• talks about her Confessions



    Confession: I have fat ankles.

    Here’s the story: {also shared on my friend Steph’s blog a couple days ago}

    I had an experience when I was 17 or so that shaped a lot of the way I feel about myself to this day. I was at a dance with friends and talking with my best guy friend. We’d been close friends since birth and so the prospect of ever having a relationship was definitely out of the question because it would have felt like incest! Because we were so sibling-like close, we were also generally honest with each other.

    Like brutally so.

    On this occasion, we were watching people dance, checking out attractiveness of the members of our opposite sex, and making comments to each other throughout the process. At one point my sweet-but sometimes overly confident-friend whom I absolutely adored-even when he was a pain in the butt-said, “You want to know the best way to tell if a girl will be fat when she’s an adult? You look at her ankles. If she has cankles now, she’ll be fat later. And, an even better indicator is to look at her mom & her ankles.”

    I was somewhat shocked by this admission for a few reasons:

    One, I didn’t know what cankles were {he kindly explained it was when your calves run into your ankles with no really big distinction between the two}.

    Two, I had struggled with weight for as long as I could remember. I’d always been the fat one of my friends. I was even bigger than most my guy friends and all my boyfriends {which royally sucks, by the way!} I had always felt beautiful, comfortable & accepted with this friend. I know he knew I was fat, though he may have been able to overlook it because of our past. I know he knew I was self conscious about it. So I couldn’t believe he was actually saying what I was hearing.

    And threeI HAVE CANKLES! I looked down and really for the first time, noticed how large my ankles were. So large that they just looked like an extension of my calves! He had to have known this when he made his comment, right? {My only comfort then came from the fact that my mom does NOT have cankles and is definitely not fat}.

    Here’s the thing: He was a guy. A teenage guy. Full of hormones, good looks, confidence and athletic ability. He also-like most teenage guys-didn’t always think before he spoke at that time in his life. He wasn’t purposely trying to hurt my feelings although I think he got the point when I slugged him as hard as I could in the arm.


    It’s been 11 years since that experience and I have had a serious issues with my cankles ever since. I fought to get my ankles slimmer, knowing if I had cankles, I’d end up always being fat{ter} and that thought was horrifying. Somehow I began to let that one comment define me. I know my friend would never have said that comment {at least in my presence} had he realized the far reaching effects it would have. We are still pretty tight & he felt awful when I reminded him of this conversation.

    Through my journey with Take Shape for Life , getting down to a healthy weight {still working on reaching my ultimate goal}, and now coaching clients to do the same, I can confidently say I’ll probably always have cankles. At the very least, some thick ankles. That’s just a part of me that may not change too drastically. But I can work on making them the best looking dang cankles you’ve ever seen! And I can focus on the other parts of my body I have control over and make them my very best. Optimal health looks different on everybody. Cankles don’t define me anymore.

    {Image via Pinterest}


5 Responses to Hard Cold Truth

  • Athena wrote on September 19, 2011 at 12:57 // Reply

    I LOVE this post, because I can relate! I have cankles and have been self conscious about them…so much to where I tried coming to terms with it and accepting have always since I was in high school, overly joke about my “cankles”. I always ooo and aaah over people who have nice ankles. But Karl, at least we have MANY redeeming qualities right? And yeah, neither one of us is fat and we are almost in our 30’s! :)

    P.S. I have met many other beautiful/healthy women since my teenage years who have cankles as well!

  • Athena wrote on September 19, 2011 at 12:59 // Reply

    P.S.S. That’s one of the many reasons I like to wear high heels, I feel like its a way to make my ankles more slimming!

  • Brenda wrote on September 19, 2011 at 11:29 // Reply

    AANNNNDDDDDD your authenticity is an absolute inspiration.
    So many of us girls have a similar MOMENT that will be etched in our memories forever. Let this inspire us all to always look for the beautiful in people. Pick out one thing you see in someone today & tell them it’s RADIANT!!
    Love you Karli-you are RADIANT – one of the most glowing faces I’ve ever beheld :)

  • Amanda@NotJustCute wrote on July 16, 2012 at 2:30 // Reply

    I blame it on some Peterson genetics. I’ve always been self-conscious about my legs. Even at my thinnest they’re not exactly dainty. I have a frozen-in-time memory similar to yours when at track practice a muscular-jock-friend looked down as we stood side by side and exclaimed – Our legs are the same size! He said it like it was a cool realization….I didn’t think so at the time. Life has taught me that comparison is the thief of joy and while my calves don’t look like a dancer or a super model, they’ve taken me to a lot of great places. I’ve learned to value my body more for what it can do than for what it looks like!

    • Karli Cleaver wrote on July 16, 2012 at 2:35 // Reply

      Wow, M, I LOVE what you said. Zac has really small and nice calves/ankles and has always wanted calf implants. I would look at him and say, “I’ve love to have your calves!” He would say, “That’s the problem.” (: You’re so right-and I love how you phrased it-that comparison is the thief of joy. So true! I am also grateful for my legs and feet & really took them for granted until there was a real problem doing the things I love. I have an even greater appreciation for them now. Just so you know, I’ve NEVER looked at you and thought you had big calves or ankles, so I know we are all our own worst critic, too. You are a beauty & the fact that people have sometimes said I resemble you is a huge compliment!


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