Loose skin is a side effect of extreme weight loss—but these successful dieters refuse to hide this part of the hard-fought journey toward a healthier body.

Julia Naftulin
October 06, 2017

Stories about people who shed lots of weight after adopting a healthier lifestyle are super inspirational, especially if a photo shows a person looking healthy and happy at her goal weight. But often something important is glossed over: that dropping major pounds tends to leave a dieter with loose skin.

Some successful dieters choose to have the skin removed surgically. Others live with it and make a point about it on social media—it's a very real part of their journey, after all. Here are six women who got real on Instagram about their excess skin and how they struggle to deal with it.

After shedding 185 pounds in 15 months, Jessica Weber was left with excess skin around her midsection. “I was always prepared for it, but it is still such a struggle to deal with daily,” Weber told People. “I’ve seen some people lose weight and have it not be such a problem, but I wasn’t that lucky.”

Weber regularly shares bits of her new, healthier lifestyle on Instagram, along with motivational messages. "I'm still learning to love my new body and ths journey that i Am on!" she admits in one post, which shows her bearing her stomach in a bikini.

When you think of a bodybuilder, ripped muscles and a perfectly taut stomach come to mind. Jana Roller is a bodybuilder who fits part of this stereotype, with one exception—she chooses to show off her excess skin from weight loss when she wears her competition bikini. 

Meeting a major weight-loss goal offers much to celebrate, and Jordaan Spark didn't let her loose skin stop her from doing just that, posting this snap of her boyfriend picking her up in a pool. The 24-year-old told People she doesn't want to "sugarcoat" weight loss, which is why she opted to post the photo.

After losing over 100 pounds, Rachel Graham shared a photo of her excess skin. While she said it sometimes makes her self-conscious, she wouldn't change her weight-loss journey for the world, since it's made her happier and healthier. "I'd be lying if I said my loose skin wasn't an insecurity of mine.. But I refuse to let it consume me," wrote Graham.

When we were on vacation in Mexico a few weeks ago, it was the first time I had worn a bathing suit in a long time, and it had been even longer since I wore a bathing suit without a cover up. I was nervous to take my cover up off and to walk into the pool or walk on the beach. I still felt like that same 500 pound girl...then it happened. A couple sitting by the pool started laughing and pointing at me and making fun of me as soon as I took my cover up off. So what did I do? I took a deep breath, smiled and walked into the pool. That was a huge moment for me. I had changed. I was not the same girl anymore. Yes I still have a lot of loose skin, I may still feel insecure at times, and yes I may still get made fun of. To be honest, yes it bothered me. But I was not going to let people like that affect me anymore! I am not going to let what other people think of me stop me from living my life. They do not know me. They do not know how I have worked my ass off to lose 350 pounds. They do not know how I am recovering from major surgeries. They have no right to sit and point and laugh at me. That's why I smiled. It does not matter what others say or if they try to doubt you or try to bring you down. What matters is how you react to it. How you feel about yourself. Loving yourself just the way you are is hard. Others might not like that. That's ok. I hope you love yourself. Love your body. I hope you keep doing you and just keep smiling! . . . . . #jacquelineadan #jacquelinesjourney #effyourbeautystandards #selfloveclub #selflove #lovemybody #lovemyshape #loveyourself #teamself #extremeweightloss #weightloss #weightlossjourney #weightlosstransformation #weightlossmotivation #beforeandafter #beforeandafterweightloss #wlstories #onaquest #bodybuildingcom #bodypositive #bodyconfidence #bodyposi #transformationfitnation #motivationmonday #mondaymotivation #fitfam #fitspo #bodytransformation #igtransformations #transformationjourney

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Hitting the beach in a swimsuit can provoke anxiety no matter what you weigh. But Jacqueline Adan went for it, bearing her excess skin from a 350-pound weight loss. When onlookers reacted critically to Adan's body, she strutted her stuff and then posted this on Instagram. "I am not going to let what other people think of me stop me from living my life,” she wrote. “They do not know me. They do not know how I have worked my ass off to lose 350 pounds. They do not know how I am recovering from major surgeries. They have no right to sit and point and laugh at me.”

Simone Anderson shed 194 pounds and documented the whole process on her Instagram page. Now, the lifestyle blogger shares everything from her cute outfits to her workouts to her incredible before-and-after photos, which remind her followers of her inspiring journey. In an interview with People, Anderson shared her thoughts on the excess skin: “I needed to show that yes, I do have loose skin, and it’s actually a side effect of something I am proud of. Obviously, I can’t wait for it to be gone, but it’s not something I’m ashamed of or embarrassed of.”