Plus size Instagrammer opens up about her journey from anorexia to body positivity
Following years of disordered eating and hating her body, influencer and body positivity advocate, Megan Crabbe, has decided to hit back at the dieting industry, after making it her mission to dismantle the toxic messaging they send to young women.
Meghan boasts 1.1 million followers on Instagram, under the handle BodyPosiPanda, where she espouses on the impact that dieting culture, and social media, has on our collective mental health.
However, she wasn't always so body confident. In a recent interview with The Sun, Megan opened up about her journey from anorexia to body positivity.
"It all started in primary school when I was aware I was chubbier than everyone else," Megan told the publication. "By a young age I'd absorbed the idea that being fat is bad, and I took that message to heart."
The now-23-year-old's weight proceeded to plummet to just 4 stone and 6 pounds at the age of 15.
"My periods stopped, my hair started falling out and I felt cold all the time. I was eating next to nothing and battling an exercise addiction to try and lose more weight," she continued. "I was in denial, I didn't think anything was wrong. But things got so bad that my dad took me to the child psychiatric unit at Colchester Hospital - and I spent the next 10 months in and out of the ward."
It wasn't all smooth sailing from there, however.
"I'd swapped anorexia for binge eating. I started living in a diet and binge cycle, losing and gaining weight. But on either side of the spectrum, my body was never good enough," Megan elaborated. "Even when I hit my goal weight I'd look in the mirror and think I needed to lose 10 more pounds. I always wanted to change something about my body and I believed I'd be happy once I had done that."
But aged 18, things finally started changing for the better. The Instagrammer met her boyfriend, Ben, who proved to be an invaluable support, and then, two years later, she stumbled across the "body positivity" hashtag on Instagram.
"The day everything changed for me began with my normal routine: diet pills, a kale smoothie and a gruelling workout," she said. "I scrolled through Instagram for some fitness inspiration. Instead I came across something I'd never seen before: a photo of a woman in a bikini, laughing and confident. She was embracing parts of herself that I'd spent my life hating - rolls, cellulite and jiggly arms."
"And a crack opened up in the very foundations of what I'd come to believe about myself, because here was a woman saying it was possible to love the body you are in, the way it is. It blew me away."
So I started an Instagram account, bodyposipanda. And I posted pictures of myself in my gym kit. One troll commented: 'You looked better with an eating disorder'. It hurt, but I blocked them."
Megan's commitment to loving her body has certainly proved invaluable to her fans. As she concluded: "It's a wonderful feeling to help other people find acceptance and self-love, as well as finding it for myself."