I have never been a fan of my legs.
Even in high school, when I was in good shape, could eat whatever I wanted without consequence, and could wear slim fit jeans, my thighs and calves were "substantial". No chicken legs here people.
My legs (along with the rest of my body) have always been insanely pale too. Sun doesn't help... My color options for my skin are very pale beige, bright pink, or fire engine red. I have played with self tanners but they don't look very natural on me, I don't like spending money on that kind of thing, and my skin is really sensitive. So pale it is.
To make it all even worse, when I was pregnant with my third son, I developed really rotten varicose veins on one leg. They are the big poofy kind. Super ugly. I hate them. The doctor asks if they hurt me at all, and the truth is they only hurt my eyes when I look at them! They have never bothered me in any other way, and optional (cosmetic) surgery isn't really in the budget. So, the varicose veins aren't going anywhere for awhile.
As I became a runner and lost over 70lbs, I had times where I was frustrated that I didn't have awesome legs to show off. Sure, my muscles are impressive, but you have to see past the glowing white skin and nasty veins to notice them. I never wore running shorts because I was so self conscious about how my legs looked.
But while I was running the Salt Lake City Marathon, somewhere in the later miles I found myself talking to my legs. I was telling them that they were awesome and strong, and thanked them for not cramping or getting injured. And since then, I have looked at my legs differently and have changed my perspective and attitude about them.
Yup, my thighs and calves are substantial. They are STRONG, and muscular and down right buff. These are the legs that in junior high and high school helped me hang on to the backs of big old thoroughbreds and steer them around jumping courses. These are the legs that have carried me on a journey of weight loss and self-discovery. These are the legs that have run through three marathons without any major cramping and only minimal soreness afterwards. These are the legs that put in over 50 miles a week without complaint and are always up for whatever I ask... speed work, hills, long runs... no problem. These are the legs that let me push and get that sub-four hour marathon I wanted so badly, and these are the legs that I am confident are going to carry me to a BQ marathon.
These legs are pretty darn awesome.
The other day I got some new capris in the mail that I had ordered. I ordered two styles in a size 4. The first pair (jeans) fit great. The second pair (a thinner cut khaki pair) did not. I literally could almost not pull them up past my calves. When I finally got them on (I am sure it would have been quite entertaining to watch), the waist of the capris was way too big, the thighs were quite snug but ok, and the calves looked like if I flexed I would bust right out of them.
And instead of being upset about it, I thought it was cool. I am proud of those muscles. That's when I knew my perspective had really changed.
The world seems to focus SO much on women being thin/skinny. I am thrilled that I was able to lose so much weight and get my body to a healthy weight. and I feel amazing. At 5'5" tall and 136lbs, I am right in the middle of what is said to be a healthy weight. I am sure I could diet and work at it to lose another 10lbs or so if I really wanted to, but my focus is on being healthy and strong. Skinny little chicken legs wouldn't be able to carry me up big hills or run strong for 26.2 miles. Skinny little arms wouldn't be able to do 30 "man pushups", or carry around my two year old that has cerebral palsy and needs help and "mom transport" to do anything. I will take strong over skinny any day. :)
So I am done complaining about my legs and I am done being ashamed of them. My legs are strong. My legs are fast. And I am going to wear those running shorts with pride.
Hey, do you want to be the awesome person to get my fundraising current total over $500? I am just under that amount right now. It literally takes just a moment to donate and is so easy. Any amount is appreciated. Every little bit helps and is greatly appreciated. :)