Erica Lugo knew she was “done” with dealing with her loose skin when it started interfering with her workouts. The Biggest Loser trainer, who lost 160 lbs., was already considering skin removal surgery, but hit a breaking point when she couldn’t get through a run without developing a rash, or do burpees without breaks to tuck her skin back into her yoga pants.
“It got to the point where I was like, ‘I’m done.’ It’s affecting my workouts and I can’t run as long as I’d like to because of my loose skin,” Lugo, 34, tells PEOPLE.
The fitness influencer and gym owner had accepted her loose skin as a byproduct of her weight loss journey — “I’d rather have the excess skin than not lose the weight,” she says — but once she got home from the Biggest Loser campus, Lugo saw how much it would get in the way.
“I felt great in my own body and my skin and I was at my goal weight, but I noticed that the loose skin would get a rash from rubbing against my pants,” she says. “I was like, ‘Okay, I’ve got to get it done.’ ”
Lugo is getting a 360-degree tummy tuck on Tuesday that will require a full incision around her waist. To prepare, she cut down on sugar and carbohydrates, and increased her workouts “because I’m going to miss it for so long” during the intense, 4- to 5-week recovery. During that time, she’ll mostly sit and sleep in a recliner chair to avoid compressing her stomach.
“When I first started researching it, I didn’t think it was going to be that terrible — I’ve gone through thyroid cancer surgery where my neck was cut open. But you don’t need your neck for too much, whereas this is a complete 360 incision.”
Still, Lugo is ready to get the surgery. "… It does play a major role in your life,” she says. “You don’t realize how much it bothers you until you’ve gotten rid of it.”
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