Bridging the Thigh Gap: Crossfit Got Me Over My Thigh Hate

3 years ago

When I was seven years old, my mother proudly showed me the space between her thighs as she stood with her feet together. Yes, my mother had achieved the coveted thigh gap. Even being so young, I was in awe. I couldn't believe such a thing was possible. My thighs collided at the knees.

When I was a teenager I fantasized about having plastic surgery on my legs. I imagined being confined to my bed for months; big, bulky white casts encasing both legs up to the hips. I romanticized about the pain and maybe even relearning to walk. I dreamed about the removal of the casts and the revealing of long, slender legs...

I even tried to solicit the support of my parents. If they could help me research leg surgery, I would come up with the money. I would find a way because I knew (in the way teenagers just know) that I couldn't possibly live with my legs the way they were.

My thighs still collide at the knees, and I'm still learning to live with them.

The first time I saw value in my thighs is the night I walked into CrossFit West Nashville. With an empty barbell across my back, I did a real squat for the very first time. And I thought, "Aha. This is just the beginning of what I can do."

I realized my thighs might be useful, and I was a bit nicer to them. I’d look at them with a sense of opportunity. After years of a cycle of dieting and gaining, I finally realized that no matter how much weight I lost, my thighs would always be proportionately larger than the rest of me. And if my thighs were going to be big, they might as well be full of muscle.

As I progressed in CrossFit, taking pride in every PR, I started to think less about my thighs. I hadn't realized the amount of brain space I had reserved for Thigh Hate. Without the constant, habitual presence of that worry, I experienced a new freedom to think about other things. And when I was lifting or WODing, I did not devote a single thought to the disappointment I felt in my body.

I felt relief. Rest.

I felt pride.

When 14.3 was announced during the 2014 CrossFit Open, I watched as Stacie Tovar and Alesandra Pichelli battled through box jumps and dead lifts. I saw power and strength. I saw an unapologetic display of thigh. I saw new potential in myself.

This wasn't a craze or a quick fix. My Thigh Hate had been a growing, festering hole in my spirit for as long as I could remember. WOD by WOD, lift by lift, I was filling in that hole with confidence and hope. And when I did fall back into the pit, I was becoming strong enough to climb out.

This past May, my husband took me to the CrossFit Central East Regionals for my birthday. As I watched and cheered along with the gymnasium full of CrossFitters, I couldn't help noticing the booty shorts and spandex strutting up and down the aisles. These women were rocking some serious Thigh Pride. And I joined in.

The past year of doing CrossFit has led to many changes and new challenges in my life. As I have raised my expectations for my mind and my body, I have proven to myself that I am capable of success... in and out of the box. I don't know if I will ever fully embrace the thighs I was born with. But I have learned to treat myself with courtesy. With respect. With a bit of awe when I think of what these legs can do.

I have achieved Thigh Pride. I have bridged the gap.

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