Is it time to get a tummy tuck?

Is it time to get a tummy tuck?
Is it time to get a tummy tuck?

As a 42-year-old post-childbearing woman, age and gravity and 3 pregnancies are taking their toll on my midsection. I’m starting to notice flab in places I never had flab, most notably in the area around my belly and now even above the waist. I’ve always had a bit of a belly, but lately I’ve been horrified to notice rolls above the waistline as well.

I’ve joked many times over the years about getting a tummy tuck (also known as abdominoplasty), but lately I’ve started doing some research to see if it might be worth seriously considering.

While I’ve always been average to thin, I was never athletic or fit. And since I was 18, I’ve struggled with keeping my weight where I want it. I weigh myself obsessively and I am always dieting. I’ve done Jenny Craig twice and Weight Watchers more times that I can count. For most of my adult life (including 3 pregnancies), I managed to keep my weight fairly stable.

But in the last few years, the scale has stubbornly crept up into a range I am not happy about. I finally decided that if I can’t lose weight, I’ll work out and get in shape.

Three years ago, I hired a personal trainer to help me get fit. It was my “almost 40 gift” to myself. I said at the time: If I can’t be the weight I want, at least I’ll be fit.

However, after three years of consistently working out and taking up running, I am still fighting the battle of the bulge. While the number on the scale is about the same, and my arms and legs are definitely toned, my middle is still lumpy and I hate it. It makes me feel frumpy. It’s just the bulk in my midsection that I detest. I’m fairly happy with the rest of my body.

I know it’s my diet. I like wine and carbs and cheese too much, but so far I haven’t been willing to give them up.

So now what?

I started doing some research on tummy tucks, and this is what I learned: Tummy tuck surgery or abdominoplasty, flattens the abdomen by removing loose, excess fat and skin and tightening muscles in the abdominal wall.

So far, that sounds good to me!

According to the Smart Beauty Guide website, you may want to consider a tummy tuck if:

  • If you've got flab, stretch marks or excess skin in your abdomen that does not improve with diet or exercise.
  • If the shape of your abdomen has been affected by pregnancy or massive weight loss.
  • If you feel that your protruding abdomen is unattractive.
  • If your self-confidence is marred by your stomach contour.

It’s pretty much guaranteed to restore a flat tummy and give you a more youthful looking body.

Now for the negatives:

  • It’s a big monetary investment – the price of a family vacation or down payment on a car.
  • It’s highly invasive and can be quite painful, but it’s permanent IF you don’t gain the weight back.
  • The expected recovery time is two to three weeks, and you will have a scar in the bikini area.

So am I a good candidate?

The ideal candidate is done having children (check!) and she is a slender individual with extra fat and loose skin in the lower tummy. Hmmm…that does sound a lot like me.

From what I can tell, my flab is due to age, being a woman, and the fact that I don’t eat as clean as I should. The good news is that I don’t have loose skin that sags or abdominal weakness from excessive weight loss or pregnancy with multiples. It sounds like I could benefit from the surgery but maybe my issues aren’t as extreme as most. Then I read this:

“There comes a time when you realize that efforts at dieting and exercise are yielding lower numbers on your bathroom scale but not changing the appearance of your sagging and protruding abdomen.”

I’ve determined that I am probably a viable candidate for a tummy tuck, but before I pursue surgery, I should first see if I can achieve the results I want by changing my eating habits and getting my weight under control once and for all. Perhaps I’m fighting an uphill battle, and when a woman reaches a certain age, she has to accept a few extra pounds on the scale. But I feel like I owe it to myself to give it a try. We’ll see how it goes.

If all else fails, there’s always Spanx!

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