobs...everywhere. There was no part of my body that was spared. I can hide it fairly well in most clothes, but when my clothes come off, that's a different story. I am so so SO grateful I rid my body of the harmful excess fat I was toting around and of course my life is better now than it was years ago. I'd never choose to go back to the way I was. That being said, I hate the sight of my body :-( I'm so embarrassed and feel truly disgusting with the saggy, wrinkly, lumpy skin that just hangs all from my body.

I just turned 29 the other day and I have NEVER had a boyfriend or dated up until I was 27. I met someone unexpectedly on another weight loss website about a year and a half ago and we're still together. It's long distance so I only get to see him about once a month, but it's worth the effort because he's a gem. He's so kind and patient and reassuring to me and tells me every day he loves me and thinks I'm beautiful as is. The thing is, I still have not let him see me naked. He has no idea what my stomach or what my legs fully look liked. We're very..limited in what we do and how we do things (intimately speaking) because of the embarrassment and hatred I have towards my body.

I'm sitting here crying as I type this because I feel so helpless. I'm not getting any better. This is progressively getting harder and harder for me as time goes on. I've gotten to a point of crying when I look through the Victoria's Secret website and feel awkward and uncomfortable when I see other women on tv or in magazines in bikinis or tight workout clothing because I feel so disfigured and deformed and different. I'm so depressed. It's so vain and superficial and after losing as much weight as I have, I feel ridiculous for not being happier with what I've accomplished. It's not that I'm not proud of myself, and it's not that I hate myself for what I put my body through my whole life. But I do hate my body and feel inadequate and ugly.

If anyone is in my position, please tell me, how are you working with what you've got so to speak? I don't know what to do. Everything has gotten harder for me since being in my first relationship. I don't want to share my biggest insecurities with anyone else. I dont want anyone to see how disfigured and gross I look without anything covering me up, especially with someone who I want to stay attracted to me. I have awful self esteem and always have. Things started getting a lot better after I lost weight and I imagined things would continue to feel better. But I actually feel almost as bad about myself as I did when I was 300 lbs. This has to change. I've come too far to beat myself up this way. But I don't know what to do...Some days I just want to lock myself in my room and not be around anyone for a long time..I love my boyfriend and I don't want to lose him but I know this will push him away eventually if I don't get better. He's coming to see me this weekend and there's a huge part of me that doesnt want him here. I miss him like crazy and love his affection, but at the same time I don't want him to touch me or see me because I feel like a monster :-(

If anyone's reading..please help...thanks all
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Old 05-15-2013, 11:00 PM   #2
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You are not a monster and I'm glad you reached out My name is Sarah and I'm sorry you are going through such a tough time adjusting to your new body. I read something by Jillian Michaels once, and she said that weight gain is a symptom of a deeper, underlying issue- not the cause. You can remove the weight, but it doesn't mean the primary issue is addressed. Maybe if you try to think about how you've addressed one part of your self, but now it's time for another?

I'm a big fan of the mantra that if you don't like something about yourself, then change it. There are a variety of routes to go here. If you do have excess skin from your weight loss and you feel you will be uncomfortable no matter what, there are some plastic surgery options for you out there. But if you feel you will be uncomfortable no matter what, then maybe it's some soul searching that is needed. We often think others to be more deserving of love, happiness, than ourselves. Ask yourself: why not you? Why don't you deserve to feel beautiful? To feel confident?

I hope you paused there- because there is no reason why it can't be you. You lost weight because you clearly had a thirst to show YOURSELF you love YOURSELF and I congratulate you on that. I truly believe confidence is the sexiest outfit a person can wear and I'd start by picking 3 things you do admire about yourself. I know you are picking on your looks, but I think this goes deeper than just pounds.

You are an amazing person. I believe it, your boyfriend believes it, 3FC believes it! Until you start to believe it, you won't see your true beauty. It's a journey only you can embark on, but we'll be here as soundboards for you

Also, look at the name of this thread. You are clearly not alone
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Old 05-15-2013, 11:13 PM   #3
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Awww first here is the biggest internet hug I can give you.

Now here is the good news, you've lost a lot of weight and kept if off and you've started a relationship with someone who loves you for you, and makes you happy. Clearly you are not "disgusting" despite any lumps or wrinkles or imperfections you may have (and trust me, those skinny models in the Victoria Secret magazine are not perfect either).

There are things you can do to help your appearance, like weight training to fill out some of the loose skin. Some people have had some success with skin tightening procedures as well, like laser tightening, though these are not necessarily cheap. And then of course there is cosmetic surgery if that is something you think you might be interested in, but that is also not a cheap option and may not be something you are comfortable with.

I understand that it's hard not to focus on the imperfections that we are left with after losing weight, but you need to try to think of all the good things you have going for you. Instead of comparing yourself to people who have basically made it their job to seem perfect, think about how far you've come. How close you are to being the best YOU you can be.

The fact that you met your boyfriend on a weight loss forum means he's probably very familiar with a lot of the things you are going through. I hope you can find a way to talk to him about how you're feeling and even more importantly BELIEVE HIM, when he tells you that you're beautiful the way you are.

There is no quick fix to low self esteem or body insecurities unfortunately, but it will get better. Good luck!
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Old 05-16-2013, 02:09 AM   #4
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Default Thanks so much for sharing

Kristen,

I appreciate your honesty and vulnerability. I really related to your story and would like to share my experience with you.

I weighed over 300lbs (stopped weighing myself at 297 but kept gaining). I have been maintaining about a 130 weight loss for several years. When I first began losing the weight, I felt ECSTATIC about the possibility of me looking like a spartan warrior.

After a year of the weight loss, I realized that due to the harm I inflicted on my body for so many years, my body didn't look like a spartan warrior's. For about 2 years, I struggled immensely with a lack of acceptance. I hated my body and didn't want anybody to see me. When I had a moment of intimacy, my body would physically shake in fear of judgement.

For me, the answer came in acceptance. It was the most difficult and best solution for me. I had to accept my body for what it is and until I accepted that, I could not be happy. Although that level of acceptance as difficult, it wasn't as difficult as letting go of the results of my dating life. I had to accept that if somebody left me because of my body, they were not the right person for me.

I slowly built a faith that whoever was meant for me, will accept me for me. And guess what? I met someone and she accepted me for all of my quirks. She accepted that I weigh and measure my food. She accepted my imperfect body. And now? We're married!

I believe that there is somebody out there who can love and accept you for who you are. It may be your current boyfriend. There's only 1 way to find out. Be willing to be vulnerable and trust that whatever happens, you are an incredible person and there is somebody out there who will love and accept you and see you for all your beauty.

I'm wishing you the best!!!

Jason
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Old 05-16-2013, 01:09 PM   #5
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I believe that there is somebody out there who can love and accept you for who you are. It may be your current boyfriend. There's only 1 way to find out. Be willing to be vulnerable and trust that whatever happens, you are an incredible person and there is somebody out there who will love and accept you and see you for all your beauty.
This!!

While reading your story, I couldn't help but see so much of my old self in you that it broke my heart. I am sorry that you are feeling this way.

My story is in a similar vein, but it's not about loose skin. I think I've told it on this website a few times now, but, I don't know. Reading stories of acceptance was one of the factors that helped me.

I have PCOS, and because of that, I have a very bad lady beard. Like, I could seriously be the bearded woman in a circus if I let it grow out. Really, my whole body is hairy. I began having facial hair when I was in high school, and I refused to date anyone. Any guy that would try to get close to me, I would push away. I dated a few guys in college, but I was always absolutely terrified that despite all the shaving, they would notice or find out. I, like you, felt like a complete monster or a circus freak. I did have one guy who did find out, and he actually told me, “Why didn’t you tell me this before I fell in love with you? Don’t you think that’s something you tell someone before they make a commitment?” Insanely, I stayed in that relationship another year and a half, and it wasn’t the last thing he ever said to me about it either. (Ironically, he has been trying to get me back for four years now after I left him, beard and all. )

Well, I found the guy I'm dating now, and of course, it was the same crap after we began being intimate. Rushing out of bed in the morning before he could see my face so I could go shave. Spending countless hours basically shaving my entire body so that he wouldn't notice any hair growth. Not letting him touch or kiss my face and neck. He said he knew all along. He noticed my beard the first night he met me, and he said all he thought was, "Oh." All of that work and all he thought was, "Oh." Eventually, after turning my head enough times when he would try to touch my face, he gently addressed the issue. He told me that it made him sad that I was hiding myself and that he wanted to know all of me. It was a like a dam burst. I couldn't talk about it. I was so mortified in my shame, but I cried and cried.

We have been together for three years now, and his love has healed me so much. His love and a lifelong attraction to feminist literature. (Getting a little pissed off at female beauty expectations can be therapeutic) I didn't realize how much I let something so superficial limit me, but it did. It is so nice now to be my authentic self in every way - to have someone that I can be authentic with. If your man cannot handle who you are and what you look like, then he doesn't deserve to have you. And you don't deserve to have to go through life trying to hide yourself from sight.

I do suggest that if you continue to struggle with your skin that you try to find some means to help the sight of it. I’ve accepted my facial hair, but I’ve found an at-home laser treatment that has worked now that I’ve gotten my hormones more straightened out. It’s really more about saving myself money (OMG I go through the razors and concealer!) and time now, but I have to admit that I certainly don’t mind the reduction in hair. Still, taking proactive steps to address the problem may help you feel more calm about it.

I wish you the best of luck! Sorry about the novel.

Danielle
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Old 05-16-2013, 02:52 PM   #6
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Kristen, I think we all somehow buy into a beauty ideal and forget that the majority of the world are just as imperfect as we are. I know when I look at women I don't pick out flaws I just look to see if that person is enjoyable to be with. I am only concerned with the chemistry between myself and them. Who would want to perfection even if they found it anyway. However we feel free to pick at our own flaws like they are a scar. Obviously your boyfriend enjoys your company. I assure you he is not looking to make sure you are perfect just as you not checking him out for flaws. You are beautiful so just let yourself shine and enjoy his company.
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Old 05-16-2013, 03:09 PM   #7
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Another thing to be mindful of is that if you act ashamed of your body when he comes to see you, and that insecurity shows, that might be what he focuses on -- and not your body. I know its hard to say not to worry about it, because its difficult to control that. But try. There is nothing you can do about it between now and the time of his visit. Your best bet is to act normally and try to have a great time together.

Have you had any discussions about the loose skin, so that it wouldn't come as a surprise to him? If so, what did he say?
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Old 05-16-2013, 11:13 PM   #8
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I can relate on a lot of levels. Long story for another day.

However, when I start feeling yuk about my stretch marks, and my long floppy breasts, and all the stuff I can, if I choose, hide, or hike up, or whatever, I think about my husband, who is a double finger amputee. You can't hide that!

Somewhere through the process of helping him become ok with his amputations, the look and the physical limitations, due to the injuries, I took the advice I was giving him, and decided, that my body is an amazing thing!

I've had 2 kids, twins, that were over 6 #'s each. I have a knee that will need to be replaced at some point in time, I've lost the weight, I've maintained, I work out! I run! I am strong!

A lot of people might think I'm weird, but I look at my body every morning in the mirror, flex a bit, and admire, all that it has been through, and it is still hanging in there. Amazes me every day!
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Old 05-17-2013, 12:15 AM   #9
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You're profile picture is amazing. You're beautiful!


I'm still very overweight. I was even bigger when I met my man. Everything flops. Jiggles. Looks..., blech. To me. To him, I'm the sexiest thing alive.

Look into his eyes, remember he loves you and let all those thoughts go.
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Old 05-17-2013, 02:52 PM   #10
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When I first got with my bf, it was just over a year after I began my journey. I had lost about 100-120 pounds, my heaviest being 350 pounds, that I know of. The night I knew we were going to be intimate, we were eating dinner, and cleaning up, when I said to him, "You know my highest weight was 350, right?" (Cue dumb boy nod) "Well, I've made a lot of progress, but my skin is really bad. Like it hangs and it's really embarrassing for me, because I feel like I've put in a lot of work, but it doesn't show. Are you OK with that?"

His response: "I'm fat too. We will just work together to meet our goals. But I think your sexy no matter what."

And that is why we are still together, even though I'm not talking to him right now cuz he made me mad last night! (I'll get over it this afternoon when I see him!)
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Old 05-17-2013, 03:05 PM   #11
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Your post brought up so many things in me that I thought I had squished way down in my soul to hide forever. You have accomplished so much and I'm so glad you found a wonderful man.

I'm still in the weightloss mode and I try to hide everything from my husband (who has been nothing but supportive no matter what my weight). My arms and legs and stomach were never this jiggly when I was 130lbs higher, they were big but solid (if that makes sense!).

Now I'm afraid he will think that the floppy arms and stomach and everything else is here to stay but I won't talk to him about it (in case maybe he didn't notice yet!).

But I can tell you, even if this is TMI it is what it is, when it's time for "that time", I assure you neither of us is worried about any loose skin or whatever. I will say, it crosses my mind (of course!) but once things are heated up and ready to go, you just GO! It's not like I can wait a year and a half to see if my skin fixes itself in maintenance and just avoid my husband. So instead, I act like I'm normal and go with it! And I think most men are more excited for the private time than the woman's body in transition from heavier to lighter. (I don't mean that in a derogatory way.)

Your time with your man is limited right now since you only see him once a month. I say live it up and love it up, you both deserve it!!
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Old 05-17-2013, 05:04 PM   #12
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Born2Blossom - I haven't replied because I wanted to make sure I gave a well thought out response.

You don't know me from Adam, but I am a shoot from the hip kind of gal - and I don't placate and I don't BS people. So everything I'm saying is going to be right atcha so to speak.

First off, in your profile pic, you are SOOOOOO pretty. I really mean that. You need to own how really attractive you are!

Secondly, here's the deal. That skin is not going to go away. Been there done that. It's not going to tighten up noticeably on its own. Sorry, but that's reality. You are a young beautiful woman - are you going to waste the rest of your life hating yourself for some loose extra SKIN? It's SKIN for pete's sake, not something disgusting! You've lost all this weight and your wasting your happiness on hating yourself!!

So what do you have the power to do?

1) Read some self-esteem books on loving yourself.
2) Listen to your boyfriend when he tells you that he loves you, not that terrible voice in your head that says something different!
3) Make the leap and get laid! Trust me - when you are making out laying there, the last thing he will be thinking about is skin! And if it repulses him? Then he's not the guy you thought he was and you shouldn't waste one more second of your life with him!
4) Starting saving money to have the skin removed! If you decide later that you don't want it removed, then you have a nice pot of money for a vacation or a car or a new TV!
5) EMPOWER YOURSELF! Do you work out with weights? It won't make the skin go away, but it will tighten the muscles and the skin will be somewhat less noticeable. Plus you will feel STRONG AND HEALTHY which is what losing the weight is most important for!!

My thoughts are with you!

Jen
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Old 05-17-2013, 06:37 PM   #13
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I ask you to pause and reflect what baltimora shared..."I think we all somehow buy into a beauty ideal and forget that the majority of the world are just as imperfect as we are."...consider the woman with an "ugly" face...consider the quadriplegic...consider the veteran with facial wounds....I don't bring them up to make you feel vain, we all get wrapped up in being dissatisfied with our appearance...but to remind you...I bet you could find beauty in all these people, and you would probably think each of them deserves to be loved and touched and happy...be kind to yourself...you deserve those things too.
As far as intimacy goes...I'll just say that I believe no man exists who is critically pondering a woman's self-perceived "flaws" when he's about to have sex. If he couldn't find anything attractive about you, he wouldn't be there in the first place. Just sayin'.
BIG BIG HUG and much admiration to you. I wish you happiness and self acceptance and the love you deserve! You seem like a beautiful, intelligent, candid, motivated person.
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Old 05-17-2013, 11:05 PM   #14
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When I first got with my bf, it was just over a year after I began my journey. I had lost about 100-120 pounds, my heaviest being 350 pounds, that I know of. The night I knew we were going to be intimate, we were eating dinner, and cleaning up, when I said to him, "You know my highest weight was 350, right?" (Cue dumb boy nod) "Well, I've made a lot of progress, but my skin is really bad. Like it hangs and it's really embarrassing for me, because I feel like I've put in a lot of work, but it doesn't show. Are you OK with that?"

His response: "I'm fat too. We will just work together to meet our goals. But I think your sexy no matter what."

And that is why we are still together, even though I'm not talking to him right now cuz he made me mad last night! (I'll get over it this afternoon when I see him!)
Okay I just have to say, reading that was AWESOME. It made me tear up. I love how you were so honest and up front!
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Old 05-18-2013, 08:28 AM   #15
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Okay I just have to say, reading that was AWESOME. It made me tear up. I love how you were so honest and up front!
Thanks! One of my confidence goals is to just say what I think. There are many times I'm too afraid still, but I'm working on it. Ironically, in the work place, I'm the most confidant! With friends/family, I'm still a little picky, but I come from a very conservative family, and am the black sheep in terms of my openness and acceptance.

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