I've received a lot of questions from people wondering what happens to your skin physically when you lose a lot of weight. It's funny, because when I lost my weight, this wasn't even a concern of mine. I just knew that I wanted to get away from the 300-pound mark on the scale, get out of the plus size departments and get on with living my life. Skin didn't come into play. These days, with the abundance of weight loss shows, plastic surgery shows and tell-all books, the issues of excess skin after weight loss is well publicized and often discussed.
When I was 300 pounds, I felt unfit, fat, unattractive and had poor self-esteem. As my weight ballooned, the bad feelings I had about my physical appearance increased.
When I got serious about my weight loss and finally saw the scale moving in the right direction, I was just so ecstatic to see numerical results that at first I didn't pay a lot of attention to the physical details of weight loss. The first 50 pounds didn't make a lot of difference in my physical appearance, but by 100 pounds, everyone could see that something good was happening. By the time I had lost all my weight and could wear a size 6 in most clothes, the change was dramatic.
I felt great both physically and emotionally for the first time in years. I also realized there were some unflattering physical consequences to large weight loss. Where my stomach, legs and arms had previously been distended with fat, there was now some excess skin. Over a period of time, some of this firmed up with concentrated cardio and weight training, but only to a certain point. After 12 years and 4 more babies, it is as good as it’s going to get.
Does it bother me? A bit. Would I not have lost the weight had I known about the excess skin? No. It doesn't bother me that much, and the benefits of not weighing 300 pounds certainly outweigh any cosmetic issues. The issues I have are minor compared with the issues I had as an overweight person. For the most part, clothing hides the problem areas – that's what is important to me. People ask me if I will have plastic surgery to correct these issues. Even if I could afford it, I'm not sure what I would do. The risk of plastic surgery is real and the skin issues are just cosmetic. There are people who have had gastric bypass surgery and lost tons of weight so quickly that their skin doesn't rebound at all. In those cases, plastic surgery may be a necessity, not just an option.
The skin is not attractive externally, but in some ways it reminds me of where I was and where I never want to go again. Don't be frightened by the prospect of excess skin if you have a large amount of weight to lose. If the skin bothers you, cosmetic surgery is an option that although pricey, offers very nice results.
Remember that along our journey to health there are bound to be hills and valleys. As you travel your road, don't concentrate on what may be a valley, but rather concentrate on how you will feel when you stand on top of the mountain, tall and proud of what you have accomplished.