Tummy Tuck, Weight Loss, workouts

Taking the Plunge: Skin Surgery Post-Weight Loss

Well, aren’t we just talking about one major life change after another around here! Be warned this may get a little lengthy…

takingtheplunge

I’ve been on this healthy living journey for over 4 years now. It hasn’t always been easy and there have been many detours along the way. I’m getting to a place where I feel like I’m close to the body type I think will work best for me and my goals, this is totally personal opinion. Many people on their health journey are out to get to a goal weight. When I started on this journey I thought I wanted to weigh 135. Now my lean muscle mass is hovering around 150, so that number is out of the question unless I want to lose 15lbs of muscle. Which I don’t want to do. I don’t want to be super lean, I want to be strong. For the most part I’m happy where my body is. There is one main issue that I just haven’t been able to fix with diet or exercise… extra skin.

hangingpannushangingpannussideview

When you spend the majority of your life extremely overweight and carry most of that extra weight in your mid section that is going to leave you with a lot of extra skin, even if you lose weight in a slow and healthy way. There is no muscle left in my lower abdomen, so there is no hope of it retracting on its own. There is also an area of lose skin around my belly button. Most times this extra skin isn’t noticeable under my clothes, I work hard to make it that way. As I’ve continued to lose weight it has become more of an issue in many areas.

Performance

The first thing that comes to mind is my CrossFit performance. I can’t work out unless I am wearing some type of compression pants. Even then doing any kind of jumping movements can be painful and makes it a million times harder. Even wearing compression pants they move and shift and I’m often spending a good portion of the workout adjusting them.

Aesthetics

I can’t remember a time when I had a flat stomach. I’m at the point in my journey where I have to work super extra hard to see changes and it’s hard when I know even with the work I put in without surgery I will never see a flat stomach. I want to look good naked and in clothes. I don’t want to have to worry about stuffing my apron of skin into a pair of jeans. Not to mention if that skin wasn’t there I could probably fit into a smaller size. Or maybe not, since my squatting thighs are pretty large still. I have also had issues with rashes both around my belly button and on the fold where the skin lays.

First Impressions

This one is hard for me to admit, as it can be misconstrued as vain or shallow. The truth is I love my body for what it can do despite how it may look. I am strong and healthy. I am also fit. The reality is it may not appear that way to some people, particularly when I am in a fitness related position. I’ve had to fight my own demons to get to where I realize my level of fitness isn’t related to the number of stomach rolls I may or may not have. Not everyone is at that place. As a fitness professional I feel like I should look the part. Yes, I may be relatable and inspirational to some people, but there are others who may look at me and think I shouldn’t be in the position I’m in. I’m not saying that people with extra skin or fat shouldn’t be fitness professionals at all. I’m just saying this extra skin isn’t doing me any favors for my business.

Lingering Reminder

Some people say that things like extra skin and stretch marks are reminders of how far they have come. Yes, i’ve made some amazing changes to my life and my body has followed along with those changes. For me it is more of a thorn in my flesh reminding me of where I was before… Of how far out of control I was. While I am proud of my progress, I want to live more in the moment of where I am now. I don’t want to have such a large reminder of how far gone I was at one point.

So, all those things added up to decision to pursue this surgery. The final straw came when I talked to my general practitioner about that and she referred me to a plastic surgeon. I guess I still see myself as larger and thought If I could lose 30 more lbs maybe it would go away. She confirmed that it wasn’t just excess fat, it was actually a large amount of skin and that it wouldn’t go back on its own. It was like solid validation. I was scared to pursue this though. Mostly, I didn’t want people to think I was “cheating” or trying to take the easy way out. I was scared that people may look down on me for doing it. Then I realized I never have let what people think about me stop me before. So, on her referral I set up a consultation with Dr Peter Mills at Renaissance Plastic Surgery. I’ll write a whole separate post on that whole experience. After the consultation I talked with Chris about it. Yes, it is a lot of money. Yes, the recovery will suck. Yes, it is a major surgery with risks. But it is something that makes sense for me and where I am in my journey. Not everyone may agree with my decision. That’s ok, this journey is my own. I also talked to my friend Courtney from Treadmill Runway who recently had this procedure done herself. We have been so alike in other areas of this health journey it is so helpful to have her insight on this as well.

Taking into consideration the cost and recovery time we decided to go with an August Surgery date. So, Monday August 11th is the day. There is still plenty of time for me to make more progress before then to have optimal results. Right now I’m in the upper 180’s as far as weight goes. Ideally I’d love to be comfortably in the 170’s when I go in for this procedure. So another 15lbs give or take. I will be clear on this: This is not a weight loss surgery. I don’t agree in having a tummy tuck for the reason of losing weight. If you don’t address the issues of healthy eating and exercise you will likely waste your money and end up gaining weight back after the surgery. I am in a healthy place with my eating and workouts and will be using this as a functional surgery, not a weight loss surgery. If I lose weight because of it, great. If I don’t, no big deal. It’s not about that number on the scale for me.

I plan on sharing all about this along the way so you all can see the good, bad, and ugly about the procedure and make your own informed decisions on if this is right for you. I’m an open book so any questions you might have I’d be more than happy to answer, you can leave them in a comment below or email them to me at courtney (at) courtneynorman (dot) org

17 thoughts on “Taking the Plunge: Skin Surgery Post-Weight Loss”

  1. I’m so happy we’ve “met” thru the internets. It’s crazy how our stories mirror each other and it’s been fun to progress along with you! So happy for you and I totally agree with you 100% on everything. This is FUNCTIONAL surgery, not cosmetic!

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  2. Thank you for being so real and honest. I want to get skin removal surgery after I lose more weight. I look forward to your posts along the journey. I’m excited for you 🙂

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  3. This was a relief to read. I had lapband surgery in January 2011 and now, 140ish lbs later, I weigh around 135 and am a size 4. I only say this to illustrate that I am not overweight by anyone’s definition. However, I still have that one little area…just like you. My surgeon said “you’ll have to get that trimmed off.” All of your reasons are valid. While it gets better with each skin cycle, it isn’t going away. And why should we work so hard to then still not feel as confident as we should. I say go for it!

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  4. I love how you’re so open about this and hopefully it will help someone else debating the same thing. Looking forward to your journey and can honestly say don’t worry about what anyone else thinks (which you’re not!) and always do things for you!

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  5. Wow good for you. It takes a lot of courage to be that open about this and I admire you for that.

    Look forward to following your journey!

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  6. Great Post and I feel where you’re coming from on most aspects.

    I’m having a tummy tuck and breast uplift after losing 120 lbs and I’m scheduled to have both done on the 10th April.

    I’m blogging all about mine too, so if you want to know more about recovery after surgery, I might be able to help in some way 🙂

    Laura | Health and Fitness Blogger

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  7. Hi there!

    So, I was looking at barbell reviews and came upon your blog. I kept reading and landed on this post. So crazy! I have almost the same story you have regarding extreme weight loss and plastic surgery. I had a tummy tuck about 8 months ago and it was the best decision I have ever made. You will be so happy with the results and amazed at the things your body can do without all that extra weight. Best of luck!

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    1. This makes me SO happy to hear. I’m still 4 months out from my surgery date and I just can’t wait! I get so frustrated not being able to see my progress as my eyes go straight to the leftover skin. I’m working hard to lose as much as I can before the surgery so I can get the best results. How long was it before you were back to lifting?

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