Matt Diaz lost 270 pounds in six years from age 16 to 22. His peak weight was 495 pounds. The weight loss was a huge achievement, but it left a permanent reminder — folds of excess skin that made Diaz self-conscious. After putting a courageous video on Youtube showing the problem, he’s received over $45 thousand through a GoFundMe page.
On March 18th, Matt Diaz uploaded a video on Youtube.
As he said, “I’m really really scared.”
Diaz showed aftermath of his body’s transformation: numerous folds of excess skin. He explained that showing the video was important, because he wanted to be open with who he was.
The video quickly went viral. Matt said there was nothing he could do about the excess skin, but it caused him a lot of embarrassment at the beach or other situations that required him to take off his shirt. He estimated the surgery to remove it would cost $20,000. The Internet answered the call.
According to PIX11, Diaz opened a GoFundMe page to raise money for the skin surgery. He received over $45,000 in three days.
He later wrote, “I can’t believe how much attention this has gotten in the last hour or so. You all are so incredible.”
Diaz’ situation might seem rare, but it’s not. NBC News documented a number of individuals suffering from excess skin after losing a significant amount of weight. They found those who underwent cosmetic surgery to remove the skin — like Diaz is trying to do — did better both psychologically and physiologically.
Excess skin can cause mental anguish from embarrassment and physical pain, like chafing.
Dr. Steve Wallach, a Manhattan-based cosmetic surgeon explained, “I had one patient who specifically said, ‘I’m wearing a fat suit; I feel like I’m a thin person inside wearing a body that’s twice the size of mine.'”
Excess skin often occurs after bariatric surgery, like a gastric bypass. NBC reports that about 100,000 of those kinds of surgery occur each year in the United States. Many are now arguing that more of those surgeries should include “body contouring” procedures to element excess skin before it becomes a problem (21 percent of bariatric surgeries already do).
The skin removal can better reinforce a positive body image, which in turn helps patients keep the weight off according to a recent study from the American Association of Plastic Surgeons.
The study on body contouring showed that patients who used a gastric bypass surgery to lose weight quickly, usually regained about 50 pounds after hitting their target weight. Those that included body contouring procedures only regain about 14 pounds.
Now that Matt Diaz can afford the works for his own excess skin removal, he should soon be able to hit the beach with confidence.
[Image via GoFundMe]