Me again! You might have read part 1 of my story already, if not then click [HERE]
So here I am, sitting on my bed with a cup of coffee and a before and after photo for inspiration. I was asked to write a follow up story with regards to my weightloss journey. Which we all know is a journey and not just a six month quickfix. So here it goes.
My goal weight was to reach the number 75 on the scale. No matter how my body looked at that point somehow I had convinced myself that I would be happy. So as I lost the weight week after week, I started feeling healthier, being more confident, less tired and overall just happier. Which is such an amazing advantage of changing your lifestyle, these positives are great. But there is a negative. That no one ever talks about.
Fast forward to my goal weight. There I was, thinner than ever and supposedly happier than ever. But honestly, there was something that was keeping me from being my happiest. It was something that only my closest friends and family knew about or had even seen. My tummy skin. My lovely reward for working so hard. A lifetime of being overweight versus two years of being healthy. Stretched out loose skin.
As a single woman in my late 20’s it is really difficult to hide such a huge part of oneself. It is a tough emotional barrier, and one that really affects every part of your life. I took everyone’s advice, exfoliated the skin, applied bio oil, coconut oil, drank lots of water, gymmed for toning, didn’t lose the weight too fast, massaged the skin, included foods to help with skin moisturisation, whispered sweet nothings to it. Hahaha yeah you get my point. I tried everything. To no avail.
I am just one of the unlucky ones, my skin was just not shrinking back down. The mental side of having this skin is just all encompassing. It is a huge dark cloud over your whole outlook on yourself. Everyone sees a thinner prettier you, but they don’t know your inner battle or what you are hiding under your clothes. I was the master of hiding it. For years I had to wear a full body suit to suck in the flab skin, or stockings pulled up till under my boobs, before I even knew about body suits I was wearing my swimming costume under my clothes to keep my skin firm, which just became worse with the weightloss.
My whole wardrobe was designed around my ability to hide my flab. Jeans and a tshirt was never just jeans and a tshirt. I was unhappy about it, I was also becoming bitter about the fact that I worked so hard to get healthy, only to be rewarded with this skin. As someone who is so into gym it was impossible for me ever to compete in a body building competition. Like who is going to vote for that super buff chicky with elephant skin. And still to this day, competition level is not in my sights for me as I have serious inner thigh skin issues… but it’s one step at a time. That’s the way to do it. One day, one step at a time.
So, anyway, I was pretty much very unhappy with how things were going with my stomach. For two years I told myself that if I was able to keep the weight off and not go back to being overweight, I will get surgery to remove the excess skin.
Two years later, still weighing around 75kg I have decided to go ahead with the operation. I was going to get rid of this flab once and for all. So after much research and lots of saving it was going to happen. My gynae told me about the plastic surgeon at Groote Schuur hospital that according to her husband, who also works there, is just brilliant. She knew my struggle and also wanted to see me happier about myself. So she offered to write a referral letter for me and off I went. The whole process took about 8 months from start to finish.
The day before the operation we decided to do a fully body lift (belt lipectomy) rather than a tummy tuck. Which i was very happy about because who wouldn’t want a bum lift just thrown in there! My surgery happened on the second of July and it was a looong surgery. Seven hours under the knife. I spent six nights in the hospital and then got sent home on day seven. Most of my recovery was spent lying flat on my back with the odd shuffle here and there to the bathroom.. ok ok, kitchen.. Now here I sit, post op, really happy with the results. No more saggy baggy elephant skin.
I am still slightly swollen and apparently will only see the full results after one year. So that means I have lots of time to get my mental side adjusted to the physical side. It is an amazing feeling though, being able to walk to the shops wearing only a tracksuit pants and a tight strappy vest and not worry about my tummy rolls wobbling up a storm on my belly, being able to wear underwear that actually fits and does not cut my mid section into two marshmallow like puffs, or rolls down every two minutes, being able to wear a tight dress without having to wear a body suit that leaves ugly pantylines, being able to walk without wobble… Oh my word. The list can go on and on and on. I am honestly overwhelmed at how different I feel about myself now that I have gotten rid of that part of me that I kept so well hidden. It truly is an amazing feeling. Mentally freeing.
I’m telling you this part of my journey because I don’t want the thought of loose skin to put you off from pursuing your goals. Get fit, get healthy – it’s the best thing you can do for yourself. Worry about the rest of it when you get there.
I’ll be back… 🙂
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Submit your story to firstname.lastname@example.org with the Subject line “You can live life well”
- Your story in your own words covering at least (How you got to a point of change, how you made the change, tips and advise for others)
- A selection of before and after photos
- As many words as you need to tell your story
- Your top three tips for getting healthy
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