On my MFP friend feed, someone asked about my experience with loose skin, as someone who lost weight at 60+. Not the first time the question has come up. I decided to post a thread, being as honest as I can manage. Photos will be in spoilers, even though not indecent in technical terms (I'm wearing a tank top & short shorts that I wouldn't usually wear in public, but wouldn't be arrested for) . . . but I don't want to hear from anyone who doesn't want to see a li'l ol' lady body. You were warned: It's on you. I'm sharing this for others' information, not because I think it's fabulous looking. Also, different people will have different results, better or worse. This is n=1 me.
Background: I lost something over 50 pounds at age 59-60, 183lbs to 120s, in a bit less than a year. That was about 5 years ago. Over the intervening time, I drifted up 10-15 pounds, though still at a BMI in lower 20s, and have recently re-lost around 10 or so pounds, at 126.6 this morning, at 5'5", BMI 21.1, age 64. The photos below are from that weight, today.
I felt like the loose skin I had immediately after loss wasn't mostly disastrous, and certainly way better in every way than staying obese. The loose skin I had shrunk quite a bit during the first two years of maintenance, and maybe beyond. Now, I have a small amount of new loose skin from the re-lost 10 or so pounds.
On to photos. This one is what my midsection looks like, standing up straight, not sucking in, just standing relaxed.
You can see that sort of downturn/squint at the sides of my navel that shows there's been weight loss. The finer wrinkles just above the navel are, I believe, from the recent re-loss, and I suspect they'll disappear after some time.
I can make the midsection look worse by slumping forward (leaning to bring ribcage closer to pelvis). That's the next photo.
The finer wrinkles are what I'd consider to be true loose skin. They'll maybe disappear with time. The little roll above the waistband still has some subcutaneous fat in it, and won't leave unless I lose more fat.
Next up, legs. They're sturdy, not shapely, just how I'm built.
You may note that one leg has more remaining inner thigh fat than the other, and is saggier. Weird, but true.
Next, let's look at an area that many women worry about, the upper arms. This will try for an illustration of that thing I rant on about, with respect to "bat wings" or whatever ugly thing women may call it.
This is the first of two photos. My arm is relaxed and horizontal, and I'm pinching the area that most women would call "arm fat" "loose skin" "bat wings" or whatever, but I'm not pulling on it, just pinching. Big flap there. (Yes, my underarm looks weird. A surgeon took out some lymph nodes, so there's a divot.)
Next photo, I'm flexing that same arm, pinching what skin/fat I can, and *pulling down hard* to highlight as much loose tissue as possible.
I hope you'll agree with me that there's much less flap here than in the previous photo even though I'm trying to maximize the flappy part in this one, i.e., a decent share of the flappy part above turned out to be relaxed tricep muscles, muscles that are now engaged/tight in this photo. (I wish I could do a video of myself, because the difference in actual floppiness is pretty major.)
From the weight loss, the thing that looks the most worst to me is my face. Now, I never was Cutie McCuterson, and never will be. I'd also say that my face looks better than it did right after weight loss, but there is still noticeable droop there, that wasn't there when I was obese. I look better if I smile, but I'm intentionally not smiling, so you can see the maximum droop.
This would be the front view.
Besides the droop/wrinkly bit below my mouth on either side, my neck looks stringier than when I was fat. I suspect this has something to do with my own weird muscle/tendon structure that was underneath the fat the whole time, just covered up. I don't think it came from weight loss, but weight loss revealed it more.
Now, the side view.
You can see the droop/wrinkles below my lips quite clearly. There's mostly the stringy zone under my chin, but not IMO a lot of just hanging skin. I did have a good bit of fat there previously, when I was obese.
There ya go: Honest pics of loose skin, one woman's experience, after a few years of mostly maintenance, following 50+ pounds loss at about age 60.