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  • Writer's pictureMallory Fuller

Real Talk: Body Image

Hello Friends!!

I am so excited that you are back here at the Happy Heart Blog. Today, we are talking about something that so many men and women face on a daily basis- Body Image. I don’t know about you, but I can sometimes forget that social media is not reality. That’s why I want to use this post as an opportunity for some real talk. I have always struggled with loving what I see in the mirror, and I can’t begin to explain how excited I am to finally be posting this. I have started and rewritten this post about 20 times, just hoping to encompass my thoughts and feelings on the subject. I hope that my vulnerability will be an encouragement to you today!

A little backstory on me. For as long as I can remember, I have always known I was larger than other girls. I hit 5’11 in the 6th grade, but even in elementary school, I towered over other kids my age. I was always in the back row for school pictures, dance recitals, and cheer routines, and I was very aware of it.

When I entered junior high, not only was I taller than all of the girls in my grade, but also the boys. I feel like I should mention that I never had much athletic ability nor did I have much interest in playing sports. Nonetheless, the statement “Oh my gosh, you are so tall! Do you play basketball?!” was thrown my way on a daily basis. I can vividly remember leaving cheerleading practice one afternoon when a mom stated the words “what a waste of height.” With my height constantly being pointed out to me, an insecurity about the way I looked was quickly formed. I consistently felt like I wasn’t measuring up simply because I chose not to play sports.

"With my height constantly being pointed out to me, an insecurity about the way I looked was quickly formed."

Towards the end of high school, I finally learned how to accept my height for what it was. I even began to love that about myself. However, with that brought a whole new level of body insecurity. I quickly became obsessed with the size and shape of my body. While competing in the lifestyle and fitness portion of the competition in Miss Texas and Miss Texas Outstanding Teen, I was able to challenge and push my body to become a picture of what I thought I needed to look like. And while I am so proud of what I was able to accomplish, when I didn’t look “perfect,” I despised myself. One of the hardest standards to compare yourself to is what you know you are capable of.

In 2018, The Miss America Organization decided to remove the swimsuit competition. At first, I was extremely disappointed. I enjoyed the challenge. However, after realizing the toll that pushing my body to the unattainable was taking on my mental well-being, I realized what a blessing this decision was in my life. While I can’t say I would quit competing if the organization decided to add a swimsuit competition back in tomorrow, I can say I am thankful for an organization that realizes women have more value than what is seen on the outside.

I wish I could tell you that I look in the mirror every day and love what I see. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. To this day, I still struggle with a positive body image. Just a few months ago I let a seemingly innocent comment about the size of my legs linger in my self-talk for waaaay too long. However, I have realized several important things when it comes to how I view myself, and I hope they can serve as a little bit of encouragement to you.

1. You were made in His Image

First and foremost, God does not make mistakes. He didn’t make a mistake when He made me 5’11, and He didn’t make a mistake when He made you. I truly believe that when we speak hateful words about ourselves, it breaks His heart. You were created for a specific purpose and placed on this earth for a reason, and being supermodel thin was not one of them.

2. Strive for wholeness, not perfection

One of my absolute favorite Morgan Harper Nichols quotes says, “How liberating it is to pursue wholeness instead of perfection.” When I first saw this quote, it resonated with me so well. Physical fitness is only serving us if it doesn’t come at the expense of our mental well-being. One thing that I have realized about myself is that eating healthy and working out is essential to my mental health. Healthy foods make me feel good and in turn that makes me a happier, healthier human. When thinking about nutrition and exercise it is CRUCIAL to think about it as a way to stay healthy, not to attain an ideal body.

3. You are allowed to Like your body

While I know it is so much easier said than done, I challenge you to think about the things you actually like about your body. For me, when I look in the mirror I could immediately think about how large my hips are, or I could identify what makes me feel confident. I really love my collar bones (is that weird?) and I love to wear tops and dresses that show them off. Identify what you love about your body and capitalize on that. You are worthy of liking your body.

I hope that I was able to provide a little bit of encouragement through this post. We live in a broken world, and because of that, there will be parts of it that feel sticky and ugly. I believe that vulnerability shines a light on those areas and can bring out the beauty in those situations. I hope you will join me in learning to accept and even love yourself for who God created you to be because YOU are so worth it.

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