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A Tale of Two Thighs: Steps Toward Self Acceptance

Saturday, March 21, 2015

I recently jumped in at long last and completed my first yoga class, billed as Very Gentle Yoga. Some of the moves were similar to some of the stretches I've done with my spinning class. I was pleased with my flexibility, but again (shades of cross country skiing coming back to me!) I found myself challenged by my shaky sense of balance...especially when doing the Warrior pose, which seems by all appearances to be easy enough. But my toes were flexing all over the place trying to keep me from toppling over!

Before I describe this next pose (the name of which ends with *asana, probably narrows the possible names down to a list of 4 zillion...lol) let me switch to another story about my thighs. I've probably mentioned in prior blogs the challenge of learning to be "okay" with my thighs while riding my bike.

Where's the challenge? Well, with each downstroke of the pedal, especially when riding hard, the loose skin of my thighs jiggle and flap like the jowls of a bloodhound! Not a pretty sight! Yes, yes, yes I tell myself that I've fought long and hard for those thighs and I wouldn't trade 'em in for those gigantic, immobile thighs from the days when I weighed 450 pounds, not on your LIFE!

I've made progress in accepting them and beginning to appreciate the increased tone of my thighs, the increased space in between them and most of all the smooth, firm, muscles on the front of the quads which have hauled me up over impressive mountains. And with the disguising compression of my bike tights (yet another plus for Lycra coming out of my mouth?!?) these thighs are looking pretty darned decent!

So with all that progress my unsuspecting self goes into this next yoga move in which I lie on my back and raise my feet up over my head, touching the floor just above my head with gravity pulling my thighs down above my face with zillions of puckers and wrinkles that just brought me right back to: UGH! Why can't they look better than THAT?! These aren't the same thighs I've learned to appreciate looking down sitting atop my bike saddle, are they? What a difference the top view makes!

A piece rolled into my inbox today, courtesy of Upworthy, which helped me to put this whole struggle between loose skin and self-acceptance in better perspective and also hugely humbled me before the courage shown by this young man (be forewarned, there is some, not excessive, rough language):


To love myself, just as I am and to be at peace with my body...still a work in progress...! There was a time in the not-too-distant-past in which I never could have completed ANY of these yoga poses!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I will give you kudos for being able to get into that yoga pose! I don't think I could do it.
    emoticon namaste

    1447 days ago
    Wow! That kid is amazing. I think it takes a lot of inner strength to view yourself as a loving human and not just "the package."
    P.S. I have my "loose-skin-yoga-moments" too.
    1450 days ago
    I too have balance issue with yoga but find even when holding onto a chair back for some poses it calms and centers body and mind. I hope you enjoy your yoga class and feel benefit from it.

    As always, Don, you inspire your Spark followers with your candor, helpful links, and wisdom gleaned from your journey. Thanks again for sharing.

    1452 days ago
    It's always great to hear about the next steps on your journey!
    1454 days ago
    I have not lost enough to know where things are going to remain loose yet, but I hope I can handle it that well.
    1455 days ago
    Yes. There was a time. Congratulations on looking past the jiggle deep into the man you are - someone who did not give up on himself.
    1455 days ago
    Kudos on the yoga! Every time I turn around, there you are doing something new again! How brave that young fella, Matt, is for putting his thoughts and visage out there! With all the articles on loose skin after losing weight that I've seen, his video is the one that makes me think most seriously about the issue. The others are full of cold facts, without feeling. But Matt shows how it FEELS to deal with it; this emotional-laden approach is probably a better preparation for those of us who know we're facing the baggy skin.

    p.s. What is next on your list of activities to do?
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

    1455 days ago
  • KANOE10
    I had the same experience in yoga. While doing various poses I noticed loose skin also. Like you i can see the muscle there as well and do not want to return to my own body. I love yoga. And also find balance to be a key area.
    I am glad you are accepting yourself as you are now.
    1457 days ago
    Thanks so much for sharing your struggles with us . Those of us following in your footsteps are glad you leaf by example. Thanks for the link.
    1457 days ago
    Don, I love this blog and really needed it today. Matts video was so moving! I had a self-conscious moment at the Y today over my "bat wings", but like my DH always says - it is what it is. And it looks a heck of a lot better on a healthy weight then it did when I was 82 lbs. heavier!! Keep up the yoga, the balance gets better!
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1457 days ago
    Way to go- and yes, we can lose, but can't always keep up. Sigh.
    My arms are bat wings.
    I only wish I could fly away with them sometimes....

    1458 days ago
    I'm right with you, Don. With big losers like us at our ages, those quads could be composed of aircraft cable and spun carbon fiber, but that skin is going to hang in our faces if put give it the chance. Revel in the knowledge that you can put yourself in that position.
    1458 days ago
    Don, you're an inspiration, just like the man in the video. You keep showing up, and that's all we can do. Maybe try closing your eyes next time you do that pose and, instead of looking and thinking, you could focus on how strong you feel...
    1459 days ago
    What a great blog, and what an amazing young man you posted a link to. Thank you seems inadequate to the feelings I felt reading both, but thank you will have to suffice. emoticon
    1459 days ago
  • GABY1948
    emoticon blog...and it IS wonderful when we just accept ourselves...thanks for writing this and for the link! And you look emoticon

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1459 days ago
  • L*I*T*A*
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1459 days ago
    Yup, we've gotta accept the "thighs" we are: and give ourselves credit for the work we've done in improving what went before.

    To paraphrase Shelley:

    We look before and after
    And thigh for what is not
    Our sincerest laughter
    With some pain is fraught . . .

    (Of course he was sighing . . . but it's all relative, right???)
    1459 days ago
    Good for you!
    1459 days ago
    Thanks for the video.
    1459 days ago
    Have seen that video - hooray for that man -- and hooray for you. Own what you got and keep on keepin!!
    1459 days ago
    Thanks for sharing!
    1459 days ago
    Yoga! Good for you, Don. The balance will get better as time goes on. My balance isn't what it used to be either and so I do all kinds of things during the day that allow me to stand on one leg while I do the task for extra practice.

    As far as loose skin goes - well, a lot of us are in the same boat and understand exactly what are you seeing and feeling! Like the video says "Love Yourself" because you are so much more than skin.

    1459 days ago
    1459 days ago
    Remember, Progress Not Perfection. And that's assuming we know what perfection really is.
    1459 days ago
    With everything that you have achieved, Don, you should be proud of your body. Those thighs have taken you and your bike on many wonderful rides.

    No more self-hatred, remember?

    You have done one heck of an impressive job, so just look at where you are now...and BE PROUD!

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1459 days ago
  • _LINDA
    Impressive video by Matt Diaz indeed. Takes a lot of guts to come out like that.
    Impressive moves too to go into a yoga class which is usually just women. I think you can take credit too, for pushing out past your boundaries..
    I once watched the last half of a yoga class and discovered every single move was a stretch I had performed at one time or another. So now we know where the stretching poses come from lol.
    Keep on being the bright and inspirational emoticon that you are!
    1459 days ago
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