When Jordan Kirkham decided to share a picture of herself on social media 130 pounds lighter, she wanted to celebrate a non-scale victory.
“I wanted to share it to inspire and motivate people. I haven’t had anyone pick me up since I was a child,” she tells Global News.
In an Instagram post that has now gone viral, the 24-year-old from Bastrop, Texas, is happily posing with her husband.
“The excess skin is real, but that’s what you get when you’ve lost 130lbs. Anyways, this post isn’t about my skin, it’s about the fact that my husband can pick me up! Hot damn,” she wrote on the social media site.
“I had no idea that I would get this type of reaction to the picture. I posted it, and hash-tagged it like any other picture,” she continues.
The weight-loss journey
Kirkham says like anyone on a weight-loss journey, it has been both up and down. She says it took about two years to lose the weight and she even had a child in between. Her heaviest weight was 310 pounds.
“I changed the way I ate first, then added in some exercises that I could do around the house because I was so heavy that my body hurt daily,” she says.
About six months into her journey, Kirkham went through a Lap-Band procedure — adding an adjustable strap around the stomach to lose weight. However, she says she wouldn’t recommend it.
The excess skin
At first, Kirkham says excess skin scared her.
“I [had] been scared of loose skin since I was 12. I fell off track for a couple weeks because [of it],” she says. “I’ve learned that I would much rather have 10 to 15 pounds of extra skin than pounds of extra fat.”
With still about 30 to 40 pounds to lose until she reaches her weight goal, she eventually plans on getting surgery to remove the excess skin.
“Since the beginning of my weight loss journey, I knew I was going to have excess skin, and I want to donate it to someone who is a burn victim, has cancer, or someone who needs it more than I do.”
And although her intentions were never to dictate what people do with their bodies, Kirkham is quite vocal on Instagram about her journey. She often shares before and after photos and images of her excess skin.
But after her photo went viral, several people shared their own weight-loss experiences and self-esteem issues around wearing a bikini in particular.
“Seeing you in a real-ass bikini is so inspiring. I’m still terrified of wearing a bikini or anything that exposes my fat ass and thighs. Regardless of my insecurities, my body is my body and I’m not embarrassed or ashamed of it, when I’m alone. I want to embrace that in front of others, too. Thank you for your vulnerability,” one user wrote.
Some haters, however, shared comments on how “embarrassed” she should be. Kirkham pays no attention. And for anyone dealing with negative comments from others or themselves, she says don’t be ashamed.
“You worked hard to get to where you’re at! Love yourself every step of the way.”
Changes after weight loss
Excess skin is extremely common for anyone who has lost a large amount of weight or gone through pregnancy says personal trainer Dan Go of Go Girl Bootcamps in Markham, Ont.
“Unfortunately, there really isn’t any exercise out there that can really tighten it,” he tells Global News.
He says there are some topical creams that could firm the skin, but many people turn to surgery.
“A lot of the time it’s just the amount of weight that has been there for a long period of time.”
For anyone who lives with loose skin, Go says it often feels like you’re wearing a loose T-shirt all the time.
But he says sometimes, you just have to proud of the skin you’re in.
“If you aren’t going to the path of surgery, own it,” he says. “Be proud of your own body and own what your body looks like. Don’t be bothered by others.”