Body Dysmorphia

Let’s just get this straight up front – I’m not griping. I’ve lost a ton of weight! But a couple things happened this week that pushed back on my ability to see the loss instead of the disfigurement.

We all have a little body dysmorphia, some are just worse than others. I have never been happy with my body. Scars from many years of surgery and most of my adult life spent obese, it’s a bit hard to see the rewards of major weight loss, but I have been focusing on the weight loss rather than the dysmorphia.

I started at 214 pounds pre-Mexico. Since 2013 I have swung between 185 (lowest weight in 2015 with blood clots) and 225 (highest weight in 2013 before deciding to divorce) and normally stick right around a range of 195-205 pounds. At 5’8″ the higher range is too heavy for me. I don’t look good and I don’t feel good. My eyes get small from too full a face and I can’t bend over or cross my legs. I know how to diet and lose weight but the problem was maintaining a weight loss once I achieved it. Over a period of 4+ years (where I logged weight very consistently) I had a 20-30 pound swing up and down every year. It was uncontrollable and unhealthy.

I’ve always said my weight is like and elevator, always up and down and never stationary for long.

My target for personal weight loss was always to achieve a stable 170 pounds. Never got there for all the years of trying post my mother’s death. For surgical weight loss my target was a firm 150 pounds with a potential for 140 depending how I looked at 150.

One of my closest friends just told me my face was too skinny and I need to put weight back on in my face (can your even do that? Is that a thing?). My sister in law saw my scars and screamed out loud that I need to hide those away as they were scary and she was sorry I was gonna frighten anyone away with those when I start to have sex again. Those were not the only comments, just the worst ones.

At first I wanted to smack them both – after all I’ve been through and they know I’m an emotional wreck, they make negative body comments. I know they mean well. But, really?

Then another thing happened, as I was exercising I looked down the front of my shirt and couldn’t believe the ugliness of the excess skin hanging weirdly from my middle. This prompted me to get undressed and look at myself in the mirror – naked is very, very tough now. But I hadn’t been paying enough attention until right now. My skin hangs everywhere. I even got into some “positions” or angles a man would see my from if we were having sex, and I was horrified. I didn’t realize the way the skin was hanging in my midsection. Then my boobs and ass….they just lost all their luscious, round curves and hang flat. My poor ass has terrible cellulite. Compound some seriously ugly scars to this loose skin and it is, actually, frightening. Then I get upset and wonder who will take me as I am without grimacing?

I look really good in clothes. I feel better with more narrow hips and legs. I sit easily and cross my legs with no problem. I’m no longer out of breath for no reason. I went from an XXL to a Medium in most things. Overall, my confidence is raised because I look very close to the way I want to when I’m dressed. It’s the naked part that just hit me hard over the head.

I always weigh and measure on the 20th of the month, so today was a weigh in day. I weighed 152 today. A total of 62 pounds gone.

This month I dropped 1.5-2 pounds. My weight loss from surgery pretty much slowed in Jan/Feb so, while I was hoping to hit my goal in March, it doesn’t seem like I could drop those last 2 pounds this month. I will be damned I don’t get under 150 and stay there a bit. Not when I’m this close to my adult goal weight.

So I am *so close* to my goal I can taste it. I dropped to 149 pounds for my colonoscopy and it was a little thrill! Now that I’m on liquids again for a week, maybe I will drop it this week. I’m going to get there. BUT, now I’m looking at my wasted body and getting upset. I’m trying not to. I don’t know if the loose skin would bother me quite as much if I didn’t have such massive scars (partially which hold my stomach skin by adhesion to the muscle underneath so it’s a very weird look).

I am trying to remain body positive. Having to reveal myself during sex is going to be tough, much tougher than anticipated. I also realize that I’ve been actively disengaging from the dating scene because I’m getting in a funk over being sick (or even being down and out for a few days the last couple weeks) and not wanting to explain my medical marvel of a history to anyone.

Author: Madeline Harper

My journey through divorce and an emotional and sexual reawakening. Love, laughter, friendships, family and heartbreak included. And there is sex, lots of it, so close your eyes and turn the page if that's not for you! While I started this blog as an endeavor to journal my thoughts and feelings in an attempt to better understand myself, it has become an amazing platform from which I have met some of the most interesting and wonderful people in my life. My path is often crooked, but I hope you will share in the journey with me.

13 thoughts on “Body Dysmorphia”

  1. I watched a documentary on Netflix about cosmetic surgery in the UK (and how it went wrong, mostly) and one segment was about a woman who underwent gastric bypass surgery, which went well… but left her with a lot of excess skin that required her to get a full body tuck. Incidentally, they also had a segment where a few folks went to Mexico and Thailand for their surgery and, well, okay… not the best idea they had when trying to save money and, of course, it made me think of your ordeal.

    You can probably exercise until the cows come home but if you’re seeing extra skin, it may not “go away” with exercise – was this mentioned to you pre-surgery and by anyone? Hopefully you won’t require any additional surgeries; I’m guessing it really sucks to do something to improve your health and appearance, only to wind up having something else to deal with other than buying clothes that fit.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I knew about extra skin and it was going to be a crap shoot where I got it because of my weight fluctuations over the years. I didn’t expect what happened in my thighs – but I think most of that will be replaced with decent tone. I knew the chicken arms were coming but still tone the tops.

      The belly was a shock. It has to do with my previous surgeries and how the skin is “pinned down” to the muscle from the adhesions. So the flag sort of hangs around those focal points. No one saw that coming.

      Chances are very high I have a corrective surgery in the US! For adhesions. When I do that I can add in cosmetic surgery for the scars and lipo for the fat.

      If I do it at all.

      Wearing clothes is great. I’m focusing on that as best I can. Physically dropping this much weight is great. My body is just smaller and more moveable. It’s all psychological to accept the loose skin results.

      I saw some of those shows too. Scared the hell out of me


      1. I understand the angst but it is what it is until you decide to do something about it and, frankly, any man who’d give you some grief about it and not want to have sex with you because of this is both shallow and stupid.

        Just sayin’.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Don’t be. Methinks the key to this is to not make yourself insane over something you can’t do anything about right now. It’s still you and if nothing else, it’s motivation to keep working out and hope things tighten up where they’re loose; try using cocoa butter on those scars – it helps to soften them and they could eventually fade albeit not fast enough to ease your mind. And pure cocoa butter smells pretty good – like cocoa and chocolate!

        And if you need some tucking, get the surgeon to work some magic to get rid of the worst of your scars while minimizing any scarring from getting stuff tucked.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I kinda don’t like it to see women beating their heads against the wall and especially over things that (1) they have no control over and (2) things they probably need to do but can’t get to them as quickly as they’d like. It’s important, I think, for a guy to tell you honestly to just chill, deal with the stuff you can deal with and, in particular, not all of us are shallow bastards who think a woman’s appearance tells the whole story about her or the only reason, bluntly, we wanna get in her panties is because she looks like a supermodel. Some of us look beyond the cover, Madeline, and don’t care about that. It’s your “cover,” sure, the real deal truth and fact is you can only do what you’re able to do about it so kicking your own ass about it doesn’t make sense, does it? Keep your head up and work things as best you can and in the order you can do them. And if nothing can be done immediately if not sooner, don’t sweat it; it’ll get done if and when you can get it done.

        Encouragement and positivity, yes… but this is more common sense than any kind of “ego stroking,” if you will. Use that fine mind of yours and try not to let your emotions run the show.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I got nothing but love over here. Turn off the damn lights. If someone can’t love ALL of you both inside and out, then they aren’t for you. It’s easy to write this, but at the end of the day it’s true.

    I have exactly the same weight issues you describe. I’m trying to figure out my solution to the ups and downs and general fluffiness I combat.

    I’m tired of being fat and hungry, I’m tired of feeding myself with sugar to calm my crazy. I’m tired of not finding an exercise habit I can stick with.

    I am sad that my younger self didn’t realize how important exercise was so I could have formed the habit earlier. But I know it isn’t too late. I just need to start my small habits over and build on them.

    Now excuse me, I’m hungry….and obviously I need another walk….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes to the younger self part – if only we did it then it would be a solid habit now! Ugh.

      I just ate a bowl of cheez it’s. I dunno why I am so hungry today. I’ve been doing well with eating but saw the box and the mind went dark for a second. 😂

      I think I’m always going to be soft. I’m never getting to a solid middle anymore.


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