At high school in Dallas, Texas, Meghan Gilbert was deeply unhappy. Overweight and suffering at the hands of bullies, every day Gilbert would wake up and dread the taunts that were to come. The bullies were relentless, which only exacerbated Gilbert’s depression and anxiety.
Gilbert suffered from a binge-eating disorder that caused her to gain huge amounts of weight. As a result, she weighed 210 pounds when she was a senior in high school. This meant that her body mass index was over 34, which is an indication of extreme obesity.
Her problems had begun when she went on a cruise with her family. The holiday was all-inclusive, making it hard for Gilbert to exercise self-control. And she consequently began helping herself to bowl after bowl of lasagna or ice cream. Her eating became obsessive, in fact, to the extent where it was no longer a necessity, but a problem.
As a child, Gilbert had suffered from weight issues, but she claims that it was after the cruise that the problem seriously escalated. “I had no self-respect or love for myself, so I would just eat and be lazy because I didn’t know what to do, I barely left my house,” she told the Daily Mirror. “I hated my body and everything about how I looked, so I just kept on eating because I didn’t care.”
Gilbert recalled that at high school bullies would call her “thunder thighs,” in mockery of the area of her body that she was most insecure about. “People would say, ‘Thunder just struck,’ when I entered the room because my legs would jiggle so much,” she revealed.
She said that the moment when she decided to make a change was after looking at some photos of herself. Gilbert was shocked by how miserable she looked and knew that something had to be done. “It was only after seeing my senior year’s photographs that I started to realize I wasn’t happy and needed to change my lifestyle,” she explained.
Gilbert embarked on her fitness journey by working out in a park near to her home. She quickly established her own routines before moving on to using a personal trainer. And over time Gilbert managed to whittle herself down to a mere 114 pounds through a combination of exercise and healthy eating.
Moreover, Gilbert now seems to be completely dedicated to her healthy lifestyle. She likes to focus on toning her figure and says that she feels much stronger and more confident in herself. “At first it was hard,” she admitted. “But I knew I had to push through it and grew to love working out. I believe hard times make you grow. I learned to eat the right foods and the correct amount, too, I started strength training and began to love exercising.”
Since focusing on her fitness, Gilbert has managed to reduce her weight by more than 30 percent. After learning the importance of muscle toning, she stabilized at a healthy 137 pounds. What’s more, Gilbert has become well-known in the fitness world, sharing her progress with over 70,000 followers on Instagram.
And Gilbert has certainly proven the bullies wrong by gaining that much popularity so quickly. She has spoken openly about the fact that she now embraces her naturally curvier physique – especially her legs. “I see my legs as a strong point,” Gilbert explained. “Before, I never used to wear shorts or show my legs, but now I love how big and muscular they are. Now, if anyone tells me my legs are huge, I can say I have “thunder thighs” in a positive way.”
Since shedding the extra pounds, Gilbert has been flaunting her healthy new curves all over social media. She says that she finally has the confidence to show off her legs, which she would previously hide after being taunted about them for so long. Now, for the first time in more than a decade, she’s happily wearing shorts.
“Before I didn’t wear shorts outside because I hated myself too much,” she admitted. “Now I can go outside in a bathing suit and feel confident that I’m beautiful. I see my legs as my strongest point and the asset I’m most proud of, I work on them all the time. While I still have some fat, I love them.”
Gilbert is even in a position where she can try to use her social-media profile to inspire others. Under each Instagram post she makes, for instance, is an inspiring message encouraging her followers to achieve their fitness goals. At the same time, she also emphasizes that they need to learn to love and respect the bodies that they’ve been given.
Gilbert’s focus on mental strength seems to be another key ingredient in her popularity on social media. She encourages her followers to ignore haters and embrace who they are. One of her recent Instagram posts included the caption, “People are gonna be negative and judge you; you get to choose whether or not it’s irrelevant or not. Ignore it and block the haters or let it get ya down.”
And it appears that Gilbert isn’t afraid to lead by example in this regard. For instance, in January 2018 she posted a photo of herself after she’d put on some weight, accompanied by a caption slamming trolls for their criticisms. “Ok yall i have been getting the worst comments about my weight – yes i gained weight and no i dont care what you think!!” it read. “I got on birth control which made me gain tons of weight so im getting off of it!”
Moreover, in addition to gaining a big Instagram following, Gilbert also established her own YouTube channel in January 2017. On it, she has talked openly about the problems she has faced with weight, depression and anxiety. Gilbert looks unrecognizable when compared to her senior high school pictures, radiating positivity and happiness throughout every piece of advice.
On top of her YouTube channel, Gilbert has expanded her budding fitness empire to other parts of the web as well. This includes her sleek new website meghangfitness.com, where for $39.99 you can buy her 30-day fitness plan.
The website also includes several striking “before and after pictures,” which help to emphasize just how far Gilbert has come. They’re a far cry from the isolated, lonely girl that she describes herself as having been in high school. Gone is the sad, vulnerable pupil who suffered at the hands of bullies.
Healthy weight loss is promoted on Gilbert’s new site as well. Quotes are peppered across the site warning against the dangers of crash dieting. And one of them even claims that, “I lost 72 pounds by eating more food.”
Gilbert’s story highlights how determination and self-belief can be enough to fight back against bullies. She emphasizes that change must start with a positive mindset and realistic goals. Gilbert summed up her message by telling the Daily Mirror, “It all starts with your brain. Learning to love yourself changes your mindset completely. Since achieving that I have been much more confident, happy and healthy than I have ever been.”