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