If you google the UK actress Lisa Riley, you'll get pages upon pages of stories all dedicated to her amazing weight loss transformation. You can't hide from the fact that Lisa has worked incredibly hard to lose 12 stone and drop from size 28 down to a size 12.
As with any weight loss story we hear or read about, we only get to see a cropped 1 page piece. We never get to fully see the sweat, tears and the dedication that slimmers put into their transformations. Nor do we get to read about the parts of weight loss that everyone likes to brush under the carpet such as living with excess skin.
That's why when I read an article on the Daily Mail site about Lisa now facing a challenge with excess skin, I was relieved. Not for her upset or pain that the excess skin gave her but finally someone was bringing this kind of subject into the foreground and breaking that taboo that seems to be surrounding weight loss.
Excess skin can happen to anyone
It doesn't matter how you lose the weight, excess skin can happen and unfortunately, it can bring a heap of new physical and psychological problems associated with it. When we want to lose weight, we can sometimes come from a place of dislike - we dislike our tummies so we concentrate on toning them, we dislike our weight so we work on losing a few lbs, we dislike our dress size, so we work on dropping a size or more. We tend to put so much emphasis on the fact that once we have lost weight, we will be happier and our weight loss problem will be solved. This kind of mentality can make us blinkered so when we reach our target & are left with excess skin, it can cause not only physical pain but psychological pain too.
Lisa has openly talked about how excess skin has left her in physical pain. This is due to the 'bagginess' and the weight of the excess skin but like many slimmers, it would also have affected Lisa mentally. The excess skin is a constant reminder of our old self, who we were not who we are now. I know for me personally, when I embarked on losing weight (going from size 22 to size 12), I had visions of me wearing skirts, strappy tops and dresses but instead, I had excess skin on my tummy and am still aware of excess skin partly on my stomach area. It's not what we want to see when we undress and look at ourselves in the mirror.
A lovely slimmer of mine lost 15 stone with me and one day had a chat to say she hated the way she looked SO much that she wanted to put all the weight back on again. Can you imagine how hard those thoughts must be to live with? You work so hard, lose an incredible amount of weight and at the end, the reality doesn't live up to what you had imagined.
Why does excess skin happen?
Loose skin can affect everyone who loses a significant amount of weight. This is down to many factors such as our age, genetics, the condition of the skin and how much weight we have lost.
Younger skin is more elastic than older skin and is easily able to 'snap back' into its original shape.
The length of time in which you have been overweight can affect your skin. If you have been overweight for a significant amount of time, your skin would have become used to being 'stretched' and this could affect how it rebounds back.
Coping with loose skin
Loose skin isn't nice but it's important to remember that after a period of significant weight loss, it can take up to 1 year for your body to fully change and recover. That's why I would recommend any slimmer waiting for 1 year before taking any drastic steps when it comes to excess skin. There are obviously medical procedures that can help slimmers and the removal of excess skin.
BODY LIFT - A body lift is a procedure involving surgery. This is where your skin is lifted and tightened in certain areas. As this is a surgical procedure, it does carry an element of risk to it.
ABDOMINOPLASTY - This procedure lifts and tightens the stomach area. As this is a surgical procedure, it does carry an element of risk to it.
Lisa Riley decided to undergo skin removal surgery and lost over 1 stone of excess skin. In her documentary Baggy Body club, Lisa discusses the procedure and you are able to watch Lisa undergo the surgery (NOT FOR THE FAINT-HEARTED).
Management of loose skin
As a weight management counsellor, I would still recommend slimmers lose weight and not let the thought of possible excess skin put them off any weight loss. Losing weight will improve your health and your mental well-being. If you find that you are left with any excess skin, you should definitely talk to your GP about how to manage the excess skin. Your GP will be able to recommend the best way forward whether it be surgery or counselling.
I completely understand that excess skin can affect your life and there are various degrees of excess skin and that's why I also recommend counselling. This is where you would be able to discuss your thoughts with a professional who will be able to recommend techniques to help you look at your weight loss and excess skin from a different view point.
Lisa Riley's TV show - Baggy Body Club was on ITV on 5th September 2017. It may still be available on catch up and If you are experiencing the same as Lisa when it comes to weight loss and excess skin, I would recommend you watch it.
Pictures courtesy of Daily mail.
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