I Hate My Thighs—That’s Why I’m Sticking to Short Skirts

Mastermind Weekend 1/16

Hey there!

I'm Tina

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.


An in-depth, 4-week reverse dieting course for women who feel like their metabolism has slowed down, think they might have hormonal imbalance and can’t lose weight no matter what they do.

Reposted from August 2009

I hate my legs. Sure, they’re toned and strong, but after a friend called them “burly,” I had a hard time baring anything above my knee. They’re the first place I gain weight, the last place I lose it, and even at my “happy weight,” they continue to haunt me.

Over the years, I’ve worked hard to keep my legs covered. I wear dress pants to work, jeans when hanging out with friends, and exercise leggings when working out. Even in the summer, I’ll choose a pair of capris or lightweight pants instead of a dress or skirt. Wearing an above-the-knee dress is actually stressful for me”” I hate my thighs that much! If I can see how big and muscular my legs are, everyone else will notice too!

While I may have ditched most of my unhealthy habits, I still haven’t been able to shake this mental block. Last weekend, my husband and I headed to Vermont for a friend’s wedding, and I packed a long dress that hid my “burly” legs. But the moment we got out of the car, we were hit with a huge wave of heat and humidity, and I knew I would regret my outfit choice. There were still a few hours before the ceremony started, so my husband and I took a quick trip to downtown Burlington to find me a cooler clothing option. My first instinct was to reach for the longest dress there, but I reasoned that at a summer wedding, everyone would be focused on the bride and groom, so no one would even notice my legs peaking out from under my dress. I tried on a bunch of shorter dresses, and, eventually (albeit nervously), purchased one that I liked.


I spent the first part of the ceremony self-conscious about my newly exposed legs, but by the time the reception began, I realized that no one was zeroing in on the size of my thighs. And soon it occurred to me that I actually wasn’t embarrassed by my legs. Putting on a short dress for the first time was the hardest battle. Hidden beneath a long dress, I never had to consider my hate for them. But once they were out in plain sight, I realized, Hey, I don’t look so bad! After all, these muscular legs ran 13.1 miles during a half-marathon last spring, and they’ve walked three marathons while raising money for Boston’s Jimmy Fund.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the little things, but when I think about how far I’ve come with my weight-loss journey, I care less about the little details and more about how I feel. These legs have helped me out a lot, so the least I can do is throw them a bone””and a short skirt””from time to time.

How have you learned to embrace your least favorite body part?



  1. Tina thank you for reposting this. I have serious issues accepting my butt. It’s the first place I gain weight and even though I am normal weight and am in good shape I have an extremely difficult time finding dress pants to wear to work. Though I am not generally a Kardashian fan, seeing Kim rock hers has definitely helped me!

  2. I took a pole dancing class and we HAD to wear very skimpy shorts in order to have any grip on the pole. At first I was horrified since I, too, am a hater of my thighs, and have been since I was nine. Once I was confronted with not only wearing short shorts, but wearing them in front of others and encouraged to perform and be sexy, it was extremely liberating. I’ve had a better relationship with my thighs ever since.

  3. Don’t you love those comments from “friends”? When I was in high school a girl in choir asked me, “Do you work out?” Thinking it was a compliment I said that yes, I ran and did Tae Bo. Then she said, “Oh, ’cause your calves are HUGE.” I’ve had complex about my legs ever since, and it wasn’t until about a two years ago that I felt confident enough to buy some of my own short skirts.

  4. There will always be haters! I’m so glad that you found a dress that showed off your strong legs. I have issues with my stomach. It’s the first place I gain weight, but instead of focusing on just that one body part, I try to eat right, exercise, and focus on the things about my body I love. I really do believe we were given the bodies we have for a reason. This helps remind me that the big picture is worth so much more than just one part. So glad you shared this!

  5. Tina,
    Isn’t funny how critical we are of ourselves. I was just thinking how nice your legs looked in your green dress and wishing my weren’t so full of varicose veins. I have had numerous surgeries on mine and have hated them for years. However, I have tried not to hide behind long pants and long dresses. I try to tell myself to be happy I have legs and strong ones at that. I still cringe at times by my gross veins but do not hide them. Try not to be so hard on yourself. I think your legs look great.

  6. Great post, Tina! So happy you have come to embrace your thighs and have really come to appreciate what your legs can and do for you, i.e. help you run races!

    I am really tall and my entire life towered over everyone. Growing up, this was awkward, to say the least, being taller than girls. And boys! But as an adult, I have come to embrace my height and am trying to lead by example to show my very tall daughter that she can embrace her height, too!

  7. I have serious issues with my thighs too, although I’m also not particularly fond of my middle any more.

    I appreciate my legs more when I’m running pain-free, but when I’m constantly battling with injury and tend to be less forgiving. I want my legs to have a good practical function, because they’re never going to have an aesthetic one. And when they won’t run the way I want them to I tend to think ‘well, what ARE you good for then?’

    Thanks for bringing this up: I have to say that I’ve never thought twice about the size of your legs: your green dress pics are stunning.


  8. Seeing women who are confident and are able to work what they’ve got has showed me that beauty really comes from within. Acne is definitely the thing I dwell on the most, but I don’t let it define me as a person because it’s something that I can’t really help. Plus, a lovely smile does everyone wonders!

  9. I am an avid workout fan as well. My thighs are what give me the most grief. The more I workout the bigger they seem to get. My 13 year old and a friend over and I could hear them “giggling and whispering” in the kitchen. I had just got done from the treadmill and later I asked my son about all the whispering. He laughed and said his friend told him I had “man thighs”!!! I told him those “man thighs” were just what carried me through 10 miles. I try and remind myself of that whenever I get frustrated!

  10. I had the same problem about my muscly runner’s legs (more specifically my calves then thighs) after a guy said, “wow, you have really manly legs,” my sophomore year of hs. Yeah . . . not the compliment I wanted to hear. I have been very self conscious of them, until the character I was playing in a musical my senior year had to wear a very short skirt. I was nervous about people directly paying attention to my legs (I mean, I was going to be on show in front of 300+ people!).
    But I quickly got over my fear, when I realized I’d rather have people think I have muscly legs then be a bad actor, so I quickly got my game face on. After the performance, I got many compliments saying that I did a great job and that my acting was amazing. I even got some saying I looked really great in the costume!
    And that’s when I understood that I was more then just my body type and it really didn’t matter if I had manly legs or not!

  11. Great post! I actually just went shopping yesteday for a new pair of shorts, and had major anxiety about it. I have always been self concious about my butt and thighs. No matter how well I eat, or how much I work out, this is just how it’s going to be! I’ve always been a lover of dresses and skirts but it took me a long time to feel beautiful in them. I’ve learned that my butt and thighs are my assets. They are strong, and have allowed me to run 13.1 miles. While I do wear shorts often, that’s still one thing I’m still learning to feel beautiful in.

  12. You are gorgeous and skinny. You make me look like Attila the Hun when we hang out. That’s the real reason I will never move to Boston 😉 That, and the snow…

    1. @RunEatRepeat: I was actually thinking you looked thin and pretty in the Vegas photos and I had no idea why you talked about losing weight on your blog all the time. It’s really sad the way you put yourself down here and on your blog.

      1. @MelissaNibbles: @RunEatRepeat: @MelissaNibbles: I absolutely agree with you. I tried reading Run Eat Repeat but found myself put off by all the put downs and criticism, and emphasis on weight loss where none is needed.
        Monica, you are gorgeous and strong and thin. You don’t need to lose any weight, you need to learn to accept your body for what it is. Please stop putting yourself down, it’s painful to see.

  13. Funny that you posted that, I just came here to see if you had any body image advice in old posts… I didn’t even have to look!!
    You look great, but obviously we all have our internal struggles with accepting the way we look :/

  14. I completely understand that feeling. I am a recently retired college soccer player, and my legs have always been large and in charge. Way to go with your confidence, and you should embrace it because not only are your legs strong but theyre great looking!

  15. I am the exact same way – won’t wear shorts for nothing. Well, I might be ones that come to my knee. But nothing shorter. My thighs are pretty hefty and I actually have some loose skin from when I was overweight growing up. I’ve actually had multiple people make not nice comments about my legs when I dared to bare them so now I just keep them covered. It is hard, especially seeing as I live in Florida and it gets super hot. People wonder why I never wear shorts – or have on jeans when it’s 90 degrees. I think it’s the loose skin that bothers me the most – I could handle having thick thighs if they were at least firm. I guess that’s what I envy about other women – no matter what size their legs may be, if the skin is firm I get super jealous. Being obese as a kid really messed up my body and no amount of working out can fix it. I even saw three plastic surgeons but don’t want huge scars or to risk having things look even worse.

    You know, from my own experience, and reading other people’s, I have to say that we maybe wouldn’t feel so bad if people could just keep the nasty comments to themselves. Why would you tell somebody that part of their body looks bad? What is that? Do people not get that it is mean? When will we all stop being so mean to one another?

  16. I use to hate my legs. I have very muscular legs and I hated that they never looked feminine. Once I started running I stopped caring that my legs were thick because I knew that they were strong and would help me become a better runner. I am proud of them now.

  17. This was such a great post, Tina!! 🙂 I went to Forever 21 today and decided to ditch my mental block about buying short shorts or skirts. I usually avoid them because I’m self-conscious about my cellulite even though my legs are very muscular and toned. It’s like you were reading my mind or something today!

  18. aww you look beautiful in the dress and you’re a beautiful woman Tina! I know we allllll have at least ONE thorn in our sides~but for reals, it’s so true that no one really pays attention to that ONE little detail we THINK everyone will notice. so ironic huh?

  19. There will always be someone making comments that we could go without…but we have to learn not to take them so seriously, and let the affect us so much!
    I have a bad problem with taking things too seriously, but then I realize – it’s my attitude that counts in the end. Learning to accept yourself is the first step to personal fulfillment. I have a healthy body, and I want to be happy, and so letting those little comments take over my mind and positive attitude is not okay!

  20. I actually have the same worry. I’ve always just chosen things to cover my thighs, but lately I’ve really wanted to just wear a pair of cute shorts! I’m learning to love my body more the older I get, and hopefully I will learn to love this area of my body as well. 🙂

  21. I appreciate this old post,but being overwwight and seeing you recent pic in a bikini in Vegas(where I saw that you have a super amazing body!Wow!!),it saddens me that you with such a beautiful body would feel that way.
    I am not saying that because I am overweight and truly have a reason to cover my body that I should feel any wore than you, but it is pretty sad when someone with such a fit and slim body as you has bodyparts you dislike.If you say my body you would thank your lucky stars for your body.
    What is wrong with our society??….something clearly is!
    I have no answers for this ,but to hope we won’t look back in old age and regret feeling bad about our bodies-big and small, cellulite or not,
    stretch marks or not…..I will try not to hate my body so much.

    1. @M: I’m with you on this one. I’m overweight and have fat legs. There’s muscles under there, but they’re covered in cellulite on the upper halves. It pains me to think that gorgeous women like Tina have issues with their athletically awesome legs.

  22. I would think muscular legs would be a good thing and people would be asking what you do to look so toned. I definitely am hard on myself with my stomach. The bottom portion always sticks out just a bit so that can be frustrating, I just try to remember that my body is healthy and I exercise and eat right most of the time and that’s great so far.

  23. OMG, I would never have thought you would have body issues… my friend and i were discussing how amazing your body looks in that Green Dress from Vegas! My issue is my tummy… it’s the first place I gain weight and I hate it. The only way to get rid of it is cardio and I hate working out, but I do it anyway. Running is out of question, but I will hop on an elliptical. Good post! 🙂

  24. My legs (hips/thighs) have always been my toughest area to tone. That’s where I have all my weight. I’m boney on top, which never seemed to bother me for some reason. I know the feeling of not wanting to show my legs in a short skirt because that has been an ongoing issue for me as well. I started running last year and with that newfound confidence in my abilities and my body, I’ve become really proud of my legs. They’re strong and healthy – no they still don’t look like Jennifer Aniston’s (and never will), but they get me where I need to go and I’m grateful for that. And this year I will show them off more!

  25. I’ve had some thigh-hating in the past but then I have to remind myself that nobody really cares about them except for me. Most women don’t have thin legs. Why are we made to feel that super thin bodies are perfect and curvaceous ones are bad?

  26. I feel the exact same way! I’ve got soccer thighs, and HATE them! But when I get reallllly down about it, I do what you did, and think, hey, these legs have helped me to run 20 miles….they can walk in heels, AND they got me a scholarship back in college….so I guess I’ll keep these soccer thighs around a little longer 🙂

  27. I totally hated my legs for the longest time because they were “too fat.” I even went an entire summer wearing jeans because I thought they were too big. I was cray-zay!! They are muscular, strong and actually one of the favorite parts of my body now. Funny how that works!

  28. Such a cool post! And yes, I have learned to stop obsessing about things that no one else even notices, and that I certainly shouldn’t obsess about. It is such a freeing feeling. 🙂

  29. Tina, thank you for posting such an honest entry! I am petite (5’2″, 108 lbs) and very athletic but, like you, have always been self-conscious about my muscular thighs. Until recently, I refused to wear skinny jeans because I thought I’d look ridiculous next to girls whose thighs and calves are the same width… because that’s how I thought skinny jean wearers should look. And then, the other day, a friend complimented me on my skinny jeans (that I was really nervous to wear out in public) and my outlook has begun to change. It’s funny how others’ views of you can differ greatly from your own and how powerful kind words to a friend/stranger can be. Best wishes to you on your journey with your fabulous legs 🙂

  30. Tina, I can understand where you are coming from. For those who feel she is wrong for talking about losing weight or having issues with her body…no judging! When you lose weight, its takes a long time for your mind to accept that your body has changed, and see the changes. And as someone who has lost 20lbs and works hard to keep it off (10+ years!) I will always be aware of what I eat and maintain a consistent workout schedule. I dont want to go back to where I was, so that is why I always am mindful of my body, and the food I eat.
    I think we all have body issues, whether its our legs, or belly, butt, skin, hair..etc.
    Tina, you look great and I LOVE your toned, strong legs!!!! I hope to some day have strong legs like you!

  31. sorry i am just commenting on this now but i just have to disagree. you have HOT legs (embarassingly i think i have commented on them before…im not hitting on you i swear! haha). i was sitting here reading this thinking this girl is crazy she has great legs, but then i realized that i HATE my knees. like HATE them (not a huge fan of my short thighs either..). immediately when i look at photos i zero in on my knees!! but then i realized, i dont think anyone is looking at my knees….

  32. Hi Tina, I’m 18 and I do think I have a nice figure. I have done ballet all my life and am a small UK size 8 (or 6) so US 2-4. (I think?!) But I find my legs to be as you described, “burly” and as I am petite I feel threatened and intimidated by all the leggy amazon women out there. Everytime I walk out the house I feel great and I attract compliments and (the odd disgusting wolf whistle and builder glance) yet when I come home and look in the mirror, I am so disappointed by what I see that I lose all confidence and it is getting to the point where I am considering never again wearing skirts or dresses and just wearing trousers, maxi dresses or long jumpsuits and getting rid of all my above the knee items…

  33. I do believe that everyone just wants what they do not have. I personally, always lose my weight in my arms/shoulders and legs first and gain weight in my torso. I am also very tall and I have always hated my skinny legs and thought my torso seemed too thick even though I always have had people comment on how skinny I am. I guess one comment can affect the way we think, even though we have been told a billion other compliment. Ha the way of the human mind. Also, I think I rather someone tell me I have athletic legs then have people tell you that you have chicken legs- siblings can be mean. I suppose we must all just accept what we have as hard as it is to do sometimes.

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