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

Mastermind Weekend 1/16

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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.

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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.

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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?

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103 Comments

  1. You know what? I was in the same boat until I discovered Lululemon’s groove booty shorts! I loved them so much when I ran in them that they’ve helped me become more confident outside the gym since they are so short! 🙂

  2. My thighs are also the place where I gain/lose weight. When I started running they started to get even bigger because of all the muscle. I had to pretty much sit myself down and say that my thighs are the reasons why I am able to run and be strong. It’s a constant battle

  3. There’s an AMAZING Nike campaign on embracing your body, and if you type ‘Nike Thunder Thighs’ into Google images it comes up with this great poster- you HAVE to check it out! 🙂

    And seriously one of the things I’ve always thought about you is that you have AMAZING legs!!

  4. i’ve always had a poofy tummy. it used to really bother me (esp. when people thought i was preggers) but now i have learned to embrace it. but ask me again in a few days when i start shooting a bunch of sex scenes in front of strangers.

  5. Wow Tina, this just shows you that no matter how great one looks, we all have issues. Because I saw that picture of you in your bikini in Vegas and all I can say is. . .HOT HOT HOT!! You are beautiful. I’m so glad you bought a dress that shows your legs a bit and were able to get over your issue, even for just the afternoon. I can honestly say I don’t have major issues with any one body part. When I gain weight it’s always in my stomach and hips so that’s where I concentrate my efforts. I’m pretty happy with how I look right now. I’m 5’10” and weigh 158. My happy weight is 155, and for years I would stress if I wasn’t exactly at that weight. But life is too short to stress about three pounds. I love myself and my strong body. . .and on that note, it’s time to go to yoga. Thanks for all of your inspiration.

  6. Even when I was under weight I hated my thighs and I know I have my mother to thank for them. I hate looking at them in the mirror and I even hate for my husband to see them unclothed. However, when I was racing mtn bikes full time they won me alot races and they climbed hills that others couldn’t, and they helped stay up with the boys and be faster than most of them, the lactate threshold in them was insane. Then I moved to running and they carried me through many races, but everyday they carry me through life and yet I can’t appreciate them. I know it needs to change, but I hate the way they look. Maybe I need a tan.

  7. Thanks for reposting. Nice to see someone else has the same issue as me :-). I really hate hate my thighs, and I haven’t gotten over it yet. I’ll wear above-the-knee dresses but none that show my thighs. I’m trying to learn to love how strong my legs are but I’m not there yet. Hopefully, in time I can learn to appreciate all that these muscular things have accomplished: 3 marathons, countless half marathons and a whole lot of training!

  8. I must admit before I read this (I must have missed it the first time around), I never ever thought you’d think such a thing! When I see you, I’m captured by your smile! AND now those thighs have ran 26.2 miles. I was hoping you’d include a few thoughts on how that mindset has changed since August!

  9. I loved this post the first time, and I love it now! Good for you for embracing your legs! Strength is beautiful — something all runners know well!

    I have never liked my hips. I guess I have kind of a non-traditional “hourglass” shape (I say non-traditional because I have a small chest). I have a very small waist and wider hipbones…which I always thought made me look freakish. And because the bones are just wide, there’s nothing I can do to change my shape. Anyway, over the past few years, I’ve made a concerted effort to embrace my hips…and I’ve actually come to really like how I look! Instead of trying to downplay my hips, I’ve taken to wearing more skinny jeans, more brightly colored belts that further accentuate my waist, etc. Sometimes you have to be bold in order to change your perspective of yourself!

  10. I agree with Linda. I believe I called you smokin’ hot. 🙂

    I’ve had to come to terms with my post-baby body. That includes stomach and stretch marks and all. I try to remember that my body did something amazing – it carried my son. It also now let’s me run 5x a week and lift weights.

    Kudos to you,Tina.

  11. I know exactly how you feel. My legs are my least favorite body part by far. They are muscular and big and always have been no matter how much weight I lose. But these strong legs have carried me through 7 marathons…and I have grown to like them just a little bit 🙂 I’ll never have long, lean legs so why waste so much time stressing about something that is out of your control?!

  12. Girl if I had abs like yours I would not care! My legs are big too. I actually have never cared too much because I feel like they show how fit I am. They show the world I ski, I ride and lift weights! Now my stomach shows none of that- maybe just too much wine!

  13. Embracing certain parts of your body that you’ve been at odds with for years takes a long time. I believe everyone has those parts that they try to hide with certain clothing. When I was in college, there were so many parts that I was unhappy with, but overtime those parts became less and less.

    Thanks for being honest 🙂 ! We can sympathize.

  14. I’m glad you’ve learned to love them Tina because you seriously have amazing legs! If I were you, I’d be showing them off as much as possible. 😉

    I’m a little self conscious about my tummy because when I gained some (much needed) weight, it all went straight there! But that body fat is what is keeping me healthy, so I have learned to love it.

  15. For most of my life my thighs have been the bane of my existence. Being only 5’2″ I always coveted long, skinny legs of those much taller than me. But as I got more interested in eating healthy and running, my thighs have really transformed into something I am actually proud of having. I’ve grown to accept them and be thankful for having such strong legs that can run for miles and miles. My boyfriend tells me all the time that he thinks my thighs are sexy. He loves them, so why shouldn’t I?

  16. Wow..reading that post and seeing how confident and self assured you have become in the past couple years is very motivating! I can relate to the fear of unveiling your legs. I’m petite, 5’3” and have always been conscious of my short ‘stubby’ legs. But like you mentioned..these legs have carried me through multiple have marathons and my daily runs. I might as well show them off and be confident in what I have 🙂 Thanks for the inspirational post this morning!

  17. I have always had bigger thighs/hips; there is an 11 inch difference between my hips and my waist. I even remember in 8th grade (when I weighed all of 80something lbs!) comparing them to a friends and thinking I had thunder thighs. About 7 years ago I was at the gym and a man with very limited English said Wow! You have big thighs! I was like what? Then he said, So, so muscular. He meant it as a compliment, but still not what a 21 year old wanted to hear! In the past few years I have learned that any time I go easy on lower body lifting, sure I feel like I have more room in my pants, but my legs just look blah. I also used to cover them up all the time, but I’ve stopped doing that. I’ll never rock a mini skirt, but now it’s because at 28 I feel too old for that!! Last summer I finally started wearing shorts that were above my knee, I even bought a few dresses that are a few inches above my knees. My legs are by no means perfect, but I now realize that the reason I am running faster, biking faster, and lifting heavier than ever before is because of my strong legs. Do I still wish they were smaller? Sometimes, but I am slowly learning to love what my mama (grandma and aunts!) gave me. 😉

    Also, FWIW, the pic you posted the other day from Vegas I thought, man she’s got killer legs!

  18. I liked this post the first time, and again now! I’m the same way with my legs…since I’m not tall I envy long slender legs that I’ll just never have! BUT mine are strong and power me through races, so yay for them!
    🙂

  19. I feel just about the same way! I’ve always had strong legs (a friend called them “soccer legs.” I call them “Irish dancer legs”), wide knees, and WWWWHHHIIIIIIIITTTEEE skin! It wasn’t until last year that I mustered up the courage to wear the first pair of non-swimming, non-sleeping shorts in public in probably 10 years.

    Now, I know some may not find my legs attractive. They are indeed muscular. Some may call them stocky–particularly my knees. And some may call them “pasty white.” I affectionately call them my Casper legs and I’ve decided I’m proud of them.

    I like the fact that I’m very fair-skinned and I like the fact that my legs are strong and capable of doing many things. I climb three flights of stairs every time I have to use the restroom at work, and I walked 10 miles a day around Vienna, Austria last month with no problem whatsoever. I’ve done dance off and on over the past 12 years, Irish dancing included, and I’ve got some toned gams to show for it.

  20. omg I have chicken legs girl! lol! I always hated them, but hey they are my legs, they are why I can do the things I do like workout, walk, dance, and more : ) I am very grateful for that, some people don’t even have that, and I remember to always be grateful : )

  21. Although my thighs aren’t my problem area, I can totally relate to this post. I’ve actually always had toothpick legs and longed for more muscular, toned looking thighs like yours! Your legs are super hot! Flaunt ’em!

  22. Ah, I remember when this was first posted! And I love it just as much now as I did then 🙂 thanks for the repost. Even if it does make me feel old ;).

  23. I’ve ALWAYS hated my stomach. Even when I was at my lowest weight before the marathon, I was still a little uncomfortable with it. But I know that it takes restricting my diet far more than I care to do to get “perfect” abs, so I’m okay with drinking beer and having less-than-perfect abs.

  24. This post hits close to home. I have the thighs too from gymnastics when growing up and now running. When I wear skirts or dresses I get comments tha my legs are muscular. I hate it but now embrace that I’ve marathons and half marathons and I can hike forever. Now a swimsuit is another issue!

  25. I’m jealous of girls with thicker thighs and calves! I look like I’m riding a chicken sometimes… embarassing. I also cannot “grow” a butt for the life of me… I want some junk in the trunk!

  26. This is such a great repost – I think we all have those little parts of our body that “bug” us sometimes. Self-confidence isn’t something that comes easily, but it’s important to learn that we’re each beautiful because we’re completely unique! As look as you FEEL healthy and live an overall healthy and active lifestyle, you’ll look healthy. 🙂

  27. I have a wonderful boyfriend who reminds me everyday how beautiful my body is. I have struggled with my body image for my whole life, especially with my stomach. But with the help of boyfriend I am learning to embrace my body, and it feels wonderful 🙂

  28. Even though we’re always critical of ourselves, I don’t think anyone else notices when our confidence shines through!

    I’ve always been afraid of my “problem” areas, but once I let go of all that anxiety and self-consciousness, I can just be myself! No one else ever comments on my muscular thighs or the little pooch in my belly, so why should it be a big deal to me??

  29. I love this!! I have a completely different body type- I’ve always loved my legs, but hated my stomach. Everyone in my family gains weight there first. It used to bother me a TON and it still frustrates me sometimes, but I like to think that when I have kids my best body part will stay lookin’ good. It’s easier to focus on the positive!

  30. After reading this blog for several months now, I have grown to love it! And I find many similarities between you and me and this is why I enjoy reading it so much I think…anyways I have this same problem with my legs as well. I run so much but I am so self conscience with my legs. I myself had a weight loss journey and before I lost weight I was always self conscience about my legs and I feel I still have not gotten over this (this is the last thing about my body that I hate!) Anyways thank you so much for everything you write about, your blog as truly helped me!

  31. I have always had an issue with my hips and and tummy, that lovely area that seems to be the curve center on my body. I am relatively small on top, so I don’t think I can embrace the whole “Curvy Girl” mentality that some like Sara Ramierez and Kim Kardashian have. But what I have come to find out is that depending on how I dress, I can really playing up, or down, that area and make it work in my favor.

  32. Tina, I think your legs look great! But I can totally relate to feel self-conscious about my body. It’s been a long process, but like you, I’m trying to focus on how I feel, rather than being nitpicky and criticizing every little blemish. You reallyy are an inspiration to living a healthy, happy lifestyle!!

  33. I’m with you about the legs. I’ve been working really hard to get them even more toned so that I will feel more confident about why they actually are bigger. I think no matter what I will have to struggle with this indefinitely- along with other body parts. Bottom line is that as I get older I know that I want to be healthy, not just skinny.. even if that means I’m a little sad about my body sometimes, that’s just life..

  34. Good for you, Tina 🙂 I think it’s a constant mental effort to accept parts of yourself that you don’t like, at least it is for me. I do try to appreciate it for what it is though and embrace the beauty of what God has given me. Happy early Easter!!

  35. I never would have thought you felt insecure about your legs, especially considering the power they carry and how fabulous you looked in your bikini/dress pics in Vegas! I guess we all have that one body part we want to change. For me that’s my stomach, its gone in a lot but not the rock hard set of abs that I would love. Rather than dwell over it, I’ve learnt what kind of styles suit my shape and also to appreciate how far I’ve come.

  36. Thank you Tina for posting this. I never read it the first time you posted it. I’m sooooo glad you don’t pretend to be perfect and claim that you don’t think about things like “ahh I wish my legs were xyz.” Personally, i’m also most self-conscious about my legs. I am not overweight at all, but my legs are where I feel fat. I feel like I do lots of squats and while sometimes they look toned, other times they still make me cringe. I still feel very proud of them though, and remind myself of how lucky I am to having strong legs that carry me through thick and thin. I wear shorts and shorter dresses because I try to force myself to not worry about it, and to not let these hangups take over my life. So I just go with it, I don’t want to ever pass on these insecurities or even seem insecure about them, so I tell myself to embrace what is important in life, and strive to not waste my time worrying about my thighs. Sometimes, even if I repeat something trite like “My body is a temple” in my head, it makes me laugh, but it is also forces my brain to remember all my body is glorious! Thank you again for this post from the heart. I was really happy to read it.

  37. The worst part of my body is from mid thigh to mid butt and my legs are short! I think just exercise and running has helped me tone them up some and make me like them more. Also, a tan makes them look way smaller! Also, embracing my body parts that tone up faster made me feel better about my legs. I used to only focus on leg exercises and was always disappointed. Then I started focusing on my arms, back, abs (which tone up fast) and I always feel successful! I still workout my legs but I feel like they will tone up in their own time and my upper body tones up fast and it seems to have helped my legs!

  38. i have the same problem, but instead of seeing them as embarrassing, i see them as my strength. i think large thighs signify strength to do things like running that many other people dont have the strength to do. And just so you know, looking at your pics from Vegas, you so do not look like you need to lose weight but look perfectly healthy!

  39. This is really great. We women always talk about flaunting our “best assets,” but I think the true beauty comes when we flaunt it ALL – the whole package, baby 🙂

    My least favorite body part is my arms. Just don’t like ’em. I’m always that person who avoids strapless tops, but I think you may have inspired me to reverse that stupid rule I’ve made for myself…!

    p.s. Also just wanted to say HI!!!! Haven’t talked to you/commented in a while. Hopefully our paths will cross some time soon?! *ahem* come back to NYC soon? 😉 xoxo G

  40. To echo what everyone else has already said… seriously, if YOU are worried about your legs, I don’t even want to think about how worried I should be about mine 🙂 You look gorgeous in the dress (as always)!

  41. Such an awesome post! I too hate wearing anything above knee, but it’s because I have a huge vascular birthmark on my right thigh. To say I am self conscious about it is an understatement. Just in the past few years have I (very cautiously) worn shorts and short dresses without the fear of people looking at me like I have 3 heads.

  42. I like that you have been revisiting your older posts, Tina. Pretty cool to see your thoughts on your pasts posts and how far you have come. Congrats to you and your accomplishments.

  43. Lucky my legs are my absolute favorite part of my body. I used to hate them, though thinking my thighs were big. Which they were compared to some of my stick-thin friends…until I realized my thighs are thunder thighs and they’re freaking powerful!! Like, really powerful! It’s awesome 🙂

  44. I so know what you mean. It’s a constant battle with my legs. I have no problem below the knee, but when you look up, bam, big legs. When I started running my thighs got more toned but I still have to talk myself into wearing anything shorter than a knee length skirt. I realize that big legs=powerful but it’s still hard.

  45. I’m honestly starting to like my body more and more — but there were years when I would avoid wearing a swimsuit (or I’d wear shorts and a t shirt over my suit). It wasn’t until I started dating (and then marrying Jason) when I started to appreciate my body — and it was all because he told me how much he liked it!

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