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CJ2008

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There's something that's been really bothering me about myself and I am wondering if any of you feel the same.

I am not overweight, I am attractive, I work out, but my legs/butt have never been toned. Plus, I have some spider vein spots, one of which is pretty noticeable. I've had schlerotherapy done many, many times and although the veins have improved, they're still noticeable, especially that one big spot.

For a long time now (10 years or more) I have not worn shorts or anything showing my legs. The times when I am forced to (i.e., get invited to go on a boat, etc.) I suffer anxiety for days before I have to do it and anxiety all throughout whatever it is. One of the things I hate the most is realizing someone I know will actually see my legs for the first time. Sometimes this is after so many years because I am always wearing pants. All kinds of thoughts go through my mind - that they will look down on me because I have ugly legs, that they won't think I'm pretty any more, and all kinds of weird thoughts.

I think this is coming up for me again because we made friends with this couple that have a house with a pool - and I KNOW they're going to invite us over there sooner or later. And the way I feel inside is "I don't do bathing suits except in front of family." Which I realize is so mean to myself - and the thing is I know I take care of myself - but I hate that my legs/butt are less than great.

This is something I've been carrying with me for a long time and I don't know how to deal with it. My DH doesn't really know this because the last thing I want is for him to think I am embarrassed by my legs/butt to that extent.

Do any of you feel this way and what have you done to make it better?
 

CNOS128

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I think that, like many fears/anxieties, the only way to begin to feel okay with exposing your legs is to actually do it, and to discover that nothing terrible happens when you do. And then the more often you do so, the less anxious you will feel, and the easier it will become (although it may never be easy).
You can start just wearing shorts in public, not around people you know. You''ll see how very few people care about your legs one way or another! (In my experience most people are focused on themselves more than anything...)
 

LaraOnline

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Date: 4/18/2009 11:21:20 AM
Author: TheBigT
(In my experience most people are focused on themselves more than anything...)
Yes, everybody is focussed on their floppy arms / their big ears / funny teeth / frizzy hair / birthmark / big thighs / pregnant-looking stomach / hairs on their arms.

I'm hoping I grow out of the neurosis. I think it might be easier for me because it seems Aussies in general are a little less ferocious regarding their judgements of appearances, but having never visited the US, it's just a feeling I get.

If the spider veins still really worry you, would you consider seeing a doctor again about treating them? If you've decided you're over it, well then, you are OVER IT!!!
Wear that little spot with pride! Out yourself, loud and proud!

Before going over for a swim, I would consider a depilation, pedi, maybe a very light spray tan, it can do wonders for your confidence (not that I ever personally bother)

Finally, if you're really freaking out, get a new swimsuit and a nice wrap and big floppy hat to wear at the pool!

You have a right to be on the planet, and in your friend's pool. Enjoy your swim!

PS If you are a super-masochist, deeper squats and of course the old favourite lunges, particularly with a weight across your shoulders, will do wonders for your bum and thighs! Personally I think my bum and thighs serve me pretty well in any case...
 

allycat0303

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CJ2008,

I have a mild thing about finding my arms flabby, but definitely not to the extent of what you are describing.

In any case, in sounds a bit like this to me (I hope I''m not overstepping bounderies), and please don''t be offended, but just based on what your telling me it might sound a bit like a mild case of Body Dysmorphic disorder. The DSMV defines it as:

Diagnostic criteria for Body Dysmorphic Disorder

A. Preoccupation with an imagined defect in appearance. If a slight physical anomaly is present, the person''s concern is markedly excessive.

B. The preoccupation causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.


C. The preoccupation is not better accounted for by another mental disorder (e.g., dissatisfaction with body shape and size in Anorexia Nervosa).

I know that sounds a little vague, but maybe something that is worth talking to your Dr. about. I guess what I find striking is when you describe days of anxiety before you have to show your legs. Maybe he has suggestions.


 

kama_s

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I feel you CJ. I have flabby arms and hate wearing sleeveless blouses/dresses because of them. But you know, I have recently come to realize that no one else notices them except for me. We honestly are our worst enemies. Personally, I think you should bare those legs and feel good about them - it''s an incredibly liberating feeling.
 

Kelli

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Is it all of your legs, or mostly from the knees up? Because I have issues there too, and like you, the rest of me is fine. In fact, a lot of people will jokingly tell me they hate me, because of my "perfect body". It''s funny, because I have pretty bad cellulite from my butt almost all the way down to my knees
, and I also have a small patch of veins myself. I''m comfortable with mine from the knees down, but no one except my fiancee and myself has seen my thighs for YEARS! Have you tried bermuda shorts over a bathing suit? I have a khaki-ish cut off pair that I got a few years ago, and the material is soft enough to wear in the water. They are just about knee length, and I ALWAYS have them on while swimming in public. Sarongs are great too, but I prefer the shorts because they go in the water with me. There are also a lot of bathing suits that come with really cute board shorts that go all the way down to your knees as well.

Most importantly though, you need to realize that NO ONE cares nearly as much about your legs as you do. We are our own worst critics. I wish we could deal with it like the men and rock out our beer and cheeseburger bellies with no remorse! I swear, if I could permanently change ONE thing about myself...... Screw the cellulite. I''ll keep that and lose my self-conciousness!
 

Efe

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Oh CJ, I really know how you feel because I have been there. I have alway been pretty thin, now in middle age, I am maybe 10 pounds overweight. I have had issues all of my life with my butt and legs, because that is where I carry all of my weight. I very rarely wear shorts, or even skirts and dresses. I think now it is just more from habit, as opposed to being overly self-conscious. That is one of the joys of getting older, you care less and less what other people think about you.

I do have to confess though, that I finally decided at around age 45, that enough was enough and I got a big butterfly tattoo on one of the aforementioned body parts. Now, all I see when I look is the pretty butterfly and none of the bad stuff! My husband thought I had completely lost it, but it made me feel better.

Just remember that all of us are busy comparing our worst to others best.
 

AmberGretchen

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CJ, I''m so sorry you are dealing with this - the anxiety sounds crippling. I am incredibly self-conscious about my body too, so I can sympathize to some extent.

I don''t know if this would help at all (possibly not as it sounds like you are having a super-tough time with this), but one thing that sometimes helps me is to go through the mental thought process of "yeah, so what?" By this I mean, imagine the worst possible outcome - so in this situation, let''s say you put on your bathing suit in front of these new friends, and they think to themselves "ew, her legs are so gross" (highly unlikely that they would, but this is basically what you are afraid of, yes?).

So then what, if they think that? Worst possible scenario, they are SUPER shallow and vain people and don''t want to be friends with someone with icky legs. Now, just writing that out, it sounds ridiculous, doesn''t it? After all, if they really did feel that way, you''d hardly want to be friends with them, right? And even if that is what happened, so what? Your life wouldn''t end, you wouldn''t be disabled, you might have slightly hurt feelings, but it wouldn''t be the end of your world, right?

Anyway, you see where this is going. I don''t know if it helps, but as a mental exercise, I find thinking things through like that can often calm my own anxiety, so I thought I''d share the idea in case it was helpful.
 

CJ2008

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Guys,

Thank you so much for all your comments - I appreciate them so much.

TheBigT - I think that's a really good idea and one that will challenge me to go out of my comfort zone. As soon as I read your post I went into my closet and put on a pair of shorts. Mind you I'm staying home today, and what I call "shorts" are to the knee - but I am going to do as you suggest. I'm not going to like it at all and will be fearful that I will run into someone I know, especially someone from the gym, but I guess that's the point, right?

Lara - I've been meaning to say this to you for a while - I always love your posts. You are so kind and insightful. I am so NOT over the veins - it's just that schlero is expensive and you're always getting new veins. And that one spot I've treated I don't know how many times and it's better but it's still there. You hit it on the nail with "you have a right to be on the planet" - sometimes that is EXACTLY what it doesn't feel like - I feel ashamed, as if I DON'T have a right to subject people to my less-than-perfect legs. I work out pretty hard, and do lunges and squats...it's just my build.

Ally - you're not overstepping boundaries at all. In fact, I wish I COULD identify/associate it with some kind of disorder - that way I can treat it. I will mention it to my therapist - body image is EXACTLY what I was going to tell her was on my mind next session. Thank you!

Kama - first question - were you the person with the dancing dog avatar? If so, I miss it! haha It was so cute. Second - I KNOW we're our own worst enemies. If a friend of mine was saying this about herself I'd tell her she was beautiful just as she is. When it comes to myself, not so easy...I think I will take BigT's advice and bare the legs as much as I can handle it.

Kelli - mostly from the knees up, thankfully, although I do have a few clusters of spider veins in my lower half as well. HATE THEM! People USED to compliment my body all the time when I was younger - I still get compliments but it's usually from men who must like succulent haha bottoms. A pretty young guy came up to me the other day while I was at the Stairmaster and told me I was one of the best looking girls in the gym. Of course I am so NOT - they were just looking at my butt ahah (there was a whole bunch of guys playing basketball behind me). And that is why I am especially fearful of running into anyone from the gym - because I do look pretty OK with clothes ON - and I hate the thought that if they saw my legs they'd think "oh." You know what I mean? And yes, my idea of "shorts" are shorts to the knee...sometimes I push myself to not do that because I feel like people will "guess" that I don't like my legs and see that as a weakness. Which I think it is! There's nothing sexier than a woman comfortable in her own skin. So I agree with you - the self-consciousness is what's the problem, not so much the imperfections.

Bizou - that's where I carry ALL my weight too - butts and thighs. Good for you for getting a tattoo! I'd have to get a whole flock of butterflies to see none of the bad stuff haha I know - I am sure there are some of my features that other people would want - but that's the very root of the evil I think - COMPARING, at all. I wish I didn't.

AG - anxiety is always crippling. Thankfully this doesn't come up too often because I always manage to go years w/o having to put on a bathing suit or shorts somehow. And yes, that is exactly what I picture them saying - "oh wow I thought she was OK looking but did you see her legs? She just went down about a good 5 points on the looks scale." It DOES sound ridiculous that they wouldn't want to be friends with me because of my legs. And you are right, that if that did happen, I'd end up thinking they were pretty "bad" people. Just like if I didn't want to be friends with them because of some flaw. The funny thing is the woman is this petite thing, very exotic looking, very pretty - but she has quite a stomach on her. And you know what? I don't think she notices or cares - she is so comfortable in her own skin. I would never not be friends with her because of that - as a matter of fact I think it's endearing and I admire her for NOT caring. So yes, I think the mental exercise could help...

Thank you guys.
 

jstarfireb

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Date: 4/18/2009 10:59:04 AM
Author:CJ2008
Do any of you feel this way and what have you done to make it better?
I am exactly the same way! I''m also not overweight, and my legs are actually pretty toned (used to do soccer and martial arts), but I still hate my thighs and butt. And I really don''t think it''s all in my head...put it this way: my measurements are 33.5/26.5/40. I guess it''s genetic or something.

With a few exceptions, I haven''t really worn shorts, a skirt/dress above mid-calf length, or a bathingsuit in public in years. The exceptions were for things like a play (had to wear a miniskirt for the costume), hot-tubbing on a ski trip (nobody knew me except the friend I went with), and the gym (I figure nobody cares there). In terms of skirts/shorts, once I actually have them on, it''s not so bad...just the idea of getting into something short makes me go
. But bathingsuits...forgetaboutit! When I do wear one, I wear a long sarong or towel on the bottom half, and I take it off at the edge of the pool and slide into the water as fast as humanly possible.

And this is on a *good* day. I used to be so much worse.

At the risk of giving away TMI...what makes it better for me is being intimate with my FI. Seriously! I guess there''s just something about focusing on what your body is doing and feeling instead of how it looks when you''re naked, but the more we do it, the more body confidence I get, and the closer I get to being able to let go of all my lower-half hangups. I even considered doing a boudoir shoot for him as a wedding gift!
(I didn''t quite get enough confidence to actually do it, but...baby steps.)

I also started getting full-body massages from a local spa, and that also helped me to be more comfortable in my own skin. So I would suggest doing things that make you focus on how your body feels...whether it''s sex, exercise, massages, whatever!
 

whitby_2773

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hi CJ2008 :)

i''m with TheBigT, in that i think the only way to overcome a fear which may be irrational (as most of our body worries are) is to simply leap in head first. you wont overcome your fear till you find that wearing a bathing suit in public and baring your legs leads to no catastrophe.

however, having said that....

i agree with laraonline that a pedicure, a spray tan, a wax and a good salt scrub (good for getting rid of lumps, bumps and retained fluid) can do wonders - both for the look of your legs and for your confidence.

and lastly...

my nieces, 17 and 26, have STUNNING bodies. but when they swim they always wear board shorts and bikini tops. they do it because it looks ''as cute as'', and very sexy. it does 2 things for them - conceals their thighs...and makes sure guys are looking instead at their...well, you know...

here''s a link to women''s board shorts:

http://www.swimoutlet.com/Board_Shorts_s/383.htm

a pair like this would hide basically any concerns you had, and oakley is a pretty cool brand:

http://www.swimoutlet.com/product_p/14304.htm

black boardies with a fluro bikini top is a pretty cool look in my opinion.

whatever you decide - go for it! as italianhaircolor said on a thread i started, confidence is the sexiest accessory a woman can have!
 

LtlFirecracker

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Messages
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I am not a mental health professional either but I wanted to put my opinion about the whole body dysmorphic disorder thing. I would say that you are expressing anxiety about your body image issue. I know a lot of women, including my aunt, who has bad vericose veins who are very self conscious about them. People with body dysmorphic disorder tend to be upset about things that other people would call normal, and once that is "fixed" they move on to something else. That does not sound like you, although I could be wrong (you seem to be happy with the rest of you), this could be less dramatic cases that I am not educated about. Regardless, this is causing enough impairment in your life that talking to your therapist for a more complete evaluation would be a good idea.

Other than that the other posters have given you some very good advise.
 

PilsnPinkysMom

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Date: 4/18/2009 4:12:54 PM
Author: CJ2008
Kelli - mostly from the knees up, thankfully, although I do have a few clusters of spider veins in my lower half as well. HATE THEM! People USED to compliment my body all the time when I was younger - I still get compliments but it''s usually from men who must like succulent haha bottoms. A pretty young guy came up to me the other day while I was at the Stairmaster and told me I was one of the best looking girls in the gym. Of course I am so NOT - they were just looking at my butt ahah (there was a whole bunch of guys playing basketball behind me). And that is why I am especially fearful of running into anyone from the gym - because I do look pretty OK with clothes ON - and I hate the thought that if they saw my legs they''d think ''oh.'' You know what I mean?
First, go through the mental prep that the other PSers suggested, and also the physical prep... Do whatever you can to make yourself feel AMAZING


Now, about the quote... Please don''t be offended... I''m not trying to be (too) harsh: But learn to take a compliment, lady!
Clearly you ARE one of the best looking ladies in the gym, or else a sweet young thang would NOT have said that to you. And trust me, a man wouldn''t deliver that compliment based on a booty alone. So my best guess is that you look GREAT with clothes on (no just ''OK'') and you look just as great with them off. A man will not even notice veins on your legs...and even if you let him up-close-and-personal and he DOES see them, he will no care. And your close family friends will care even less!

My hope for you is that you have an awesome time flaunting yourself in your bathingsuit, enjoying a day by the pool.

Remember- the sexiest, most attractive thing about a woman is her confidence-- and that is 100% true.

A close gal pal of mine is veluptuous... Maybe a size 16 or so? And (ridiculously good looking) men are constantly fawning all over her & women just love spending time with her... Because she totally digs how she looks, cellulite and all, and just loves life. Nothing holds her back. I hope, hope, hope I have that same confidence some day, and hope you do, too!
 

honey22

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I understand how you feel. I had spider veins on my legs for ages and then I found out they can be treated!!! For around $200 per session *Australian* they will inject a compound into the tiny veins in the legs to seal them off, and they eventually disappear. It''s very safe and only stings a tiny tiny bit as the tiny needle goes in. I had about 3 sessions I think and i had extensive veins. It''s not always totally permanent, if you are susceptible to spider veins, then can still develop over time, but I had mine done 12 months ago and nearly all of them are gone. I even had one very large varicose vein done behind my knee which has totally disappeared without surgery. And it was very big and lumpy, I was amazed at the results!!!!

It''s called sclerotherapy, and I found it wonderful!!!!!

http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/BHCV2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Sclerotherapy_varicose_and_spider_veins?Open
 

swingirl

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First of all, great advice about the board shorts. They are perfectly acceptable as a bathing suit bottom. There are also garments like very thin white guaze pants and sarongs that are great at keeping one''s modesty.

Secondly, put on your shorts and start getting used to your body and they way it looks. Go out in public. Going from completely covered to bikini-bare is scary for anyone! But do it gradually, like petal pushers to shorts to shorter shorts.

Thirdly, use some self tanner on your legs. Veins will show up less on darker skin.

Last, don''t miss out on summer fun because of what other people might think. That''s too stressful!
 

Italiahaircolor

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Oh CJ, you are your worst critic, everyone is always far tougher on themselves. The truth is, I don''t know anyone who loves every bump and freckle of their being. I think any given person would change any number of things if they could...but sometimes that''s just either not an option, or not realistic.

A number of years ago, during the course of a bad relationship, I gained a lot of weight. To put it in prespective...over a 100 pounds. After my relationship ended, and I had picked myself up by boot straps, I went on a date with a man that spent most of the evening telling me how unattractive I was. It was like a kick in the teeth, but also a wakeup call. Over the course of the next 2 years, I lost 145 pounds the natural way. I felt good about myself in many ways, but I had a saggy, loose, FUBA bootydo and it was a constant source of embarassment for me. Similar to your vein situation, I would evaluate where I went, who would be there, and how I would be able to "hide" my flaws.

When my older sister was getting married, she picked out the tightest sateen dresses and I panicked. I went to my father and laid it...I would be in the wedding if I could have a tummy tuck. After ample research, my dad agreed to my procedure and paid for it. After the procedure, I was flat as a pancake...but, I had a huge scar. HUGE! Far larger than I anticipated. I thought I''d wear a bikini again, but those plans changed on the dime when I saw this new disfigurement. I replaced one problem with another.

The point is...nothing I was ever going to do would make me "perfect"...at some point, like where I am now with my scar, I''ve learned to realize that packages are just that. I''ve learned to be comfortable in my skin because thats what people notice and can appreciate. This is who I am, this is what I''ve got to work with...sure, some might have a flawless taunt tummy and I might envy that...but in the end, you can only be who you and that is enough!
 

Salix

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Nov 24, 2008
Messages
39
Hey CJ,

I agree, we are our own worst critic. I can sympathize with being self conscious, I have super duper skinny chicken legs that I hate showing off, so I avoid shorts/dresses/skirts whenever possible.

I wanted to chime in here because I''ve had sclerotherapy before and it works!

I was told that the solution they use is basically a Sodium Chloride, or salt solution. The injection irritates the veins and they collapse and fade over the course of a few months.

It''s pretty safe, with almost no chance of side effects. It''s not very painful either...unless you have a phobia of needles!
 

bee*

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Messages
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I can completely understand what you''re saying CJ. I''ve done the same thing when I''ve thought of who is going to be at a party I''m going to and what to wear and whether to go or not. I''m not fond of my legs at all. Even though I''ve lost over 30 lbs my legs still seem to be as big as ever and I don''t think my calves will ever slim down. If you can, go to that pool party and enjoy it. I''ve found myself going to things but I get very self conscious about how I''m looking and it really doesn''t make any sense as I know that no one is looking at me anyway. But we have to go out and enjoy life, so that''s why I go.
 

CJ2008

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jstar - very valid point...I don''t carry the self-consciousness into the bedroom - not to say that I don''t sometimes wonder what I look like in certain "situations"
but for the most part I don''t think about it - because I think that would be a major turnoff for DH and a major way to take pleasure away from the experience. I think I''ll take your advice and try to thank my legs more - like when I''m running, or biking - be thankful I have them and that they''re pretty strong and healthy.

whitby - thanks for the links. You''re right - only I know why I''m wearing the board shorts. And they are cute and perfectly acceptable! The trick is to go out of my way to look as nice as possible which always does make me feel better.

Ltl - you''re right, I''m pretty happy with myself in general. 90% of why is because I work out. I am at my best when I go to the gym - I feel strong, less tired, alive. It''s hard getting myself to the gym but I am a different person when I am active.

PilsnPiknysMom - You were not harsh at all - thank you for your honesty. I''ve learned how to accept compliments gracefully on the OUTSIDE - meaning I don''t refute them and just say thank you - but what good is that if I don''t "really" accept them, right? So thanks for poining that out. The next time a sweet young thang comes up to me and he tells me I''m great looking I will believe it - hopefully I won''t have to wait a decade ahahahahah

honey - I''ve had many, many schlero treatments through the years. My legs look better but I still have several clusters where the veins are so, so tiny it is hard to get rid of them. And I''m always getting new ones...

swingirl - I used to tan and it''s true that my legs look waaaay better with some color on them. Self-tanners are such a pain, but you''re right, it might be what I need to do to be able to feel better.
 

CJ2008

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Italia - thank you for sharing your story. I''m glad to hear that what came out of that whole thing is that you love yourself how you are. And you''re so right...we''ll never be perfect, and the key is to accept what we do have...I''ve considered liposuction at different times of my life - but I''m afraid of the pain, and the $ it would cost...

Salix - schlero definitely isn''t "fun" - but it does work, and it is worth it. I should probably go and have another treatment...I think sometimes I want to be "done" with it but if I want to keep the veins in check that''s what I would have to do, probably have treatments for the rest of my life.

Bee - yeah...I do the same thing...the times when I finally DO get myself there I don''t fully enjoy myself because I''m thinking everyone''s analyzing me and looking at me and criticizing me. Wonder where that comes from. If PP was in on this post she''d tell me to stop analyzing and figure out what I''m going to do haha I''m glad you get yourself to go to these things and that you enjoy them.
 
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