One Mom’s Journey from Fat to Skinny to Confident

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Ask Roni: Do I Regret my Tummy Tuck?

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I have a few questions burning a whole in my inbox. This one’s from way back in February. So sorry Susan!

Hi Roni,

I have been reading your blog since I googled ” WW points for cheese curds” about 6 years ago. At that time I had just had my second child and was doing WW to lose the 65 pounds I gained during pregnancy. I lost the weight and have kept it off all this time, plus or minus 5 pounds, and am actually more fit and active at 39 years old than I was in my twenties.

However, I have the “mom-tummy.” The stretch-marked saggy skin that I cannot stand. No matter how firm the rest of me is, there is that pile of pizza-dough skin I cannot do anything with. I’m self-conscious about it, so much so that I finally called and made an appointment for a consultation for a tummy tuck. Financially we can afford it, I’m more worried about the recovery time off work, etc.

I’m just wondering, do you regret the tummy tuck? I know you are in a good place mentally and physically, and am curious how you feel about it now.

On a side note, I enjoy your blog so much. It’s real. I am the mom of boys ages 10 and 8 and can relate. I love that my 8 year old runs races with me, talks to me about proper form for a push-up. My boys are my joy.

Thank you for “listening,”

Susan

Hi Susan!

Congrats on the loss and fist bump for being more fit at 39. I’m right there with you!

I’m so glad you asked this question. It’s been so long since I’ve talked (or really thought) about my tummy tuck. For those who don’t know, in 2006 I had a tummy tuck after losing 70 pounds — click here to see pics.

I can’t believe it’s been almost 10 years! I was so different back then. That was my “skinny” time. It was a year before I even considered working out. I was on a high after finally losing weight successfully, something I thought impossible.  And I really didn’t think I wanted any more kids.

HA!

Things change don’t they?

Now I care more about strength than skinny. I’m no longer seeking a certain physique and I have 2 little boys, not one.

Do I regret the tummy tuck?

No.

Period.

I know there are a lot of strong opinions on this, and I hosted some great conversations when I was actually going though it but I pretty much feel the same way as I did back then.

For me, plastic surgery wasn’t a path to some perfect body. My surgeon actually called me his most laid-back client. I didn’t go to him to sculpt me, I wasn’t looking for a quick fix. I did and was doing the work (mentally and physically). At that time I weighed about 140 pounds, the lower end of my weight range at 5’8”. I finally felt like I was over the yo-yo cycle of hell I was in. I was no longer allowing my body image to hold me back. I was throwing myself out there more and more. And I was proud of myself.

However, there was this area of my body nagging me. I knew there was nothing I could do about it by myself. I saw two different doctors who said it was simply skin and soft tissue that could easily be surgically removed.

So that’s what I did.

Should I have accepted myself as is and just lived with it? Maybe. I can make a ton of arguments against plastic surgery and it’s easy for people to have an opinion when it’s not the body they live in.

It’s impossible for me to know if I’d be the same today without the surgery. Would I be as confident? Would it still bother me?  I’m going to assume yes. However, there are still areas of my body I’m not too fond of. I have quite the dimply butt, my legs jiggle in shorts, my arms have “wings” even with all the weight training I do, and no matter what bra I wear I still seem to get back fat hang when I wear tight shirts.

As I said, the tummy tuck wasn’t about making a perfect body because I don’t think the perfect body exists. It was my way of saying goodbye to the old me, to the demons of my childhood. The surgeon cut away more than fat and skin he helped me move past the painful memories of being mistaken for pregnant (this happened more than I’d like to admit in my early 20s). It was my way of saying goodbye to the taunting I experienced as a child when the neighbor boys would make earthquake sounds as I walked by. It was (honestly) a way to show my dad I could actually be skinny.

Of course now I’m older and more experienced and know that there are much more important things in life than being skinny. But my adolescence was littered with experiences like those that simply reinforced my worst fear back then — I was fat. And I blamed my rounder, puffier belly for starting it all.

So on one hand I wish I could stand here on some high horse and tell everyone they can love their bodies as is but the truth is the tummy tuck was an important part of my journey and healing. And making the decision, going through with it and moving on has made me me as much as all my other life experiences.

Susan, only you know your motivations and desires and only you can make this decision. Having a tummy tuck is no small deal. It’s months and months of healing if not a full year. I will say if I didn’t do it then I’m not sure I’d do it now only because I’m so much more active and the downtime during recovering wouldn’t be worth it for me. But again, that’s easy for me to say now. I’m not carrying around the extra skin.

And for those who are curious, I did get pregnant 5 years after surgery and I didn’t regret that either. Having a second baby became more important to me than having a flat stomach. I guess you can say my priorities shifted as I got older and still continue to do so.

I snapped this really quick as I know I’ll get questions…

Tummy

You can see my scar and the remaining stretch marks, which may have gotten slightly worse with my second pregnancy but not really. I remember thinking how weird it was that stretch marks that used to be on my upper abs were moved down so low. Overall my stomach now is pretty solid with all the weight lifting I do. I’ve finally come to a place of “just is” with it and the rest of my body.

I think the most important thing is being true and honest with yourself. Don’t let anyone influence you either way. Only you know what it’s like to live in your body and only you know what’s driving your decision.

Good luck!

~*~*~

Food Journal

  • 8:30 a.m. egg and egg white omelet made with sausage, bacon and spinach. I also had 1  How-Many-Healthy-Things-Can-I-Get-Into-a-Pancake Pancake on the side. I made them for the kids.
  • 11:30 a.m. Leftover chicken thigh and leftover grilled broccoli. I topped the broccoli with some colby cheese — total craving as normally I like my veggies straight up. It was weird though, I really wanted cheese.
  • 2 p.m. The Husband and 10-year-old brought me home fries from their lunch out. I ate them with 2 sticks of beef jerky. Weird, I know.
  • 7ish p.m. on — We had a pot luck party and I nibbled on some chicken nuggets, Roasted Sweet Potatoes and ham (mu addition,) veggies and chips and salsa. I also had a couple of light beers. My stomach is growling now so I may dip into some back but I’m not sure what I want.

Activity Journal

  • 6 a.m. Warmup
    Push Press
    5 @ 33 lbs
    5 @ 53 lbs
    5 @ 63 lbs
    5 @ 83 lbs
    5 @ 93 lbs
    5 @ 103 lbs
    5 @ 93 lbs
    5 @ 93 lbs
    5 @ 93 lbs
    I did today’s workout as prescribed, kind of. It was death by front squats at 65lbs. That means you increase your reps every minute starting at one until you can’t complete the number within the minute time frame. For example you do one front squat to start then wait a minute and then do 2, then and the next minute 3, 4, 5 and so on. I was able to complete 15 reps in 1 minute but then I died. lol You were supposed to continue at half reps until the 20 minute mark but I skipped a minute to catch my breath. Hence the kind of Rx.
  • 9 a.m. 1.75-mile walk. I finally clocked it to Evan’s school. Not quite 2 miles there and back. :)


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Discussion

There are 8 comments so far.

    Amanda

    June 19, 2015

    I feel like I could have written this myself. Your blog helped ME with my own tummy tuck, recovery and such three years ago. You are right on point! Thank you!

    Susan Welsome

    June 19, 2015

    Ronnie, you are an inspiration! I really feel that you can express you changing perspective better than many! The tummy tuck was VERY IMPORTANT and valid then. But thing change. That doesn’t make it less important. Times are different and focus adjusts. I continue it follow you on Facebook,blog,podcast and etc because my life changes too. What was the most important 10 years ago is mearly a image in the rear view mirror now. Thanks for sharing your journey .

    nancyabc

    June 19, 2015

    I would like to lose all that extra skin below my belly button from losing weight but I know I couldn’t go through the after surgery heck I worry about some day having to have knee replacements.

    Maryann

    June 20, 2015

    Thanks for answering this — great question and great answer! I’m glad to hear that you’re still happy with the decision, and it made such a difference in your life. Your reasons for having the surgery were so well thought out and long term — I’m sure that’s why you still feel it was worth it. Trying to achieve the impossible perfect body leads to dissatisfaction

    Susan

    June 22, 2015

    Thank you for answering my question! I did go through with the tummy tuck and am two months into healing. I cannot wait to see where I am a year from now, when the swelling is gone and the scar has healed more. In the meantime I’m back to exercising – running 2-3 x a week and right now doing Piyo to gain my core strength back. As far as the actual surgery, whoa was I surprised at the recovery time. My hubby was awesome, emptying my drains, helping me move around, etc. Luckily I didn’t need any muscle tightening, just skin and some fat removal. But the mental side of not being able to be active about did me in. I kept saying you did this to yourself, you wanted this, now slow down so you can heal properly! It’s been a journey for sure and like I said, I can’t wait to see where I am in a year.

      Maryann

      June 22, 2015

      Thanks for the update, Susan. Good for you for taking care of yourself to heal, and it’s great that you’re up and about and back to running.

    Roxane

    June 23, 2015

    Great thoughts, Roni! It was one of the things most people (even I) are quite hesitant of. When I started dieting, I was afraid of having these scars, stretchmarks, and some loose skin I will be having when I lose weight. But over the years, I realized that my concerns are now futile. Having a healthy life is more important to me than whining about my appearance.

    Tummy Tuck in Thailand

    October 26, 2015

    This is an inspiration, Roni! Tummy tucks have become increasingly popular in today’s society to help reduce loose or sagging abdomens caused by heredity, major fluctuations in weight, the aging process and post-pregnancy stretching.