It does take time depending on what we are looking at. My thinking still is it is excess skin that hasn't shrunk back, but can't tell for sure yet.
Can you describe what exactly your midsection looks like? Does it apear as if it is a "beer belly" with firm skin or is it very soft, droopy and you can move the skin around. If you were carrying around 180# for a long time and lost 30 very quickly then I would say it is excess skin, but since you are so young the skin should shrink back fairly quickly. How fast did you lose the weight?
I understand having a messed up back. I have 2 slipped disks in my lower lumbar and frankly I am not going to concern myself too much with my abs. The last thing I need is pinching nerves again and I was very lucky. Last year I was told I would never regain feeling in my left foot, but it did come back and I don't want to mess it up. You may have to settle with what I will settle with, whatever I can obtain from just losing fat in that area and building muscle everywhere else. A washboard stomach is nice, but it isn't everything ;)
Also I guess I better ask you all to make sure I really am eating as well as I think I am. About how many calories and carbs and grams of fat should someone my age/weight/height eat each day to make sure I am not putting on fat. I do cardio 30-40 min 6 days per week and 30 min lifting 4-5 times a week.
I can give you a detailed report of your necessary intake of not only calories, carbs, and fat, but protein and all vitamin and minerals if you PM me what you do for cardio, your heart rate before and after, approximately what your cardio exercise equivilent in miles for 30 minutes is, and how strenuous your cardio workout is on a scale from 1 to 10 (with 1 being no effort and 10 being extreme effort lungs at capacity). Also the same 1-10 scale for your lifting workouts.
If anyone else would like such a report just PM me (don't everyone jump me at once though).