The Right to Bare Arms

For as long as I can remember, I have hated my arms. My upper arms in particular. I have always felt that they were disproportionate to the rest of my body. Even when I was at my smallest (which still wasn’t small to anyone else but me), my arms were large. I sometimes had to buy shirts a size larger just so my arms would fit in the armholes! How crazy is that?? I pretty much avoided wearing anything sleeveless, even when it was 100 degrees outside with 100% humidity, such was my insecurity. I always felt self-conscious if I was wearing a bathing suit (well, I was self-conscious about that for a NUMBER of reasons) or a bridesmaid dress that was sleeveless. I sometimes couldn’t even enjoy myself because I was thinking about how big and flabby my arms must look. I imagined everyone staring at them and being grossed out by how huge and fat they were. In truth, I probably imagined them to be larger than they actually were, but I do believe that for whatever reason they are abnormally large.

Now that I’ve lost 70+ pounds, you’d think that I’d be comfortable with my arms, right? Nope, not so much. I have several cute, sleeveless tops (one is a size LARGE!) in my closet that I haven’t worn because I am afraid of what people will think. I still feel like my arms are too flabby and unbecoming to force other people to see. I have worn some tank tops while working out because running in the heat is much more bearable that way, but the whole time I’m wearing that sleeveless shirt, I’m wondering what people would think if they saw my flabby arms. Honestly, how vain am I? Does anyone even care what I am wearing, much less what my arms look like? It’s not like I surround myself with shallow, cruel people who would point out my horrible arms even if they did think they looked disgusting. And it’s not like I’d even want to be friends with someone who judges me based on my appearance or clothing attire. Yet I am still hung up on this.

I’ve decided that the best approach would be full immersion. I’m going to pledge to you, all 4 of my dear readers, that I will wear one of those aforementioned sleeveless tops out in public this week and in a situation other than exercising. And I will do my best not to obsess about what everyone else must think of my arms. I realize that this fear of bare arms and the accompanying criticism is irrational and silly and vain, and I need to get over it, so surely the best way to do this is to grin and bare ’em, right? πŸ™‚

What irrational fears do you have? Any body parts you need to learn to love?

17 thoughts on “The Right to Bare Arms

  1. i am the same way!! i have not always been like this, but now i really hate showing my arms. i never wear sleeveless and most of my short sleeved shirts go at least half way down my upper arms.

    i am also SUPER self-conscious about my stomach. in addition to the extra fat that hangs out there, i have a HUGE scar across the middle of it–it's seriously a foot long (yes, i measured). if i'm wearing anything form-fitting, it looks like i'm wearing too tight and high waisted underwear that cuts it in half and it bulges out the top. it's from a surgery when a was just 4 days old, so it's not one of those flat smooth scars…blah. wow–i wrote a lot about that! i am clearly too selfconscious about it!


  2. I'm with ya on the arms – I hate mine and now that I'm getting “older” and have lost some weight, I've noticed the skin looks more wrinkly – so I hate wearing short sleeved shirts in public. I deal with it in the summer but to work I've always got a 3/4 length shirt or sweater on and very very rarely bare my arms.

    I almost feel the exact same way about my upper thighs – I hate them they are so big 😦

    So good for you for taking the challenge of baring your arms this week! I'm right behind ya!



  3. Hi!! New here.. πŸ™‚ I agree with you as I also hate my arms.. as well as my toosh which I call the book shelf! lol

    I hope that as I loose the weight that I'll eventually feel comfortable to show my arms in public.. I'm ok with wearing a swim suit b/c I'm at the beach or pool and just don't care but I'm not a fan of tank tops..

    One thing I will say is just remember how far you have come.. losing 70+ lbs is a HUGE achievement and you should feel proud!



  4. I completely know what you are talking about! Only for me, it is my legs, not my arms.

    I have very muscular legs. I always have. My sister does. My dad does. It just runs in the family. When I was in high school and thin (even if I didnt think so then!), it wasnt really a problem. I knew they were big, but I just accepted it, mostly. It was really only frustrating when I wanted new pants. Like you with shirts, I often had to buy a size bigger just so I could pull the pants all the way up! (It was ridiculously frustrating to not have pants gap at the waist then.)

    Then I started to gain weight. The shorts I owned didnt fit anymore and I didnt bother to replace them. (I had started wearing mostly thin pants in the summer to prevent sunburn.) As I gained weight, I started to look at my legs – especially my thighs – and think how disgusting they looked.

    Since I have lost weight, I am definitely more comfortable with my legs. But I still look at myself in shorts and think it looks terrible. The bathing suit I bought for myself this year is the first 2 piece I have ever bought – but it is a tankini. And the bottom has a little skirt to help hide that area where your legs end and your butt begins.

    I keep thinking that I should find myself some nice shorts – that arent gym shorts (because that is all I own for shorts!). But then I think about how they are always tight around the thighs and they always make my legs look even bigger. And I cringe, and shy away from it. Perhaps I will be able to convince myself to get 1 nice pair for my trip to San Diego in August.

    I cant wait to hear about your success of wearing a sleeveless shirt this weekend!! πŸ™‚


  5. uh, well, I guess I'm your #6 reader! And that's only us who have commented!

    You wanna know something Erin? You are the ONLY one holding yourself back. No one is going to care about whether or not you are wearing short sleeves. Really. Seriously. Think of all the people you see in a day, and now think of what they wore yesterday. DO YOU REMEMBER? Probably not! BARE ARMS LADY!

    Ok, now that I've said that, let me just say I totally understand! It's like this huge mental mountain and just thinking of it totally gets your heart rate speeding! I agree, the only way to get over it is to just do it. I promise, you won't die!


  6. I totally understand!!! I have the same thing – except, about my knees. I'm terribly knocked-knee – like, when my knees are together, there is about 5 inches between my feet. When I wear anything short, I feel like people are all, “Man, she's got legs like a duck!”. Seriously, I won't wear shorts and I always wear a long surong with my swimsuit because of my knock-knees.
    Funny thing is, I have an 8-inch scar down my chest and I don't even care if people see that – never have. I wear plunge-necklines with no qualm, but get nervous if I have to wear something short! It's crazy. ~ L


  7. I'm the same say! It's weird….it just started since last summer though. I had all of these cute tank tops I wore last summer but I haven't worn one of them yet this summer. I think I'm just going to have to suck it up and do it. Good luck! πŸ™‚ I'm sure you'll look beautiful!


  8. I don't wear sleeveless either…I still have 20 lbs. to go…and I'm working on having Jennifer Anniston arms, haha! A girl can day dream. Perhaps I should take a cue from you and be as bold as you are. By the way, I believe you have a few more than 4 readers.


  9. I am so glad I'm not alone in my struggle! Thanks all of you for your comments. I command all of you to bare that body part you are struggling to love (unless doing so would get you arrested). πŸ˜‰ I wore a sleeveless shirt TODAY, and I will blog about it tomorrow!


  10. Oh Erin I feel as if I could have wrote this blog!

    Even after loosing all my weight and working on my arms like crazy with ST I still do not like them and I wish they were smaller and more toned. For YEARS – like 10 years I would not wear sleeveless shirts. I was so ashamed and no matter how hot it would be I would wear t-shirts. Recently after returning back to the US I was at Lowes shopping and I noticed that I was in the store in my running top and NO t-shirt!! I wanted to cry b/c I realized that now I am comfortable with who I am and how I look NOW – not waiting for my perfect arms before I were tank tops but doing it now and being confident! It was a HUGE step for me and now I do not even worry about it because the fear is gone!

    Hold your head up high this week when you wear your cute summer shirts because you look amazing and you have worked so hard to get there – ENJOY every moment!


  11. I know how it is to have a body part you obsess about. My nose was broken when I was 3, and it was big to begin with, so I've always thought it was downright freakish-looking! I even had some guy tell me recently that I was still pretty hot IN SPITE OF MY NOSE!!!! But my boyfriend took a picture of me in profile putting on lipstick, and I really like the picture, so that has helped me.

    If it helps you at all, even in your strapless wedding dress when you were heavier–what did you say, 70+ pounds ago?–I didn't notice your arms. Listen, if this isn't TOO scary, wear your sleeveless shirt and take some pictures to post here so everyone can say how great you look in it!


  12. love the pledge.
    I made a similar but different when I was working to lose and found that I spent the entire first time out there OBSESSING about my “part” and then the 2nd time I realized (albeit slowly) that no one was noticing me at all…that they were all obsessing about their own damn selves πŸ˜‰

    I havent looked back…


  13. OK, so I took it on – I'm wearing a short sleeved shirt today – no sweater. Still hate my arms but after reading everyone's comments – especially Jen's comment about – “do you remember what “so'n'so” was wearing yesterday ?” That hit it on the nail for me… Who cares what my arms look like. I still look good in my new shirt πŸ™‚

    Hope your bare armed challenge went well yesterday!


  14. When I read the title, I seriously thought you were going to talk about guns…then I realized you were talking about guns, just not the shooting kind πŸ˜‰ I have an irrational fear, but it is seriously hard to discuss and explain. Perhaps I will do a post about it…but simply because pictures are required…

    And did you join Swagbucks?!?! I hope you gets lots of them for Amazin giftcards πŸ™‚


  15. Sandra, way to go for taking the challenge! Woohoo!

    Jenny, I am very curious about your irrational fear now. I think a blog post is in order. πŸ™‚


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