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Looking for a glimmer of hope...

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Old 03-01-2007, 01:14 AM   #1
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Default Looking for a glimmer of hope...

Hello everyone!

I post here and there on other forums, but not very often. I prefer to read, as I generally feel like I don't have much to say that others haven't already covered. However this issue has bothered me for quite a while.

I have a lot of weight to lose (a little over 200 lbs) before I meet my ultimate goal for weight loss, which is around 135-150 (depending on how I look when I get closer). I know I shouldn't be worried about my future appearance this early in the game, but I was wondering what my chances are for not needing to have some sort of plastic surgery in order to look good afterwards (little to no excess skin). I'm only 19, so I know I have that working in my favor, but I was just wanting a little reassurance that it is possible, even if it's a small chance. If it helps anyone gauge anything as to how long I've been big, at around 10 - 12 I weighed around 160, then in my freshman year of high school around 275, and currently 360. I would say that my skin is fairly elastic, but I can't say for sure considering it's filled with fat for now.

I just want to know about any person who's managed that kind of feat, even if it's a long shot for me to have the same results. I know that everyone's different, and there's no sure way to predict what's going to happen 200 lbs from now, but it makes me really sad to think that even when I am at my goal weight, I may still never be able to wear a bikini or shorts or anything too revealing. Vain, vain, vain, I know. It's just that I've always been heavy, so it'd be nice to finally for the first time be able to buy a cute swimsuit or clothing without having to worry about concealing things.

Despite this fear I have, I will NOT give up my weight loss. I know that ultimately my health is the most important thing. It just might put my mind at ease if anyone can offer any advice or stories of success that I may not have already heard from the Goals section.

Thanks,
Lindsey
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Old 03-01-2007, 06:06 AM   #2
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We do have folks here who have lost over 100 pounds, and I hope some of them will post for you. I just wanted to encourage you not to worry about that at this point. No one knows for sure how your body will be as you lose weight. Regardless, it will be very different from how it is now. Just keep going with your plan for weight loss! And good luck!

Jay

P.S. I think there is a forum about surgery--if you haven't found it yet.
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Old 03-01-2007, 07:36 AM   #3
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Well yes it IS to your advantage that you're only 19. #1, you haven't been obese that long and #2 your skin is still quite elastic. So that's real good. I have lost over 100 lbs now with plenty more to go. So I hear you loud and clear. I am 43, have had 3 kids, one via c-section. I have some loose skin, better then I thought though, so yes there is DEFINITELY hope for YOU.

I was concerned about loose skin, but figured if I kept on going the way I was and not do anything about my weight I wouldn't have to worry about wearing revealing clothing either or loose skin or anything for that matter - I would probably not be around. My life at 287 lbs was so miserable for me, I was barely functioning or living as it was, I figured some loose skin and not being able to wear everything I want when I get to goal has got to be better then the life I was living. And though I am no where at goal - I definitely made the right decision to lose the weight. I have seen huge improvements in every area of my life. Especially the clothing department, though of course it's still winter, but that's okay. I'd rather be at goal weight with tons of loose skin then be 287 lbs with none.

Also try to get in exercise. Very important. I can't imagine what worse shape I would have been in had I not been exercising.

Please don't let the thought of possible loose skin keep you from losing the weight and a happier, longer, healthier and more active life. Full of much more joy and happiness and less worries. You always hear of people who come out of a big weightloss with little or no loose skin, maybe just maybe you'll be one of them. You certainly sound like a good candidate!! Good luck to you.
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Old 03-01-2007, 09:29 AM   #4
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You have to exercise. I was 205-210 when I graduated college, and I got down to around 127-129 in 8 or 9 months. I worked out every day, and I lifted weights a lot. The reason I am now battling weight again is bc I lost too fast and the exercise regimen was not one I could sustain forever. The great thing is that I had no extra skin anywhere at all bc of the msucles and my age, but lemme tell you-muscle that turns back into flab sure ain't pretty either. That's why this time around I am perfectly happy losing a pound a week, watching what I eat but not obsessing, and exercising lightly. The last time I lost weight, I was desperate and borderline crazy. THIS time, I am changing my life for good. Oh, and I also drink 130 ounces of water a day-that's very important for skin.

I think the key is to not lose terribly fast and to exercise as opposed to JUST dieting. BUT (sorry, hate to sound like an ambulance chaser or something ) insurance usually pays for skin removal when you lose over 150 pounds or so bc it actually CAN BE a health risk.

Good luck to you! Are you on a specific plan yet?
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Old 03-01-2007, 10:58 AM   #5
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Hi Lindsey!

You are right that you have your young age working to your advantage regarding the loose skin thing. I have read, unfortunately, that everyone's skin elasticity is different. A lot seems to depend on whether the weight is lost gradually (preferred method), whether the person exercises and lifts weights to firm and tone the body, and whether the genetics of the person has endowed them with skin that's more elastic in nature.

An article I read awhile ago on sagging skin following weight loss likened the process to a balloon. Look at a balloon before it is inflated. Then blow up the balloon and deflate it. The balloon goes down in size, but it never quite looks the same as it did at the beginning.

The sad truth is that we are a combination of all of the good things we have done for our body over the years AND the bad things we have done for our body. We can't change what has happened, but we can do our best with the body we have right now.

Try getting the weight off gradually as you exercise and lift weights. Eat nutritious foods that will provide you with the best building blocks to repairing any damage you have done to your body. Drink plenty of water which hydrates your skin and keeps it looking its best. Take vitamins to help the whole process along. Stay positive and be thankful that you are still young while you are attempting this weight loss.

We are all there for you and struggling right along with you with our own weight loss, our soon-to-be-saggy skin, and all of our other issues that aging and weight loss brings! Good Luck on your journey!

Cheryl
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Old 03-01-2007, 11:41 AM   #6
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Hi Lindsey,

I'm glad to hear that you will continue on your weight loss journey regardless of whether you have loose skin or not. It is so individual, it's impossible to say whether one person will have that problem or not.

I'm still a ways away from my goal, but I have lost 142 lbs as of today. I am not unhappy with my skin at this point. My upper thighs and my lower stomach aren't going to be perfect, but they aren't awful either. They still look much better than they did at 346 lbs. The rest of my skin has bounced back pretty well so far. Keep in mind that I am more than 20 years older than you, I have had 2 C-sections, and I was over 300 lbs for more than 12 years.

I think you should go ahead and hold out that glimmer of hope. Congratulations on your great beginning.
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Old 03-01-2007, 12:20 PM   #7
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I have lost many hundreds of pounds, if you count gaining, losing, regaining, relosing, etc., etc., etc. I am currently "re-losing" yet again. The things that have helped me this time are setting tiny "mini-goals", in 3-5 pound increments. Also, if i want something "bad" to eat, I have it! I just eat one or 2 mouthfuls, whereas i used to eat a TON of bad stuff. I also lift weights 3-4 times per week, and do up to an hour of cardio every day. I hated it at first, but Now i get really grumpy if i MISS a workout. The endorphins have become my "drug of choice". LOL! You can do it! You're young, so your metabolism is still high. I am past 40 now, and always had a slow metabolism, so now it is a REAL struggle. Hang in there and just make changes slowly.....and come here when you need support! It is a great site. Best wishes for a successful loss!!!!
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Old 03-01-2007, 12:51 PM   #8
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Another thing that is to your advantage is that from the sounds of it, you have never significantly yo-yo'd. Often the skin can take being stretched out one time and bounce back fairly well. Each time you do it there are additional microtears...they are what dont bounce back. The more microtearing you get, the less resilience you have.

So make a commitment to something you can do for life...not a program that is so rigid that drives you back to old habits.

This is a permanent lifestyle change, not a diet
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Old 03-01-2007, 01:14 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JaimePhan View Post
BUT (sorry, hate to sound like an ambulance chaser or something ) insurance usually pays for skin removal when you lose over 150 pounds or so bc it actually CAN BE a health risk.
In what I have heard and read, it is extremely RARE for insurance to pay for skin removal. Even in cases where insurance paid for gastric bypass surgery, they normally won't pay for plastic surgery to remove the extra skin.
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Old 03-01-2007, 01:37 PM   #10
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Not too long ago, I saw a program on young dieters. The show followed dieters between 14 and 21. They were discussing that extra skin was usually not much of a problem for young dieters unless they'd lost the weight EXTREMELY rapidly, like with WLS or liquid diets. One of the guys had lost like 175 lbs or more, and was about to enter college. His "graduation" gift was plastic surgery to remove the extra skin around his chest because he was self-conscious about it. When they showed him without his shirt, it wasn't nearly as noticeable as he thought (though after the surgery, he did have a surfer's bod).

I've always read that reasonably gradual weight loss, exercise, and plenty of fluids to keep skin the healthiest are your best protection at any age. I asked a nurse I met who had WLS about loose skin (she was in her mid thirties when she had WLS) and she said that everyone is different, but that she didn't have any extra skin and attributed it to using body lotion every day while she was losing. She lost like 250 lbs!
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Old 03-01-2007, 06:15 PM   #11
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Hey Lindsey -

Check out this thread from the Maintainers forum.

From personal experience I can say that with time and weight training the skin does get much less saggy. You are so young - I agree with the others that your chances are much better than if you waited til you were almost 40 like I did.
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Old 03-01-2007, 06:34 PM   #12
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Thanks to everyone who has replied. I knew that I could count on the wonderful members here to be supportive.

The only reason I was moderately concerned with the skin issue is that I know -this- time I'm REALLY going to finally lose my excess weight. The times before I didn't really take myself seriously. This time is different. Not only can I see that difference, but those around me as well. This is the first time I've changed my lifestyle where those close to me, who can be quite cynical at times, have actually said that I'm going to make it happen this time around. I have made tons of small changes that add up to a big change, and none of them are things I can't do for the rest of my life. I don't ever deprive myself of anything, I'm just more conscious of my habits now. Exercise, well, I'm getting better about that. It's more of a mental thing of actually getting to the gym than it is a physical hardship for me. However, I'm committed to continually making improvements, even if they're only small ones.

As far as me wanting to avoid plastic surgery, it has nothing to do with money at all. My parents, being the lovely people that they are, have always told me that I'll be taken care of if I lose down to a regular size in terms of clothing, plastic surgery, etc. I just really hate the thought of having voluntary surgery. I have no problem with other people having it, but it just is something that kind of scares me. However, if I need it, then so be it.

Ennay, it made me feel a lot better when you mentioned the yo-yo dieting. I really haven't done anything like that. In the past, I've lost a few pounds here and there, but no more than 10 or so at a time... and even that was fairly rare. Also, now I really make an effort to not even use the word "diet" when I tell people about how I've changed, because I know that this is a forever thing.

Kaplods, I wish I would have seen that program. I might have to search around the internet to see if I can catch it somewhere. Although I would ideally like a surfer's bod (who wouldn't? ), I would be perfectly happy with looking average. The story about the nurse who had lost 250 lbs was also extremely encouraging.

Thanks again, everyone! Yesterday I was feeling insecure, but today I'm feeling much better.
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