Coming Clean about Body Image

By Grace O’Malley.

Reflections of an Ex Runner

I used to pride myself on having a superior body image. I loved my body and was pretty confidently more confident then many other girls and women I knew. I had no problem running in spandex and a sports bra—just the opposite: I couldn’t wait to. Everyday that I trained I became a little bit more fit, and I loved my body just a little bit more.

But I was a collegiate athlete who trained six days a week–of course I loved my body. I was working my ass off on the track, in the pool, on the bike, and in the weight room. I was fast, fit, and strong. Of course I loved my body.

And I was missing the point entirely. My “confidence” in my body was entirely dependent on the many hours I spent working out. And although my focus was principally on my performance as a runner, the changes to my body that came with becoming more fit did not go unnoticed. I watched my calves get stronger, my biceps get bigger, my abs become more defined. I took note of all these improvements, studying the slightest changes.

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The Lemonade Stand

Lemonade stand

I was riding my bike home on a neighborhood street when I see five girls at a corner with an easel, a money jar, and a small table holding a pitcher of lemonade and a tray of cookies.

“Do you have change for a dollar?” I ask them?


It took all five girls to take my single, scavenge for two quarters, pour my lemonade, and place it in my hand. Henry Ford might have critiqued the efficiency of the service, but I could tell they valued their customers.

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