Photos courtesy of tiniertim.com
Tim Bauer lost 225 pounds through an amazing weight loss journey, but that wasn’t the end of his transformation. Learn about his time working with body contouring specialist Dr. Mahlon Kerr on the TLC reality show Skin Tight in this blog post written by Tim.
When I started my weight loss at 440 pounds, I had no idea that I would hit my goal weight and still be left with packets of loose skin all over my body. I became the best father possible to my children, ran a triathlon, and deadlifted 400 pounds. I was strong and happy, but I had to live with this constant reminder of where I’d spent the first 31 years of my life.
After discussing the opportunity with friends and family, I accepted the opportunity to have this last bit of the old me removed. After my initial phone consultation with Austin plastic surgeon Dr. Mahlon Kerr, I understood how much going through these surgeries would challenge me. I discussed it with several friends who had the surgeries on their own and felt completely prepared. But there was one way that my surgeries would be different:
I would do all of this in front of a camera crew. How did that change the experience?
- One of the best parts about being introduced to my surgeons through the television show is knowing that you’re going to work with some of the best doctors money can buy. Knowing they were accepted by TLC helped me feel more confident in them in addition to the research I did. And as ridiculous as this seemed, I knew that I would be in good hands because cameras were watching the whole thing. What’s the worst that could happen if all of America was watching?
- You also end up with an incredible souvenir documenting the entire process for future generations.
The “Less Than Good”
I don’t remember a lot from my first 24 hours after surgery except for 2 things:
- The first steps I took on that first night made me realize that recovery was a real thing and I was not going to instantly be able to dance a jig.
- I was struck by how difficult it was leaving the next morning on camera.
If you’re a reality television fan, you probably notice that the cameras manage to capture the action on the drive and pick up the action as the person leaves the car, walks into the building, and enters the door. What you may not realize is that logistically that means every single time you want to go somewhere, the action has to reset multiple times.
Drive somewhere. Stop and let the camera get out and reset. Get out and let them watch. Stop and let the camera reset. Enter the building. Stop and let the camera reset. Enter the front door. Reset. Say hello. Reset.
When you’re in great shape, this is a minor thing. But when you’re less than 24 hours after major surgery, it can be a struggle letting the cameras shoot every last detail from multiple angles to the hotel and walking up to your room. You have to remember that the show wants to get footage, and although you’re trying to recover, sometimes these 2 goals are in opposition to each other.
Glass Half Full
Photos courtesy of TLC
In other words, when you’re crying or going through something, this isn’t just something you have to recover from, it’s also a storyline that has to be documented. For me, this encouraged me to “man up” in the face of pain and adversity. I was able to “logic” my way out of struggles and adversities. I never felt comfortable breaking down and crying in pain. This served to help me remain stoic, positive, and upbeat throughout the entire process and in my opinion, expedited my recovery throughout my entire journey.
I learned 2 great lessons from my experience as a reality TV patient:
1. Camera crews following you may change the way you approach things in a really positive way. I became a little more conscious of the feelings and attitudes I projected to those around me.
2. No matter how you get surgery, the man or woman holding the scalpel is 1,000 times more important than the person behind the cameras. My recovery even when dramatized and documented seems like it was significantly easier than many of the folks I’ve talked to that have gone through the process on their own.