Monday Motivation: I used to hate my thighs.

Admin Body Image, Featured, Monday Motivation 26 Comments

Monday Motivation posts are a time I use for self-reflection, to share relevant goings-on in my life, and to express sentiments that I think might also resonate with some of you. The goal is always to reveal some personal things that I feel are important to be candid about, but more importantly to help you to examine your own life and reactions to it, to see where you may possibly want to make a shift in your own points of view. While my own quest to learn and know more and more about nutrition, biochemistry and physiology are ever-growing, my desire to make a positive impact on more peoples’ lives grows exponentially greater at the same time. I hope this post hits home for a lot of you.

If you’re an active person, lifting weights and using your muscles, chances are, you’ve experienced trouble buying pants that fit.

The act of trying on jeans used to REALLY get me down. I mean, to the point where I’d feel defeated, as if something was wrong with me and that I had to just leave the store and not even try to find pants that fit. I had no idea that what I was doing for many, many years was attaching negative emotions to a body part. I was allowing something about my body to make me feel badly about myself. I would NEVER have even noticed this in a friend, nor would I EVER have mentioned it to him or her in a way that would have been negative or that would conjure up the emotions that I’d stir up in myself as a result of my own negative self-talk. It was a bad situation, but I was used to it.

I was used to saying “I hate my thighs.”

“Many negative ideas or attitudes are based on false premises. Sometimes a negative idea about a subject, or a negative attitude toward a person, can be completely reversed with a single piece of new information. you could suddenly learn that an idea you had about yourself or another person was not true. As a result, you could change your thinking in an instant. Be open to this possibility.” – Brian Tracy, Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life.

I was used to attaching negative emotions to a body part, which made very little sense at all. That was until I experienced an EFT session.

Quadzilla is alive! (at CrossFit LAX)

EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) is a widely practiced system of a psychological acupressure technique used to improve the emotional health of individuals. EFT can easily be done on your own, or with the guidance of a practitioner. The session I had was probably about one hour and took place via Skype with my (now) very good friend John Tsafos. John is a holistic practitioner in NJ (I’ve written about him before here), and prior to the development of our friendship, he helped me immensely with this BIG issue I was having.

I recall that John had me focus on one negative thought I had about myself during the session. For whatever reason, the idea that I hated my thighs was so overwhelming, that I focused on that. By the end of the session, I was laughing at myself for having thought, in any way, that the size of my thighs had ANYTHING to do with my value as a person. In fact, I was almost in disbelief that I ever thought it mattered at all.

“Negative emotions exist only because we give them life and then keep them alive. We feed them by continually thinking and talking about things that make us angry or unhappy. Fornutately, you can change this situation by applying the Law of Emotion. This law states, “A stronger emotion will dominate and override a weaker emotion, and whichever emotion you concentrate on grows and becomes stronger. What this means is that whatever emotion you dwell upon grows and eventually dominates your thinking in that area. If you withdraw your mental energy from a person or situation that makes you sad or angry by refusing to think about it, the emotion connected with that situation eventually dies away. Like a fire with no fuel, it goes out.” – Brian Tracy, Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life.

Shopping for clothes became a totally different experience. Rather than beating myself up for the pants that didn’t fit my larger legs and my smaller waist, I just sort of laughed at how thin the leg openings were and wondered who these women were who were able to wear them. I couldn’t even imagine average sized legs fitting into those pants, let alone athletic ones. I started trying on larger sizes and getting the waists tailored. This became routine and I just stopped caring what size my pants were but rather focused on getting something to fit me well.

It’s probably been at least five years now since that call and I now, affectionately, refer to myself as Quadzilla. I think John gave me this nickname and I actually think it’s funny now. I think of my legs as the work horses of my body, pushing me through workouts, helping me to lift heavy weight and carrying me through life on sturdy and strong limbs.


Learn more about EFT in this video:

  • Chrissy Bernazzani

    Love this post! Thanks for sharing!

  • jodie

    Thanks for this post Diane, you are so right about challenging our negative self talk.
    I have had a similar journey and I appreciate your blog, it one of the best for
    great Paleo info. Keep up the good work.. Jodie

  • Lauren

    Diane, we love EFT in our house! We have used for potty training, nightmares, fear of fireworks, a bad day, or simple a way to connect deeper as a family. Thanks for sharing this! If we are love ourselves we can go out from us and be strong and work on living life so much better.

  • Rachel

    Two-time Figure Olympia Champion Nicole Wilkins does the same thing with her jeans! This just means you have a beautiful X-frame shape. I have chicken legs and have been working the last 2 years to put size on them! I have wide, shapely shoulders. I used to hate that any tops with ruffles or volume on top made me look like a cross-dressing football player. Now I rock tank tops like I rule the world! I started thinking about how wider shoulders made my waist and hips look smaller, and how they set me apart. Now I love them! Great post Diane! Um, can I borrow some of your quads, please?

  • Katie

    Thanks for the great post, thighs are an issue for me especially with jeans. I have never tried EFT before but I look forward to learning more about how to use.

  • Marjorie

    Great post! I have the same problem with pants and have thought to myself “Who can wear these things?”, but still feel frustrated by the situation. I’ve heard of EFT, but have never tried it. Thanks for the info!

  • Christopher

    I’m glad you accept yourself Diane. You’re very inspiring. Most people don’t. They live their lives hiding their true self(staying in the closet) or letting stress eat them alive (picking out their eyelids). I imagine that “not loving yourself” is hell. Hope you are well. : )

  • Anastasia

    It took cycling to change my attitude to my thighs. I always felt that I wouldn’t fit into dancing or gymnastics because my thighs were too big. I had a dancing teacher tell me once that I should start walking on my toes because my quads are the result of my heel walking (WTF?). Once I found cycling I suddenly realised that I had a massive (literally) natural advantage. I had men and women cyclists enviously checking out my “guns” and ask me how much squatting I do (not much).
    It’s almost as if I found what my thighs were there for!
    We often are preoccupied with the looks but finding the function is the key to being at peace with yourself.
    Thanks for the great article, Diane.

  • Laura

    I have the exact same issue with jeans! Its so frustrating! I actually never thought to get the waist taken in, I always thought I would be doomed to wearing belts for the rest of my life! Is there one brand/type of jean that you have found is better than others at fixing this issue?

  • Jamie

    In a cruel twist of irony, I’m sitting at home nursing a squatting injury in pursuit of becoming a quadzilla in my own right. With not a lot else to do, and with this being one of my favourite topics (having had 15 or so years training mostly women and having had this discussion on many occasions), I’m going to add a guy’s perspective to this.

    I totally get that women (and increasingly men) are bombarded with images in the social media and that fashion dictates shapeless skinniness, particularly in the legs. I also get that women, for the most part, are more concerned about what other women think (versus what guys think), and that being an athletically-shaped woman tends to put you in the minority. And having heard the comments made by the likes of the skinny-fat stick insect that I work with about her views on women with muscles (not good), I am also without a doubt that these women tend to look down their noses at athletic women…

    [side rant: I’ve been in the gym scene and around enough drugged up female body builders to know what a woman with more testosterone in them than I will ever possess looks like up close and personal. Those women who criticise your average paleo-goddess for “looking like a man” need to get a grip on reality – you are all tiny and 9/10 – smoking hot. End side rant.]

    That all said, from a guy’s perspective, particularly a paleo guy, I just don’t get it. From an evolutionary standpoint, fitness is about sending a signal – to both men and women. If you are an athletic paleo chick, who do you want to signal to? Other paleoesque/athletic type of people, no? There was an interesting link posted recently on “faking fitness” [] that addresses some of this. The irony is, that many people will try to fake looking like the way many of the athletic girls look, naturally. Think high heels to make calf muscles look good and to emphasize glutes [Side rant #2: there is nothing more gutting than seeing a great looking woman in heels, only to see her butt disappear before your eyes when the heels get kicked off.].

    What sort of signal do you want to send? To everyone of both genders? Because the signal I receive from non-athletic women is “I am weak, I am fragile”. And seeing through their smoke screens as they attempt to fake it, is relatively easy. If a guy gets the signal that a particular woman has strength, and likes to push and look after herself, but isn’t into that or respect you for it, is this really that much of a shame?

    Athletic woman also have science in their favour… you are more likely to be naturally closer to what is considered ideal waist-to-hip ratios (again, this ratio is often faked with the likes of specific cuts of clothing, the use of belts, etc, telling me that the skinny girls want to look this way whether they admit it or not). I have seen skinny girls proclaim to an athletic woman (not knowing she is, however), that she would love legs/arms/insert body part of desire like the athletic woman has, only to completely claim up as soon as it becomes known that this woman has to bust her balls in the gym and lift heavy to get there. The skinny girl would rather fake it than make it.

    Yes, buying jeans when you have thighs and a butt sucks (Like Anastasia, I’m a cyclist, so there is only one cut of jeans that suit me, and I can completely forget trying to pull off any skinny-jean look), as it does with shorts. But from a guy’s point of view (or at least this guy’s POV), there is nothing hotter than an athletic woman in a skirt or dress… and unless you have just stepped out of your latest WOD with a massive pump on, the vast majority of you do not look all “freaky” and muscle-bound in these clothes.

    If the sample of women at AHS11 is anything to go by, you are all tiny, all hot, and all need to relax and take some pride in how strong you are and good you look!

    • admin

      Thank you for this, Jamie. I know it, and I believe it now, but there was a time when I really didn’t know it or believe it. Only strong men bother approaching me, which is great :)

  • Rachel Baker

    You have come so far and have affected so many people. You are a true inspiration to many. Thanks for your passion, dedication, and love for life. I was talking about you today actually! I remember you cooking food until the break of day, delivery it to Aim Fitness and offering us the most amazing food! I think about your endeavors often and I am SO proud of you and your KILLER LEGS:) My ass never fits in normal girl jeans. I have BOOTY!!!! My underwear is aways stickin’ out cuz they don’t make jeans for fit woman. I used to think my legs were getting SO BIG. But, the problem is, I was trying to fit into jeans made for bigger waist and muscleless legs. Thanks LUCKY JEANS!! The only ones that rock our bodies right:)
    Anywho, go get em girl. You rock.


    • admin

      Thanks love. Miss the fun we used to have around the gym! East coast has me now… but I’ll be back to visit for sure.

      Thanks also for being SO supportive of BB at it’s earliest inception- I couldn’t have even done what I did without it!!

  • CynthiaJ

    Diane, that’s a terrific post, and thank you for the info on EFT and the Brian Tracy book :) I just had 3 pairs of skinny jeans taken in at the waist (had to be cut!), gave up on my former boot-cuts as beyond salvage, and bought 3 new pairs which ALL will have to be taken in up top. I think the cost of $8 per pair is well worth it given that my changed shape is due to clean eating and darned hard workouts! :)

    Jamie, thank you for articulating your point of view. All I can say to that is “Amen!”

  • sheila

    Over the past 5 months I’ve changed my training from chronic cardio to strength and intervals. My body has changed dramatically and now most of my clothes, especially pants, fit “differently”, i.e. tight in the butt and thighs!! I was worried and depressed about this and thought “oh no!! what have I done to myself”. I thought about taking the waist in on new pants but felt that I shouldn’t have to because there’s nothing wrong with the pants, instead, there’s something wrong with me. For sure I thought I was destined to a life of stretchy pants and sweats. This post has helped me come to terms with my new body and I’m going to get some new jeans and just take the waist in and feel ok about it. Thanks!!

  • Rebecca

    Thanks for this post Diane. As I lift heavier I have noticed my jeans are way looser in the waist and tighter in the thighs… husband has noticed also and remarks often how he can see my thigh muscles through my jeans and how much he likes it! Like Jamie above, my husband likes my small waist, flat stomach, round butt and increasing thighs……he loves my curves.

    BTW, Miss Me makes a jean that fits me pretty well without tailoring.

    Thanks for all your great advice!

  • christa

    I’ve always hated my thunder thighs too. Shorts do not work for me because the leg openings barely accommodate them. Same problem fitting jeans as well, especially now that the skinny style is in. Use to buy all my clothes from outdoor adventure related companies because these gave the best fit. When one company started making organic cotton jeans, I was inititally very excited. Until I tried a pair on, that were a size bigger then I normally wear and still couldn’t get the damn th inks up past my thighs. My solution? I wrote a letter to the company expressing my concern and frustration that they were marketing their clothing to athletic, outdoor women, but not designing it for them. Many other women wrote and complained of this on their site too. The best things about this experience though was that I realized that I stopped blaming myself for not being able to fit into someone else’s box of what beauty is. More and more I’m realizing that my big butt & thighs are not liabilities but assets (ha!) Despite training for and running a marathon, I never had knee problems, because I’ve the muscles to pull it off. I’m getting into skiing this year and while extra training will help, I know my muscular thighs and butt will help me pull that off with minimal injury as well. So hooray for quads & gluts!

  • Autum

    Great post! I can very much relate, as my thighs and I (well my whole lower body really) have just gotten on good terms recently. Thanks for sharing.

  • Jen

    Jean shopping can definitely be tramatizing experience for me, I have to do the same with the larger waist size to fit my thighs! Everyone tells me I have great legs, but it is frustrating when shopping and I have attached some negative emotions when shopping. I hadnt really thought about it before. I need to stop!

  • NickW

    First, from a guy’s perspective, you have incredible legs. Just saying. Had to throw that out there :)

    Second, I’ve had massive thighs my entire life as well. I can thank my father who was an offensive lineman in college and leg pressed 800 pound regularly. In high school, I’d get so mad at these genes he passed down to me. I’d do squats, my legs would just balloon up. Now, almost 30, as I see people get older and the first thing to deteriorate are their legs, I’m thankful. I see strong, large legs as a thing of sustainability. An aspect of longevity. I want to be that old person who is hiking mountain trails when I’m 80 like it is no big deal, and strong legs are the key.

    If that requires me to wear shorts year round here in Oregon because I can’t fit into pants, so be it.

  • Jen

    I really needed this post! As an overweight paleo crossfitter, I battle against the feeling of defeat on a regular basis. Of course, different than your situation, but at the heart of things, pretty much the same. I’ve had a browser open to a local EFT practitioner for a while now and I’ll take this as a sign to actually call her. :) Thanks for the post!

  • Kristina

    Thank you for this post. I have been following a Paleo diet since 2003 and used to work out. I felt good and felt good about my body. Then I started getting sick. It took until last year to find out I have chronic Lyme and a host of other illnesses. In 2009 I had to stop working out because it was causing more harm than good. I have gone from 18% body to roughly 25% with a distended belly, love handles, and flabby thighs with cellulite. I know it is not my fault and it is out of my control right now until I heal, but it feels like more than I can deal with. I have a history of an eating disorder and to have no control over what my body does and go from being in shape to being bloated and flabby is horrible. I will try EFT to see if it will help. What I want most of all is to love, accept, and respect my body as it tries to heal from this horrible illness, and not be down on my body for not looking the way I want it to look right now.

  • Meri

    There really is room for a clothing line here! Pants and jeans for athletic women. If they make athletic cut suits for men then why not athletic cut for women!

  • Holly

    I’m glad you’re more comfortable with your body. I love that you did EFT! I’ve done EFT too for various reasons and it helped me soooo much! I think this is a great example of how it works.

  • Holly

    I’m glad you’re more comfortable with your body. I love that you did EFT! I’ve done EFT too for various reasons and it helped me soooo much! I think this is a great example of how it works.

  • Linda @ the Fitty

    I love the EFT technique! I’m going to blog about it too.