As you lose weight you might notice a side effect that you did not intend on dealing with, and that is excess skin. Having lost over 200 pounds (with a lot more to go) I already have a fair amount of excess skin, especially in the abdomen, thigh and upper arm areas. I expect that as I lose more that I will have more.
I asked a few of the doctors we work with about this issue. There are a few things that can help, but the short answer is that if you’ve lost a significant amount of weight, there are not many natural ways to deal with it.
First, the more slowly you lose weight the better. Rapid weight loss can make excess skin a lot more prominent. Age also has a lot to do with it, generally younger people have an easier time having their skin bounce back more so than people who are more mature. You can do a little to build muscle underneath, but keep in mind that won’t result in tight skin over those muscles. Genetics has a lot to do with it as well.
There are rumors that you can donate skin to burn centers. I’ve looked into these claims, and they are not true.
So what is there?
If it is a big concern for you, surgery is an option. It is an expensive option, but some people feel that is a necessary cost. Insurance will typically not cover it, except in rare cases in which the excess skin weighs so much that it is causing physical problems that are interfering with the quality of your life. I’ve done a lot of research on this as well, because I currently have a lot, and like I said I will more than likely have more when I’m closer to my ideal weight, and my insurance (which is pretty good) does not cover it under any circumstance.
Of course there are some ways to hide the excess skin with different clothing and things that hide, suck, pull things together. Being overweight still, I never find these things to be all that comfortable, though I guess I end up burning A LOT of calories trying to wiggle myself into said clothing.
But the bottom line? I’ve come to be more and more ok with the excess skin. I was once morbidly obese. That is part of my history, part of who I was for a long time. I am never going to have a perfect body, chances are, no one will ever have a perfect body. For some of us we will spend lots of time eating right, working out and doing all the right things, and we still might not get those perfect abs.
It’s ok, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Our bodies tell a story about who we are and who we were. Maybe it is a scar, or a crooked nose, maybe it’s frizzy hair, no hair, gray hair, maybe it’s wrinkles, freckles, weird toes, or in my case, thumbs that look like big toes (so much so that my brothers call me toes). We all have things. Our society is so obsessed with this idea of what the perfect body looks like, when no one actually has a perfect body. We’re all imperfect, and I for one think that is a beautiful thing.
Excess skin is part of my imperfect body, and I’m ok with that. Be proud of the progress you made that caused that excess skin, and start the path to deciding you will learn to love all the things that make your body, your body.