Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Flabby Arms: Exposed for Renovation

It's no secret that I have huge upper arms. I have gone from 278 pounds to 219 and my upper arms are the only part of me that has not shrunk. Almost 17" around each, they are quite a feat of bodily engineering: as I got fatter, my body stealthily added layer upon layer to my arms instead of my waist, giving me the illusion of relative thinness because of my hourglass figure. But my arms did suffer, and they have not been as prone to shrinkage even as I lost over 60 pounds.

I see a lot of women who blog about their hatred of their flabby arms. Maybe they've lost a lot of weight and are left with swinging, sagging loose skin hanging as they raise their arms to wave. Mostly I see women who won't wear short sleeves because they are too embarrassed of their arms.

Not me.

In the summertime, I proudly wear my short sleeves and tank tops and if people notice my big arms, so be it. It's just part of me. Sure, I'd change it if I could, but I don't *hate* my arms. They're good arms, even with flab. The only time I feel embarrassed is if I happen to raise them to right angles in a tank top and the flab hangs down. It is unsightly, and I feel like I want to hide it.

Inspired by the Exposed movement of last year and my fire rekindled by Mizfit and her mention today of yet another blogger who exposed himself on his blog, I decided it was time to expose something I thought I never would. No, I am *not*... I repeat *not* brave and confident enough to post a whole body exposed shot. But I am going to step way out of my comfort zone here, in the hopes of inspiring others. This photo may be surprising, may be embarrassing, but I want it to register that you are NOT the only one with flabby arms. Your arms are NOT the worst thing in the world. It is OKAY to have the body you have. It is okay to let go of the shame and embarrassment and just let it be.

I love my arms, because they hugged my parents when they were still alive.
I love my arms, because they held each of five tiny newborn babies that came from my body, and rocked them and cared for them as they grew.
I love my arms for the work they have done to sustain my family in so many ways: washing dishes, cooking meals, vacuuming, and working 8 to 6 to keep a roof over my children's heads.
I love my arms for all they have done, and I accept them as they are now, flab and all.

*However,* acceptance does not mean that I will not try to improve things. I want my arms to be healthy and feel good and be strong to accomplish all the tasks ahead in life. With that in mind, I am creating a challenge for myself: to make these arms the best they can be. I have neglected them for long enough.

I am going to pick the dumbbells back up, and start doing arm, shoulder, and back exercises to tone my upper body. I am going to be more diligent about my skin care routine to do what I can to help loose skin tighten up. And in 3 months I will post new pictures and measurements to see my progress.

I do hope I can shrink these arms a bit. They are heavy and unwieldy. But if I am left with muscular arms and a lot of hanging loose skin, so be it. I'll deal with that when I get there.

How about you? What's your "trouble spot?" And are you willing to expose it on your blog?

54 comments:

happyfunpants said...

Wow! It takes a lot of willpower to post a picture of something that you're a bit self-conscious about. Way to go! AND you even wrote all the great things about that part of your body - things that brought you happiness and joy. I'm happy for you. :)

It got me thinking about what I could do to expose a few parts of my body that I'm not a huge fan of...and what a leap of faith and show of love that it would be. You just may be seeing more of me (literally) soon. :)


P.S. The skin on your arms? It looks SO smooth and soft - I can think of many women that I've known in my lifetime that would love to have the skin you have.

notjustcelery said...

Great post! I also have flab on my upper arms, even after losing 90 lbs.

I have really worked on strength training in the last year and am proud of the progress and visible muscles I have built in my arms, namely my biceps. Triceps are the hardest muscle for me to be motivated to work because the exercises that target them (tricep dips, kickbacks) aren't the most pretty to be doing in a gym full of people.

Anyways, I think it's great you want to pick up the dumbells again. I typically do my arm workout 3x a week. 2 of the times it's only 10 minutes long after spin class so you can definitely get results in a short amount of time!

Fluffy said...

You are awesome. It takes alot to post pictures of your self conscious areas. I think i will try dry brushing myself. If nothing else i guess it will be a good exfoliate! Love Love Love your blog.

Miz said...

yes happyfunpants.
I would kill (hmmm. indeed :) perhaps literally) for Lyn's skin.

and Ive seen it in person.

Im so proud to call you FRIEND.

Carla

Jack Sh*t, Gettin' Fit said...

Great post, Lyn. But I thought we agreed on a topless front pic...

You've inspired me to follow your lead tomorrow...

Lauren said...

What a beautiful post! It brought tears to my eyes. Our bodies are truly amazing in all they can. We should be SO fortunate we're able to do everything in our daily lives; so many other face tremendous physical challenges just trying to live in the world.

Sandra said...

Love the post - read Miz's post and Steve's. So proud of everyone for putting all out there.
I'm like you - it's my arms and also my inner thighs. I have huge quads. Those are the two areas that I am embarrassed about exposing but I do anyway and soon get over it. It's only the beginning of the season that I get all ansy about them.

Paula Rodriguez said...

Nice post--you know what? I could have been looking at my arms. I took a full "biggest loser" before picture. It was awful don't know if I can post it but maybe some day soon when I have a good "after" picture.

Greta job on exposing some of yourself. Will we ever see a picture of Lynn?

Betty said...

Yep, my arms are almost identical to yours. They've always been a trouble spot for me, even when I was in my early 20s and weighed next to nothing (and even then I was self-conscious and reluctant to bare them). The women on both sides of my family have bigger upper arms, so I'm stuck with them. However! I love that you have resolved to do something to try to improve them. Again, very inspiring. I'm not quite ready to commit to any kind of exercise program. Right now it's all I can do to write down everything I eat. Baby steps, baby steps. But I AM going to spend my day today being grateful for my arms in all their flabby glory. They let me hold and hug and lift my twin toddlers, hug and caresse my husband, snuggle with my dogs.... They allow me to write! And drive. And paint. Thanks for posting this. What a great reminder to be grateful for our amazing bodies!

Shelley said...

Very brave of you to show your trouble spot...mine is my belly (both upper and lower) and there is no way that's going on my blog, lol!

PhluffyPrincess said...

Wow - my arms are my #1 trouble area also! Other than that, I am waiting for my back-fat to disappear so I can wear deep-"v" open backed summer dresses.

AGirlWorthLosing said...

My arms don't make me happy ether. I am grateful for them but wish they wouldn't be so saggy. I am pear shaped and have large thighs...but for some reason I love my thighs. They don't bother me at all...all my friends who have bigger legs hate them but not me. :-)

midlife_swimmer said...

mine is my lower belly there is no way I am posting it because well its just gross...there are some other parts that hang and sag but that's just TMI. You can totally work on toning your arms up

mine biceps are 15 1/2 but all muscle now... but I am kinda of a buff jock type I think.

You are a brave woman!

bbubblyb said...

Lyn your post made me love you more. I have such issues with my arms I won't wear anything less than a 3 quarter sleeve shirt. Makes me want to take a picture and post it too. Not sure I'm as brave but maybe. Thanks for making me feel less alone in my skin issues. Great post!!!! *hugs*

411 Gurl said...

I think your arms are beautiful and you're doing so good. I am so glad you're taking care of You. Keep it up!

Christie said...

I agree that you really do have nice skin :)

My trouble spot is my tummy. I haven't even had kids yet but thats where I hold the most weight. Took some pictures from the front wearing a sports bra and I wasn't brave enough to show them to anyone. Maybe once a I lose a little more of it?

Dinah Soar said...

I love your attitude about your arms. Even when my arms were small and lovely I was embarrassed to show them. I suffered with the heat when sleeveless would have felt so much better. It was silly of me, now I know that, and a waste of life in a way. When I see a woman with big arms wearing a tank top I look at her with admiration and think 'what a woman'. Woman enough to kick the stereotypes and trends in the arse and do as she pleases.

Body By Pizza said...

Amazing post! Thank you for exposing something so many people feel ashamed about (including me to a degree). I have been thinking about participating in this moment for some time now and your courage has given me the final push. And hey, I might even start loving my arms. They ARE good for hugs!

Debbie said...

Hey I think your arms look pretty good. I have put a picture of myself out there for everyone to see. Yuck.

I guess my worst body part or the one I like the least is my belly fat. I have an extra roll around my belly that hangs down. I am hoping that exercise will help.

Blossom said...

TRICEP exercises! That'll help fill up the back part, and the muscle should help with the loose skin. I have plenty of trouble spots, but no, I will NOT be sharing! Lol, sorry! I think I'm too vain for that!

erin said...

I loved this post, and I too think your skin looks amazing!

My arms are my trouble spot as well, and they too hang down in an unsightly fashion (I call them "bat wings"). Last summer I even wrote about how I didn't like them but that I didn't want that to prevent me from wearing sleeveless things, so I'm trying to be braver about exposing them. I am going to take a picture of my arms and post it on my blog, too! Thanks for the inspiration!

Steve said...

This was a great post, and it so great that you were able this out there for us.

Whats even greater if that you took this as a call to arms, and are challenging yourself to go beyond acceptance. That is really great, and I can't wait to see what kind of progress you make!

Thunder Thigh Bride said...

This is super inspirational! I was just complaining about my arm fat the other day! There is no way I'm exposing my arms on my blog but I'm going to go tell my arms I love them and then do some push ups! ;)

char said...

WOW, that was a great post. Sometimes I lose site of all of the good things about me in the quest to get a better body. Thank you, thank you, for helping me to see all of the wonderful aspects that I do have and to not obsess about the flaws. The flaws are what make us!! Thanks for being such an inspiration. I love your blog.

moonduster said...

I had the same problem. The good news is that your arms will get better as you shrink. they won't be perfectly small and unstretched with tight skin, but the skin will improve a lot.

The other area I have problems with is all of the loose, stretched skin in my belly. it too is improving though.

I'm not brave enough to do an exposed post yet, but I'm trying to build up the courage.

Jer said...

I hate my arms- after losing 135 pounds and putting on a lot of muscle I am muscles with big bat wing skin. That's what I call it. I joke that I'm going to cut it off with a pair of scissors. I keep hoping that it will go away.

We'll see.

Leslie said...

I guess it's better that our arms are sporting dangling loose skin than if the skin were filled with fat! That would be worse. Thanks for putting 'em out there! Brave woman!

Helen said...

Lower abdomen. No. Not unless it's a "before" picture from the tummy tuck I've finally gotten. (Which I don't actually expect to get because of cost - so No.)

K. said...

My butt and my hips are definitely my troublespot and I think I am ready to expose them on my blog (www.it-is-time.com). Watch out everybody!

Beth in NC said...

What a GREAT post! Girl, that picture looks like my upper arms and I feel such conviction. You brought up great reasons to be thankful for your arms. I am thankful too and a bit ashamed that I let my vanity hide them (even in the heat). Sheesh.

Good for you. Freedom!

Diana said...

Amazing post, as always. So inspiring Lyn. :)

MargieAnne said...

Your arms are strong and your skin beautiful.

I was thinking about my skin and wrinkles this morning. I have wrinkles already and I've hardly begun. One of the disadvantages of taking too many years to get my head and emotions straight for long enough to lose significant weight.

I have to be satisfied with becoming slim and feeling healthier and fitter. I will have to work on my attitude to all these extra wrinkles. Maybe I can tell myself they are battle scars, which surely they are.

Anonymous said...

i hope we can see your beautiful face some day Lyn please. xo P

Emily said...

What an amazing post!! Maybe this summer I won't be to afraid to wear my tank tops!!

M Pax said...

I have 2 that plague me - same spot as you and a bit of flab about the waist.

I keep working at it. There has been improvement.

Sometimes I think I have to remember that I'm not 18 any more either.

RoSi said...

my tummy is my trouble spot. i can manage and deal with everything else. except for the way my tummy totally ruins an outfit lol

Mishe@EatingJourney said...

I love this. Throughout the whole entire exposed movement people have done whatever they feel comfortable doing. That's what I admire about people. I LOVE THIS. Fabo! Keep up the amazing work and thank you for being part of the movement. Welcome to the family!

Dinneen @Eat Without Guilt said...

What an amazing post! I admire your openness, honestly and just being real and you. And that's what this movement is all about.

And what you did IS brave....do know that. BRAVO (I'm clapping my hands applause....).

And I can't wait to see your progress!

CJ said...

Love your honesty and courage! I have lot of trouble spots :) But no courage to 'expose' myself! But I am cheering you on! I cant wait to see the results post 3 months. You can do it! YAY!

Sib said...

Yayyyyyyyyyyy!!! Loving and appreciating our amazing bodies - just as they are - is very powerful. Great post Lyn (*_*)

Pamela said...

Oh no, no, no - my upper arms are my biggest problem area, too, and I would kill to have your arms! They're beautiful!

Mad Woman said...

My whole body is my problem area right now, but as I lose weight I do notice my upper thighs are hanging onto it a bit more. But like you said, deal with that when it comes.

This was such an inspiring post!

screwdestiny said...

Hey, at least your arms don't have stretch marks on them. The skin looks really nice. So as long as you can get them toned up I'm sure they're eventually going to look great.

My legs are my trouble spot. Upper body? It's great! I'd have to pack on probably 15 pounds before it started looking much different. But I gain two pounds and it shows on my legs and hips. And I don't just mean my thighs, either. My calves are ugly, too. I've always been self-conscious that they're too big. And they're not muscly at all. Just big from the fat that gets packed on them. Same with my thighs. I have to work very hard to get rid of the saddlebags that seem to always be present. In fact, I just started exercising regularly again because I'm so unhappy with the state of my legs (and it's good for me...), but I'm embarrassed to post a picture on my blog because of those darn legs. So thank you for having the courage to post this. :)

Fat Grump said...

So, your upper arms may not be tiny yet Lyn but you have a really lovely skin tone. Your skin looks so smooth. I am sure you look just fine in sleeveless tops.

Like many overweight women I hate to see myself reflected in a mirror. I tend to avoid them. My 'difficult' body part is my middle - my trunk. I am apple shaped. I don't go in at the waist at all and even when I don't carry as much blubber around I don't have an hour-glass shape. I have rolls of fat around my middle...and my spare tyres are bigger than my bust when I sit down. I shan't be putting up pictures just yet!

However, as you say, our bodies serve us well and we can be good to them or neglect them.

R.P said...

I am a new follower of yours and trust me this line was something like THE BEST ANSWER for a million emotional weight loss issues running in my mind.--> "*However,* acceptance does not mean that I will not try to improve things." Way to go Lyn! You are a superb inspiration to me.

Irene said...

I am a fellow EXPOSEr and I love your arms. They look strong!

anne h said...

Oh boy!
Now everyone is going to pose all naked in their underwear and stuff!
;D
Those arms are a b*tch to work out, eh?

The Phat Nanny said...

have you ever tried water aerobics, Lyn? I think your arms are fabulous! But I am loving the results I'm seeing from my WA classes, tons of toning going on here! I know you'd talked about a foot injury and WA is no impact.

Keep up the good work!!

Mary :: A Merry Life said...

I have a similar issues with my arms. I don't hide them though - I live in tanks. But I do need to be more diligent about skin care and trying to tighten the loose skin up.

Great post Lyn! I'm very proud of you!

Lyn said...

Phat Nanny~

Yes, I have tried them but oddly I ended up in severe pain in my knees for a couple of weeks. I can swim ok but once I start walking in the water and doing leg things, something strange happens. It messes with me (almost cartilage-free, bone-spurred, torn mensicus) knees. The other issue being the $80 a month the gym wants from me... crazy fee!! Can't do it at the moment.

beerab said...

I feel ya on the arms- I have started walking three times a week with 3 lb weights- I have noticed a HUGE change over the past 6 weeks with those little weights!

I also use 5 lb weights a few times a week during my workout warmup.

Arm exercises help. Higher weights help as well- I have a used bowflex at home that I also use and that has higher weights- don't worry women don't bulk up like men (the female bodybuilders take steriods to bulk up).

Guess what I finally hit onederland today (took me like 16 months)! I posted about it :D

Claire said...

I don't comment often, but this post really spoke to me (well, they all do, but this one especially). :)

You sound SOOOOOOOO healthy mentally. I want to get there. To actually embrace the parts of my body that I hate would be a huge step in finally getting healthy.

Thank you for the pictures (you look great, btw), and for the honesty. It's why I come back here everyday.

PhluffyPrincess said...

Awesome post! I actually did an "exposed" post inspired by you. It has sparked so many to expose themselves, I couldn't even remember who the first woman was, but it hit me it was you. Thanks so much for sharing.

Anonymous said...

hey, i came across your blog and i have been reading so many old posts! im not even sure if you will read this, but advice for your arms-- play tennis!! seriously, your arms will be beautiful. anyway, good luck!

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