I’ve talked a lot in my blogs about the mental and physical hurdles and successes of my journey through motivation, failures, tips, trick, etc., but I haven’t talked a lot about the physical changes of my body. Some of that is apparent in before and after photos, which show a great amount of progress, but what has the process of a shifting body been like?
Like I have alluded to before, in my life, I always knew I was bigger. I can remember throughout my life grabbing my fat with my hand and making a donut with the shape of the fat and skin. As I got older, there was more to grasp, and it became more about “why is this getting bigger”, without the right tools in my toolbox to make the change. At this point, there are many reasons I wish I had started earlier, but none of them matter because I did not, and there is no use in hashing out the mistakes of the past when there are so many goals for the future. I have moved past that, but the physiological changes are important to note.
In my post about identity, I alluded to some of the things I will mention now, but more of that was psychological. In my mirrors post, I also hinted at the physical component, but focused mainly on the psychological aspect. I think it is important to focus on the mental parts of the changes because at the end of the day, all of the changes are filtered through your mind.
With that said, losing close to 100 lbs. changes your body a lot. I’ve read a lot of solutions online about sagging skin, which is one of my current annoyances. I have it! It’s probably not the worst it could be, same with the stretch marks, but it exists. Some people say, “it’s a reminder of where you come from”, which may just be a defense mechanism or it could be how they really feel. Either way, I don’t look at it as a trophy of my hard work, but as a reminder of a lifestyle I am trying to forge away from. I understand the physical changes of losing weight – I stretch my skin over a long period of time (26 years), and then I lost 95 lbs, allowing my fat to shrink, but the skin needs time to catch up to the 26 years of stretching. I’m trying not to be impatient, especially now that I am focusing on gaining muscle, I know this will help. I have also started using some different lotions with Vitamin E and Cocoa Butter for stretch marks and some colagin and elastin lotions. Will this help? Who knows, there isn’t a lot proof out there, but even if it helps 3%, it’s worth it to me to slather on some lotion and use some tea shea butter body wash. I haven’t marked a noticeable difference at this point, it will take awhile for sure. As far as my excess skin is concerned, it is not the worse that I have found on the internet, and hopefully over the next few months, I will be filling in some of that space between with muscle. I also do realize that some of it is still fat, the remaining resilient parts of my previous lifestyle, lingering and holding on for dear life, draping on my abdomen. Time will tell the full effects.
I have seriously considered skin removal surgery, but the earliest I am willing to even consider an operation date would be next August, which would be 2.5 years of changes. A more realistic goal would be the 3 year mark (both physically and financially). A lot of people in the weight loss community look down on those who get skin removal surgery, but for a loss of 100 lbs and a significant amount of fat, it is a viable option. I understand living with it as well, but there have been some issues with the extra skin on my body. A few weeks ago, during CrossFit, I had to do a significant amount of CF Sit-ups, which folded the sagging skin on my butt into itself creating a painful rash for the next week and a half. Even today, doing regular sit-ups, I can feel the extra skin moving back and forth, which makes it difficult to perform certain tasks. Over time, hopefully with the amount of squats I do, this will tighten up a bit. Honestly, surgery is a last ditch effort. I am at the gym ~10 hours a week, and if 3 years of time, water, lotion, muscle building, running, crossfit, and more cannot mold my body to the way that I want, then I would consider surgery.
For the most part, the changes my body has made over the last year and a half have been interesting. I feel like for the first year, I was just becoming a shaved down version of the same person, but within the last 4 – 5 months, I really feel like I look like a different person. Not to the degree that you cannot tell who I am, but just that my face and body are so different at this point. Over the last 6 months, I have started gaining muscle, so you can see biceps and abs forming (damn that extra skin for hiding what I am building!). Overall, I am happy with my progress, and am excited to see where I will be on my 2 year healthiversary. I would love to get a body fat measurement at that time, to see where I am (not that I know where I started), but just to see where I sit with muscle vs. fat to determine my next step after that. I have about 3 months to work as hard as I can before that time arrives. By that time, I MAY feel okay with posting my shirtless progress, we’ll see!
For now, i’ll leave off with a progress photo. I was looking through my old phone photos, and found a few “who the hell is that guy” moments, so I thought i’d compare!