I learned a new term from Instagram last week, “thigh-gap”. A thigh gap is when a set of legs are so lean skinny that they don’t touch each other, but instead, leave a gap. Body Image’s good friend, Barbie demonstrates it perfectly.

Guys, a thigh-gap is totally realistic! Even Barbie has one!

While I rarely see thigh-gaps, I happened to run across one on Instagram last week (go figure). The intent of the photo was to display some super cute shoes, but the super lean legs could not go unnoticed. There it was in the comments, “#thighgap”.

That hashtag helped me put into words a longing I have had since my teens. I wanted a thigh-gap for as long as I can remember. It was an elusive goal that I couldn’t seem to achieve. Even at my lightest (and unhealthy) weight, my thighs did not gap. What the hell? I’m bearing all when I admit to laying in bed at night shaming myself because my inner thighs touched. I couldn’t stand it. It felt like the signal of failure.

I know, you want to reach out and smack sense into me, right? Relax, that was the 23 year old Natalie. These days, I save my middle-of-the-night anxiety for bigger fish like, “Where in the world did that set of 3 lb weights run off to… I don’t lose things… They have got to turn up… I cannot use 5 pound weights for front shoulder raises… Crap!”

Don’t get me wrong, I would still take a thigh-gap if it were offered, but it’s no longer my focus. I have come a far cry from the obsessive thoughts and self judgements represented by the thigh-gap. Oh, the things I would tell my 23 year old self! For starters…

  • Your value and worth have nothing to do with your body. They are separate. PERIOD.
  • The body’s job is to serve the spirit that lives within. The body is FUNCTIONAL.
  • Set your sights on strength. A STRONG body allows you to experience the world in a unique, independent and special way.
  • Your INDIVIDUALITY is by design. It is beautiful.
  • Your muscular legs will do great things for your speed, endurance, and strength. Be THANKFUL.
  • Hey, at least you don’t have cankles! KIDDING!!

What elusive goals might you be holding in too high esteem?

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  • Reply
    02/08/2014 at 4:09 pm

    Such great conversation, Natalie. I learned about the term “thigh gap” in high school from my frosh/soph volleyball coach who struggled with her weight (due to a thyroid issue). I remember her saying, “I wish I could have a thigh gap.” Wonderful thing to say to a bunch of impressionable teens, right? Your line, “Your INDIVIDUALITY is by design” is right on the money.

    • Reply
      02/10/2014 at 12:41 pm

      Hi Lesley, good to hear from you. As a mom, I want to be very intentional about the message I send to my daughters (I’m sure you can relate). I love their confidence and lack of body awareness… I wish it would last forever.
      There has been interesting feedback about this post – in particular, the suggestion that our desire for a certain shape (i.e. thigh-gap) is innate. It’s natural to want to look beautiful. Oh, there is so much to say about that!

  • Reply
    02/08/2014 at 4:17 pm

    I heard that term recently too! Love this post, and so glad you have girls you can model on this stuff for! Xoxo

    • Reply
      02/10/2014 at 12:42 pm

      Hi old friend, good to hear from you. Thank you for the encouragement. How is alaska?

  • Reply
    02/08/2014 at 7:39 pm

    Oh cankles, ha ha! So what about the girl who doesn’t struggle with the thigh gap thing but is self conscious about her cankles and then reads this? Nice going.

    • Reply
      02/10/2014 at 12:44 pm

      Ha! Hope you got the heavy sarcasm there. Within my world of friends and neighbors, it seems that there is always something that someone wishes were different. We all have our own stuff, right?

  • Reply
    02/09/2014 at 6:29 am

    I know exactly what you mean,I just learned of the actual term a few months back. I think you’ll find that a thigh gap is possible though. I found a book called the thigh gap hack ( that promises to help you get a thigh gap in a healthy way, so I took a chance and gave it a shot and for the first time in forever I am seeing a slight space between my thighs.

    I dont agree with those who claim women only want thigh gaps because of the media pushing it on them, I mean you and I coveted thin legs without knowing it was an actual thing! It just looks attractive, and there’s nothing wrong with that!

    Maybe the book can help you like it did me. As long as you don’t harm yourself or develop unhealthy eating habits I don’t think there’s anything wrong with you going for it.

    Good luck, hun!

    • Reply
      02/10/2014 at 1:20 pm

      Hi Danielle, thank you for the feedback and suggested resource. I agree with you – there is nothing wrong with changing behaviors (as long as it’s healthy) to try and make a change in your body. Glad that it worked for you!
      You’re right, there is nothing wrong with wanting to look attractive. BUT, a “thigh gap” or “bikini-bridge-gap” or a D-Cup does not define beauty. That misconception is certainly not innate, but rather established and enforced by our society.
      Cheers to healthy and happy living!

  • Reply
    What Motivates You? | hello day
    03/07/2014 at 4:26 pm

    […] know what else is irrelevant? Whether or not I have a thigh-gap (we have already talked about that here). Other members of the Irrelvant Club include: the stretch marks on my hips, the back chub around […]

  • Reply
    Zentai Suit Online
    09/13/2014 at 11:36 pm

    I couldn’t refrain from commenting. Very well written!

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