Sunday, March 11, 2018

The Issue of the Melting Arms

It's no secret that I don't like exercise. It's also no secret that I don't like the way my arms look with all the hanging fat and skin. Exhibit A:


On the left we have my original "Flabby Arms: Exposed for Renovation" post picture from April 2010, when I weighed 219 pounds. My upper arms were just under 17 inches around, and I was determined to exercise the heck out of them and get them looking good. On the right, we have my arms right now, weighing 202 pounds and 16 inches around. Aside from being paler and having a slightly more deflated but still hang-y look, there's not much difference.

I remember when I weighed 175 pounds and my arms got all the way down to 14.5 inches around. You'd think I would be elated... and I was, at the number. But not at the actual reality of how those 14.5 inch arms looked. In fact it was so disconcerting to me seeing all the deflated, hanging skin that I wrote this post called "I Don't Like My Melting Body" detailing how upsetting it was to me. I also noted that at 193 pounds, the hanging skin was there but not too bothersome. But at 185 pounds, I wrote that "the 'drippage' and 'melt effect' is astounding".

I'm only 17 pounds away from that weight where the skin hangs and causes me anxiety. I have always believed that *that* issue was one of the main reasons I regained weight: I just could not deal with the way my body was changing. That might seem lame to you, but it was not lame to me. I have 17 pounds of time to get to a place where I can handle this issue somehow, or I am doomed to stall, fail, or regain again. Part one of addressing this is talking to a counselor about it. Part two is doing what I can to have better arms (and other body parts) this time around. I've written so many blah blah blah posts about planning to exercise that I won't bore you with yet another, but I do have my arm routine in place, dumbbells out and ready, and "arm exercises" has been added to my weekly checklist. "Skin care" has been added too. I *have* taken more care over the whole of this phentermine weight loss period to use better moisturizer all over on a regular basis, but I am ramping it up and going back to the dry skin brushing routine I had in the past as well as using good lotion and taking a balanced mutivitamin, biotin, and fish oil. I know this probably won't prevent the loose skin. In fact, I know it won't. But I will feel better knowing I am doing all I can and when I hit that 185 pound mark, maybe, just maybe my arms will look and feel better than they did before. And if not, I want to be able to accept it and not let it affect me in a negative way.

Scale today says 202, same as last week.


Anonymous said...

So are you saying that your arms in the picture now don't bother you or make you feel bad? But when you were 17 pounds lighter, they did?

Lyn said...


They bother me when I wear a short sleeved shirt, because I am used to having them covered all winter. But I get used to that fairly quickly as it warms up. But they don't stress me out in a major way looking this way, no. I never took a photo of my arms at 175 pounds because they upset me so much, but I do remember that the thing that bugged me wasn't just arm size, but the "empty" skin like big flaps just hanging in places.

LHA said...

I don't know if you would consider surgery when you feel you are finished losing weight and your weight is stable. I know someone who had plastic surgery on her arms and it came out well. You are left with a scar on the inside of your upper arm but it isn't visible unless you raise your arms and it does fade over time. I don't ever wear short sleeves or sleeveless tops and have gotten used to it. In hot weather I wear an elbow length sleeve or 3/4 sleeve pushed up to the elbow and think I look pretty presentable that way. I understand how you feel about this, and I know many others who have lost weight do too. It's not silly at all to feel stressed about the loss of shape our body goes through.

Anfisa said...

Sadly the body can only recover so much. Can you refocus? There will always always always be things we don’t like about our bodies. What do you LIKE about your body? Write a list. Like a thank you note to your body. (Sounds totally cliche but we all have to end the body-war somewhere....)

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear you have a plan of attack for this - both physical and mental. Unlike losing body fat, where we cannot predict where and when the fat comes off, we definitely control when we build muscles!

Are you getting weighed at the doctor's office or somewhere where you get reliable information including percentage body fat and fat free mass? This would tell you where you are with overall body fat and if you're losing or gaining muscle mass anywhere. That muscle mass may allow you to enjoy your arms more.

If you're not overly excited about the workouts for arms you do have planned, there are lots of great resources online, particularly YouTube. Check out some of the more dance-oriented trainers (I highly recommend Simone de la Rue from Body by Simone) and try those routines. The music is great, the work is interesting and the results are great!

I like Anfisa's comment to spend time thinking of what you do like about your body. I imagine as you're seeing lots of change right now there are many things to process.

FrenchyMcFrenchcake said...

I can’t remember if you did weight training last time while you were losing? That would have helped some but since you didn’t this time all you can do is get in beast mode! Or I second getting the surgery if you can maintain for awhile. It’s always an option in the future if you don’t get the results you want otherwise,

Lyn said...


actually I think I would consider surgery for the arms. Probably not the rest of the body because it's all hidden. But maybe the arms.


It's not really body hate... it's embarrassment. I've written that kind of "love letter" to my body (it's posted on the blog somewhere). Even with loving my body, there is something very disconcerting in seeing these big changes in my body. The empty hanging skin on my arms when I am thinner feels like a billboard to me: "I may look thin, but I WAS MORBIDLY OBESE!" I hate that.


My doctor says that those scales that report body fat percentage are not accurate. She says no scale can tell that information and you have to do the water immersion method or the airtight pod method to get reliable info about body fat and muscle. I may go have that tested at some point.


I have done strength training on and off at various times when losing (home weights, gym weights, gym circuit, etc). I wasn't lifting at all before that last arm picture was taken in 2010.