Let’s start from the beginning.
I have weighed many, many weights in my life. The common denominator for every single one of these weights is this: no matter where the number fell, no matter how small I got, I felt certain of one thing: my thighs were just too big.
I did not (do not, will not) have the kind of thighs that do not brush up against one another.
I did not (do not, will not) have the kind of thighs that easily fit into stiff denim. That remain demure and unobtrusive. That can be ignored.
I have spent years pissed off at my thighs, disgusted at what they were (huge) and what they would never be (invisible).
I have spent much of my life imagining what it would be like to whittle my thighs away. To cut slabs of flesh from the tops of my legs, peel the fat off, and discard them.
I have spent hours of time, hours that probably amount to days and months of time, on an elliptical machine hating my thighs, viscerally and specifically. I wished my thighs dead, ran in circles step after step trying to burn them away.
Deciding that someone else’s thick thighs were kind of amazing was my first step.
I saw these thighs in a squat rack. They were attached to a body holding a barbell with hundreds of pounds of chunky metal plates. They sunk down, supporting the brunt of the bar, and they popped back up, almost effortlessly.
These thighs were undeniably big. They were strong and I was very intrigued by the way my eyes were drawn to the thickness of them. I didn’t want to notice the thighs, but I also could not look away.
Could I actually admire these thick thighs and hate my own? Was that a parallel that I could manage to pull off?
This question haunted me, both as I fell to sleep at night and when I woke up to get back on the elliptical. Was it possible to live in a world where thick thighs were just okay? Where they were accepted as fact, embraced as a pillar of strength, or even just generally not thought about at all?
I saw the first pair of thick thighs that I admired years before I accepted my own.
Sure, the seed was planted. But it took focus to change my own mind about something. It took effort to make new thoughts stick.
“My thighs are fine” I said, until, eventually, I felt like “fine” wasn’t really good enough anymore.
“My thighs are powerful” I thought, until I realized that powerful was indeed what they were, but that that certainly wasn’t the breadth of how I wanted to feel about them.
“My thighs saved my life” I thought, almost kind of surprised.
Huh I thought.
Kind of a weird thing to think. But it was true, wasn’t it?
That my thighs walked me away from my alcoholic abusive parent as a teenager?
That they supported me when I no longer wanted to get out of bed?
That they took me, step by step, to every group therapy meeting I went to, every doctor’s appointment in the early days of recovery, even when I felt too tired to move? To the homes of every caring friend, to the gym and through every deadlift, sprint and push press?
Respecting my thighs became a conduit.
It brought me connection and intimacy because I stopped being afraid of eating, moving, and living amongst other people.
It brought me closer to my mom and my sister. Women of the same thighs, women that I wanted a relationship with more than I could even articulate or understand.
It brought me to women aside from my sister and my mom too, and to queer folks. Holy shit- I guess I am not the only person that has struggled with hating a certain aspect of my body. I guess I am not the only one who could have used a little support.
Embracing my thighs brought me to a personal nutrition practice rooted in loving the ever living shit out of every inch of my being.
It separated me from using exercise as a torture mechanism.
It took me away from the battle against myself- and it brought me right back into my life.
PS Lately, when I’m not waxing poetic about body positivity, I am spending much of my time formulating recipes for the newest Reset and Restore program, starting on November 2nd. If you’ve been looking to get a little more awesome with your mindfulness around food and body, this is totally your place.
PSS Isn’t that patch AWESOME? You can buy it here. (This is totally not an affiliate link, I just really like it and want many people to have it!)
I haven’t done a weekend reading post in quite some time, mostly because I found that I was beginning to stress about what I would share each week, which effectively took the joy out of writing at all. WHOOPS.
Because I spend a lot of time both striving to crush it at life and also trying to let myself be imperfect, I have simply been blogging less. I don’t love it, but I do love allowing myself the grace of being a very busy human being until the inspiration hits.
This week I read a TON of wonderful, bad-ass, brave shit written by women and queer folks and I knew I was going to be getting back on the share grind as soon as I could. (An aside- I have this fear sometimes that if I stop doing something and I lose momentum with it I! WILL! NEVER! DO! IT! AGAIN!. This attitude kept me from taking rest days from exercise for years (WHAT IF I TAKE A DAY OFF AND NEVER MOVE MY BODY AGAIN FOR ONE DAY IN MY ENTIRE LIFE?!!??!) and turned me into a bit of a catastrophizer. I am taking this moment to announce that I used to post a weekend reading list each week, I stopped ’cause it got overwhelming, then I got inspired again this week and picked it back up again. GOT THAT BRAIN? GOOD.)
ANYWAY. Onto the links!
Once every five years the USDA updates the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and this year we are seeing LESS influence from major food corporations and MORE friendly suggestions that fit within the frame of a vegan diet. The proposed guidelines rely much less heavily on meat and expressly state that a vegetarian diet is beneficial. That’s huge!
Despite these advances, there is both room for worry and room for improvement. Once the proposed guidelines are announced, the public (including big business with lots of money and lots to lose) has time to put in their input. This article tells you how you can express YOUR opinion about the guidelines, and I sincerely hope that no matter what your diet, you take the chance to use this opportunity. Remember, these guidelines directly impact all federal programs, including school lunches and WIC. Even if they don’t directly make a difference in how you eat, they are extremely important culturally.
This was an absolutely wonderful rumination on the benefits of taking the goals out of running. For Sara, her aim with running is simply to run, she’s done it for years all over the world, she hasn’t gotten any faster, nor does she intend to. I LOVE THIS, both because it’s wonderfully zen but also because I love when people take the wind out of the sails of both the patriarchy and the weight loss industry.
First of all, look at this woman. Completely adorable while being 100% bad ass. I would LOVE to look like Gabby.
Second of all, this article really hits a nail on the head for me. When I first started lifting weights, I got bigger. Like, a lot bigger. Pre-weights I was doing as much cardio as humanly possible, restricting my food, and sometimes throwing up. It was NATURAL and REASONABLE that I got bigger because my shift in exercise inspired a huge confidence and empowerment boost that allowed me a little fucking breathing room. Enough in fact, that I LET my body gain weight.
I got bigger on purpose.
Today, I love my body, and although I have definitely lost some of the initial weight I gained when I started lifting weights, it is still noticeably larger than when I was a cardio queen with an eating disorder. I have defined muscles and big ass quads and I fought for this strong beautiful body, and I aint bummed about it. When I hear women say “I don’t want to get bulky!” I used to feel a little offended, but now I step aside from what others want, and take a peak into what I want for myself and my frame.
It turns out, I want exactly what I have. And from this article, I can see Gabby does too.
I fucking love that.
I love the contrast I have going on here. The Seinberg article exalts goallessness in running, while this article by my friend Caitlin, gets into the nitty gritty of learning that the key to success in endurance events is getting psychological. I have SO MUCH respect for the two very different approaches to running, although my personal approach is kind of neither of the ones discussed.
Isn’t it awesome how varied opinions can all be valuable and valid?
Yeah, I thought so too.
In this article Caitlin talks about mental toughness, re-writing her story about herself, staying in the moment, embracing the power of positive self-talk, keeping perspective and welcoming discomfort. I have totally used every single one of these in the first year of starting Super Strength Health, so the article resonated deeply even if not in an athletic sense.
Also, Spoiler alert : CAITLIN QUALIFIED FOR BOSTON! You go, gurl.
Bitches Gotta Eat is one of my favorite blogs for pure unbridled LOLZ.
In this article, Sam discusses a few quick and easy meals for folks with tiny ass barely functional kitchens. Most of the meals aren’t vegan, although some tweaks could get them there, but I basically give zero fucks because although I am not necessarily going to make the food, I am totally going to laugh my ass off at the way she talks. If you need a little comic relief, please hop right over to this blog, sit back, and indulge.
You’re worth it.
See you next week!