Lace em up...

Lace em up...

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Loose skin? Cellulite? Stretch marks? Yep, I've got it all...


I posted this Transformation Tuesday photo on Dr. Poon's Facebook support group page just to say "hi" and to let people know how I've been doing. I've not posted on there for about 6 months and I was getting some emails enquiring if I was well and if I was still working towards my goals. I got lots of awesome comments and a lot of questions about loose skin. So I thought I'd do a blog post update on my loose skin issues. Without further ado, here we go...

I have lost a total of 140 pounds from my highest recorded weight of 310 pounds. It took me 17 months to lose the weight. Two months on my own using diet pills (**DO NOT DO THAT**), followed by 15 months on Dr. Poon. I'm in my 4th year of maintenance. My weight fluctuates by about 10 pounds, but I only weight myself every few months. I know when things with my body are changing by how my clothes fit  me. Since I've begun strength training a year ago, My legs and glutes have gotten bigger, and my shoulders have gotten broader. But my abdomen has gotten smaller. If you go back to my first post on this blog, you'll see the difference in my abdominal area over the past year.

Brachioplasty (upper arm lift) happened in September 2015. No amount of strength training
would help with the loose skin under my arms. 

I began running when I weighed 230 pounds. My weight loss had plateaued so I needed to do something to jump start things again. I couldn't even run for a minute when I started, but within 6 weeks, I ran my first 5k race. I was super slow, but made no difference. I completed it. Within nine months of beginning to run, I began training for my first half marathon (21.1k) and I reached maintenance. When I was running, I ran 5 half marathons, two 30K races and numerous 5K-15K distance races.

I love to run. But I have different fitness goals now and running has taken a back seat. I still run once in a while for fun, but not 5 days a week like I used to. Now I strength train (2 days a week with a trainer, 2-3 days a week on my own) and I'm training to become a licensed boxer (1 day with a trainer, 2-3 group boxing classes per week). Some days I do double training days which means I go the the gym in the morning to strength train and I box in the evening. It can be exhausting, but I work out my training schedule for the week depending on my work and family commitments, and I stick to it. I wake up at 4:30am Monday to Friday.

My loose abdominal skin has become more noticeable since I've been
strength training and building muslce there.

As noted in the caption below my arm photo, I had an upper arm lift this past September. My arms were always very large and no amount of strength training would help with the extra skin that was left. I had the brachioplasty performed by Dr. Patterson (here in Hamilton) and he also did some upper, outer thigh lipo on me. Neither of these procedures were covered by OHIP. I got a low interest loan through the First Ontario Credit Union to pay for the surgery. I pay monthly, just like a car loan but my arms will last longer than a vehicle:-)

My abdominal skin, although not too bad after such a large weight loss, is still not as tight as it looks in photos. I can pull it away (as seen above), and when I bend over, it is much more noticeable (as seen below). Can I live with it? Maybe. But I'm working hard over the next year to get leaner while building muscle. I'll reassess things then. If I'm not satisfied with my abdomen in a year, I'd get a tummy tuck in a hot minute. And while I'm doing that, I might as well get a breast lift. Those could use a pick me up too.

I've been asked numerous times how to prevent loose skin. I don't really have the answer to that. I figure that my saving grace has been good genetics and moisturiser. My mother instilled in me the importance of moisturiser all over my body my entire life. Although my arms were a lost cause, I believe it helped a lot with my skin elasticity in other areas of my body. I started my weight loss journey when I was 41 and I was morbidly obese for most of my life. I'm 46 in less than a week and I think I look younger now than I did 10 years ago. And things have improved with weight training. My body has changed a lot over the past year. I've a pretty firm bottom and my shoulders are coming in nicely.

This was actually an outtake. I was trying to get a photo of me standing upright, but wasn't quick
enough. Instead I got a pic of my hanging loose skin.

What I'm focused on now, besides becoming the best boxer I can be, is getting my nutrition under control. I followed Dr. Poon's diet for weight loss and I've been mostly Paleo for maintenance. But I know that I need to take my eating to the next level if I'm going to reach my fitness and body goals. I'd like to drop 10% of my body fat and become stronger. So I am currently looking into counting macros. I'm doing some research on my own and I'm reading a book by Michael Matthews called Thinner, Leaner Stronger. I'll see how this works out for me first. If I'm not happy with my progress, I'll look into getting an on-line nutrition/fitness coach. I've a couple in mind. That saying is 100% true. Fitness really is 80% diet and 20% exercise. Abs truly are made in the kitchen.