I was having such a great day, then I went shopping for jeans.
Nothing calls out my insecurities about my body more than when I’m shopping for jeans. I don’t resemble any of the standard body shapes as described. I maintain a healthy weight, but I guess I’m not “skinny,” nor a “matchstick,” and certainly not a “toothpick.” My thighs are not the same circumference as my ankles.
I took a deep breath, then panned the the denim filled shelves for some other erroneous description of myself. Do I have a “boyish” figure? Well, the last time I checked, I was a grown woman.
The final option presented to me was “curvy.” Gee wiz, just how I want my thighs to be described: curvy. Unless your last name is Kardashian, to me, “curvy” feels like a back-handed compliment. Might as well serve a cupcake with those jeans.
I hated my legs.
Get Skinny, Get Skinny, Get Skinny
My number one fitness goal was to shrink. What would burn the most calories? What does the number on the scale read? As cliche as it sounds, I wanted to fit into that mold I saw in the fashion magazines, or at least fit into the stick straight skinny jeans on the shelves of my favorite stores. I wanted long dancer legs with thin thighs, but I never achieved that goal through any kind of crazy diet or exercise. Probably because I’m barely 5’2” and was a gymnast and cheerleader my whole life. I was killing myself and my self-esteem striving for a body I was never going to attain, because my body isn’t designed to be stick straight skinny.
Strong is My New Skinny
I had to change my perspective about my negative body image, and I knew that getting into a pair of jeans was not my answer. I found my inner strength when I finally stopped viewing exercise simply as a means to get skinny. Instead of working out to see differences in the mirror, I now see fitness as a way to decompress, have fun, and re-energize. It was a slow shift, and an ongoing process, but I couldn’t care less about fitting into that skinny mold or reading a specific number on the scale. Instead, I focus on being thankful for what my body can do.
Now, I am motivated by getting stronger, running faster, and setting new personal records at CrossFit. I get more excited about perfecting my lifting technique or connecting pull-ups than I do about what size is sewn into my jeans. I cut out the sizing tags in my clothes and threw away the scale.
I don’t want to be skinny anymore. I want to feel strong and be fit. I want to chase my kids at the park, ski down mountains with my husband, and try stand up paddle boarding in Hawaii. I don’t have skinny thighs. I never have, I never will, and frankly, I don’t want them.
I now take compliments when a girl at the gym tells me she has “quad envy,” or when a friend calls my legs “jacked.” I work hard and squat heavy. I am not a “toothpick.” I am fit, powerful, strong, and proud that I have “jacked” legs. I love my legs. But, I still don’t like shopping for jeans.
For more on fitness and my favorite jeans for athletic legs, check out my fashion and style blog, Can I wear that to playgroup?