I lost 100 lbs. the old fashioned way—with a personal trainer and a better diet. Within 18 months I was healthier than ever and at my goal weight. And yet I was embarrassed to take my shirt off. I would do pushups and look down and see big, sagging skin. How could I come this far without doing something about that? Dr. Parker gave me a new self image. When I look at pictures from 6 months ago, I can’t believe the changes in my own body. It’s shocking to remember living as that “before” picture and exciting to know I don’t ever have to go back there again.
I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t heavy. Over the years I would lose 30-40 lbs. and yo-yo back. For a while I convinced myself to just be happy the way I was and chalk it up to my DNA. It was easier to just give in and accept it. I went to college, got married, and had three children. Around the time I turned 32, I could no longer accept the fact that I was 5’11” and 280 lbs. There was no magic moment…I was just tired of the whole thing. In January of 2007 I began working out and a couple months later I met with a personal trainer who looked at me and said, “You’ll be 180 within a year.” “You’re nuts,” I told him. He designed a diet and workout routine for me. I followed his instructions, eating plenty, but the right foods. I was also working out 7 times a week on my own and 4 times with him. A year and a half later, I am 180. My pants size is smaller than it was in the 4th grade. While I was thrilled to reach my goal weight, I wasn’t expecting all the loose skin and extra fat. My trainer told me I would never lose the saggy skin without surgery. That was an unexpected fork in the road.
That was back in May of 2008. I never had surgery before, nor had I experienced anesthesia. It was a big decision, not only from a medical standpoint, but more importantly from a personal standpoint. I had to have a serious talk with myself. Could I trust myself to maintain all I had accomplished? In other words, was I willing to bet on myself to keep the weight off after surgery? My wife is a very healthy person and she helped encourage me. My family was a different story. In their minds I had accomplished enough already. What made it even more challenging was that I work in a family business so my time spent recovering would also cause some adjustments on their part until I could return.
By the end of the summer I had made up my mind to go ahead with surgery. Several people at the gym knew Dr. Parker and had great experiences. One of my friends who deals with him on a business level said he was not only one of the best surgeons around, but just a good guy. During my consultation with him I felt comfortable. He took time to get to know me understand my concerns. The way he explained things took my fear away and replaced it with anticipation. I booked my surgery for early November—a time where the family could best afford to do business without me.
Most of my concerns were with my stomach and back. Dr. Parker recommended we do a tummy tuck and liposuction. I was fortunate that my skin had enough elasticity in my arms and chest area to tighten back with exercise alone. Most massive weight loss patients have extra skin in those areas too. The first week post op I was really doing well. I was sleeping well in a chair. Four days after surgery I actually walked half a mile. It was major surgery and it takes time to heal, but I kept a very positive frame of mind. The Parker Center has a rapid recovery program that helped my body respond and heal quickly. In retrospect, the care I received post surgery was just as important as the surgery itself. Here at the three month mark I can do anything.
Like most guys, I have a healthy male ego. I have to admit at first it felt like I was cheating by getting cosmetic surgery. I did everything in my power to improve my body. I finally recognized the idea of surgery to tighten up my skin was possible because of my success, not in place of it. What advice would I give someone else in a similar position? First, if you are considerably overweight, don’t just dabble in different diets or try to please others by losing a couple lbs. You have to have the will to do it and realize you are doing it for you and no one else. Don’t use surgery as a weight loss tool, but if you are near your goal weight, don’t stop there—consider surgery to help refine all that hard work and give you the body you deserve. The bottom line is, I prepared myself mentally, physically and emotionally to be ready for this step. If I had to do it all again, I would. If you have had the discipline to lose the weight but extra skin is haunting you, I highly recommend a surgical consultation with The Parker Center to help you reach the finish line.
For further information on plastic surgery, New Jersey or to set up a a consultation, call (201) 967-1212.