3 Fat Chicks on a Diet Weight Loss Community  

Go Back   3 Fat Chicks on a Diet Weight Loss Community > Maintainers > Living Maintenance

Living Maintenance general maintenance topics and discussions

Large weight loss and excess skin

Closed Thread
 
Thread Tools
Old 01-30-2003, 08:49 PM   #1
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Illinois
Posts: 16

Default Large weight loss and excess skin

I have about 120 more lbs to lose. I'm doing it slowly with Weight Watchers and doing the 2 mile WATP tape. I am confident that I will make it to my goal of 145, but I'm worried about having a lot of excess skin once I reach my goal weight. I carry most of my weight in the mid-section. I was wondering if any of you successful losers had this problem with excess skin?
__________________
280/260/145
healthylife is offline  
Old 02-02-2003, 04:56 AM   #2
Meg
Senior Member
 
Meg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Posts: 9,846

S/C/G: 257/135/maintaining

Height: 5' 4"

Default

I think that I can answer your question!

I lost 122 pounds and am recovering from plastic surgery on 1/17 to remove a lot of excess skin. (I'm sitting here on my pillow.)

I lost the weight over an eleven month period by eating very healthily and exercising a lot -- doing it the right way, I think. Much of my skin tightened up as I was losing, especially under my arms and in my upper body. But I was left with a great deal of excess skin around my lower abdomen, butt, and thighs. And that is where I had carried the majority of my excess weight. It only looked worse as I continued to lose weight becasue it was not attached to anything -- the fat was gone, so my thighs were muscle and loose skin. Yuck. It floated in the bathtub!

I saw a plastic surgeon last September, who told me that what I thought was stubborn celluite was really just "an enormous amount" of skin that would not go away on its own, regardless of how long I waited. The consensus seems to be that the degree to which skin will tighten up after massive weight loss (that's what they call us) depends on 1. your age, 2. your genes 3. how much you have lost, and 4. how long you were overweight (recent obesity vs. lifelong). It is an individual thing and time will tell for you.

That being said, no one should be deterred from losing weight because of the prospect of excess skin! It can be hidden by clothing and it can be dealt with surgically. Actually, I discovered that there is a hugely expanding field of plastic surgery dealing with precisely these problems because of the dramatic increase in weight loss surgery and the attendant skin problems that those folks have.

So keep on going until you reach your goal, keep exercising, and if you have a problem with excess skin after you have maintained your goal wieght for a while (a year is often mentioned), you can check into surgical options if you chose.

Let me know if I can answer any other questions!

Meg
257/135
57.7% bodyfat / 12.5%
Meg is offline  
Old 02-02-2003, 02:16 PM   #3
Uber-Moderator!!
 
MrsJim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Silicon Valley, California
Posts: 5,024

Default

MEG!!! You sound like you're doing fabulous!!!

PM me chick!

__________________
Mrs. Jim
Highest weight: 265 pounds, size 24/26 (May 1990)
May 1991: 174 pounds (-91 lbs)
September 1996: 155 pounds (-110 lbs)
*LIVING at: 145-149 pounds, size 4/6 (-116/120 lbs)

*Maintenance = LIVING.
Posts by members, moderators and admins are not considered medical advice and no guarantee is made against accuracy. Please see your physician before taking advice found on the internet.

Wanna know how I lost the weight and have kept it off for over 16 years? Click here!
MrsJim is offline  
Old 02-23-2003, 09:11 AM   #4
READY~ SET~ GO!!!
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 2,418

Default

Meg, How bad did you feel after the surgery? How long does it hurt after. I lost 135 pounds but was so upset at the extra skin I had that I didn't truly enjoy the loss. Needless to say I gained a bunch of weight back and I am now working on losing it for good this time. I will live with the extra skin if I have to but I am really interested in the surgery. Do you have big noticeable scars under your arms and belly? If you don't mind my asking about how much does it cost to have your arms and belly area done? Thanks for any info you can provide me.
angieME is offline  
Old 02-23-2003, 12:51 PM   #5
Meg
Senior Member
 
Meg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Posts: 9,846

S/C/G: 257/135/maintaining

Height: 5' 4"

Default

Hi Angie! Congratulations on your weight loss! You're so close to your goal now — don’t let anything stand in your way, especially your skin!

My story — after I lost my weight (122 pounds), I was disappointed in how my legs, stomach, and butt looked. This is where I had carried most of my weight, and I ended up losing 22 inches off my hips and 13.5 off my waist. My upper body, in contrast, has tightened up pretty well. My lower body still looked fat — it looked like celluite all over the back of my thighs and my butt. I had lost all this weight, but still didn’t feel comfortable wearing shorts or a bathing suit. The problem was that I was down to 12.5% body fat, which is about as low as I felt I should go. What to do?

I made an appointment with a plastic surgeon for a consultation and stood in front of him (naked) and said ”What is going on here? Is it fat or is it skin or both?” He told me that there was very little fat left on my body (which I would expect at 12.5%) but that there was an "enormous quantity” of skin and that, spread out, it would “cover yards!” He said that it would not go away on it’s own regardless of how hard I worked in the gym and how well I ate and maintained my weight loss — there was just too much of it. (That gave me the peace of mind of knowing that I had done everything that I could to make the skin go away and that plastic surgery was not “taking the easy way out”, as some people insinuate.) He recommended what people call a lower body lift — it’s like a tummy tuck all the way around. We also discussed my totally flat chest and the little bit of loose skin under my arms and my “turkey neck” and jowls on my face, all resulting from the weight loss.

So on January 17, I had the lower body lift and some work done on my face. Surgery took 7 1/2 hours: 3 for the abdomen, 2 for the butt, and 2 for the face. Basically what my doctor did for my lower body was the classic tummy tuck in front and pulling up and getting rid of all the excess skin on my butt and thighs. He said that he built me a new butt — I said that I hope it’s a cute one! I have an incision across my front at what you would call the bikini line. All my stretch marks and C-sections scars are gone. I also have a new navel. At my hip, the incision splits into two and one line goes up above my butt but below my waist and the other goes down following the line below my butt where it meets my thigh and curves around to my inner thigh. (I hope you can picture this — it is all covered by my underwear).

I actually recovered faster than I anticipated. I woke up from surgery with four drains (removed after a week) and in a knee-length girdle-type thing that I wore 24/7 for the first two weeks. Now I alternate it with compression stockings and other undergarments to reduce swelling. At first, it was difficult to move because my skin was stretched very tightly. I took Percocets for the first four days, then Tylenol for two days, and at the end of the first week, I didn't need anything for pain. I really never was in pain — I would describe it rather as an uncomfortable, tight, pressured feeling. The worst was the fact that I had a butt full of surgical staples, so that sitting (and going to the bathroom!) were uncomfortable. The staples were removed after two weeks.

My recovery: being a gym rat, I could not make myself stay away from the gym and snuck back in for light cardio and upper body weights after two weeks (shhhh … don’t tell). I did get yelled at, though, for shoveling snow ten days after surgery! By the third week, I was back working out at a low intensity and worked my way back to an hour of cardio per day. Last week, my fifth week post-op, I was back doing the same workouts at the same intensity as before surgery, though with slightly lighter weights because I did lose a little strength while I was off.

Right now the scars are, of course, quite noticeable but I rub them twice a day with cocoa butter and am also taking 3 grams of vitamin C and 2 grams of bioflavonoids per day, along with a multivitamin, per the doctor’s instructions. Over the next nine months, he said that the scars will mature and will eventually almost totally fade. Of course, no one wants scars or surgery but I weighed the alternative of excess skin versus scars that would be covered up by my underwear and decided that I would rather have the scars.

My waist is swollen about three inches bigger than pre-surgery but there is so much less skin on my butt and thighs that, though I am swollen (and will be for another 6-8 weeks), my size 4 pants are actually looser on me now than before the surgery (even though the doctor had told me I would probably go up a size or two temporarily).

I can’t help with the arm question but I believe that there are others here at 3FC that have had that procedure done and maybe one of them will jump in. I would highly recommend that you make an appointment with a good plastic surgeon and discuss your options with him/her, because we all carry our weight in different places and have skin that responds differently to weight loss, so your experiences may be different from mine.

In any event, whether you choose to do anything or not about any excess skin after your weight loss, I’m sure you’d agree that it is better to have excess skin than excess fat!

Let me know if you have any other questions.

Meg

257/134
57.7% / 12.5% body fat
Meg is offline  
Old 02-23-2003, 05:24 PM   #6
READY~ SET~ GO!!!
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 2,418

Default

Thanks Meg. It is nice to know that any scars would be hidden. I was wondering about that. I think that once I hit my goal again I will concentrate on learning how to maintain and I will definately check into having surgery done.
angieME is offline  
Old 02-23-2003, 11:11 PM   #7
Uber-Moderator!!
 
MrsJim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Silicon Valley, California
Posts: 5,024

Default

Hey there! Just posted at the Body for Life/Bodybuilding thread.

As Meg knows, on Monday 10 February, I had liposuction of the thighs, hips, and flanks. In the future (I'm shooting for January 2004) I'm planning to have a tummy tuck to remove the excess skin from my 'pooch'.

I just wrote a long passage about it at the BFL/BB forum (see the "Diet Plans" forum here). This was the first time I've had any 'real' surgery - that is where I've been put under general anesthesia - and I must tell you the only pain I felt was when the IV went into my wrist, after that the next thing I knew I was in the recovery room with my two sisters who along with Jim took care of me that week.

My brusing is starting to fade rapidly - I've had some swelling but that's normal. For the most part, no pain except the first week when going to the bathroom (rolling up some towels on the toilet seat helps a lot). I'm having the stitches taken out tomorrow - and my surgeon will let me know when I can start exercising (and horseback riding!) again. Three or four weeks is generally the normal recommended time off. I was back at work after a week.

I'd recommend researching plastic surgeons as much as possible. With the Internet, fortunately research is not as arduous a task as it used to be - I would definitely recommend ONLY using a surgeon who is Board-Certified by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (their website is at www.plasticsurgery.org).

Like Meg, I would stress that plastic surgery is NOT a method of weight loss. I've done a ton of research and I can recommend two books in particular - both good reads (not snoozers) with lots of info:

"Two Girlfriends Get Real About Cosmetic Surgery" by Susan J. Collini and Charlee Ganny; and

"The Smart Woman's Guide to Plastic Surgery : Essential Information from a Female Plastic Surgeon" by Jean M. Loftus, M.D.

Also a couple of great sites for info: www.liposuction4you.com and www.tuckthattummy.com.

Hope that helps
__________________
Mrs. Jim
Highest weight: 265 pounds, size 24/26 (May 1990)
May 1991: 174 pounds (-91 lbs)
September 1996: 155 pounds (-110 lbs)
*LIVING at: 145-149 pounds, size 4/6 (-116/120 lbs)

*Maintenance = LIVING.
Posts by members, moderators and admins are not considered medical advice and no guarantee is made against accuracy. Please see your physician before taking advice found on the internet.

Wanna know how I lost the weight and have kept it off for over 16 years? Click here!
MrsJim is offline  
Old 02-25-2003, 10:02 AM   #8
READY~ SET~ GO!!!
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 2,418

Default

Mrs Jim and Meg, Thank you both so much for all of your help. I have been checking all of the websights and I think that when I am ready I will more than likely get this done. You both are such great inspirations to me. Thank you.
angieME is offline  
Old 02-26-2003, 10:49 AM   #9
Member
 
hottie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 73

Angry

Thank you all for sharing your stories. I have struggled with my weight all of my life and I am trying again to lose. I have lost/gained/lost...you know how it is.
I am a large woman-the highest I've weighed is 247. I am currently at 231. I am struggling. I love this forum and appreciate all of your stories and sharing! It makes me realize I am not alone and that those with real weight issues have overcome them! THANK YOU!!

I have a question: Has ANYONE who has lost a lot of weight NOT NEEDED to have excess skin removed, or is it always going to be the case that there will always be excess skin?

Thank you!!
__________________
~almost anything can be bought, but health destroyed is beyond retrieval~:
SOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooo...work with whatcha got and be thankful!!!!!!
hottie is offline  
Old 02-27-2003, 02:18 PM   #10
Uber-Moderator!!
 
MrsJim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Silicon Valley, California
Posts: 5,024

Default Hard to say...

It's like Meg said in her post:

Quote:
I saw a plastic surgeon last September, who told me that what I thought was stubborn celluite was really just "an enormous amount" of skin that would not go away on its own, regardless of how long I waited. The consensus seems to be that the degree to which skin will tighten up after massive weight loss (that's what they call us) depends on 1. your age, 2. your genes 3. how much you have lost, and 4. how long you were overweight (recent obesity vs. lifelong). It is an individual thing and time will tell for you.
Summing up - I'd say first things first - lose the weight - SLOWLY - keep it off through PERMANENT LIFESTYLE CHANGES (I highly recommend including weight training in your regimen - helps firm everything up!) and then take it from there...
__________________
Mrs. Jim
Highest weight: 265 pounds, size 24/26 (May 1990)
May 1991: 174 pounds (-91 lbs)
September 1996: 155 pounds (-110 lbs)
*LIVING at: 145-149 pounds, size 4/6 (-116/120 lbs)

*Maintenance = LIVING.
Posts by members, moderators and admins are not considered medical advice and no guarantee is made against accuracy. Please see your physician before taking advice found on the internet.

Wanna know how I lost the weight and have kept it off for over 16 years? Click here!
MrsJim is offline  
Old 02-28-2003, 01:21 PM   #11
Member
 
hottie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 73

Angry

Thanks, MrsJim for your response. I love this site: it's so inspiring!!
__________________
~almost anything can be bought, but health destroyed is beyond retrieval~:
SOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooo...work with whatcha got and be thankful!!!!!!
hottie is offline  
Old 03-03-2003, 11:33 AM   #12
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 335

Default

Good morning ladies!

I am well on my way to losing my morbid obesity for good and know that I will have enough skin to encompass the world! I am older (49), have been obese for a long time (25 years) so I know there is no miracle here! I have lost 65 lbs and have 140 to go, but already am having sagging etc. I have started doing resistance training 4 times a week to help where I can.

My question to all of you who have had surgery... Were any of you able to use insurance? I have been told insurance will not cover this type of surgery, but considering I am saving them thousands for not having gastric bypass, having to have major heart surgery etc, I think it ought to be covered! Dream on I guess. I am not so concerned about looks as I am about health. I am already feeling stress in my back and hip areas from rolls emptying of fat and sagging, pulling at my back area.

Thanks for the input and congratulations to ALL of you!

Donna
jackslady is offline  
Old 03-03-2003, 12:13 PM   #13
Dancing those pounds away
 
2cute2Bfat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: State of Confussion, USA
Posts: 2,622

Default

I have not lost a lot of weight YET... but I post on another thread that a LOT of men and women have. Some more than 200lbs loss.
Anyway... a lot have lost over 100lbs. And I do want to offer hope for some they did NOT need plastic surgery. One thing they all said was EXERCISE and TIME did make a difference for them.

I also think the quote Meg posted was very good.
There are a lot of factors involved. Most people who lost weight due to stomach stapling lost their weight very fast.
And in most cases where the people did not need surgery they gave their bodies one year (after weight loss) to adapt to the new weight and exercise program.
EAch person is different.

BUT I am happy there is the option for surgery for the rest of us.
I know I will definitely need it too.
BE SURE to pick a good doctor as mentioned.
I also know a woman who had her arms done and one is malformed now. She is sueing the doctor and will have to wait at least a year to get it fixed.

There is no 'one' answer for everyone.

Last edited by 2cute2Bfat : 03-03-2003 at 12:15 PM.
2cute2Bfat is offline  
Closed Thread
Posts by members, moderators and admins are not considered medical advice
and no guarantee is made against accuracy.


Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Weight Loss And Skin FAQs Meg Body Image and Issues after Weight Loss 92 11-19-2013 08:31 PM
Menopause and Weight Loss - So much more difficult jtammy Weight Loss Support 44 02-13-2008 08:11 PM
Supporting Each other on our Weight Loss Journey derrydaughter Weight Watchers 240 10-08-2006 06:50 AM
Life After Weight Loss Meg Living Maintenance 18 06-13-2004 09:23 PM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 10:06 PM.






Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.3.2