How Dreaming of Thigh Gaps Could Be Ruining Your Life
I was feeling straight gangster as I left my apartment recently, because as you can see from the photo below, I had busted out booty shorts and a crop top for summer, and I was looking hella fly.
Then, as I walked to the gym in 90 degree heat (and the kind of uniquely swampy humidity that can only be accomplished by jamming 8 million people into one city), I remembered something.
Booty shorts + humidity + thighs that touch = chafing
Sadly, I will never know the joys of walking through swamp heat half naked without my thighs clinging to each other like they suffer from severe separation anxiety. I used to hate my legs for that actually. But sometime in the last couple of years, my thighs and I became friends. Nowadays I even love them, but not because they changed. I am able to love my legs because I finally forgave them for not being who I wanted them to be.
Clinging to an idea of what anything “should be” sets you up for a lifetime of disappointed and anger. If you cannot change something, obsessively wishing it was different won’t change it. But it will poison your experience of being a person, leading to misery and resentment, missing out on the beauty that surrounds you, and never going after your heart’s real desires.
There is a myth out there that if only you try hard enough your body will look “perfect.” But there’s no such thing, and spending your life chasing it just keeps you from chasing your life’s actual purpose.
Me and My Thighs
I don’t measure my body fat percentage or anything, but I can tell you that at the moment, I am very lean. I train hard, eat well, and take good care of myself. I feel healthy, vibrant, strong, and energetic. Some mornings my abs could be mistaken for an instrument in a bluegrass band.
Oh. And my thighs jiggle and touch.
You would think that after 28 years they’d be sick of each other and want to branch out and get new friends, but no. They’re obsessed. They hang out constantly, when I’m standing, sitting, walking, running, you name it. To keep them apart, I have to do this little move where I either cock my hips back and to the side, or I stand with my feet wide apart like Peter Pan. You can find me in both these poses all over Instagram, because I work in fitness and apparently it’s “flattering.”
Why do my thighs touch? It’s just the shape and structure of my hips, the length of my femurs, the shape of my muscles, and the way my body distributes fat. No amount of “toning up” my inner thighs will change this, because toning up just means losing some fat and gaining some muscle (and I’ve already got enough to party).
Could I get leaner by gaining more muscle? Sure. But that would require some serious figure-competitor-level effort that I’m just not interested in putting in. And as far as fat goes, me focusing on losing fat would be a pretty stupid and dangerous plan. I mean… can you imagine how low my body fat percentage would have to be to keep my thighs from touching?!? Good lord, you’d be able to pet my liver.
Despite being healthy and lean by the way, I also have some of this lovely lumpy curvy stuff on the back of my legs. Some people call the stuff “cellulite,” but I’ve decided to call it “embellished fat.” My embellished fat is on display right under my butt cheeks, in a jiggly baroque pattern. (It’s tres fancy.)
Resisting the body’s genetic blueprint
I can’t tell you how many women show up for an assessment with me and say things like “I need to get rid of this!” while pointing to the inside of their thighs, the pouch below the belly button, or somewhere else that would be incredibly difficult and unnecessary to get rid of.
We can all agree that it’s extremely unhealthy to have too little body fat, right? Well that fat has to go somewhere. I know you wish you could just rent out a storage unit in Queens for that shit, but the laws of the universe have dictated that all your fat has to be stored somewhere between your skin and your bones. Your genetic blueprint, combined with your health and fitness habits, will more or less determine where on your body the fat is gonna hang out.
Bone length will very often determine how lean/muscular a certain part of your body appears. Relatively shorter limbs (or spine/torso) tend to look fatter and/or more muscular, and relatively longer limbs tend to look leaner and/or less muscular. For example, I have short femurs, and that has a lot to do with the co-dependent relationship my thighs are in.
What dictates “long” versus “short” is all relative to the rest of your body. If you think about it, you can’t really have “legs for days” if you also have a torso for days, arms for days, and everything else for days. If you can, then you’re a supermodel and you get paid mad money to bend the laws of physics and perception, like Gisele:
For everyone else though, you’ll have relatively longer and shorter limbs in comparison to the rest of you.
That’s where the illusion of “bigness” comes in. Even if a relatively short limb has a totally proportional amount of fat, that fat will have less distance to spread out over, and it might end up looking big in comparison. That goes for both fat and muscle by the way. If you have relatively long arms, you have to put on a good amount of muscle before you look jacked, whereas someone with short arms might look pretty diesel with just a little added muscle.
Women hate “big.” We’ve been taught by society to shrink and be small. Mainstream media is obsessed with showing us genetically rare and digitally lengthened female limbs as the gold standard for female hotness. We are taught by our parents and our peers that our bodies are shameful when they take up too much space.
This means that the body part that keeps you up at night and stresses you out when you get dressed is most likely also the one that feels “big”. And that might just mean it’s a relatively shorter bone.
Why am I telling you this?
Because I want to you to see what is out of your control, so you can ease up on yourself. I want you to feel liberated and start forgiving the body parts you’ve been resenting for years or decades, because they haven’t done anything wrong. There is an immense amount of peace and freedom that comes from knowing you won’t ever be able to make a certain part of your body look how you want.
Because if it’s never gonna change, than you don’t have to waste one more second worrying about how to change it! If there’s nothing to “wait” for, then you can start the process of forgiving and learning to love it right now!!
I used to think my curvy thighs meant I was fat, or that I wasn’t working hard enough, or that I didn’t have enough willpower. I used to obsess over them when I got dressed, hiding them in baggy pants and drawing everyone’s attention to my narrow waist with style voodoo I learned from Vogue magazine. I wasted so much time thinking about my damn thighs, and I want to keep you from doing the same.
Do you let your confidence be determined by how well you are able to hide, camouflage, or call you attention away from a certain body part? If you find yourself often stressed, obsessed, or depressed about a body part whose shape is largely determined by genetics, I ask that you please re-consider your relationship to that body part.
After all, you wouldn’t spend your entire life hating a family member for being something they couldn’t change (like being gay, or sick) just because it’s not how you thought they should be. You wouldn’t withhold love from someone else just because you had an idea in your head that they would look different. So why would you treat yourself that way?
Going a little deeper, reconsider your relationship to your fat in general! Body fat gets such a bad rap. Fat makes you pretty, and smart, it makes sure you can procreate, and it does about a million other awesome things. Trust me, you want some hanging around.
What does it mean if you spend your whole life bemoaning the fact that you’re human, and have been given this insufferable burden of carrying around a substance that pads your joints, protects your organs, and acts as a source of fuel whenever you need one?
I say give thanks that you have this life and this body, treat it well, and find something else to spend your time and attention on. Instead of obsessing about where your fat hangs out, just try to optimize your levels of it by eating well, lifting weights, getting enough rest and water, and relaxing.
Beyond that, your body will follow whatever grand cosmic blueprint it has for you in it’s DNA files. It will set your limb lengths, store a little fat to protect you and fuel you, and embellish the back of your thighs with fancy fat if it damn well pleases.
Get leaner, or don’t. Get more muscular, or not. But get healthy and happy, let go of resentment for things you can’t change, and find something else to focus on.
I am passionate about helping women learn to love their bodies, but loving your body as a woman in our culture isn’t easy, as you know.
That’s why I created the Body Image Alchemy Blueprint:
to help women explore and address the actual blocks that get in the way of truly loving and accepting yourself. If you want to love and accept your body no matter how it looks, but don’t know where to start, this course is for you.
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