My body almost exactly 8 years ago, it looks different but it’s still mine…
OH MY GOSH. I was looking through old outfits, and this one struck me because
I got this SAME DRESS (in black) in for Slowre a while ago. So funny…
- What is your “body type”?
- What’s your favorite body part?
- What do you appreciate most about your body?
- What’s a particular frustration with your body lately?
- When do you feel best in your body? How do you move it?
I am short, about 5’3″ with a smaller waist, small bust, larger hips and thick legs. I think I’m a “pear” shape, but I’m not sure we use fruit shapes anymore? Maybe I’m a triangle? I am definitely not an hourglass LOL. I feel like my body type is so unique, I’d love to know how many of you have similar to mine. It’s not so unusual to have a small waist and larger hips, it’s my large legs/calves in combination with that that seems to be so unique. I know a lot of women who have small waists and wider hips, but they all have small legs, and shapely ankles (they’re more traditional hourglass shapes), which I think helps to balance the silhouette a little. Not that it needs balancing, but I hope you know what I mean. There’s nothing “wrong” with my body (I used to think so); it’s just a body, but I’ve struggled all my life with not EVER seeing women with the same body type as mine. I do every once in a while, but it’s pretty rare.
Favorite body part:
All of them. Sorry, that’s not allowed, you have to pick one! I think most of my life, I’ve loved my waist, because it’s small, and it’s the most “traditionally beautiful” part of my body, if you grew up with Western standards of beauty, that is. But now, it’s my legs. I’ve spent a long time (my entire life thus far) struggling with my thick legs, and hating them for being so BIG, and hard to fit into jeans and look the way I want them to. But I’ve made a conscious effort lately to turn that around and truly embrace them. My body is beautiful, as all bodies are, no matter their shape or size, but I haven’t quite reached the point that I would call my legs beautiful? I still have feelings LOL
That my legs are strong enough to get through a Pure Barre class, a ride on the Peloton, and get me around wherever I need to go. I try so hard not to take those things for granted because I understand how quickly that could change. Oh, and after my fractured jaw, I have a renewed sense of wonder at how my body can heal itself, and seem to handle almost anything I put it through…I appreciate it so much.
Haha…my legs. See how pervasive the “negativity” can be?? No, I accept my legs, and I appreciate them, it’s just endlessly frustrating buying pants/jeans that fit my legs, but not my waist or hips. I know by now that I will never look like “the models” in jeans, and I know better the styles that I can wear more comfortably, but that still never stops me from trying. I appreciate how strong and muscular my legs are, and if given the choice, I wouldn’t trade or change that for anything. Period.
When do you feel best?
Right after exercising or being very active. The last few days I haven’t really wanted to go to Pure Barre (my favorite leggings by Alo fit my legs really well…FYI …), but it’s not an option for me anymore (nor has it been for the last five years), so I go at my scheduled time and suffer through it LOL. And a Pure Barre class contains a lot of moments where I’m like WTF? How can I do that? Whoa, how did my body just do that?? Once it’s over, and this happens every.single.class. I am overwhelmed that my body just did that, and so grateful to it for getting me through to the other side haha. It’s the best feeling in the world. The best.
Just a final note…
I have struggled so much with body image issues and I won’t pretend to say that I don’t anymore. I have come a long way though, and mostly in the last few years. It amazes me constantly though, how our minds continue to be so influenced by what we saw and the types of bodies we were exposed to as young women and girls. It’s not exactly that I was force fed images of stick-thin models and specific standards of beauty, but there wasn’t a lot of body positivity messaging in the 70’s and 80’s (I played my Free to be You and Me record until it wore out, but I remember most the story about the boy who wanted to play with a doll, I can’t recall ever really feeling like I should be “okay” with my body; I was CONSTANTLY trying to change it).
From as early as I can remember I felt like I was the biggest person in all of my classes. I probably wasn’t. Or maybe I was. What difference does reality make anyway? It’s all about perception, and of course everything revolves around you when you’re a pre-teen/teenager, and even as a young adult. You see things very differently than they are. And everything is related to how you look, how “normal” you are, and how you fit in with the people around you.
One very disturbing thing that I used to catch myself doing was during movies/TV shows if a female character was suffering, or going through something emotionally, or sometimes physically difficult, I would say to myself, well at least she’s thin and “normal” looking. Like that made everything okay. I feel horrible even writing that down, and I wonder if I’m the only person who’s ever thought that. Probably I’m not. But that is what feeling bad about your own body does to a person.
Now that I am “thin” relative to where I’ve been in the past, I laugh at thinking that’s all there was to it. Like I truly thought it was going to be “Okay, now I have a “normal” looking body, or at least a more “socially acceptable body” so nothing can happen to me! Look at me, life is perfect! no death, no suffering” haha.. that is so fucked up it’s not even funny.
Anyway, I love how different we all are, and appreciate every woman’s body for what it is: a body housing essential organs – a vessel for movement. I enjoy dressing my body in things I think make it “look good,” of course, but that is not my obligation to society. I have no duty to look or dress a certain way, and I understand that now, but as a young women, that is not the message I absorbed.
I hope now, we can all have love and appreciation for every body, every person, but I understand how frustrating and difficult issues around body image are. And even when we can appreciate other women’s bodies, we have a hard time appreciating our own.
I just wanted to share my issues (again) so you might feel a little less alone with your own. It’s certainly not very “modern” to have body image issues nowadays (it’s a GOOD thing that there is so much body positivity going around, but I wonder how much of it is real??), but we all have room to grow I think, and shouldn’t feel ashamed, or wrong, for still having some complicated feelings towards our bodies 🙂
I think I have a similar body type to yours Grechen. It’s why your pants reviews are so helpful. 🙂 I have a 35″ waist but hips fluctuate from 35 – 37″. My thighs and calves are very consistent — 20″ thighs and 14″ calves. Most skinnies and many straight jeans don’t accommodate a 14″ calf until you go up to, like, a size 6/8/10, and I am a 0/2. So that’s frustrating. There was a period right after I had my son, where my weight and waist size were up, but my thighs/calves stayed the same and it was amazing, I could wear just about any pants I wanted right off the rack. Then I lost the weight and my waist/hips got smaller, by about 4″ each, and my legs stayed the same. For whatever reason, I haven’t had luck with sizing up and altering the waist. I know a lot of people do it, maybe I just haven’t found a good enough tailor, but altered pants always look “off” on me/to me. For jeans, I pretty much just wear vintage 501s. Very little else suits me as well, and they rise is perfect too (~10″ or so); I don’t like to go much below a 9″ rise, so I guess I have a long rise for my height.
I’m also very small busted (like, a 30 B right now — I did make it all the way up to a 32D right after my son was born! Again, for a brief while my body conformed a bit more to “the standard” – hah), but with proportionately broad shoulders (in a narrow doorway, it becomes quite clear that my shoulders are my widest part). I generally have to avoid tops and jackets with bust darts, because they don’t hit me at the right place and I don’t fill them out. But I look good in “boyish” tops (button up shirts, crewneck tees, etc) so that’s cool. My body has led me into a quintessentially tomboy style (oxford shirts and breton tops over cuffed 501s, plus sneakers or stompy boots), and I’m lucky it suits my personality. I guess I could wear fit n flare dresses if I’d turned out “girly” in my preferences. 🙂
My feet are big for my height (5’4″ with a 9C shoe size — Euro 40 is often better than a US 9). So I’m not very fond of “elongating” shoes like pointy toes and whatnot. Fine for my casual life, but keeping a couple pairs of “event” shoes around for interviews, holiday parties, etc is a struggle.
My appearance is partly genetic, partly due to my preferred activities (hiking and bicycling), so I’m fine with it. The body tells its story. 🙂
What is your “body type”? Hourglass. Right now – overripe fluffy hourglass.
What’s your favorite body part? Eyes & Neck
What do you appreciate most about your body? Used to be balance & flexibility but I’ve been losing that and not working hard enough to maintain/build back.
What’s a particular frustration with your body lately? Boobs have ALWAYS been my frustration. I had a breast reduction at age 19, great for a decade, then gained weight and boom they were big again. Lost weight – lost some in the boobs but not to their smallest size. Gained weight again and the boobs are as big as ever. I have never liked or appreciated my boobs, because, 15 yr old boys….[on the other hand, when my parents said I could get a nose job when I was 16 or 17, I said “why”? So apparently others think my nose is …not proportional? but I’m ok with it.
When do you feel best in your body? How do you move it? When I travel, and I’m just out exploring some place new for the 1st time, walking everywhere – my body is happy, my brain is happy – it’s definitely my happy place!! My goals around fitness (and weight loss) are almost always motivated by my desires to continue to travel everywhere as I age….
Thank you so much for sharing! I identify with a lot of the issues you have struggled with, though for different reasons.
1. My type is…pearish. I’ve always been on the smaller/leaner side, but I have wide hips and a booty, but slim shoulders and small chest, and skinny legs. I was very skinny throughout my childhood and teenage/early 20s, and I’m still fairly slim, but the hips have widened. I also have a belly pudge now, thanks to age and babies. My torso is also VERY short. Cropped shirts look terrible on me.
2. My favorite part is my neck and collarbone area. I have a somewhat long neck for my torso being so short, and I just really love how this area looks, and the skin. I like how it looks on all women. It’s just a very graceful area. I want to adorn it with tattoos. 🙂
3. Hm…I would say my natural flexibility. I would love to be more flexible, but I’ve always been fairly flexible even during my low activity times. I like being able to move and stretch.
4. Heh heh…frustrated with my belly and short torso. I’ve come to accept them much more than I have in the past. I want to wear high waisted pants without needing tons of stretch. I want to wear cropped shirts. I love how that looks on others, but it looks terrible on me. Also I’ve pretty much stopped wearing jeans, even before I got pregnant again, because of the belly pudge. Also I get frustrated with my small calves sometimes…skinny pants are ALWAYS baggy. I love skinny silhouette, and I’ve always wanted a pair of jeans that is actually skinny all the way through the leg, but my super wide hips and belly pudge force me to buy larger sizes to get them to fit.
5. I feel best in my body when I’m doing something that engages my body + brain. I love dance and martial arts – those are my very favorite forms of movement. I also like yoga, and I’ve done hooping in recent years, which is fun and cheap. I hate “regular” exercise. Like lifting weights or running. Just hate it. I cannot bring myself to do it.
I just wanted to add that as I’ve gotten older, I’ve really come to embrace the idea that I don’t need to “get my body back” after having babies. I’m pregnant with my second, and I know my belly pudge will get bigger, my hips will get wider, my boobs will get saggier. That’s fine with me. A few years ago? Not so much. I wanted to look like an Everlane model (ha!). But I’m really happy with my body now. I think that’s come from deciding to wear whatever I want. Not what is “flattering,” not what I *think* I should wear (like blazers…hate them), but just wearing what makes me happy, and that in turn has helped me be happier with my body. If I want to really commit to exercising and make my body stronger, then that’s fine…but I’m not going to spend the rest of my life feeling like I’m a failure because I don’t want to commit to that. We all have different priorities, and that’s okay. Right now mine is just to stay hydrated and try to get enough sleep. 🙂
I always love these 5 questions posts but this one is especially timely for me. As we change phases in life there is always an adjustment period and I’m feeling my middle ageness quite actuely lately, hence the next phase is beginning. I found your post to be self aware and real. It is brave to share this and your effort (& the effort of the other readers who have commented) is appreciated.
What is your “body type”? I’m an hourglass but if you look at my measurements now you wouldn’t know due to my current status of fluffiness as another reader so adeptly described her own. I’ve been this weight before in my life but I can see and feel my waistline and belly fat is much more generous this time around. I am currently a 36E with 41″ hips and a 34″ waist (when I was younger and at this weight/size, my waist was much smaller but I’ve got a ton of belly fat right now). I have a shapely behind and thighs but small calves. I am actually quite small boned with small hands/feet and delicate wrists/ankles. I’m 5’1″, 145 lbs and 49. When I was in my early 40s, I was about 115 lbs due to a different lifestyle (very fit with frequent exercise and a healthy balanced diet). I was a true hourglass in terms of measurements at that time but I’ve always been “softer”, never been a hardbody with a flat stomach.
What’s your favorite body part? My eyes. I am hapa/eurasion and my big almond shaped hazel eyes are not like anyone else’s in my family but are a unique mashup all their own due to my ethnicity (1/2 Okinawan, 1/4 German, 1/4 Danish). In elementary school I found it distressing that I didn’t look exactly like my mother who is blonde with blue rounder shaped eyes (I have dark hair), now I appreciate being an entirely different creation or blend of both parents. I also am an avid reader and very visual. I love art, photography and books. My eyes are the key to appreciating all that wonder.
What do you appreciate most about your body? That it tells me what I need to know if I listen. I have been doing pilates for the past few years and it is life changing. I probably never would have started (it is expensive) had it not been for pain in my shoulders and neck.
What’s a particular frustration with your body lately? Belly fat. I don’t eat that badly now but it has not decreased. I am currently in the process of learning how my diet and exercise need to adjust for middle age. Not enough protein and too much sugar is definitely a culprit.
When do you feel best in your body? How do you move it? When I’m walking outdoors and listening to a good podcast. Or when I am in an outfit I adore and feel comfortable in. I actually don’t feel any distaste of my body like I did when I was younger ( I enjoy getting dressed even though I am the most out of shape I’ve ever been). Part of it is acceptance and another part is having found my own personal style. But I am concerned about the impact of the belly fat on my long term health.
What is your “body type”?
I’m 5’3″, with wide-ish hips, a generous butt, smallish boobs, and fairly strong legs. I guess I’d say “pear” too, since my hips are my widest body part.
What’s your favorite body part?
My butt and my legs. I LOVE my butt. I am always checking it out in the mirror, lol! And my legs are fairly muscular, and getting moreso since I’ve started going to the gym last August. I say my body goals are Marshawn Lynch thighs. I just love powerful thighs!
What do you appreciate most about your body?
Since I started going to the gym regularly, I love feeling strong. I like impressing myself by increasing the weight I can use on machines. And I love how far I can walk without getting tired or sore. I live in NYC so walking is just part of the culture here, and I love taking advantage of that and just marveling at how far I can go on my own two feet.
What’s a particular frustration with your body lately?
My continual frustration is with my stomach. It always seems too big to me. I’m working on both losing some weight (healthily) and toning my abs, but also the psychology of it. What you wrote about losing weight but still feeling insecure sometimes really hit home for me. Losing weight won’t make me feel “perfect”. I grew up with a mom and grandma who were constantly on one diet or another. Hating your body was a kind of hobby among the women in my family. I’m trying to work against that. Lately I’ve had some really fruitful conversations with my mom about generational body issues and how much they’ve affected both of us.
When do you feel best in your body? How do you move it?
I never thought I was a gym person, but I have been loving it! Through childhood and college I was a dancer, but aside from a ballet class here and there I don’t dance much anymore. The gym is a better fit for my lifestyle now. I usually go on the elliptical for 15-20 minutes, then either do machines for my arms (I really love the assisted pull-up machine!) or body weight exercises for my legs. I have lower back issues and some leg machines can exacerbate them, so I usually avoid those. And I always, always stretch. I can’t believe how many people skip stretching. I love it! I probably feel most loving toward my body when I’m stretching.
1. What is your “body type”?
I’m an hourglass. Big boobs, tiny waist, big ol’ butt. I’ve always been heavy in the legs. Finding pants to fit has been an issue from day dot. 20kgs ago, I was a jockey and even when I was “skinny” I still had a butt that was twice the size of the other jockeys LOL.
2. What’s your favorite body part?
I love my waist and my neck. Always get complements when I wear something nipped in at the waist and I have a ballet dancers neck that I love to show off by tying my hair up.
3. What do you appreciate most about your body?
This body has been pretty amazing. It’s been graceful, flexible, agile, fast and strong. It’s allowed me to be a ballet dancer, a hockey player, a jockey, a runner, a cyclist and a powerlifter. It’s taken me to multiple national competitions across all my sports.
These days, many parts of me are held together with plates and screws but my body still astounds me with how strong it is.
4. What’s a particular frustration with your body lately?
My boobs. They got big when I put on weight when I stopped being a jockey. They make it really hard to find tops to fit (cos of the tiny waist too).
5. When do you feel best in your body? How do you move it?
I feel best in my body when I’m dancing. Having a fused ankle now limits that movement but I’m working my way to figuring out how I can keep dance in my life.
For the last 3 summers I’ve been a competitive track cyclist so I spent a lot of time on my bike and in the gym. This summer, I’ve taken a step back from hardcore training and have been riding horses again
Grechen Reiter says
wow..it’s so amazing that you’ve physically “been” so many different things. I love that!!!
Grechen Reiter says
feeling strong is the best feeling 🙂 and lol at marshawn lynch thighs. i actually know who that is haha!!
Grechen Reiter says
oh, i love this : “That it tells me what I need to know if I listen” – i am trying to listen to my body more lately, like in class when i feel a particular pain, i know i should back off a little bit. before, i would have pushed through, because maybe i felt like i had something to prove…now, i’m not afraid to slow down and take it easy. it’s so much better in the long term.
Grechen Reiter says
thank you so much for sharing 🙂 i also think that wearing whatever makes me happy has helped make me happier with my body. it’s along the same vein as just being okay with what is, i think. whenever i accept what is, a weight is lifted off and i can relax. accepting that i can wear what makes me happy to fit the body that i have now, has really helped a lot.
sleep is good haha!!
Grechen Reiter says
oh, i love your motivation! that’s mine too i guess, although i’d never really thought about it like that. my mother is in her 70’s and still strong enough to travel all over the world…
Grechen Reiter says
YES!!! when i lose weight i lose it first in my boobs (literally right now, i have no boobs, like not even a handful) and NOT ONE INCH in the calves. i can go down a size in jeans, but they don’t fit my calves. WHY???
i haven’t had good luck with altering the waist either – i ‘ve done it but hated the result and didn’t wear the jeans ever again.
Hi! Thanks for this great blog – recently found you and I am enjoying reading through past posts.
1. I’m 5’3″ also. I’ve always had a boyish body – not much of a waist and broad shoulders for my size.
2. I guess my shoulders. In warm weather if I wear a top that is cut in a bit and shows more shoulder, it’s flattering. I have pretty good muscle tone (except in my tummy, which has recently added a little layer of fluff) still – I’m 55 now.
3. I appreciate that my body does what I ask it to and that, thus far, I am in good health.
4. I am thicker in the middle these days. It used to be that I could make a few changes in my diet or up my exercise a bit and drop 5 pounds in a jiff. At 55, that no longer happens. We eat really lean and healthy at my house, but I do like my wine and a little sweet treat, plus I sit at a desk all day. All of those things add up to weight gain for a 55 year old. Smaller breasts would’ve been nice – I think they are easier to dress!
5. I feel best being out in nature. I love a good walk. We have been re-watching Downton Abbey and I am envious of all of the walking going on in that show – walking for pleasure, walking to work, walking to the shops. Also, I have a one-on-one Pilates session once a week – I always feel great during that. It’s made me way more flexible!
Grechen Reiter says
hi rachel, thanks for participating!!
i miss downton abbey so much!! you’re right, they did walk a lot…i guess you had to then. one thing i wish for us as we get older and think about “retiring” is that we live in a walkable city. i hate having to drive everywhere, and i think being able to walk everywhere is not only “healthier” but it gives you a kind of social life as well!
Yikes! OK, here goes…
1. What is your “body type”? I don’t really know for sure. Spongebob? Some sites have me as an apple, but I don’t have the skinny legs that go with that type. Others, as a rectangle. I don’t have much of a waistline but I don’t have big hips.
2. What’s your favorite body part? Does my hair count? I’m not feeling very good about myself right now, so this is hard. I like my chest area because I don’t look heavy there.
3. What do you appreciate most about your body? I appreciate that my body was strong enough to go through 3 pregnancies and deliveries without drugs for pain control. All Lamaze techniques!
4. What’s a particular frustration with your body lately? My stomach is ALWAYS the bane of my existence. Even when I was thin, I had a tummy roll. But most frustrating is that my doctors haven’t been able to figure out what’s wrong with me (although, for the 1st time in ages I got a glimmer of hope yesterday!), and that means that I can’t exercise. I can’t work. I have limited my social engagements. I want my life back!
5. When do you feel best in your body? How do you move it? I think I feel best when I’m swimming in the bay. It’s saltiness feels so healing, and I love the lack of crowds and the quiet I have in my spot. It’s good for body & soul!
I’m sorry, did you perhaps mean 25″ in and not 35? It just makes more sense to me based off your other measurements/sizes
I too have the waist/hip/calf ratio problem. What also helped me fit into jeans off the rack was gaining weight in that upper leg area. It was amazing. I have about a 10″ difference between my waist and hips and my calves could be more toned I guess because skinny/slim cut pants tend to cling there. Also, ~32B. I’d consider myself pear shaped/bottom heavy. I gain all my weight around the middle first. But from the ribs up/back/backside that takes forever. I’m short, 5’4.5″ (super frustrating as I’m right in between petite/short sizing and regular) but I think I have longer legs than torso. But I hate high waisted, I can do mid rise at best. I think what really works for me is a low-mid rise but why can’t pants and jeans especially just raise the rise in the back with the front! I want my pants to hit just below the belly in the front, and cover my crack when bending over, why is that too much to ask? Unfortunately, the best solution for all this seems to involve stretch/elastic waist bands in this day and fashion age, which is not my ideal. Shopping/dressing shouldn’t be this hard!
Regarding the thoughts about “at least she’s thin” when seeing a movie character go through a difficult time. I have thought like that too. Intellectually, I know these thoughts are disordered, but I continue to have them. But then, I’ve had an eating disorder since I was about six years old and I’m just now, at age 49, learning more about what caused it.
Anyway, my body is basically a somewhat bottom heavy hourglass. My daughters tell me that I’m “thick” and that this is a good thing. I appreciate my arms and I’m mostly frustrated with my legs, particularly around my knees. I definitely feel best after exercise. I’ve been doing a lot of hiit cardio workouts combined with strength training and my fitness level has gotten a lot better, compared to when I just did plain cardio like running.
Body type: Definitely a pear. I have many of the same clothing frustrations as you, Grechen, which is one of the many reasons I keep coming here! Smaller upper body and waist, larger hips and thighs, somewhat larger calves. And very short legs. Although I am 5’4″, I often need to seriously hem my pants.
Favorite body part: This is hard. Even though I think of myself as having a pretty positive body image these days, it’s outside my comfort zone to say that I really like any one part of my body. Pre-kids I may have grudgingly admitted to liking my flat abs; post-kids they’re still ok but not as fab as they once were! Lately I just feel all over comfortable in my own skin, which is refreshing.
Appreciate most: That thanks to 3 day a week HIIT work outs + 2 day a week runs for the past year, I am super comfortable in my ability to move and do physical tasks. I really want to chase my kids around the playground and move with them, rather than doing it just because I know I should.
Body frustration: Before I had 2 girl children and made a conscious effort to not criticize my body, this would have been easy for me to answer. These days, not as much.
When do you feel best: Post-workout! It is amazing to me how a quick workout can turn around my day.
I love this post. Thank you for keeping me coming back.
Ha – retiring where I can walk (to library, to a market) is my #1 priority too. With good internet. Though hopefully time will fix that issue out where I am….
I love what you said about stretching, Lindsay. I feel good when I’m doing that, too.
Rebecca | Seven2Seven8 says
I think body positivity is so great, and only goes so far. Which is to say: it’s critical and awesome to embrace a message that strong/capable (so long as not ableist) is better than thin for thin’s sake. But I think we all are beaten over the head with thin/tall/leggy/chesty (or flat) that it messes with us anyway. In sum: great that it’s “beautiful, too”, but it still feels a bit like a consolation hug sometimes when things don’t look/fit the same as the model’s off the rack…
What is your “body type”?
In between pear and hourglass. Slightly bigger on the bottom, with boobs and narrow shoulders.
What’s your favorite body part?
When I was very thin, I loved my flat tummy and toned arms. Mostly because others did. At almost 40, I love my shoulders (they feel sexy) and legs (strong, and I’ve learned to love them).
What do you appreciate most about your body?
Its tolerance of me.
What’s a particular frustration with your body lately? Having babies in my late 30s means dealing with slower (sometimes no) bouncing back, and hitting extended exhaustion and super-speed aging at the same time (ouf).
When do you feel best in your body? How do you move it?
I discovered PiYo after my twins were born and it helped me find strength and flexibility again. I also love long, slow jogs. It’s a great way to let my mind wander. I hope to get back to both soon (my youngest is 9 months old; my twins 2.5).