You can take the girl out of high school, but you can't always take high school out of the girl! If you still try on 10 pairs of jeans in front of the mirror before going out, you're not alone. Eighty-four percent of grown women list thighs as one of their three biggest problem areas on their bodies, along with stomachs and buttocks, according to research published in Prevention. Old habits do die hard and the trend is not changing anytime soon.
But riddle me this: Without durable and sturdy thighs, what would our little ones wrap their arms around? I'm going to give you three reasons to love your thighs, no matter what shape and size, and give you the confidence to strut your stuff in that thigh-high mini skirt.
Cellulite. So many of us shudder at the mere sight of this word but don't actually what cellulite is. Plain and simple, cellulite is fat. It's just a fancy name for collections of fat that push against the connective tissue beneath the skin's surface and therefore cause the skin to pucker. Having cellulite does not necessarily mean that you are overweight – even thin people have it! There are several factors that influence whether a person has cellulite and how much, including genes, sex, age, thickness of skin and the amount of fat on your body.
The reason why I am telling you to love your thighs, cellulite and all, is because you can't really control it. There are no miracle creams or procedures out there that rid your body of cellulite. The best way to reduce the amount of cellulite you have is to decrease excess body fat the good old fashioned way – through diet and exercise. But, when all is said and done, cellulite is normal and common! Knowing that you can only control so much of its development makes its presence a little more manageable, and I encourage you to embrace your body as it is!
Pear-shaped vs. apple-shaped. If you have no idea what these terms mean, let me explain: Pear shape refers to women who carry more weight in their hips and thighs, giving them more of an hourglass figure. Apple shape refers to women who have more weight in their stomachs, thus making them rounder. Ask women of either shape, and you'll find that the grass always seems greener on the other side. No matter which fruit you resemble, you should still feel juicy!
Thigh-busters. When you think about it, your thighs carry you to and from where you've been and where you're going. Because your thighs bear the brunt of so much and are one of the largest body parts, they deserve a little extra TLC. Strengthening your thighs helps support your whole body (especially your knees), sculpts them and makes them even more beautiful. It's time to feel the burn!
- Squat with ball: Place an exercise ball between the wall and the curve of your lower back. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees and lower 5 to 10 inches, keeping your shoulders level and your hips square. Hold this position for three seconds and then stand back up. Start with five repetitions and work up to 12. Rest for 30 seconds and do another set. If you don't have an exercise ball, just put your back directly against the wall.
- The Single-leg circle: Lie back on a mat with your arms by your sides and your palms facing down. Begin by pointing with your left foot, as if reaching out with your toes toward the ceiling, and rotate your leg slightly outward. Inhale, and trace a circle on the ceiling with your left leg, moving your whole leg, but keeping your hips still. Don't lift your left hip off the floor. Trace the circle on the ceiling 5 times in a clockwise direction. Repeat in a counter-clockwise direction. Switch legs and repeat five times.
- Plie: Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and your toes pointing out. Bring your arms out straight in front of you and lower into a squat. Come back up and repeat. Go as low into the squat as you can without letting your knees move past your toes. Be sure to tuck your tailbone under and contract your glutes. Keep your torso tall, and don't let your knees creep past your toes. Hold this pose for about 40 seconds and then pulse at the bottom of the squat for the remaining 20 seconds.
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Keri Glassman, MS, RD, CDN, is the founder and president of Nutritious Life, a nutrition practice based in New York City, and Nutritious Life Meals, a gourmet, healthy, daily diet delivery program available across the country. She is a member of Women's Health Magazine's advisory board and has authored Slim Calm Sexy Diet, The O2 Diet, and The Snack Factor Diet. Her fourth book, The New You and Improved Diet, will be released in December. Her expertise is regularly featured on the Today show, Good Morning America, and Access Hollywood Live, among others, and she hosts "A Little Bit Better" on YouTube's Livestrong Woman channel. Read more of Keri's tips every day on Facebook!