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

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Old 10-16-2011, 03:24 AM   #1
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Default The dreaded belly sag - paranoia gone mad

Hey everyone, this is one of the most comprehensive weight loss forums I have come across, it is fantastic. I know others of you have started threads in here pertaining to excess skin on the stomach and I have taken a read through those. To each and every one of you, thank you for being so honest.

Only now am I able to discuss this with others (even on a forum!) I have not shared my woes within anyone apart from my mum, who I trust implicitly.

A bit of background, 6 years ago I weighed 301 pounds. Over a 2 year period I dropped 150 pounds and now maintain between 140 - 147. I am thrilled with the results apart from one aspect; my saggy lower belly. (I have not even had kids yet.)

I applied cream to my skin throughout the weight loss but I suffer from a condition called hyper mobility so my skin tends to be different, more fragile. So this resulted in me developing quite the complex about how it looks. It hangs a little bit, mostly from the lower part of my belly and the skin has the appearance of crepe paper. I do hate it

You would never tell it was there by looking at me fully clothed but I have real issues with intimacy now. I meet guys and absolutely dread the stage where the physical part starts. Instead of enjoying a blossoming relationship, I preoccupy myself with hiding my belly so they don't see it. As a result, I have sabotaged 3 blossoming romances so far. Sad eh? Blimey.

As we all know, we can be our own worst critics.

I have worked bloody hard to lose the weight, physically I am very fit and mostly toned. My core muscles are rock solid but the six pack will never be fully visible. I think, despite the amount I do ( and I love exercise) I know deep down that surgery is the only thing that will fix it. I cannot afford a tummy tuck and so I am terrified I am destined for spinster hood! Get a grip right?

Is there anyone out there who has been through similar with regards to the men side of it?

Phew what a confessional

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Old 10-16-2011, 06:55 AM   #2
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First of all, I'm sorry to hear that you are so unhappy with how your stomach looks and what it has done to your love life .

I have had issues with having a saggy little pot belly after weight loss (less of a problem now). But I found that the right intimates can make a big difference in how I feel about myself. Can you find a comfortable lightweight corset that you can wear under your clothes and does not need to be removed but covers the areas you are unhappy about? If not a corset, there are sexy body suits that unsnap in the crotch area. If you are choosing something that will remain on, make sure it is comfortable (no big buttons or stiff lace) and has a nice tactile feel for your partner too (for corsets, satin or velour are especially nice, for body suits, a stretchy cotton mix). Heck, I always liked cute intimates, even when I had absolutely no need to cover anything decades ago (thin, young, pre-pregnancy).

I do think might want to consider explaining to your partner that you are not happy about your stretch marks so you don't end up in an awkward situation. But I hope you find something you like. It can make a big differencein how you feel about yourself. And when you are in a more mature stage of the relationship, then you will probably feel comfortable enough to shed everything, but it is a choice you have. Good luck and have fun!
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Old 10-16-2011, 09:17 AM   #3
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I think that truly most men who want to be intimate with you will be far too interested in your other parts to be looking at your stomach. Sorry it's making you feel bad.

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Old 10-16-2011, 09:27 AM   #4
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When I started dating my husband, I told him about my excess skin and my own issues with it. He had no issue with it. I think you can tell guys if you are concerned.
You can't out-exercise poor eating habits.
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Old 10-16-2011, 10:31 AM   #5
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Turn the lights off ! He will never notice ! Or care !
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Old 10-16-2011, 11:17 AM   #6
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I'm having the same issue now! I used to say at 203 lbs., "I can't wait to lose weight because my stomach is so flabby and gross!" Now, I've lost a substantial amount of weight and to me it still looks just as droopy. I was crying the other day to my husband about it. He seems to think that he can help me work out and that will get rid of it, but I don't know if that will help! I am still 20 lbs away from my ultimate goal so we'll see what it looks like once I'm there, but I'm so nervous that I'll have done all this work just to have a still flabby belly. UGH!

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Old 10-16-2011, 12:33 PM   #7
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So talk about it with the person in question, when you've got to the stage of cuddling but not yet nakedly. If they're unpleasant about it, you're better off without them, and you'd find out before getting too intimate. That's not very likely, however, most people aren't that daft. A good partner will reassure you that they really couldn't care less if you have the odd imperfect bit, and will be happy to do things like make love in the dark/wearing sexy underwear for a time while you get used to it.

Meanwhile, would it help you to go for massage treatments, in terms of feeling more comfortable in your body? I know it sounds a bit odd, but it can help. Aromatherapy massage is particularly lovely.

My mother has one arm that's noticeably bigger than the other due to lymphoedema, which was caused by having lymph nodes removed when she had breast cancer. She really worried that this would put off potential partners (she was particularly shy about that arm for years), and I kept on telling her that the right man wouldn't care. Then she met my stepdad, who thinks she's utterly gorgeous and is horrified at the idea of thinking less of her because of her arm, or because she's so overweight. They met and married later in life, and are one of the most lovebirdy couples I know.

The hypermobility thing - is it EDS? My cousin has that. By the way, both she and I managed to attract fabulous partners despite both being seriously disabled, and that's something which puts off potential partners far more. You really don't need to worry about being destined for spinsterhood!
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Old 10-16-2011, 12:57 PM   #8
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First off, CONGRATS on your weight loss and maintaining it! That is an amazing accomplishment!!

I'm having some of the same issues you're having with the skin. I thought at first it was just extra fat I had to lose, but I can see it's extra skin at this point. Frustrating, but what can you do? I wouldn't mind looking into a tummy tuck, but like you I haven't had children so I don't really want to go down that route until I'm done having kids.

Most decent men will not actually care about such things as a saggy stomach though! Most of the time they are much to preoccupied by the fact that: Yes, there is a naked woman in a bed with them and they are indeed about to get some.

My fiancee has seen me at varying weights (we started dating when I was 200 pounds) and he doesn't really care. He has been all over me regardless of whether or not I was 200 pounds or 146 pounds
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Old 10-16-2011, 01:23 PM   #9
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Anyone who'd be put off by physical imperfections FIRST isn't worth sleeping with and SECOND clearly has no experience with real-live women (as opposed to what he sees in videos or photos).
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Old 10-16-2011, 05:31 PM   #10
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I agree with Maria.

A worthwhile partner isn't even going to notice this. Plus, when you lay down, anything droopy tends to smooth out
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Old 10-16-2011, 08:35 PM   #11
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Hey everyone, thankyou so much for your comments. They really have offered me some food for thought.
Yoyoma, the corset is not something I have considered and I will certainly
keep my eyes open for one. What you wrote about getting into a maturer relationship really hit home. I don't think I have met the right kind of man yet, someone who looks past that kind of thing.

Jessless, bang on. The stomach is yet one part of my body

Nelie, I think that is where I have been going wrong. Not being honest about these concerns has encouraged me to developed this unnecessary complex that has got more and more out of control.

Bagoo, thank goodness for darkness eh

Sunshinenmysoul, hey I know what you are going through. Concentrate on getting that last 20 off and maybe try the vitamin E rich creams (Palmers cocoa butter is fab) Perhaps strengthening your core might also help? I have worked on my core for years and believe, had I not done that, it would have been saggier still.

Esofia, wow your post was an eye opener. Sorry to hear your mum went through that. It brings my tummy worries into perspective. Hmmm not sure about whether it is the same as EDS. Hyper mobility is too large a range of movement in the joints that leaves a sufferer more prone to injury. It sounds like you and your sister have it sussed on the man front I really have found all your responses to have helped me no end, thank you.

Sontaikle ha ha, great post it did make me chuckle. You are totally right, they should be way more pre occupied with the fact it is coming their way your hubby sounds very supportive.

Maria you are absolutely right, any man who does have an issue with it is not worth my time or attention anyways. Perhaps that is why I remain single for now, the men so far have all been wrong uns!

k8yk, indeedy. The laying down position is FAR more flattering, you wouldn't know the difference.
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Old 01-09-2012, 11:05 AM   #12
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Me, personally, I would handle it like that. I would mention to the potential partner during the get-to-know talking, that I used to be bigger and then I lost weight, but that I still have some souvenirs I carry along, to remind me of that time. So, he'll know what to expect
I have two things I always considered flaws. First are my stretchmarks but those never bothered me anyway and second are my boobs. One big, one small, one perky, one saggy. I sometimes made a random joke about them, before I even slept with the guy...so he knew about it, accepted it and was not surprised about it. But even guys who didn't know about it, never complained.
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Old 01-09-2012, 06:20 PM   #13
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I would have a weight loss talk with people who I was interested in getting to know intimately. The, "I lost weight, and my skin sags. I am really insecure about that, and I have to feel safe with you for this to go further. If you can't get past some skin sag, then we have no further business" talk. I am sure that the guys worth getting to know will not have issues with that.

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Old 01-25-2012, 01:45 PM   #14
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((hugs)) You started about where I started and you've ended up about where I want to end up so you are a HUGE inspiration in the weight loss department! Be proud of yourself and what you've accomplished!!

Now, I've always been overweight so I haven't had to deal with sagging skin but I did have an issue when I met my husband. When I was younger I very nearly died from a raging intestinal infection (a botched surgery will do that to ya ) - in order to "fix" the problem I had a surgery and then was left open to heal from the inside out.

The scar that was left when I finally did heal was absolutely dreadful. In kindest terms my stomach looked like a wheel of cheese with a rather large slice removed - in plain and less kind terms, it looked like I had a butt on my stomach.

I was nearly paralyzed at the thought of anyone seeing it. Heck, I wore special garments to hide it under my clothes because the gap was large enough that my trousers would sink into it at times.

When I saw that things were getting serious between the two of us I screwed up every last bit of courage I had and explained what had happened to me and, to the best of my ability, how badly scarred I was.

You know what? He didn't care. At all. It was a part of me - evidence of a battle that I'd fought and won - and it didn't matter to him at all. We got engaged, got married and spent quite a lot of time with me sporting that scar. Then I had to have additional surgery to correct a hernia under that area so while he was in there the surgeon revised the scar, closing the split back together and now? I have THAT scar instead. And that doesn't matter either.

When someone cares about you things like epically bad scars and sagging skin aren't going to make the slightest bit of difference.
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Old 01-25-2012, 07:02 PM   #15
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I think that truly most men who want to be intimate with you will be far too interested in your other parts to be looking at your stomach. Sorry it's making you feel bad.
I totally agree!

Don't stress out about it. My abs are far from fit. My DH doesn't care. After all this time together he's seen all there is to see. Up to and including the C-sect for our kid.

If you need to baby step it along... do it that way. Turn the lights low, put on candles, were a cute slip or t-shirt. Tell him you are shy and want to take it slow. Nothing wrong with that!

Real intimacy is about more than just being nekkid -- it's opening up emotionally, mentally, etc. too. Too relax together and just...BE. However it is you are.

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