Adolescence isn’t an easy time for anyone. Hormones are surging out of control, resulting in fluctuating emotions, acne, and a metabolism that seems to be all over the place. And for every beautiful, confident young person, there are twice as many awkward, depressed individuals struggling through their teen years.
Meghan Gilbert was one of these unfortunate young people. For most of her natural life, she had struggled with something that millions of Americans suffer through. It got to the point that it was so bad, she thought her only escape was drugs. Then, in her darkest moment, something remarkable happened…
Meghan Gilbert, of Dallas, Texas had a rough adolescence. Like many young, teenage girls, Meghan dealt with keeping up with her grades and keeping her head above peer pressure. But when a binge eating disorder caused her weight to spiral out of control, her teenage problems became that much worse.
Meghan had been slightly overweight as a child, but didn’t really begin gaining heavily until she and her family went on a cruise. The dining room aboard the ship was an endless all-you-can-eat buffet. She’d eat multiple servings of lasagna and six bowls of ice cream in one sitting. When she finally returned home, things at school got much worse…
Bullies can be cruel and teenage girls can be the cruelest of them all. When Meghan returned to school, having gained a great deal of weight, her classmates bullied her mercilessly. They called her “thunder thighs” and said that her legs “jiggled” so much that ‘thunder struck’ whenever she entered a room.
As expected, the constant teasing caused Meghan to spiral down into a deep depression. Not only that, but her anxiety levels were through the roof. She didn’t want to go to school, didn’t want to do anything but eat, drink, do drugs and party every night. It was a true downward spiral and Meghan was sinking…
Meghan hated herself and her body so much that after a night of drunken partying, she would wake in the morning, wishing that it could never end. The next day would start the binge anew and each time, she would take more and more, drink more and more, in the hopes that one morning, she might not wake up at all.
The Long Sleep
One night, Meghan went too far. She took one too many pills and sipped one too many drinks and the next thing she knew, she was waking up after being asleep for over 36 hours. It was at the moment, in her darkest hour, that she knew something had to give. Either she was going to do something about her problems or she would die…
Something’s Gotta Give
The day that she woke up from her overdose, she looked down at her tattoo which read, “walk by faith not by sight”. It was then that she knew she wasn’t living life in the right way. She looked at recent photos of herself and saw how unhappy she looked. She needed help and the first place she sought it out, was her church.
Faith and Love
“The Bible preaches love. That’s Jesus’s commandment. So that’s where I started,” explained Meghan. She knew that the first step was loving herself and the people around her. Ye the only way she would be able to love herself was if she was healthy. So Meghan decided to get healthy…
Meghan started to work out daily in her local park. She was embarrassed to be seen, but knew that it wasn’t about them, it couldn’t be about other people right then. She was even able to procure a personal trainer to help her along the way. Before long, Meghan was falling in love with exercise.
Lift Herself Up
It was a process of course, she started by lifting a 5lb dumbell, and by the time she was done, she was lifting a 25 lb one. It wasn’t easy of course, there was sweat, there were tears, there were moments where she didn’t think she could do it, but she persevered. She was also detoxing the whole time…
“At first it was hard, but I knew I had to push through it and grew to love working out, I believe hard times make you grow.” says Meghan. She worked hard for over two years, all the while looking to God and the spirit inside herself to push through the pain. The results were outstanding.
At the same time, Meghan was eschewing all drugs and alcohol and learning to eat right. She learned portion control and after it was all said and done, she had dropped down to a strong and toned, 137 lbs. It was a dramatic transformation to be sure…
She even learned to love her legs after it was all said and done. “I see my legs as a strong point, before I never used to show my legs but now I love how big and muscular they are,” she says of her transformation. “Now if anyone tells me my legs are huge, I can say I have “thunder thighs” in a positive way.”
More than just losing the weight, Meghan has begun to body build as well. She sees her muscles, even the ones in her legs as a good thing, something that she has worked very, very hard for. And it’s something that she continues to work at even today…
Throughout her whole ordeal, it was Meghan’s faith in God that carried her through and her experience echoed her faith. “When you first start to lift weights and someone pushes you to go harder, most the time you say no I can’t do that much! But then you try, and you get one Rep out. You think you can’t do it, but in reality you can. It hurts. You build muscle by tearing it down…Same thing goes in life.”
Meghan had lost over a third of her body weight, an astonishing amount considering how badly she had abused her body before. She was healthier and happier than she’d ever been and because of it, her relationship with others improved as well….
Today, a much more confident Meghan thinks on her life before weight loss. “Before I didn’t wear shorts outside because I hated myself too much, now I can go outside in a bathing suit and feel confident that I’m beautiful.” She is even working to become a fitness model and has become an overnight social media personality.
Today, the young Fitness model shares her fitness journey on Instagram, inspiring others to transform the way they look and more importantly, feel. The extreme weight loss has completely changed her body shape and her face. It’s like she’s a brand new person…
Strength Through Hardship
The overarching lesson is that one can gain strength only through hardship and that if you allow yourself to wallow in the pools of despair, addiction, and self-pity, you will succumb to the quicksand of your own depression and sink to your death.
Change is Possible
Meghan’s story is not an unusual one. There are people all over the world who struggle with obesity and body image issues, and both are usually exacerbated by the taunts and teasing of others. Still, Meghan has proven that with faith, determination, and a fair amount of hard work, you can change your life for the better.