Something super strange and unexpected happened last week: I posted a close-up of my thighs to Instagram.
It was right after this insane workout I did, and my quads were pumped up and my leggings covered in chalk, like this:
I say it was unexpected because it wasn’t until after I posted the pic that I thought to myself, HOLY SHIT, did I just post MY THIGHS to a public forum?? WTF?? My grandma is turning over in her grave!
It’s something I would have never in a million years done back in my 20s, yet did it without thinking last week. It wasn’t until afterwards that I thought about how strange and amazing and transcendent it was.
See, my thighs have always been *that body part* — you know what I’m talking about — that ONE place on my body I’d try to hide or camouflage or spend years loathing and cursing. So much so that I’d be hooked on those “dress for your type” articles that always had the Thunder Thighs, excuse me, I mean “bottom heavy” gals wearing A-lines or things that highlighted your slim waist because you had to hide your legs. The product of my early athletic background plus good old old genetics on both sides (!), my mom and I would commiserate about our joint challenge. And on my dad’s side, they are known as “The Coleman Thighs,” many of us have them.
And a little disclaimer: Whether I have “the right” to be insecure about them or not, doesn’t matter. Like all insecurities, it’s not about objectivity or logic. My legs are probably smaller than many other people’s, but that’s irrelevant. It’s about the fact that for a long time, I hung onto my stress about them, whether justified or not. I have my own journey and process with regards to my insecurities. It’s my right. Just like every woman is entitled to her own journey and process, regardless of “the facts.” This is part of journey. I’ve written on my thighs here at JillFit many times.
This experience provided two insights for me:
1) Do we really have a choice in what our momma gave us?
All we can do is the best with what we’ve got! Right? The body we currently have is the culmination of many things: frequency and type of exercise, history of eating, hormonal makeup and tendencies and genetics. Some of those things we can control and others not as much. And focusing on the things we can’t control is a huge distraction and something I did for a long time: “Ugh, whyyyyy am I so big-boned? Couldn’t at least ONE of my parents have slim legs? LOOK at all these LUCKY women who have thin legs! Why couldn’t I be born that way???”
Can you see how these thoughts and spending energy here is futile? But when you are caught up in the unfairness of it all, it’s difficult to see that the complaining is actually a choice. Not only that, but it’s a mental drain that only keeps you in victim status, not taking action to improve things. I see women all the time blaming their genetics or their bone structure, saying things like, “Well, I have a slow metabolism.” Okay sure, but can you see that these declarations might actually be hurting, rather than empowering?
Sure, there are instances of metabolic damage and real cases of adrenal fatigue, and other hormonal issues, but even these have solutions and things that you can do. So repeating them as if they’re a death sentence doesn’t serve. There are always going to be challenges, but laying down and giving up because of things that are out of your control is not smart strategy. Not to mention, depressing as hell.
What about those things that are in your power? Like your workouts? Can’t I always train hard and consistently to do the best I can with my legs, ensure that even though they are (will always be) big in circumference, they are tight and more defined? Yes. Yes, I can.
Because baby, I was born this way.
And I don’t like fighting with reality. I like taking “what is” and putting my own spin on it. It puts me in my power and where my ONLY option is to do the best with what I’ve got. Because really, what else is there?
My legs won’t be the bane of my existence anymore, they will serve as my drive and excitement to train. Not because I need to punish myself for having big legs or because I need to “make up” for anything or because I hate them, but because when I train hard and consistently, I feel good and powerful and confident. Hence, my photo :) I train because I can now love them.
2) HOLY EFF, I actually LIKE my thighs, and that’s some progress right there.
And it’s so funny and ironic and transformative all at once. Man, I actually like and appreciate my legs. Wow. I like their shape, I like that they can squat 200 lbs, I like that I feel powerful and athletic with them, and I like that my jeans fit every time I go to put them on. Those things feel like success.
I would never have thought I could feel that way and I am so grateful. I’m FINALLY unapologetic about my #quadzilla status. And part of me is annoyed it didn’t happen sooner because … wtf?
BUT. This got me to think about the concept of being “unapologetically strong” — a tagline coined by my friend and fellow fit pro Jen Sinkler of Thrive with Jen Sinkler, who is getting ready to launch her Lift Weights Faster 2.0 program next week.
I love the concept of being unapologetic — in whatever realm. It’s about showing up in your life authentically and as-is and letting the chips fall. Letting people think or say whatever they are going to think or say. Letting other people have their emotions or reactions. Enduring the scariness or discomfort of what it means for you, your relationships, other people. JUST BE YOU. No apologies. Wow, how scary! But how … magical?
Man, showing up unapologetic in your life is scary. But when you do, you are working toward something really powerful: releasing attachment to outcomes, other’s expectations, obligations, considerations and every other thing that doesn’t resonate 100% with you in your heart and spirit. Wow.
How are YOU maybe showing up apologetic in your life? Where are you struggling between what you want to be doing and what you are actually doing? It could be out of guilt, obligation, fear or uncertainty. What would happen if you started owning your power and saying, “This thing over here that’s bugging me? I’m not going to let it bug me anymore.”
You are honestly, literally, one single choice away from feeling good about YOU. You can choose RIGHT NOW where you want to move and how you want to interact with those things you’re struggling with. Show up. Unapologetic. And if there’s resistance, give yourself a mental pep talk and bring the confidence and conviction. Because why not? Who else will?
Life is too short for bad vibes.
And being on your own team removes so much of the struggle.
What chou think? ;)