I always thought of my belly as two parts – top belly (from navel up to breasts) and bottom belly (from navel down to crotch). As a teenager and college student, whenever I gained weight, it was in my bottom belly. My top belly always stayed rather flat. As I gained weight throughout college, I eventually hit 160 pounds. I stayed at that weight for several years, convinced my body liked it there and I couldn’t ever gain more weight than that. Something happened though in my mid 20s (moving to New York, drinking a lot, and access to lots and lots of amazing food) and I did start to gain weight. Top belly began to grow. In fact, top belly grew larger than bottom belly. My weight began to fluctuate between 200 and 220 pounds; any time I lost or gained weight, top belly and bottom belly would shrink or grow but never be the same size. I couldn’t seem to get below 200, and I stayed that way until this surgery. Even after I had a baby at 35, bottom belly went back to being smaller than top belly. I did lose all of my baby weight (really, it was the only benefit of post-partum depression, during which I didn’t eat solid food for three months). Going into DIEP, I weighed 212 pounds.
Many many women talk about the benefit of DIEP is their new flat stomach. Clearly these women have a little paunch in their bottom belly and no fat in their top belly. As a fat girl, I knew that there was no way I was coming out of this with a flat stomach. I searched the internet endlessly trying to look for post-DIEP pictures of overweight women, to no avail. So, here, I present to you my new belly, which I call “whole belly.”
You can see, essentially what’s happened is that bottom belly was removed. Top belly was pulled down to meet the incision where bottom belly was. Thus, the result is just one whole belly (which used to be top belly) with a drop-off. I will say that top belly used to protrude even further than my breasts, and at least now it’s flat enough that my breasts protrude more than my stomach. So that’s a plus.
So now what? This clearly looks weird (and possibly there’s some swelling that might go down and some shifting that might still occur). Though I think it can be masked in clothes, it’s not ideal. My feeling is that if I work to lose weight (and thanks to DIEP, I am already down to 192 pounds) then whole belly will shrink as a whole. Of course, if I gain weight, then whole belly will grow as a whole. Eventually I will look like one of those men who belts his pants below his jolly full Santa Claus stomach. That image alone is enough to help me cut cookies out of my diet for a while.
The goal is, use the weight loss from the surgery as a springboard to continue to lose weight. Get whole belly down to semi-flat belly (along with wide ass and thunder thighs). Parlay whole belly into whole new me.