loose skin

Tell Me What You Don’t Like About Yourself

“Tell me what you don’t like about yourself.”

I watched Nip/Tuck from the beginning of the show. The first season was really good and then it just got weird. It turned from a trashy guilty pleasure into a weird soap opera with Transvestites and Midgets, Gangsters and murders. But one of the phrases that was in every episode was “Tell me what you don’t like about yourself?” And that episode’s character would tell their story of what brought them into the plastic surgeon’s office.

I was never the type of person that even thought about plastic surgery. Even when I was 100 pounds heavier and wishing for a quick fix to lose the weight, stomach stapling, liposuction and a tummy tuck were never things that I even considered. I always thought it was an unnatural thing to do and I knew I could lose the weight by myself without those things. I did. I was successful. I successfully kept it off. The one thing I never thought about: the loose skin that would remain even after toning my body through vigorous exercise and a healthy diet.


Buying a bikini and longing to be able to wear it made me think about whether or not I am happy with my body. I realized that I WAS happy- I was really happy with my muscles in my upper body from weight lifting and swimming. I was happy with my narrow waist from swimming. I was happy with my toned, muscular legs from cycling and running. I was so happy and satisfied with my body that I even wrote a post about how I Am Okay With My Body. And I am–95% of the time. That other 5% is my stomach that will most likely require surgery to fix someday. It’s disappointing that all the ab work and crunches I do haven’t fixed that area.

The first question I always get from people when they found out I lost over 100 pounds is “How did you lose the weight?” The second most popular question is “Do you have a lot of loose skin?”

The answer: not really. I have a little bit of loose skin in a certain area.

I think losing weight the slow way — through healthy eating and exercise not fad diets — kept me from getting that issue. I think starting to lose weight in my mid-20’s made a difference, too. The biggest factor though is probably the fact that my weight loss was slow. Sometimes painfully slow (especially those damn plateaus) but I kept at it. Losing 1 pound a week was okay by me as long as I was still losing. It took me almost two years to lose 110 pounds.


That does not mean that I don’t have the usual battle scars of someone who lost half their weight.

  • Stretchmarks. Oh boy do I have them. I once had a boyfriend who commented that it looked like Freddy Kreuger had scratched my stomach. He didn’t remain a boyfriend much longer after that.
  • Loose skin. A little bit. It’s not like the loose skin you see on those tabloid shows where it drapes over my pants. It’s different than that.
  • Cellulite. Yep. Mostly on my stomach. Not so much anywhere else on my body.
  • Sagginess. SIGH. Biggest bummer. Yes, I know I’m in my 30’s and I can’t expect to have perky boobs like I did when I was 20. But still. It’s frustrating–but to be expected. You can’t go from a 42FF bra to a 32DD and not expect some sag.
  • Flab. Pretty much the only place I’m flabby is my under arm area. Basically, Lunch Lady Arms. Swimming toned up my arms nicely but didn’t do the trick. I started weight lifting and finally saw some changes! I think a continued weight lifting program will tone my arms nicely.

I never thought about plastic surgery before. As a 250+ pound 20-something I never considered liposuction to lose the weight. Just hard work and dedication (which worked for me). Now, after maintaining my weight loss for over three years I have started thinking about plastic surgery.


It’s a strange thing to think about. Do I want to pay that much money for vanity? And will it even matter in the grand scheme of things? I weigh about 145 pounds and wear a size 4 jeans–do I even need to consider this?

I was talking to Michael about it, explaining the two sides of this issue. His stance is that if I want to do that, I have to do it for myself–to make myself feel better about my body. I already feel pretty good about my body so it’s not something that’s big in my brain right now.

The other issue is kids. Someday I want to have kids and won’t consider plastic surgery before I have kids. Seems like a waste of money right?

While I am not really in a place to think about plastic surgery right now for the loose skin, I will admit it’s something I am curious about. I’ve been thinking about seeing a doctor for a consultation just to satisfy my curiosity. Time will tell.

QUESTION: Have you ever had plastic surgery? What was your experience with it?

Kaizen

“There’s a Japanese word, kaizen, which means making a big change by making one small change every day, doing one little thing differently.”

Since 2006, I made small changes every single day that ended up being one huge change in the end. I lost 100 pounds. I ran Hood to Coast. I biked 55 miles. I swim 1.5 miles in 50 minutes. Who would have thought 5 years ago that I would be 100+ pounds lighter and buying a bikini? It seems like a trivial thing to even care about, right?


But I’ve never owned one. Not even as a teenager that wasn’t overweight. It just wasn’t me, or something I ever thought I wanted. I was always shy, self-conscious about my body. I thought I was “Fat” even when I wasn’t–just a little chubby “baby fat.” It wasn’t until I did get fat, and then lose the weight, that I became more comfortable with my body.

Now at 144 pounds I’m fit and proud of my accomplishments. I’m still self-conscious about my body parts though. I am working hard to change that. After years of feeling every flaw, it’s a hard habit to break.  I do get stuck in that “Fat Talk” Loop in my head on occasion.

Which is funny because I am okay with my body (like I said yesterday) EXCEPT for this one part: my stomach. My arms and legs are super muscular, I’m toned in every part of my body but this one area. And unfortunately, for someone who lost a significant amount, it’s probably only remedied by plastic surgery (not an option right now).


Over the weekend I bought a bikini. It’s the first one I’ve ever owned. I have no tropical vacations planned in my future and I honestly don’t know that I will EVER wear it in public, but I bought it anyways.

I figured at the very least, I could wear it in our backyard this summer when we’re working in our garden. Our backyard is very private and I wouldn’t have to worry about feeling uncomfortable or self-conscious about my body. I can just enjoy that my hard work has paid off and I’m sure Michael will like the bikini, too. 🙂

But now I have one. I felt empowered when I wore it last weekend. Sure I was self-conscious of my stomach but at the same time I felt confident and happy that I could finally own something like this.

QUESTION: What’s one small thing you can do today to make a change?

GIRL’S NIGHT OUT

I hadn’t planned on eating out two nights in a row but it sort of happened that way. My cousin Anna had some big news to share with me so I made the exception.

2003

We met at one of my favorite Portland Restaurants: The Sapphire Lounge on SE Hawthorne. It was originally a “turn of the century seedy hotel in Portland Oregon inhabited by sailors, travelers and ladies of the night.” It’s a dark, romantic, eclectic restaurant now with amazing food and even yummier martinis. An old friend joined us as well.


Anna and I arrived just before Happy Hour ended so we ordered a few things right away to get the discount.


I got a glass of the house red and the Sapphire Salad: Citrus vinaigrette, candied walnuts and shredded Parmesan.


(Yum! Candy on a salad? Yes please!) For dinner I got my FAVORITE dish! Butternut Squash Enchiladas: baked in a jalapeño Emmentaler sauce that’s both sweet and spicy.


I’d intended on eating half the entree and taking the rest for lunch but it was smaller than I remembered (and Anna had a few bites too) so I ate all of it.


I don’t think there’s actually tortillas in the dish. It’s just oozing with cheesy,  spicy goodness and a crispy topping. I love this dish. And I’ve never had one that compares to it (although I’d love to try and make this!).

It was a good night and it was nice to go out with the girls. It felt just like old times.

QUESTION: Have you ever reached a goal and rewarded yourself with something you’d never had before? Like a bikini?