“What’s wrong with your legs?”
It’s time to address the elephant in the room. My legs. I think the questions about “why do my legs look like this, why are they so big, why don’t you have surgery on them, do you have lipedema, why do they look so much bigger than the rest of your body…” All of these comments and questions are the ones I get asked about the most and almost daily. I am not upset about these questions…they are all valid questions and to be honest, sometimes I think them to myself…why do my legs have to be so big. So I get it that a lot of you may have these questions. The truth is… I have big legs. But why you may ask?
Well, you can blame it in genetics, or you can simply just blame it on the fact that when I was 500 pounds, I carried a lot of weight in my legs. That’s just how it went. I did not plan it that way, hope for it to go that way and I surely did not want it to go that way. Reality is…that’s what happened and that’s how it is. There’s not a whole lot I can do about it to change it. Except now…have all of the loose skin removed!
“Why do they look like that?”
When I lost weight, it was a lot harder and a lot slower to lose all of that weight in my legs. My legs are left with a lot of loose skin and anything I put into my body that is higher in fat or salt…it makes the loose skin, especially in my legs become very swollen and retain a lot of fluid. It’s like the loose skin soaks up all of that water retention and the fluid gets trapped in the skin. Kinda crazy!
Also, my legs have a lot of lactic acid build up. I was not taking proper care of my legs or stretching when I was 500 pounds or while I was losing the weight. More lactic acid was building up too. I also recently found out that I have a huge knot in my left calf that I have no idea how long it has been in there. All of this combined…I have a lot of issues with my legs. A lot of issues that will not go away until I have the excess skin removed and we can really start helping my legs fully heal. I have been having special massages to help break up the fat and lactic acid that is stuck in my legs. My massage therapist is also really working on getting that knot out of my leg too. A lot of these issues are out of my control and are things I am working on. All things that once the skin is removed, will drastically help my legs to heal and improve.
I also hate making excuses but wanted to address this, yes my legs look bigger than the rest of my body because…they are. I have had a lot of skin removal on my upper body, causing my legs to be disproportionate to the rest of me. So yes they are big, but when looking at the rest of my body they do appear much bigger because the loose skin up top is mostly all gone. It’s like an optical illusion haha
What am I doing to help them?!?
I recently got some custom fitted medical grade compression leggings to help my body get rid of some fluid that may be stuck. These leggings also help with the pain of the skin by supporting the loose skin and holding it tighter to my body.
The truth is…my legs hurt…all of the time. They are heavy and really pull on my knees and hips and cause me a lot of pain. I have a hard time even lifting them off the ground, or going upstairs. They shake, jiggle, wiggle, and pull, which is causing a lot more pain and stress to my body. The compression leggings seem to help, however, they do not eliminate the issues. I cannot wear them while working out, SO I really have to modify what I can do in the gym because of the pain. Truthfully…my legs are one of my biggest insecurities about myself. I am so embarrassed, ashamed and try to cover them, hide them and never want anyone to look at them. I am learning to embrace them and love them and be proud of them…but I have moments where I just can’t even bear to look at them and mentally looking at them and thinking about them is really hard for me.
Getting massages as regularly as I can, really seems to help and the compression leggings are also helping a bit too. I also try to elevate my legs as much as possible, stretch as much as I can and put hot compresses on my legs at night and give myself massages as much as I can. All of these things seem to help my legs a and the pain a little bit. I know this seems like a lot of work, but I know that nothing will completely help until…skin removal.
Skin Removal is Up Next
The next surgery I will be having is to remove the excess skin on my legs. I will probably need 2 phases of this. One procedure on the inner and another on the outer part of my legs. For this next one, it is just the inner leg and removing as much skin as possible.
To say I am excited is an understatement. I feel like I want to shout it from the mountain tops and tell everyone I see that finally, at the end of February, I will hopefully begin the mend. Hopefully, I will begin the journey to being leg pain-free and have a lot of weight (literally) taken off of my shoulders.
In the meantime, I am doing the best I can to help my legs become stronger, to take care of them and to give myself as much relief and comfort as possible. Having strong legs and a strong body is so important when going through skin removal. I am trying to go to the gym and do everything I can to be as strong and ready as possible. I really want to be physically and mentally strong for this recovery, since I know it’s going to be brutal to recover from.
What else am I doing while waiting for surgery?
Since working out can really hurt, I have searched high and low for the best leggings that can hold my skin in as tight as possible and help to give me some relief in the gym…and normal life. I am happy to say that I found them!!
The Athleta Contender 7/8 Tights are my new favorites. They are high waisted, super comfy and hold my skin in as tight as leggings can and give me the most support, relief, and comfort when I am working out. I pretty much live in these leggings now (when I am not in my medical compression pants). Recently, I got this camo pair and I am obsessed. I really feel like a warrior when I work out in these. What I also love most is how much of a size variety they come in. XXS-3x is amazing. Athleta is so size inclusive and makes me love shopping there and supporting this brand so much more. SO when you have a great product, and include so many size options… it’s a win all around for everyone!
It’s NOT ALL bad…I promise!!
Now, I don’t want you to think that losing weight causes so many issues and is so bad because honestly, I would take all of this loose skin and all of these complications/issues over being 500 pounds ANY day. I have learned to love myself, respect my body, and take care of myself. Losing this much weight has really taught me just how much of a fighter I really am. I learned I am strong and I learned that I will not give up anymore when things get challenging. My loose skin is just one of my battle wounds. It reminds me how life tried to break me and I just came out stronger. So yes, physically and mentally it causes me a lot of pain and issues. But please hear me when I say never EVER let the fear of loose skin hold you back from losing weight or reaching your goals of getting healthier.
For me, I now live a life I am proud of. I love who I am and I love becoming the person I always dreamed of becoming. All of these are so much bigger than the fear of loose skin. If you come to the point where you might be left with a lot of loose skin, I hope you continue to make the choices and decisions that are best for you. Whether that be skin removal surgery or deciding to not have surgery. Everyone needs to make their own choices and decisions on what’s best for them. I am doing what’s best for me and I hope that everyone else does the same thing for them.
I’m Going To Keep Fighting For Me!!!
My goal is not to scare you with the loose skin or complications from it, but I hope that I can share my journey and experiences with losing over 300 pounds to help others. I have grown to love sharing my journey and especially what is helping me at this stage of my journey. I know recently a lot of people have been asking me how I am dealing with the loose skin on my legs so I wanted to share some of the things I am currently doing to help my legs, as well as share these amazing leggings. These leggings are the best ones I have found to help my skin and I hope if you are having similar issues, or just want a cute new pair of workout leggings, that this information answered some of your questions and might help some of you out too!
For me, I will keep fighting and doing what is best for my overall health, happiness, and wellbeing. I will be here to help share tips, tricks, leggings…and all of the fun stuff that is helping me. As I said, I am more than ready to part ways with this skin…but I am going to keep loving these legs, this loose skin and keep taking care of my legs. I will continue to show them some much-deserved love and care. If I have to live in these Athleta leggings for a few months and buy them in every color…then so be it.
Never stop doing what is best for you and remember that no matter what, our bodies deserve love right now. Do not wait until the finish line or your end goal to love yourself. Do it now, work on that now. You are so worth it and it makes the journey that much better!
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