Since I was a young teen my weight has fluctuated dramatically. To be honest, I didn’t care about myself nor did I take care of my body. I actually use to be a little over 400 pounds … I’m around 200 pounds now. I eat well and exercise daily. I’m so much healthier and I’m quite proud of myself except well … even though I’ve had a dramatic weight loss, my body is far from looking nice. My body has had a lot of stretch marks since puberty and has gotten even worse with my weight problems. I just found a new set of stretch marks a couple of weeks ago and was completely devastated. I also have a lot of lose/saggy skin. My stretch marks are ALL OVER my stomach, boobs, thighs, lower back, and my butt. My lose skin is mostly on my belly and inner thighs. The main reason I’m so upset with my body is because I feel like I will never find a guy who will accept my body. I have not even experienced sex yet and would be way too embarrassed to let a man see any part of my body. I will never be secure with my body. My stretch mark scarring will fade, but never go away. My body is scarred for life. My lose skin can probably only be corrected with surgery which I will never be able to afford. I mean let’s be real, what guy would want to be intimate with a body like mine? I’m disgusted when I look in the mirror every day. Sure most guys don’t mind a few stretch marks or a little bit of saggy skin but my body is literally covered in them and my saggy skin is ridiculous. I do not have the body a young woman my age should have. My self esteem is very low because of this. I’m only 22 and my body looks like I’m 70. I’ve thought about seeking professional help but I don’t think it will do me much good. (age 22, from US)
Thank you for writing in with your concerns. First and foremost, congratulations on the weight loss and fitness success! Losing 200 pounds is an amazing accomplishment and you need to give your body time to catch up. You are young enough that you still have an enormous capacity to heal, especially if you continue to eat well and exercise regularly. I think you are focusing on the wrong things. Instead of looking at your stretch marks and loose skin as defects, you could look at them as evidence of your personal strength and determination. You have truly accomplished something that most people cannot. Have you heard the saying “Don’t miss the forest for the trees?”
We all have flaws and things about our body that we don’t like. We have a choice though to obsess about it and feel less than, or to put our focus on things that we do like about ourselves. How you view yourself is how others will view (treat) you. If you think you are attractive and worth loving, you will draw someone to you who will love you like you deserve. You have nothing to feel embarrassed about. Here’s an article that you might find interesting: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/literally-darling/the-truth-about-stretch-marks_b_3996305.html
I would encourage you to work with a personal trainer who has experience with toning the body after extreme weight loss. I also feel that you could benefit from seeing a therapist who works with Body Dysmorphic Disorders and body image issues. Finally, even though it may be premature and unaffordable for you now, it may put your mind more at ease if you at least consulted with a plastic surgeon so you know what options you may have in the future. You are an amazing young woman who deserves to love yourself fully and completely!
All the best,
Dr. Holly Counts