Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Will I have excess skin? Belly's gonna get you!!

On speaking to a lot of people wanting to lose weight, the common concern especially with those wanting to lose large amounts of weight is the fear of excess skin. A lot of you will remember the Reebok advert in the 90's/early 2000's with the beer belly chasing the man down the street and this has stuck with some people.
 
Belly's gonna get you.
 
When I was putting the weight on I cannot say that I was conscientious about my skin and the effect my weight may have upon it. Even when I started my weight loss journey I cannot say for sure that I gave much consideration to it or maybe I had subconsciously blocked it out or was just hoping it would shrink with my weight loss. 
 
When I first started Slimming World I was wearing 70 inch waist trousers and wearing 6 or 7xl shirts and it wasn't as if they were baggy.



70" trousers and 7xl shirt
 
The first time I ever gave thought to how much skin I might be left with was one evening when I had lost around 13-14 stone. I was laid in bed watching television and Embarrassing Bodies came on. Normally I would not watch this type of programme (I cannot watch the fake injuries in Casualty without feeling ill). However, watch I did and one of the patients was a man who had lost 14 stone cycling to and from work. Sat talking to the doctor he looked fantastic but they asked to remove his shirt so they could see the excess skin. As he did I could feel the blood drain from my face and tears begin to form. As his shirt came off he had roll after roll of excess skin. This guy had done superb in losing his weight but had been left with the skin that was causing him psychological issues. I was in floods of tears, I wanted to lose another 8 stone on top of what this chap had lost, what was I going to look like?? That night I cried myself to sleep. The next day at work I hardly spoke and just concentrated on what I was doing. On the journey home I rang my dad and found myself in tears again as I described what I had seen. I didn't want to continue to lose anymore weight, I wanted to leave my body as it was. I could live with the excess skin I had. My dad listened patiently and when I had finished pouring my heart out he spoke calmly and lovingly saying he would support me with any decision I made but that my body may be different and I may not be left with as much excess skin as the chap on the television. He also encouraged me to speak to others including my sister and Annette my SlimmingWorld consultant and the general opinion was that I was doing great and this should not be a reason for stopping my journey. I was also enjoying the wide variety of food I could eat and still lose weight, was this a valid reason to look to stop?
 
I found myself scrutinising my body in mirrors, I had been exercising (walking/jogging/swimming) now for a few months and I was now fitting in 54-56 inch waist trousers and 4xl shirts. For the weight I had lost I found myself thinking that my excess skin did not look as bad as I feared, I had a bit of a matrons apron, I could live with that but there was always that niggling doubt that with the additional weight I had to lose would I still end up with the roll after roll?

I never gave any thought to the excess skin
 
I decided to visit my doctor to see what he could advise. At the appointment I explained to him about the weight I had lost, the amount I was hoping to lose and my fear of excess skin. The doctor listened and said that should I lose the weight and keep it off he would have no hesitation in putting me forward to have the excess skin removed but there was no guarantee that I would be offered the surgery on the NHS. I asked the doctor if there was anything I could do to lessen the amount of excess skin I would have. He gave this some consideration and then said that in view of the weight I had got to that I had stretched the skin in getting to that weight and that as my weight reduced I would be left with excess skin, there might be some elasticity but nothing that would make much difference. Despite being disappointed with the reply from my doctor, there was something in my head that was telling me to continue on my journey and dealing with the issue of the excess skin when I got to my target.
 
As my weight loss continued and I increased the exercise I was doing I found myself becoming less concerned about the excess skin that I had got. Yes, when I was running in just joggers etc there was the clapping of my thighs but I found that once I had started wearing cycling/compression shorts there was no clapping.
 
As mentioned in previous blog posts, I reached my target in December 2013 and was now wearing 34-36 inch waist trousers and medium to large tops. I was happy with how my skin was looking, it wasn't perfect, I still had my matrons apron and I had excess skin on my inner thighs but nothing to the extent I had feared. At the time I found my arms were aching after exercise and I made another appointment to see my doctor and whilst waiting for the appointment I spoke to a friend who said that the aching could well be caused by my arms now actually resting in a different position now my body shape had changed. I kept the appointment with the doctors as I wanted a professional opinion and as I walked into the consulting room I could see the doctors jaw drop. He asked me how much weight I had now lost and I explained 22 stone, he asked me how I had lost the weight and I replied Slimming World, "Slimming World" said the doctor as if in disbelief that someone could lose such an amount following a healthy eating plan and I replied "yes doctor, Slimming World, no pills, no magic potions just a healthy balanced eating plan." He then asked me about my excess skin, I removed my top, his jaw appeared to drop again, he said that he could not believe how well I had done with my excess skin. As in the previous appointment he said that if I kept the weight off he would certainly put me forward for the skin removal surgery and I said I would keep considering my options.
 
As I sit here typing this some two years later, I have kept the weight off, I am still wearing the same size clothing. I still have my matrons apron and the excess skin on my thighs but I am comfortable and can live with these trophies of my weight loss success. Do I think I will ever have skin removal surgery? Never say never but at this time in my life I am very content with what I have got. I am in a very loving relationship and neither one of us is concerned about what excess skin I have. It does not effect me physically or emotionally and I do not find myself hiding away in changing rooms in fear of someone seeing what excess skin I have. I am comfortable laying on I have nothing to be embarrassed about.

Do I think my doctor could have been more supportive? For me, yes I think he could have been. Whilst I appreciate he had got to manage my expectations, I feel he could have said that if I kept up my exercise that there may be some reduction in the amount of the excess skin but he could never give any guarantee of any success. There was a big possibility that I could have left that appointment and given up there and then. I'm so glad I didn't. Being 37 stone might well have seen me to an early grave, no amount of excess skin will.
 
Is the fear of excess skin a reason to not lose weight? For me it is not but I can appreciate for others it may well be and that all bodies react differently to weight loss and that I could very well have been left with more excess skin than I have. However, without losing the weight I would have never known and I am glad that I continued with my weight loss journey. The guy on television had his surgery and I hope that gave him the closure and satisfaction on his journey.
 
Not perfect
Belly's gonna get you??? Sorry to disappoint you belly but I'm outrunning you!!
 

But happy with my excess skin.


12 comments:

  1. You remain a super hero and inspiration to all
    Keep going my friend

    ReplyDelete
  2. You remain a super hero and inspiration to all
    Keep going my friend

    ReplyDelete
  3. Soo helpful to read about this....something that worries me! Thank you and well done! You are inspirational! X

    ReplyDelete
  4. Incredible...you are my inspiration. I have just over 7 stones to lose and at the moment it feels almost impossible but day 6 of healthy eating and already I feel better. I have never met you yet am so proud of you xx

    ReplyDelete
  5. Incredible...you are my inspiration. I have just over 7 stones to lose and at the moment it feels almost impossible but day 6 of healthy eating and already I feel better. I have never met you yet am so proud of you xx

    ReplyDelete
  6. This is a worry of mine too and all thoughts go through my head of will I have a lot of excess skin or will it snap back nicely? After 9 stone 1 1/2 lbs so far (still another 4/5 stones to go) it's going back nicely, my inner thighs are a little loose but I've stepped up work on that and while my tummy seems to be shrinking nicely I just know there's going to be some loose skin there which I'm sure a good pair of spandex can sort �� my arms I can build up slightly to reduce the bingo wing �� and while my boobs currently represent deflated balloons it's nothing a good bra doesn't sort....so while it may put people off their journey I would say stick with the journey cos a little excess skin is so very easy to hide and is very minor in the whole grand scheme of weight loss because the benefits and greatness you feel at loosing such a large amount of weight and the confidence and self esteem that comes with that certainly out weighs any excess skin worries �� I'm so proud of your journey Stuart and you are such a massive inspiration to me and so many other people but even better I get to call you my friend �� and I get to bug you in group lol �� xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. The diamonds were smiley faces lol....x

      Delete
  7. An enthralling article. This is something that I hadn't thought about until I spoke with Annette about the subject. She immediately put any idea of problems in their place. With the colostomy and the road map of scars on my stomach, loose skin is the last thing on my mind. As always your article is interesting and informative. And very helpful to anyone who's worrying about excess skin.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I would like to thank you for this article i am very over weight and this is my biggedt gear living with the excess skin this is something i cannot get over i tried at slimming world and gained 3lbs and didnt go back. I want to go back so badly but feel like a total failure at something so easy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Slimming world is not easy, don't put yourself down like that. Be honest with yourself and give yourself some love and appreciation for wanting to tackle your weight. Look at what got in your way last time,plan how you will deal with those obstacles and take action when they arrive. Trying and not succeeding is not failure,failing to try is the only failure, you're unique, you have different obstacles and you need to focus on your journey and what to change so that you can get to the finish line. Look at it as if your 1st attempt was practice, now plan, do your homework and take action. Good luck on your journey. Keep pushing forward x

      Delete
  9. Well done young man, you look amazing! X

    ReplyDelete