By Josh Saunders
A student who was cruelled called thunder thighs has learned to love her ‘big’ legs after losing six stone and building strong, muscular quads.
Meghan Gilbert, 21, from Dallas in Texas, USA, bulged to nearly 15 stone (200lb) after developing a binge-eating disorder that began during a cruise with unlimited food.
Years of bullying over her weight led her eating disorder to spiral out of control until she had a BMI of 34.3 – meaning she was severely obese.
Classmates mocked her for the size of her quads saying that they ‘jiggled’ so much that whenever she entered a room ‘thunder struck’.
But after recognising how unhappy she looked in her senior year photographs three years ago, she knew she had to drastically change her diet and start exercising.
Now, instead of being embarrassed by her legs, she works out to make them even more muscular and strong and is now wearing shorts for the first time in her adult life.
Meghan, a model and social media influencer, said: “I used to be called thunder thighs, people would say ‘thunder just struck’ when I entered the room because my legs would ‘jiggle so much’.
“People weren’t very nice, all of their bullying fuelled my binge eating disorder and left me hating myself for how I looked.
“It was only after seeing my senior years photographs that I started to realise I wasn’t happy and needed to change my lifestyle.
“I see my legs as a strong point, 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.
“People used to use it against me as something bad but now I body build I see it as a good thing, they are strong, muscular and something to be proud of.”
Meghan was overweight as a child but believes she developed a binge eating disorder after going on a cruise with unlimited food, which led her to eat six bowls of ice cream in one sitting and four helpings of lasagne.
She was diagnosed with anxiety and depression, which was worsened by bullying, leaving her reclusive and housebound.
Meghan said: “It sounds crazy but since that moment I just got bigger and bigger, I would eat and eat, it was the only thing I knew, I didn’t appreciate how good it feels to be healthy.
“I had no self-respect or love for myself so would just eat and be lazy because I didn’t know what to do, I barely left my house.
“I hated my body and everything about how I looked so I just kept on eating because I didn’t care.”
After having her senior photographs taken three years ago, Meghan began to recognise how unhappy she was and how much she needed to change.
Meghan said: “I spent an hour that day staring at the mirror trying to figure out what to wear, in the end I couldn’t bear to look at myself before going out.
“I believe you can still be bigger and love yourself, but I didn’t like who I was at all, I hated my body and seeing the images that were taken now still breaks my heart.
“The person in those images wasn’t me or who I am, I was just lost, you can see the pain in my eyes and that I didn’t respect myself.
“It was the worst feeling ever, I was crying and deleted all of the images from my computer, broke the CD with the images on and never wanted to see them again.
“From then onwards I started to understand that if I was going to love myself I needed to respect my body and have it in the best physical shape I could.”
Meghan moved back home and started daily exercise in her local park before progressing onto developing her own workouts and getting a personal trainer.
She eventually reached a trim 8st 2 (114lb) where she became to focus on becoming more chiselled and embracing her new muscular physique.
She said: “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.
“I learned to eat the right foods and the correct amount too, I started strength training and began to love exercising.
“My goal was to make sure I was leaving the gym sore, ‘It hurts so good’ became my motto and I made sure that happened every day.
“From there I started turning fat into muscle and started a clean diet with lots of chicken, vegetables and carbs.”
Now Meghan is far from the days when she would cry in dressing rooms because of her size and is now celebrating her new body and mindset after gaining muscle weight to reach 9st 11 (137lb).
She’s worn shorts for the first time in 14 years and is embracing her strong quads as something to be proud of rather than hiding them beneath long layers.
Meghan said: “My body shape has completely changed, my face was a circle before, my neck and body is completely different, I look like a new person.
“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.
“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.
“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.”
Follow her progress on: www.instagram.com/megsmotivationn
Breakfast – donuts or fast food.
Snacks – Chick-fil-A 12 pieces of chicken with large fries and sweet tea
Lunch – McDonald’s 20 piece chicken with fries and Dr Pepper
Snacks – chips, French fries
Dinner – four servings of lasagna or spaghetti
Dessert – several cupcakes or brownies
Breakfast – 1 egg and 1 egg white scrambled with spinach and fruit
Snacks – oatmeal with protein
Lunch – grilled chicken, brown rice, and veggies
Snacks – protein snack
Dinner – chicken and veggies
Dessert – small piece of extra dark chocolate