I Want Michelle Obama Arms

Illustration for article titled I Want Michelle Obama Arms

Like I said, I want this to be my first sleeveless summer, ever. Maybe I was sleeveless as a little kid. I don’t recall, so that doesn’t count. As an adult, though, I’ve never been sleeveless.


Here in the South, people take their right to bare arms seriously. It just gets so freakin’ hot, you really can’t blame people for letting it all hang out.

But it’s sometimes hard to look at, you know? Huge, fleshy, multi-layered arms are unsightly. I’m not talking about that little “batwing” jiggle a lot of women have. I’m talking about upper arms the circumference of ham shanks.

Of course, I’ve said before that of all my mushy body parts, I most despise my upper arms – thus the preoccupation. It’s an area controlled by the triceps, the weakest muscles in my body. I have been able to add weights to all the resistance machines I use at the gym except the ones that isolate the triceps.

As I’ve lost weight, I’ve noticed a slight difference in my hips and belly, but I don’t believe I’ve lost a single ounce of my upper arms.

Which is why I’m interested in that Body Pump class at my gym. If anything will help strengthen and hopefully tone my upper arms, that’ll be it. I’m not looking forward to going to the class, but I will. I have to. I want arms like Michelle Obama.

Why the media just wigs out every time she goes sleeveless is beyond me. She’s certainly not the first First Lady to do so. Is it because she’s neither pale nor frail? That’s for other people to obsess about. Bottom line, her arms look great, the way I want mine to look.


There’s supposed to be no such thing as “spot reducing,” but I can work extra hard to build muscle and therefore more efficiently burn fat in certain areas, including my abdomen, which I hope will help me avoid wanting a tummy tuck – whatever that is – in the future. But depending on who’s talking, the upper arms are either the most difficult area to firm up or no different than any other area of your body. I believe it’s the former, because I’ve seen so many otherwise fit women with the unfortunately nicknamed “bingo arms.”

Ruby Gettinger, star of Ruby, has had brachioplasty – an arm lift – even though she has more than 100 pounds yet to lose. The show about her surgery has yet to air, but I’m willing to bet she lost between 15 and 20 pounds just in arm fat alone.


I’ve seen the procedure done in YouTube videos. YUCK. And then there’s this long scar, like 10 inches, that has to heal. They completely slice you open from your upper arm down to your elbow, and afterward there’ll be hundreds of stitches.

Getting queasy just thinking about it.

Once I’ve lost 100+ pounds, I’ll do an assessment. Something tells me I’ll be so thrilled to have finally gotten the weight off that having “bingo arms” won’t matter.


Meantime, I’ll continue to work on building toned muscle underneath the flab. I doubt I’ll be able to go sleeveless by, say, July. But maybe I’ll have built up enough confidence to do so, anyway.

That would be nice.

If you ever need a helping hand you’ll find one at the end of your arm.  ~  Yiddish proverb


Leslie J. Ansley is an award-winning journalist and entrepreneur who blogs daily for TheRoot. She lives in Raleigh, NC.