John David Glaude gained a moderate fan base on Instagram and YouTube by tracking his 160-pound weight loss and impressive muscle gain. In his "Obese To Beast" journey, Glaude typically posts weight-lifting videos, protein powder reviews, and shots of his bicep development. But, the video he posted this week, on the topic of loose skin, is his most popular by far.
In the video (titled "My Biggest Insecurity: Loose Skin"), John talks about his struggle with the weight-loss issue that many prefer to ignore. Brooke Birmingham brought the topic to light earlier this year when Shape refused to publish a photo of her in a two-piece bathing suit after she lost 172 pounds.
Loose skin is typical after major weight loss. Some have the skin surgically removed, but it's a cost-prohibitive procedure (not usually covered by insurance). John also admits his discomfort, saying, "Being really overweight, you're obviously self-conscious about how you look." After getting in shape, though, he's "comfortable...clothed. I'm not that comfortable unclothed," he adds.
From there, John strips down and shows each body part in detail, explaining that appearances (and Instagrams) can be deceiving. "People always say, 'Your arms, they look great! Doesn't look like you have any loose skin!'" He flexes an impressive bicep, then relaxes the muscle and pulls out several inches of skin. "In all reality, it's not as perfect as people think," he says.
John removes his shirt, explaining that he tucks the loose abdominal skin into his boxers for comfort. He grabs at the loose skin on his chest, his inner thighs, and his belly, highlighting the areas he's most insecure about.
It's clear throughout that John is proud of his body, but disappointed as well. He's living through an experience that's rarely discussed in the fitness community, particularly on social media. Users are accustomed to dramatic "Before" and "After" photos, but when it comes to extreme weight loss, the typical "After" abs don't look like a six-pack. They look more like John's abs.
"Obviously, this is not what I would have wanted after losing 160 pounds," John says. "I would have wanted to have a perfect body, but that's not the case. But, that's okay." He explains that he made the video to show fans the reality of transformation — both physical and emotional. Because, just as losing weight won't give you a six-pack, it won't give you total, perfect confidence either. Expectations like that are just a set-up for more disappointment and shame.
The point, says John, is not to let those physical or emotional insecurities win. "I'm not walking down the beach with my shirt off, but it's not going to stop me from going for my goals," he says. "This is where I am right now, and I'm okay with this."