July 23, 2013

Loose skin issues

This whole post is full of TMI (too much information), so I am sorry in advance for that... ;)

Yesterday morning, I had one of the worst runs ever. I wore my new shorts (which isn't the reason for the bad run), and was excited to try them out on an easy four-miler outside. It was hot and humid, but not ridiculously so.

When I first started running, I almost immediately turned around to change out of the shorts. I hated how uncomfortable the jiggling of my loose skin was. Chafing wasn't an issue at all, thanks to the Aquaphor I put on my thighs, but loose skin moves a lot. The best way I can describe it would be like running without a sports bra. Normally, I wear compression-fit capris, which hold everything really tight, so jiggling isn't an issue.

Since someone always comments that I don't look like I have loose skin on my thighs, I'm going to post a graphic picture for the first time, showing that I'm not making it up. Loose skin is a sensitive subject for me. I worked extremely hard to lose the weight I did, but this is the result of the weight loss, and evidence that I used to be morbidly obese. Here is a picture of when I was lying in bed last night. It's not a flattering angle, but it shows just how loose the skin really is (that's my inner thigh):


As much of an inconvenience that the loose skin is, I would choose my loose skin over my obese legs any day. When I was obese, my legs rubbed together constantly, so I was chafed all the time. It was hard to walk because they felt so heavy. I had to stuff them into my clothes, which was extremely uncomfortable. The loose skin isn't pretty, but it's much more comfortable and easier to deal with than the issues I had when I was obese.

Anyway, I wanted to give the shorts a fair chance, so I decided to just run the whole four miles before deciding whether I liked them.

When I got on the main road, I was very self-conscious of the jiggling. Logically, I knew people probably weren't staring at my thighs; but the fat girl inside my head was remembering when people used to yell out their car windows at me--"Fat cow!" "Moo!" "Look at fattie run!" and stuff like that. After about a mile or so into yesterday's run, I stopped caring about what I looked like, and just tried to focus on keeping good form.

Something I wasn't expecting about wearing shorts was that it would throw off my running form. The movement of the loose skin made me swing my legs outward a little on each step, and I could feel it in my knees (a twisting motion). Not a good thing.

It was when I got to mile two and turned around that my run got really bad.

I was extremely nauseous for some reason. I was running at an easy pace, so it wasn't like I was exerting myself too much. All of mile three, I was just trying to focus on breathing normally, and trying not to panic at the nausea that was getting worse. After I reached mile three, the nausea was so bad that I wanted to stop and just vomit on the side of the road. But stopping would mean I wouldn't be at home, and I desperately wanted to get home.

I was trying not to think of throwing up, because it kept causing me to feel more panicky. Instead, I focused on breathing and I finally--FINALLY--made it home. I sat down for a couple of minutes, and the nausea went away, but my stomach was feeling really icky after that. (I had a wave of nausea after breakfast this morning, too. Not sure what's going on. No, I'm not pregnant!)

I'm glad I tried the shorts, because I'd always been curious about them; however, I'm going to stick with my compression-fit capris, because they are much more comfortable.

Today I had speed work on the schedule. I was hoping to go to the track, but it was thunder storming outside, so I ran on the treadmill instead. I did one of the Hansons' speed workouts: 4 x 3/4 mi with 400 jogs. Basically, that was a 1 mile warm-up, then 3/4 mile at 7:30-ish pace, 1/4 mile jog (repeat for a total of 4 times). On paper, it didn't seem that hard; but when I did it, it was a tough workout! I kept thinking I'd never last more than two intervals. Somehow, I managed to get through the entire thing, though.


I felt like I was drowning in sweat when I was done. I just sat in front of the fan for a couple of minutes trying to cool off. But it felt great! I love that feeling of pushing my body to the max (well, when it's over, I love it).


Even after taking a cold shower, my face was still flushed. A good workout!

Taste Test Tuesday was a big win this week! I bought this new flavor of cream cheese:


As I've mentioned before, I love anything jalapeno, so I was excited to see this at the store. However, I don't eat cream cheese much, so I wasn't sure what to do with it at first. I ended up making a sandwich with an English muffin, a vegetarian chicken patty, and a tablespoon of this cream cheese, and it was insanely good!


It's the perfect amount of spicy, too; not so spicy that you can't taste anything else, but not a "barely there" kind of heat, either. I used just one tablespoon for the sandwich (for 1 PP) and that little bit went a long way. I'm going to experiment with it a little more, too--maybe on eggs, or as a spread for other kinds of sandwiches. Maybe even on some sort of pizza? Jerry gave this two thumbs up as well; we both loved it!



By the way, I forgot to post this earlier... A few people asked about the bracelet Brandi gave me. Her friend has an Etsy shop, and she custom made it with my own quote: "determination always trumps motivation". I love it!

82 comments:

  1. My friend lost a lot if weight...100+/- and recently had surgery.....

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    1. How great for your friend! That's a big accomplishment :)

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  2. Oh my goodness Katie! This post makes my heart ache. Mostly because of the part where you said people would yell at you when you were running before. My sweet sister hears stuff like that and it makes me so mad that people are so ignorant! Thank you for sharing this with us. You are definitely motivating and inspirational to me.

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    1. People can be so mean! Your sister isn't alone; a lot of people have e-mailed me to say that people have yelled things to them while they were out exercising, too. I can't imagine what makes people think it's okay to do that. Tell your sister to use those words as fuel to the fire, and work out twice as hard! ;) I used to think of those words and tell myself, "One day, I'll show them..."

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  3. Hi Katie,

    I see what you mean about the loose skin and why it would be uncomfortable at times. I know I would never be able to run without a bra - actually I don't even find it comfortable to go up a flight of stairs without a bra. LOL.

    I must confess I found it hard to believe that there was loose skin under those tiny jeans you wear! You have a smart way of looking at it - that it beats your previous issues. Your body is beautiful and strong.

    I can't imagine someone yelling at an overweight person out exercising. Or yelling insults at anyone for that matter. It is the epitome of ignorance and obviously speaks volumes about the abuser.

    I loved yesterday's motivational Monday. :)

    Michelle Christine

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    1. Thanks Michelle! Yeah, the loose skin surprisingly fits inside of my jeans rather well ;)

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  4. People tell me all the time I don't look like I have loose skin, and I tell them the clothes cover it up and I am not taking photos usually of my body that are up close. My thighs look pretty similar to yours, except mine look more wrinkly like the skin of an old person. It's like where all the stretch marks are, my skin got wrinkly as I lost the fat there. My stomach is the worst. I actually took a photo of it, and I was going to write about it, but I haven't yet. The side by side photo is crazy, because without clothes I look so much different, and fatter. People used to yell things to me too when I first started walking and jogging. :( People are assholes. I know I couldn't wear regular shorts, as much as I'd love to, because it hides my loose belly hanging down, but they'd just ride up and get on my nerves. I like to wear tighter fitting clothes for working out, because loose stuff just flaps around and gets on my nerves too much.

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    1. The skin under my arms is very wrinkly from the stretch marks, so I know what you're talking about. But you're right, it's pretty easy to hide the loose skin under clothing.

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    2. Overall I can hide it with clothes pretty good, but there are some tops that are fitted I can't wear. I'd love to be able to wear more fitted clothes. Mostly I wear looser fitting tops. I have found if I have a skirt or something that I can pull up over my belly and then wear a more form fitting shirt that it looks better and kind of hides my stomach flaps a bit.

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  5. I call my arm and gut "thunderclap" when I punch and/or jump the sound of my body applauding that I'm off my big butt actually exercising instead of carrying around the extra 220. ;-)

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    1. Hahaha, that's a great way to look at it, Anele!

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  6. I'm 45 pounds into losing 100 or so pounds and I'm terrified of looking like I'm melting when I hit goal. Sometimes I think I'd rather just stay a little chubby and still look good decent. I'd consider surgery, but being covered in scars doesn't sound appealing either. Is there a surgery for loose skin on the legs? Would you consider it? I feel like I'd want it for my arms- though still the scars scare me. I get so sad I destroyed my body like this and there's absolutely nothing i can do to ever fix it and just have a normal looking body. And I did it so young :-(

    Also have you considered compression type shorts instead of capris?

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    1. Yes, there is a surgery for the inner thighs, but the scar is very long and noticeable. My thighs really don't bother me enough to have surgery on them. I think they look a lot better now than they did when I was fat ;) I used to get sad when I thought about it, too; it seemed so unfair that you have to live with the aftermath forever. But I've made peace with it now.

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  7. Hey lady- You're gorgeous. Thanks for sharing, and I am so so sorry that you had to hear that stuff when you first started walking/running.

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  8. I actually mix up a little bit of cream cheese and spices for an omelet filling-- I bet the jalepeno would be good too!

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    1. I love omelets! I'm going to give it a try with the jalapeno cream cheese.

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  9. 1. that cream cheese sounds insanely delicious and i will have to find it!
    2. you are such a brave, strong and beautiful person for sharing this post with us. i can't imagine hearing people yell awful things at you while you are trying to better yourself.

    you are such an inspiration to me and to so many here!

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    1. Sadly, I've gotten e-mails from quite a few others who have had nasty things said to them while out exercising. It's horrible that people can treat others that way!

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  10. I'm not even done with my weight loss (lost 120lbs so far) and my thighs already look similar to this and will probably get worse.

    I too get people think I imagine my loose skin. Just because they can't see it, doesn't mean its not there.

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    1. Wow, congrats on your weight loss!! Yes, the loose skin is easier to hide than the fat was, which I think is why it's hard for some people to imagine that it's there.

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  11. Wow. That picture of your leg could be mine. I love how my legs look when I pull back or hide the extra skin. Same thing with my arms. I've lost 100 and have 30 more to go. Yeah, people suck. But their cruelty and ignorance just makes us stronger.

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    1. It's funny that you said that, because I do that too! Sometimes when I'm lying in bed like that, I'll pull the skin back to see what it would be like without it. CONGRATS on your weight loss--that's amazing!

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  12. St├ęphanie from BelgiumJuly 24, 2013 at 6:51 AM

    I'm disgusted that some people think it's appropriate or even funny to say that kind of stuff to anyone :(
    You are so brave !

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    1. Yes, some people have no consideration for others' feelings. It's pathetic!

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  13. Don't be self-conscious. Everyone loves you here :)

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    1. Thank you Erin--I really appreciate it! :)

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  14. Dealing with loose skin trumps a possible early death in my book!

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  15. I definitely can relate. Sorry you weren't feeling well on top of it. That's an awful feeling!

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  16. I agree with you - I'll take skin over fat anytime! But I can also relate to how it makes you feel. I can also relate to the fat girl in your head. She still lives in my head (and has been present a lot lately for some reason) too.

    When I looked at your picture I didn't notice the skin in a bad way. I immediately thought "wow, look at those tiny legs!!" It was like my brain drew a line across the top of the skin. I think it's easier to overlook skin when you understand it - and when it's on someone else. You look great!

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    1. Yes, I know what you mean! Looking at the picture, you can see where my skin "wants" to be. And you're right, it's not so bad when you understand it :)

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  17. I'm being nosey so feel free to ignore me, but.... I know you had skin removal surgery before, so I'm just curious why you haven't done anything about the skin on your legs?

    No matter what, I think your transformation has been amazing and you should totally be thrilled with yourself. Just a random thought I had while reading this post.

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    1. I'm not nearly as unhappy with my thighs as I was with my midsection. My stomach bothered me horribly (both how it looked and how uncomfortable it was), so I was willing to have the surgery for that. While my thighs certainly aren't pretty, they aren't horrible either ;) The scar would have been very long (groin to knee) and I really didn't want the skin numbness in my thighs (that comes with surgery). I just weighed the pros and cons of surgery, and the cons outweighed the pros for me.

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  18. I'm sure the loose skin can be frustrating at times, but as you said - you'll take it over the weight any day. At least your skin is still pretty - it looks nice and smooth in your picture! :) I'm here to tell you that skin starts getting weird and saggy in a different way when you get older - I am 48 and have always had pretty decent legs if I do say so myself but now when I see them in pictures I'm like "Eww, when did I get my Mom's legs?" I wore shorts in a 10-mile race in May and when I saw the pictures of myself crossing the finish line I vowed to never wear shorts while running again. Blech. :(

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    1. Alison, I believe it--just over the past year or two, I've started noticing wrinkles, and the skin on my hands is thinning out a little (starting to look "older"). But it is what it is ;)

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  19. Oh that cream cheese sounds good! I will have to try that some time. Thanks for the tip. :)

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    1. If you like jalapenos, you'll probably love it!

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  20. Thanks, again, for being your honest self.

    Now about that cream cheese...I just recently started using cream cheese in a toasted cheese sandwich! I made a crab Rangoon type sandwich using crab, cream cheese, Worcestershire sauce and onion powder (thank you, Pinterest). You could probably use that jalapeno cheese in some way to make a delicious toasted cheeser! Yum!

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  21. Thanks for introducing me to the Hansons method! I hadn't heard of them before until you talked about it so I bought the book, devoured it, and now feel like a full marathon IS possible for me! (I've run 3 half marathons)

    Even though I've never been obese, I know what you mean about the jiggles being distracting on a run. I feel like everyone is staring at my thighs too when I wear short shorts! Running skirts don't bother me though for some reason, it's weird!

    That cream cheese sounds amazing!!!!

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    1. I'm very interested to see how this training plays out for me. I really like the idea behind it, and it was a nice change from the last two training cycles I went through. We'll see in October :)

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  22. Hi Katie, I'm a long time reader and a big fan of your blog. I lost about 70 pounds 3 years ago, and I found that weight training made a huge difference in tightening everything up - my arms and legs especially. I didn't do anything crazy - usually 20 minutes of weight machines after my usual cardio. Later I got into bodypump and that also made a huge difference. It wouldn't hurt to give it a shot, maybe just some hand weights with arm exercises and lunges/squats.

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    1. Thanks Rebecca! A lot of people swear by strength training, and it may have worked for me if I didn't have so many stretch marks. Unfortunately, my skin was stretched way too thin to ever bounce back. Congratulations on your weight loss (and maintenance)!

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  23. I just wanted to say that I have some compression knee-length "shorts" as well. I love them. I don't run with them right now while it's so hot, but I do like them in the Spring and Fall. I also have 2 pairs of knee-length shorts that I wear compression shorts under. I like all of them :)

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    1. Yes, there are lots of options for me. I was hoping to be able to wear the running shorts at least for the really hot days, but I've gotten along fine with my capris, so I don't mind sticking with them :)

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  24. That must have been tough to post that picture, but I appreciate your honesty and sharing it. Congrats on the weight loss, I think you look great.

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    1. Thanks Becka! It was very hard to post the picture, but I'm glad I did.

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  25. Your honesty is always appreciated, no matter if it's TMI or not. When I saw your loose skin, I couldn't help but think of how many women's stomachs look after giving birth (mine included!). I think it's kind of the same thing. You went through a huge life change. Your life, your outlook, your habits...all of those are forever changed by your weight loss. The way you look at your loose skin seems really healthy, and I for one am glad you're here to help inspire other people on their journey -- you've certainly inspired me!

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    1. You're right, it was definitely a huge life change. The loose skin is a daily reminder of how hard I worked, that's for sure!

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  26. That burger and cream cheese looks delicous. Yum!

    People are a-holes. That is the bottom line. I cannot believe people yelled that at you when you were running. You have the right attitude though... who cares what they say? You're awesome and you know it!

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    1. In retrospect, I really wish I'd stuck up for myself back then! But I just pretended I didn't hear it.

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  27. That is so hurtful. Wonder if those same people even recognize you when you run? Now they probably weigh more than you do.

    Don't worry about TMI, we're all here for the same reason! To get healthy. Extra skin is just part of the journey. I started the dry skin brushing technique in the shower. It's supposed to help with lymphatic fluid drainage, and tighten the skin as the months go by. So far it does increase my circulation and has helped with breast pains around that time of the month. They say it's good for breast health. I don't work for the following place, but they have good info just to read:

    search: naturalhealthtechniques(dot)com + dry brushing technique

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    1. That is so interesting! I remember seeing a short clip about that on Dr. Oz a long time ago. I meant to look up some more about it, and forgot to.

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  28. Hey Katie.
    Thanks so much for posting that picture. But even more for mentioning that you still love your legs more now than when you were obese! I'm just confused though (I thought this when you mentioned it in your last post but didn't want to be rude and bring up the subject of loose skin)...I thought you DID have skin removal surgery and a lower body lift to fix that....your after photos from surgery make your thighs look perfect. Is this loose skin from losing weight after surgery??

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    1. The surgery I had was to remove the skin around my midsection only, so it didn't lift my inner thighs at all. It did pull my outer thighs up a little, but unfortunately, there is a whole other surgery process for inner thighs, and the cons outweighed the pros for me as far as that goes. My thighs look pretty good in my post-op photos because the photos are cropped just above the saggy skin area. The skin has always been there, I just never show it ;)

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  29. Thank you for being brave enough to post that picture. You have nothing to be ashamed of. Your loose skin is reminder that you were strong enough, determined enough and motivated enough to do what a lot of wish we could do (lose weight). I for one am deeply inspired by your story. God bless you!!

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    1. Thank you very much! I was embarrassed posting the picture, but it was hard to describe the difficulty of wearing shorts without showing the pic. But you're right, the loose skin is a reminder of the good I've done for myself :)

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  30. I admire you for putting your pictures up, as I can appreciate (as my skin is now beginning to sag with my weight loss) that it is a difficult thing to do.
    I love the idea of the jalapeno phili. I spread phili on toast or a bagel, or add it in to pasta as a quick and healthy cheese sauce (though it isn't exactly a sauce).

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    1. Oooh, I love that idea of adding it to pasta! I'm going to try that for sure.

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  31. I am sorry you felt self conscious about your skin. Hugs to you over that! I also ran in shorts today. Normally I wear capris. Although I don't have the skin issue, I will tell you that my underwear was creeping so much that I almost turned around too. It was just dark enough where I even considered stripping right on the road and throwing those undies straight to the wind. (I didn't though). I think the shorts are overrated. It's capris for me for now on. Love your blog and your enthusiasm!

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    1. Hahaha, I've stripped off my shirt before when no one was around, because I wanted to wear just my outer layer rather than two layers. I can't say that I've stripped my underwear during a run, though ;)

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  32. I agree man I would wear that loose skin like a badge of honor when my does appear well look the other way people cause that just means I worked my ass off to get that loose skin:)

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    1. It's funny, when I see other people with loose skin, I never think, "Eww, loose skin!" I always think, "Hmm, I wonder if they've lost a lot of weight?" It is a sort of badge of honor in that way ;)

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  33. You're very brave for sharing the photo, I have body issues too, I'd have a hard time sharing. You'll find you're not alone, and as you've already stated: wear it with honor, you've come so far!

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    1. I don't know why I get nervous to post things like that, because as you can see, my readers are fantastic and would never make me feel bad about it! :)

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  34. Like always, thanks for your honesty! And remember, there's good ones and bad ones, but a bad run is better than no run! You're not alone with the skin issue, I have a friend who is using these body wraps that help tone her skin, even though she just started using them i think she likes them a lot.

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    1. I love that! A bad run is better than no run... right on :)

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  35. Every time you talk about loose skin I think "why didn't you get that done when you did your surgery?? I know you did a tummy tuck but I figured you would do your arms/legs as well. Also, they make compression shorts I think you should try that for something cooler if you haven't already.

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    1. Skin removal surgery isn't something to be taken lightly. I spent an entire year thinking about and researching a lower body lift before I decided that I wanted to do it. My arms and legs don't bother me enough to deal with the scars and numbness that surgery brings. I wasn't posting the picture or writing about the loose skin to complain about loose skin; but more so to describe why it's uncomfortable for me to wear shorts while running.

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  36. I wish I could "like" comments on here - you have so many wonderful readers :) Probably because we all love you for your honesty and realness! You are beautiful, and you've earned all of the wonderful compliments you receive. It makes me very sad that there are mean people out there, that belittle someone for doing something healthy. I don't think I've had anyone yell at me, but I have imagined what people are thinking when they see me running. I've got the 'tummy flap' from two pregancies/c-sections, and definitely find the compression clothes more comfy for exercising. Now, I don't care what other people think. I know I'm doing something good for myself, and my hubby thinks I'm hot ;)

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    1. I know, everyone is so great when I post things that are scary to share!

      Before my surgery, I HAD to wear compression clothing around my midsection for sure, for the same reason you described. It was the only way to be comfortable.

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  37. You're still so pretty, Katy. If it really bothers you, could you have that nipped and tucked like you did with your lower body lift?

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  38. You look amazing. Found your blog while trying to determine what type shorts to get for running due to loose skin on stomach area.

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  39. Thank you for being so frank and honest about your loose skin. I think that's one of the excuses I give myself deep down in the recesses of my mind...one of the reasons I hold myself back from losing the weight. But you really hit it home with me tonight...that dealing with some excess skin is better than dealing with the excess weight.

    I think you look amazing and you are an inspiration to me. Thank you!

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  40. I'm so sorry people have been so mean, that's just awful:( I'm not sure how you run in capri's in the summer!! I wear those in the spring/fall, but for summer, I wear the Nike Pro Compression 5" compression shorts. The 3" are way too short for me, but the 5" are perfect, they stay down pretty well, still hold everything in, and are cooler than capri's! I've also developed an Athleta running skirt habit, their's are great! Cute, cool, and shorts underneath with the little rubbery stuff on the legs to keep them down. They have a great free ship/free return ship policy and I've found that the length of the built-in shorts are different on each skirt, but I think they say what it is in the description. Just another summer option!

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  41. Im two years out of weight loss surgery. I went rom 700 lbs to 379 lbs.
    About a month ago I recently uffered from excess skin around my thighs and mid section. The Doctor suggested compression underwear however I'm having a problem finding the right pair. Even though I'm. man I was wondering could you suggest a pir. I'm kind of desperate because its very hard to walk because of the skin and hips and back hurts as well.

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    1. Hi there Charles! I wish I could be of more help, but I honestly didn't even know that compression underwear existed until after I had the skin removed. I used to wear very tight fitting exercise shorts underneath my pants to help hold the skin in, and that was definitely more comfortable. Maybe you could ask your doctor to give you a specific brand suggestion?

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  42. Also congratulations on your new life. I made my decision for surgery for a healthier life as well.also when you had your excess skin, how uncomfortable was it for you
    When you walked or even went to bed at night? Thank you and happy holidays to you

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  43. Hi Katie!
    I'm in the (almost) exact same boat, lost 125lbs. I've done the midsection surgery (vertical and horizontal scars, but they're looking good!) and struggle with my thighs, arms and even down the side of my body (under armpit) can't for the life of me find tops that work!!! I've had some amazing success with the lulu lemon tata tamer, and pretty much live in it, but I'd love to wear a normal bra one day!! Keep it up and if you have any great tips for dressing to hide, I'd love to hear them too!

    --
    Christine

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  44. Its so silly how we work SO HARD to loose that weight and feel better when we only attain one of those goals. I used to get the compliment that i didnt look my weight, I'm pretty curvy so i was usually put at 175-190 when i was over 210. But now my thighs have the same problem, and when i lay on my side all the skin on my belly just shifts to one side. Ive been wanting tattoos for a very long time and i wanted to loose weight and tighten my skin up. I suppose the easy part is done.

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I'd love to hear from you! I read all of my comments, and if you have a question, I do my best to respond; sometimes, however, I get busy and forget to go back to reply, so if it's important, just email me! :)