I thought I'd lighten up a bit today and talk about my thighs. Actually, there's nothing at all "light" about my thighs. They're enormous. They're like two majestic oak tree trunks. Always have been. My dear friends who love me will tell you they are large because there is so much muscle there (I really adore my friends!). There is a little truth to this, I guess. I exercise. A lot. For the last twenty-five years, I run an average of four miles a day, then jump on my Nordic Track ski machine or elliptical for thirty minutes. I've read a lot of training articles and have incorporated every work-out tip imaginable. I've applied sprint intervals, alternate hard/easy days, long and slow vs. short and fast, all of it. Still, my mighty oaks remain.
For as long as I can remember, my thighs have rubbed together when I walk. Corduroy doesn't stand a chance after just one mile with me. I've learned to adapt. Instead of wearing cute jean skirts or flowing gauzy sundresses, I adorn myself with a skort. That's right. A skort is basically a skirt with a pair of shorts sewn underneath (hence the clever, clever name). I own dozens of them. In Florida, summer lasts about ten months, so I've acquired many skorts over the years in varying colors and lengths. They keep my thighs from chaffing and, more importantly, setting off small fires from the sparking friction their rubbing creates.
There have been only two times in my whole adult life that there was some actual space above my knees. Once was just after my divorce when my stress level reached above ten and the mere THOUGHT of eating made me nauseous. The other was when I upped the intensity and length of my runs and cut my calorie intake so drastically that the simple act of standing made me dizzy. The problem is that during both of these instances, in order for me to be thin enough for my thighs to look normal, the rest of me resembled something out of a concentration camp. Good times...
Still, I've always figured that the reason why I look this way is because I'm doing something wrong. Never mind that I come from both Irish and Croatian heritages. Ever look closely at a photo of Eastern European women? Picture babooshka-wearing, potato-eating, pear-shaped fish wives. These are my ancestors. Actually, all I needed to do to glimpse my future was attend one of our extended family reunions. Talk about a FOREST! I walked in, looked around the room at my great aunts, turned defeatedly to my husband and said, "I am beating a dead horse." Still, the next morning I got up at 5 a.m. and laced up the old Nikes.
Then I met my dear friend Sara. I'm using her real name because I have nothing but glorious things to say about this wonderfully fantastic woman. She plays Sarah Connor at the Terminator 2/3D show at Universal. If you go to an encyclopedia and look up the term "cheerful giver," you will see Sara's picture there. She loves her friends with all of her being. I know for a fact that she'd walk through fire for me in a heartbeat if I asked, never questioning why. She's my hero. She's also got a killer body. I mean, it's just perfect. She's tall and thin with breasts that are full, perky and REAL! She's in terrific shape, she's a stunt woman who's jumped out of helicopters and off high towers. At Terminator, she rapells daily from a 40 foot ceiling carrying an AR15 rifle on her back. Chick is TOUGH!
Here's the thing, Sara works out very little. At the Terminator show, all the stunt people have to undergo an intense, physically-challenging agility test in order to get their yearly contracts renewed. The test includes push-ups, sit-ups, cardio, and pull-ups, among other things. She's ROCKED that test every time. During one period, she told me she wanted to get in better shape, so she was going for a run. She came back after thirty minutes or so, looking perfect in her tiny running shorts and tank top. She said to me, "Wow, that was hard. I don't know how you do that everyday!" I looked at my sweet, beautiful friend, and punched her smack in her flat, hard gut.
Sara's eating habits would rival a hot-dog eating champ at Coney Island. She LOVES cheeseburgers drenched in mayo and ketchup. One day she told me she was going to eat healthier and got a salad. The "salad" consisted of a mound of iceberg lettuce, two cucumber slices and a tomato, which she quickly discarded ("I don't like tomatoes," she said). Of course, it was hard to see these salad ingredients, because they were buried under two inches of shredded cheddar cheese, croutons and two packets of ranch dressing. I gave her a "thumbs-up" and bit into my raw carrot stick.
So here's what Sara taught me: we come by our bodies pretty honestly. Sure, you can help out a bit by eating right and exercising. But the truth is, mine's going to do it's own thing, no matter what. I seriously believe that at this stage of my life, my body is slowly steering itself towards that dangerous ancestoral, pear-shaped, plus-sized, babooshka territory. My daily workouts and veggi-soy burgers are only serving to pull back on the reigns a tiny bit. Forget the thin thighs, I'm in a battle to keep from needing a piano case for my coffin!
So, will I continue to beat this dead horse? Probably. But I was also thinking today that I'd like to try to start cutting myself a little slack, release the grip on my diet articles, and stop flipping the bird at my bathroom scale. I read a fantastic quote today from the great, hilarious Erma Bombeck. She wrote, "Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the Titanic who waived-off the dessert cart."
Football season is fast approaching. I think I'll order a pizza at game time and enjoy it with a nice cold beer, instead of crunching on celery sticks and cucumber slices. I know that Sara would be so proud!
This Fall, I challenge you to do the same. Shelve the diet books and have some cheesecake, for crying out loud! If you gain some weight, who cares? I can refer you to a great place that sells the CUTEST skorts....
Thanks for reading!