HomeDebunking The Myths, Did You Know, Food 101, The "Study" Guide, Tools For Weight Loss, What Are You Eating?A Black Girl’s Guide to Loose Skin During and After Weight Loss
  1. Introduction
  2. Eat the veggies, already!
  3. What a bad diet does to your skin
  4. My experiences with loose skin
  5. What can you do to help your skin transform healthily?
  6. External skin care
  7. Internal skin care
  8. Steer clear of…
  9. A few important notes
  10. In closing

The above is my stomach. It isn’t perfect, but I realize what it represents: someone whose lost a lot of weight and managed to come out of the process with skin that isn’t and doesn’t sag. I don’t share out of bragging or narcissism – I don’t really get anything out of that – but out of demo. I am a person who has experienced success in this arena, and aim to share what I’ve learned to help me achieve what I’ve achieved thus far.

My journey is still ongoing, so there’s still some pouch there, but it’s not the full-blown sagging apron that it once was, and for that, I am humbled. This post is me sharing why hope isn’t an unrealistic emotion for every woman. – Erika

Lately, I’ve started receiving a flurry of e-mails asking me specifically about loose skin, and why I don’t have any.

The reality is that I did have it, I don’t anymore, and I likely won’t have much of it as I get closer to my fitness goals.

To make my point, I’m going to have to – unfortunately – talk around my point a bit before I bring you home. Sorry.

When people talk to me about how they want to lose weight, and it’s a triple digit number or close to it, I pay intense attention to the language they use surrounding how they plan to lose it. Are we talking a complete overhaul of how you eat? Or are we talking “portion controlling” the things you already eat?

When a dear friend – who okay’d me telling y’all about her, as long as I told y’all she won in the end before telling y’all the story – told me that she wanted “to look like [me], but eat the way [she] eats,” I groaned. By her own admission, she had at least 75 pounds of fat to lose before he reached her ultimate goal, but she was super-attached to how she eats, to the point where change felt impossible.

I, very eager to take on new clients and test out my skilllllllllz, went through the week with her. What does she eat for breakfast? (Lucky Charms that she shares with her little one.) What does she eat for lunch? (Whatever fast food her co-workers decide to make a run for, and snacking on whatever she could squeeze in-between class periods.) What does dinner look like? (Hamburger helper, corn dogs, steak and potatoes when her boothang was over for dinner, KFC – the macaroni salad was a favorite for her – and sometimes the salad from McDonalds.)

When people talk about weight loss, they instantaneously revert back to portion control of the same foods they used to eat, never thinking much beyond counting the calories. I asked her, “Why do you think you eat as much of the foods you currently eat, now?” She shrugged, telling me that this was what how she always poured, never thinking much about it. I asked her, the next morning, if she was full after eating her cereal. The answer was expected: “Not really, I’ll probably be starving by lunch time.”

“Well, if you’re struggling with this portion size, how do you think you’ll survive eating Lucky Charms for breakfast if you cut your portion?”

“Ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, this sucks.”

I considered this my “in” to trying to get her to change the way she thinks about food, and the way she chooses her meals.

Eat the veggies, already!

There’s more to weight loss than food, and that’s for sure, but there’s more to food than weight loss, as well. When I took a look at her week-long spread, there were very little vegetables. Very few sources of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. There was plenty to keep the calories coming and going, enough to power through a very busy day, but beyond that? She was losing, nutritionally speaking.

As we continued on with working together, I slowly tried to convince her to embrace fruits and veggies, and find ways to add them to her diet. While I was thinking more along the lines of raw veggies and fresh dips, she went with smoothies.

Whatever. Anything’s a start.

When you merely add fresh produce to an otherwise questionable diet, you’re still fighting the negative effects of the questionable diet. Hyper-processed foods with certain chemicals – and chemical combinations – have a tendency to screw with your hormones, screw with your internal organs and their ability to adequately do their jobs, and can quite literally make you sick. Adding fresh produce to that kind of diet while still consuming processed food isn’t going to let the fresh produce do repair work of fixing what the processed food screws up. Instead, the fresh produce will only fight to keep things from getting worse. Very little progress towards better health can be made in this kind of situation.

And, here we are, at my point.

There is more to weight loss than food, of course, but there is more to food than weight loss.

Nutrition plays a role in everything from the way your blood flows freely throughout your body to the way your toes wiggle when you want them to. Poor nutrition impedes them both – type 2 diabetes can take your toes and any other limbs it pleases, and the plaque from poor quality food that largely coats the insides of your veins and arteries can affect how your heart pumps blood.

The same goes for your skin.

What a bad diet does to the skin

Writing for the Daily Mail, dermatologist Dr. Patricia Farris wrote the following:

The link between sugar and premature ageing lies in a process called ‘glycation’. This chemical process happens  when blood sugar levels become excessively high.

Sugar molecules then circulate in the blood and bind to other components to form substances known as protein-sugar complexes – also called advanced glycation end-products, or AGEs.

These can be found in virtually all organ systems around the body – from the kidneys, brain and nervous tissue to the skin – and trigger an inflammatory response, causing tissue damage and premature ageing.

Glycation should just be part of the natural aging process that starts when you are in your mid-30s and increases with age. But we now believe the speed at which glycation occurs is directly related to your dietary intake of sugar.

The collagen and elastin molecules in the skin that help your face defy gravity are extremely susceptible to being attacked by sugar. When these molecules are turned into AGEs, their soft and supple fibres become more rigid. This leaves skin saggy, baggy, and wrinkled.

So, the more sugar and refined carbohydrates you consume, the more your collagen and elastin will be attacked – and the older your skin will appear.

A high-sugar diet not only contributes to ageing of the skin, but it can lead to the skin becoming unhealthy, dry, and vulnerable to infection.

It can also exacerbate acne. This is because high blood-sugar levels trigger high levels of the hormone insulin, which can set off a hormonal cascade that stimulates oil production and increases the proliferation of skin cells that can block pores – causing acne.

I strongly believe cutting back on sugar is one of the best possible things you can do for your skin.

And so goes my argument: a diet full of hyper-processed foods is degenerative to the quality of the skin – reducing the elasticity that would allow for your skin to bounce back – and trying to add veggies to that kind of a diet isn’t going to help with the challenges of loose skin. You literally have to find enjoyable ways to replace the hyper-processed foods with fresh produce in order to experience the regenerative benefits of its contents.

There is more to weight loss than food, but – most importantly – there is more to food than weight loss.

My experiences with loose skin

Did I experience loose skin? You bet your sweet tooth I did.

When I first started – ahem – deflating, for lack of a better phrase, my skin hung and sagged. I had muscle that I was trying to build, but neither did the muscle come immediately, nor did the skin immediately snap back. But a few months and a hundred pounds later, and my skin was slowly beginning to do its job.

It was hard to keep track of because, quite honestly, much of the skin shrinking was happening while I was still losing. Going from a double-digit loss in a month’s time to slowing down to a crawl of 5, 7, 8 pounds in a month made me a little self-conscious, and the loose skin only made it worse. That’s how I realized – with the help of a dear friend – it was time to start lifting. All that sagging and deflating, I at least needed to have some curve.

Eventually, my sagging skin stopped, well, sagging and eventually caught up. Even as I’ve focused on building muscle over the years – I made the silly mistake of believing I’d lose fat and then all this muscle I never really ever had would appear… ha! – my skin has still slowly conformed to my body’s new-found frame, something I expect to continue over the next leg of my journey, when I begin cutting down some of the fat separating me from my goal body fat percentage.

What can you do to help your skin transform healthily?

Many people reference waist trainers, belly bands, and corsets for this process.

I don’t, and I’ll tell you why.

When it comes to loose skin, neither of these can do anything that a good pair of compression pants can’t. The extra expense for this purpose is useless. A thin pair of compression pants – I fully recommend Under Armour’s HeatGear compression pants, but a reliable pair of tight leggins will work in a pinch – can go underneath a pair of work pants and, without the stress and suffocation of a taut corset, you still get the same benefits of compression.

A good pair of compression pants will help keep everything in place – they can hold the skin of the tummy against itself, keep the skin of the thighs and the booty in place without additional rubbing and irritability. Gravity will impede your skin’s ability to cling to your body – compression garments help fight those negative effects. Furthermore, if you require lotion or oils for your particular skin situation, a good moisture-wicking pant should be able to keep that off of your work pants.

For arms and breasts, I recommend a good sports bra or an otherwise comfortable bra and either a pair of compression sleeves for your arms or a long-sleeved compression shirt. In other words, the girls shouldn’t be “sitting high and pretty” unless it’s absolutely necessary. And, quite honestly, most times it isn’t necessary. Put them away. I don’t have sagging breasts, either. And yes, I’m a mom.

External Skin Care

Compression helps – not only with irritation and rashes but also, anecdotally, with the skin being able to “find its way back home” – but not more than external skin care. Shower regularly – daily, even – and moisturize your skin with your lotion of choice while your skin is still wet. Protect your skin from the elements – extreme sun and extreme cold should be non-factors for you. Exfoliate – a generous skin scrub (homemade ones work wonderfully, too) can make a world of difference in your skin’s glow, shine, and the appearance of your pores. (There are many options for exfoliating, but here’s what I do.)

Internal Skin Care

There’s also an internal component to skin care, as well.

As I said twice before – there’s more to weight loss than food, and there’s more to food than weight loss. Because so many other processes affect your ability to lose weight – and keep it off – healthily and successfully, and because so many of those processes are directly affected by the food you choose to eat, and so many of those processes will determine how your weight loss journey turns up…changing the way you eat not only has the added benefit of helping you leave behind the habits that helped you gain the weight in the first place, but also will aid your body in normalizing your hormone levels, cleansing your veins and arteries, and – yes – redeveloping some of the elasticity in your skin.

People try to pinpoint exactly which vitamins, which nutrients best contribute to healthy skin growth and care, but the reality is that they all contribute in equally important ways because without one factor, they all suffer. Vitamin A strengthens skin tissue; vitamin B can tone skin, reduce redness, encourage hair, skin and nail growth; vitamin C reduces inflammation and aids the natural development of collagen – one of the base elements of human skin, Vitamin D (though not best acquired via food) promotes healing and repair, vitamin E not only aids the skin in sun protection but also can enhance healing and tissue repair, and vitamin K supports proper blood flow and coagulation. If you are lacking in one way, the rest suffer.

What’s more, even if you try to manage all of this by simply adding one multi-vitamin to your diet, you’re still likely missing something: vitamins A, E, and K are fat-soluble, meaning that they are best-absorbed through being combined with dietary fat. Not to mention, that daily build-up of these vitamins through supplementation can actually be toxic. Investing in a supplement as a resource might not be worth it. Consume healthy sources of fats – avocado, nuts, olive/coconut/organic canola oils – on a regular basis. They’ll help you get the job done.

There’s also water. Water is a necessity in both skin care and overall health in general. A dehydrated body begins the lockdown process: sweat, a process intended to help cool down an otherwise hot body, only happens when absolutely necessary, thereby potentially causing damage to your internal organs and robbing moisture from the skin; water helps a fibrous diet keep your digestive system ‘moving,’ cleansing the intestines and aiding the body in better absorbing nutrients needed to heal the skin.

When we say the body is an intricate system, we mean it.

Steer clear of….

Alongside cleaning up your diet, should include cleaning up your vices and the consistent use of such. Alcohol acts as a diuretic and a blood thinner, dehydrating your body and rushing vitamins and minerals out of your system before your body has the opportunity to absorb them. There’s also the fact that alcohol turns your liver into a dried brick of unfortunateness. Your liver absorbs toxins and turns them into something less-toxic for your insides, and without it working at full capacity, your body isn’t as able to cleanse your blood stream of toxins. This impedes your ability to better absorb nutrients.

Caffeine – to a certain degree – causes similar effects. Caffeine is also a diuretic – something that makes you pee, potentially causing dehydration if enough of it is consumed – but so is celery. The difference between caffeine and alcohol, however, is that alcohol doesn’t provide any antioxidants. Coffee does. It’s up to you whether or not you choose this as a source or not.

Taking it a step further, only a few people are out here drinking black coffee, no sugar, no cream. You’re likely drinking something with tons of sugar in it – and, yes, even the “skinny” version is a mess, too. Consider switching to black coffee, or consider weaning yourself off.

Cigarettes! No. Pure nicotine affects the way your blood transports oxygen and nutrients throughout your body and, as we’ve stated before, blood flow is important to healthy skin.

A few important notes

One of the hardest things to accept, as an obese woman, was the reality that my eating habits were so intricately linked to everything I did. I couldn’t merely “only eat 600 calories” and do fine – I had to actually eat that diverse diet that so many people preach about. I couldn’t starve myself into weight loss, because starving myself meant starving my body of nutrients, too. And, even as we sometimes believe we deserve to starve, we don’t. We deserve to feed ourselves healthily without shame and without guilt, and we deserve all the benefits that come from such. Anorexia would only exacerbate my skin issues. Bulimia, the same. It’s not about eating less, it’s about eating differently.

If you are battling an eating disorder, seek help – not because your skin won’t look so great, but because this is a kind of pain you don’t deserve. No one does.

As healthy exercise only increases and encourages proper blood flow, with the ability to cleanse arteries and veins damaged by a high-sugar diet, it should also be noted that good cardiovascular activity – anything that can get that heart rate up there and keep it up there for a while – is also an integral part of rejuvenating your skin. Get it in, and get it in regularly – 3 times a week, at least.

There’s also the matter of weight loss surgery patients. I receive about five e-mails per month from women who are weight loss surgery patients – always, without fail, at least 4 of the five share with me that they were never told anything about how to eat or even what to eat. As weight loss surgeries encourage weight loss to happen rapidly, the heavier you are, the more likely you are to experience skin issues – and, by extension, hair loss as well. I know that weight loss patients are often told to “just portion control their old meals,” but trust me, if they’re hyper-processed foods, you shouldn’t. You can’t. You have to change, even if you’re still losing weight eating your old diet in smaller portions, particularly if you want to pay special attention to your skin. If anything, weight loss surgery robs you of one of the most reliable markers of success or failure in a weight loss plan: the ability to experience a plateau.

What if you’re saying to yourself, “I’ll just get skin surgery, then!” You’re also likely to be told the same thing I’m telling you here, too. An inability to change your diet means your skin will only continue to get worse, even if its been cut and re-stitched. If your dermatologist doesn’t tell you that your diet can aid you in healing from those scars? I will. Clean up your diet.

Age absolutely plays a factor in the skin’s ability to rebound, but only because age helps determine how many years you’ve been putting your body through the ringer. Our grandmas who eat veggies from their own garden, with flawless skin and flowing silver locks? Let them be your inspiration. Whatever age you are in life right now, start now. While the usual suspects – Oprah, Mercola, Health.com, HuffPo, and so on – have lots of information about fresh produce reversing aging, I can’t find any data on any of the reliable open databases for research I’ve seen, so my suggestion is a little more reserved: eat the produce because the rest of your body needs it, and if you experience reversal of aging, then consider yourself awesome. If not, you’re still awesome.

In closing

I hope I’ve made it abundantly clear, here – the need to change your diet and pay special attention to self care is an essential part of fighting sagging skin. I know I always end these long essays with “your body will thank you for it!” but, in this instance, it couldn’t be any truer.You’ll see it in your nails, in your hair, in your face. You’ll feel it in the softness of your skin, the amount (or lack) of dryness you experience, and how quickly your skin heals after bruises and cuts. Change your eating habits today, and I promise – I promise – your body will thank you for it!


 

Oh, and if you’re wondering, it’s been 13 months now, and my friend lost most of her weight but actually wound up gaining another 20, thus far – not because she slipped on her routines, but because she and her boothang-turned-husband became pregnant! So, she technically did win, in the end.

About the Author:

The proud leader of the #bgg2wlarmy, Erika Nicole Kendall writes health, fitness, nutrition, body image and beauty, and more here at #bgg2wl. After losing over 150lbs, Kendall became a personal trainer certified in fitness nutrition, women's fitness, and weight loss from the National Academy of Sports Medicine, and crtified in sports nutrition by Precision Nutrition. She now lives in New York with her husband and children, and is working on her 6th and 7th certifications because lol why not.

48 Comments

  1. Ty October 5, 2014 at 3:13 PM - Reply

    Thank you for this. I’ve been on this journey for a year now. I’ve lost 55 pounds and still have 45 more to go. One of my issues was the skin on my stomach and breast and doing my best to prevent sagging and loose skin.

  2. Chemese October 5, 2014 at 4:30 PM - Reply

    I just order a pair of the compression sleeves.

    • Sandra Sanchez May 4, 2016 at 10:17 AM - Reply

      Where did you find them?

      • Chemese May 4, 2016 at 4:21 PM - Reply

        Amazon

  3. Deborah Fitch October 13, 2014 at 1:16 PM - Reply

    Can I use Spanx for compression garments?

    • Erika Nicole Kendall October 14, 2014 at 10:36 PM - Reply

      I would say it needs to be something that can cover entire muscle groups. So, the Spanx compression pants that cover the entire booty area down past the knee covers the entire quad/ham complex muscle group. No stuff that cuts off in the middle of the thighs. No stuff that cuts off in the middle of the tummy. You know what I mean?

      • irene November 30, 2014 at 8:39 PM - Reply

        this post is kinda what i was looking for..i am new to this weightloss thing and would like some guidance on clothes to wear for myself(4’11 315lbs) and my husband who is 5’5 and around 360 lbs. as for compression garments am i too big to wear something like that now?

        • Erika Nicole Kendall November 30, 2014 at 8:54 PM - Reply

          Of course not! Look into that Enell brand that I mentioned and see if that serves as a start for your sports bra!

  4. Tina October 24, 2014 at 4:01 PM - Reply

    I really have to loose weight I am 15 n weigh 100 kilos

  5. Mimi October 24, 2014 at 5:11 PM - Reply

    Thank you! As this is a hot button issue for me. I am curious about the compression clothing. That’s a new tip for me. How often/long are you wearing them?

    Thanks!

    • Erika Nicole Kendall October 27, 2014 at 2:13 PM - Reply

      Sports bras? Almost all day. Compression garments? Under clothing when I’m out and sometimes, at home. Not with much consistency, if that tells you anything.

  6. Mimi October 24, 2014 at 5:13 PM - Reply

    PS You are looking good girl! Thanks for being a great role model on so many different levels.

  7. Anna Marie Hopewell November 10, 2014 at 6:59 PM - Reply

    Hey Ericka, thank you so much for this. I used to struggle with BED and bulimia and have been on a journey to complete recovery for the last 9 years. As you probably know with eating disorders, eating was only one part of my struggle. For me, the recovering of my identity, my self-esteem and body image has been even harder than learning NOT to medicate with food. Having said that, in the last year I have made huuge strides in trying to loose the excess weight i gained during those ED-plagued years in my 20s.

    I started this past January 2014 – inspired by your journey & a desire to prep my body towards my future dream of mommyhood – by rehauling my both my lifestyle and eating habits. I got the cheapest gym membership i could find, committed to working out 3 days a week, went onto a glutenfree diet (to help alleviate severe knee & ankle pain duse to inflammation) and the pounds slowly began to melt away. I went from a size 26 (295lbs) to a size 22 (266lbs). Its been a slow long journey but checking in on your blog and following your menus have helped me get there. I’ve also been practicing Yoga, Mindfulness and Meditation to cope with my emotions and it has all helped tremendously.

    These last two months i’ve experienced a bit of a plateau but i think adding more weights into my routine (as you mentioned above ^^^) may be my answer.

    Anyway all that to say thank you!! Thank you for being honest about the process and open about issues like excess skin which people typically love to hide.

    I am now feeling fitter, stronger, healthier and more confident. And your blog helped me believe that weight loss (healthy weight loss) was a real possibility for a girl like me!

    I am now a mentor to other young girls and women in ED recovery and hoping to further my knowledge by taking a good nutrition related and/or yoga/fitness course to help me in my quest to help others just as you have helped me.

    Blessings from Scotland

  8. Jewel Polson November 17, 2014 at 11:52 AM - Reply

    Thank you so much for this! Much needed encourage for me to keep on the path of clean eating!

  9. Mimi November 26, 2014 at 9:42 PM - Reply

    Hello,
    Thanks for this, I appreciate you being willing to share such intimate photos online for others. It looks like the pic on the right has a line. Is it natural or did you get some tuck?

    • Erika Nicole Kendall November 27, 2014 at 9:06 PM - Reply

      What you see there is the scar from the bikini hairline stitch I received when I gave birth to my daughter in 2006 from a c-section.

  10. Clarissa January 27, 2015 at 8:47 PM - Reply

    Omg! My stomach looks just like that to the left. I’ve lost over 90lbs and I’m still struggling with the pooch. I’ve be doing everything you listed except the compression garment. I’m going to add that. I’m still hanging in there.

  11. Ada February 17, 2015 at 9:25 AM - Reply

    Elizabeth, what a great piece. Thank you for all of this info and for sharing your own journey! I do have one question. You made a point about celery in the caffeine section in the article, but I’m not sure I quite followed. Could you explain? Is celery kinda bad for you like caffeine is? Thank you!

    • Erika Nicole Kendall February 17, 2015 at 9:57 AM - Reply

      Nope. The difference between the two is that one has addictive qualities and the other doesn’t, thereby amplifying the potential for harm.

      Very few people are binging on celery, you know?

      Being mindful of your consumption and ensuring that you’re staying within recommended guidelines for your size and health condition is important.

  12. Ada February 17, 2015 at 9:26 AM - Reply

    So sorry! My phone auto corrected your name to Elizabeth. I’m very embarrassed!

  13. Ataia February 17, 2015 at 11:16 AM - Reply

    Are compression garments supposed to be worn all the time or just when working out?

  14. Lika February 18, 2015 at 1:24 PM - Reply

    This site is so great, i keep it open all day. Thanks so much for being my guinea pig. About to go buy some compression garments!

  15. Erika D. February 19, 2015 at 8:57 PM - Reply

    Erika in your article you talked about compression pants/tights. Can you tell us the best brands for plus sized girls (especially those with big butts, hips and thighs)? Help!!!!! 1xl, 2nd etc.

    • Erika Nicole Kendall February 19, 2015 at 9:26 PM - Reply

      Start here, then here, and then look here. Even if my suggestions don’t work out, at least you’ll be familiar enough with what you need that you can get something that’s close enough to get the job done.

      In terms of particular brands, it wholly depends on how you’re built. I’d say Lane Bryant now has a good line, Old Navy’s online site has a good selection, and Fabletics has a great 2X collection that they update monthly. All worth a second look.

  16. Tabitha Talon February 23, 2015 at 9:48 PM - Reply

    I finally found a current forum!! I am new to ‘clean eating’. I am currently 266 at 5 feet LOL. I used to be 198 until ‘life and stupidity’ happened and well basically i ate!!

    My sister has been in this new lifestyle and it has interested me for a few months now. I have been gradually moving towards it (eating more fresh raw fruits and veggies. Purchasing market seafoods and leaner meats. Drinking more water. Eating whole grain rice, etc) and yes I have experience of the counter-affects of eating some fast food or processed foods.

    This site and a few others have been full of information. I have been reading ingredients more, looking up the ones that are listed. (one thing of bread had a paragraph of ingredients). while some information has been making me scared LOL, its helping me move away from processed items.

    I will be on here for a good while.

    • Erika Nicole Kendall February 24, 2015 at 11:09 AM - Reply

      Awww, welcome! I’m so glad you’re here! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask!

  17. desma March 3, 2015 at 11:02 PM - Reply

    hi Erika I’m beginning of my journey in i’m feeling a little overwhelming.I don’t want to fail,I there B slip-ups along the way but this is the first time I’m looking for support in weight loss.can you give me some advice to keep my motivation

  18. Leah May 31, 2015 at 5:17 PM - Reply

    Thank you for positing this I seriously needed this!!! This is inspiring to be because my stomach looks like your before picture

  19. Eureca September 30, 2015 at 3:31 AM - Reply

    This site continues to amaze me with the wealth of knowledge in all aspects of weightloss. I see that you also have a kangaroo pouch from having a caesarean delivery. I absolutely hate looking at my scar and pouch, especially because it is several inches above the public hair line. When you reach your goal weight, do you plan to do anything to minimize the scar? Currently, I can’t see mine unless I raise my belly and look in a mirror but the idea of losing weight and constantly seeing that badly placed scar is enough to slow down, if not completely derail, my weightloss.

    I guess I abhor it so much because I still resent having been forced to have a C so early into labor due to my inexperienced and lawsuit-fearing OB.

    • Erika Nicole Kendall September 30, 2015 at 6:56 PM - Reply

      Honestly, I don’t. I realize I have the privilege of both of my scars (as I’ve just had a second c-section) be right on my hairline, though, so I may not be the one with whom you’d like to compare answers.

      I will tell you, though, that a lot goes into the choice to suggest having a c-section, and it’s not just inexperience or a fear of lawsuits. Doctors do themselves no favors by refusing to take the time to explain to their patients what goes into it all, and we are living in a time where we are looking at everyone and everything with great skepticism, but if it only hurts you to harbor this resentment and pain, why not let it go?

      I was – and in a lot of ways, still am – deeply disappointed that I had to have surgery to give birth to my child. Operating rooms give me PTSD, for real. But I accept the things I cannot change, and I’ve accepted my scar as a part of my story, and I’d encourage you to do the same, sis.

      Also, that’s not quite the kangaroo pouch – what you’re seeing there is body fat. Once the fat goes away, that skin will tighten up more, as well.

  20. Lee Jaffe December 11, 2015 at 11:24 AM - Reply

    Thanks!

  21. Cortney January 9, 2016 at 10:49 PM - Reply

    I just found this, and thank you! I have been fat all my life. With hormone imbalances, Doctors who just said “eat less” etc. I finally found a Dr who listened to me this past year and we decided together that what I have is PCOS (it started with no ovulating). With this diagnosis–finally someone who didn’t think I was crazy!–I had a starting point. I’m down 60 pounds since the end of June on my own willpower and hard work! Because I’ve been heavy for so long, I already have sagging skin, and have for years. Because I still have more weight (a lot more–I’m currently at 308 if that tells you anything) to lose, I searched ‘will a girdle help reduce sagging skin’ and found you. So my question is do you think wearing a compression garment can still help me? And do you know anything about helping the arms as well? Thank you so much for putting this out there to be a motivation for all of us struggling to get there!

    • Erika Nicole Kendall January 12, 2016 at 10:05 AM - Reply

      I do believe compression garments combined with a solid fat loss plan can help with all parts of the body, though I can’t speak to a 100% certainty without having seen you or knowing your specific experiences.

  22. tele January 11, 2016 at 2:08 AM - Reply

    Thank you for this! I have read in other places that vitamin E is a great help with repairing loose skin. Would you say it is also helpful to use it during weight loss to stave it off? I can’t believe how much information that I was looking for that you were able to provide in this one post.

    • Erika Nicole Kendall January 12, 2016 at 4:42 PM - Reply

      Hmmm….

      So, vitamin E consumed in the form of food? Yes. Keeping your skin moisturized with better quality/more natural lotions? Yes. Seeking out lotions specifically because they say “vitamin e” on the label? Strangely enough, that’s likely to be the most adulterated source of what you’re after. Look for something like Aveeno’s Oatmeal Lotion, or Shea Moisture’s African Black Soap or Superfruit Complex lotion, something thick and lasting. “Vitamin E” is basically ANY oil or oil-based lotion. Looking for that on the label is likely to be a lost cause.

  23. Sorian January 17, 2016 at 11:18 AM - Reply

    Hi Erika, desperately in need of your help. Am now 30. I lost about 50 to 60 pounds when I was 18/19 and kept it off. Am 130 plus pounds now and severely depressed. I have extremely saggy breast as a result, think 70 yrs old lady breasts, they’re b cup, prior to weight lost they were near D cup. I have cellulites n stretch marks on all areas of my legs n stretch marks on my calves as well as flabby calves, I can’t visit the beach nor go without panty hose when wearing skirts. I have bat wings and stretch marks on that area as well. I look good enough in lots of clothes. I have to double up on undies to give my saggy butt a little lift or make it appear normal, wear leggings under trousers so that my legs do not wobble when I walk. Am miserable. I am considering just strength training for the gym I’ve never been to the gym nor exercise. I don’t have any children. Wearing that many clothes esp in summer makes one miserable and hot. My legs and butt are horrible. Soft, flabby, stretch marks and cellulites. If I stand and fake firm them like squeeze everything together with my muscles or what’s left of them, they look great, so I don’t believe I need surgery plus I can’t afford it, but how do I achieve that look in reality? And my breasts, don’t know what to do, can’t afford a breast lift either. I don’t have an ugly face, but I will never be able to get any man to appreciate a body like this, its ridiculous. I know many will say, if he loves your soul and blah, but these people don’t have so many things wrong with them at the same time, so how could they even understand. I don’t have low self esteem independently, its as a result of these awful flaws at such a young age, I’ve had to deal with it for the better part of my life ( the 20s) when everyone was being sexy and beautiful. Please help Erika.

  24. Kaycee February 14, 2016 at 12:27 PM - Reply

    Do you have a recommendation for a compression garment for your abdomen? I’m just starting to lose my upper tummy and think I have some loose skin pockets (for lack of a better word).

    I’m doing everything else you suggested with the exception of taking vitamin A which I will remedy this week. I’ll ask my dermatologist about it the next time I see her as well.

    Any tips you can offer would be appreciated!

    • Erika Nicole Kendall February 19, 2016 at 10:46 AM - Reply

      Take your Vitamin A if you must, but also EAT IT! Avocado and salsa, carrots and olive oil, sweet potato and butter… all combinations that are great for Vitamin A.

      A regular tight fitting compression shirt will do the trick. Asics makes great ones, as does Reebok. Check them out!

  25. Caroline June 1, 2016 at 11:36 AM - Reply

    Thank you! I am on my journey, already lost 80 pounds, and my skin (tommy and breast) is sagging. I was 305, I am 224 and I want to drop to 180.

    I am discouraged to lose more, because of my skin, so I search solutions. I will do what you say, minus a healthy diet, because I already do that (I think it’s the actual solution to lose weight). I will purchase very fit leggings and tops to compress my skin, apply cream after shower, and exercice more.

  26. Nikki October 24, 2016 at 6:07 PM - Reply

    I don’t find that black skin becomes as loose as other skin types. I’ve gone down from a UK 22-24 to a 12-14 and don’t have loose skin. I was trying to find your loose skin in your photo but it’s not what I think of as loose exactly more untoned…

    I didn’t do anything special diet wise but then I already ate a balanced diet but I still eat ‘unhealthy ‘ foods when I fancy them, I just have restraint. 2 cookies instead of the whole packet!

    I don’t exercise in any cardiovascular capacity but I have spinal issues which make it very difficult.

    I think losing weight, having loose skin etc. like most other things all depends on an individual as what works for one won’t for another…

  27. Amy Fiske October 31, 2016 at 12:03 PM - Reply

    Hello. I am 51 and so far have lost 270lbs. I have loose skin everywhere but my concern is the waist. It is uneven there and would like to cinch up that area so it doesn’t show thru’ my clothes like it does. Is there a waist trainer u can recommend for this. I have tried ace bandages, makeshift backbraces and other things I’ve tried to configure. while they cover that spot at first, they roll up when I sit then its the cover bandage that shows thru’ the clothes. Help.

  28. Rachel B April 4, 2017 at 6:18 PM - Reply

    This is brilliant! I have been letting myself slip into some unnecessary sugar habits after weight loss surgery, and I know that has been slowing me down (I am awesome with exercise, but I sometimes let that be a crutch to make not great choices, or pat myself on the back for great choices in food for a few days, and roll into the “reward” system, which is so dangerous. Especially since I lost tons of weight on my own before surgery and went into it with the full belief it was only an additional tool for me. This was exactly the reminder I needed that I don’t need those unnecessary (or unnatural is a better word) sugars in my life, when they don’t add any extra nutrients. I am bookmarking this post for sure!

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