DR. THICKLEGS OR: HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE MY CANKLES

I’m not fat…I’m just thick-legged.

I’ve always been heavier than I look. It began way back as a kid in the church nursery. My parents would hand me over to the nursery worker and there would be a sudden jolt downward as the nursery worker was surprised by my weight. I’d like to think I was wearing lead diapers, but alas, I was just a heavy baby with Cabbage Patch cheeks and thunder thighs. When puberty happened in my early teens, I was saddened that I couldn’t shop at those cool “juniors” stores with the skinny girl clothes. (And this was back in the days of normal size skinny girls, not the stick figure waifs growing up today.) Then every day during high school soccer practice, my socks would be stretched to the max, the fibers straining to contain the bulk of my calves and shin guards. I had to buy jeans a size larger so they would fit over my thighs and butt, resulting in that unsightly waistband gap.

I’ve got thick legs, plain and simple. I always have.

I love them…I love them not…I love them…I love them not…

Throughout my lifetime I’ve had a love-hate relationship with my legs…and I’ve always had a hate-hate relationship with my cankles. You know, those calves that don’t ever really form ankles but just kinda puke out into your foot—cankles.

While many girls growing up struggle greatly with self-image, thankfully, I wasn’t really one of them. Sure, I disliked my legs, but not enough that it affected my life in any majorly negative way. But still, in the back of my mind, I’d always dread those days that my friends would want to go to the beach, because my pasty white thunder thighs would be on display for all the world to see. Whenever I wore shorts around boys, I’d sit on the edge of the seat with my feet up on my toes to eliminate as much thigh-smush on the seat as possible. And I would never, ever wear capri pants because the combination of my enormous calves and cankles made me look like my feet were connected to stumps. Pretty normal stuff during your teenage years.

At the same time, I loved my legs too! These legs could kick a soccer ball over 50 yards and propelled me throughout the entire game. They boxed out many basketball opponents underneath the basket. And they provided a solid base of power for my softball swing. So, lots of goodness wrapped up in all the thickness.

Quadzilla! Photo:  Becky Yackley Photography
Quadzilla!
Photo: Becky Yackley Photography

Nothin’ but love here.

These days, I’ve got nothing but love for my legs…and even my cankles. Why? Well, part of it is because I’ve just quit caring how other people think I look. But more importantly, I’ve come to realize that what my legs can DO for me is so much more important than how they look on me. My legs can squat 210 pounds. My legs can jump on high boxes repeatedly. My legs can row thousands of meters. My legs can deadlift 265 pounds. My legs can do double-unders and lunges and sprints.

My legs may not be able to fit into knee-high boots or skinny jeans. And they may be paler than Captain Ahab’s elusive white whale. But my legs are strong, and what they can do for me makes me feel like a badass. So I love them – cankles and all.


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