I think I found the best way to start the day. Some say the secret lies in a healthy breakfast or setting aside time for meditation, whereas I now say it’s all about getting a daily dose of Megan Jayne Crabbe first thing in the morning. One can do so from the comfort of her @bodyposipanda Instagram or within the inclusive space that is Megan’s blog — but I was fortunate enough to Skype with the woman who’s launched many a viral, body-positive post.
I’ve written and edited quite a few articles about Megan and her work, so speaking to her face-to-face was surreal. The moment her face appeared on my screen, I had to stifle a gasp. You know how they say never meet your heroes? Well, you can rest assured that meeting Megan is no disappointment. She radiates understanding, instantly making you feel comfortable in her presence. Her confidence is contagious. There’s something about this woman that makes you feel warm in the knowledge that someone has your back. And Megan certainly does.
Since we’ve largely focused Megan’s social media presence, I wanted to take a different approach, by reaching out to the body-positive role model for an interview — in real-life. Because as we all know, there’s so much more to us than who we are online.
HelloGiggles: Considering that it was just National Eating Disorder Awareness week, if there was one thing you could express to all the people currently coping with an eating disorder, what would you say?
Megan Crabbe: What I wish that someone had said to me when I was struggling is that you’re here for more than this. I think that when you’re in that eating disorder mindset, you get so convinced that all there is to your existence is the counting calories and the losing weight. And that’s all you’re there for in the world. I really want people struggling with body image and food issues to learn that that’s not what they’re here for. They’re not in the world just to lose weight and count calories.
There’s so much more to them and they are more than their eating disorder. That’s something that we need to be telling them. That their eating disorder doesn’t actually define them.
HG: We’re wondering if there’s something the media has gotten wrong about your story or about the body-positive movement? Is there anything you’d change?
MC: I think — as much as the media is taking strides in bo-po and it’s becoming bigger and bigger — we’re still getting it wrong a lot of the time. I mean, when I’ve read stories about myself before, there’s been a couple of stories about my eating disorder and my journey that have been really sensationalized. I think that’s what the media is really bad about when it comes to eating disorder stories. It just makes it all about the numbers and the scary, low-weight pictures. I’ve even had major news outlets completely lie about my weight and make me even lighter than I was at my lowest weight.
HG: Putting yourself out there on the internet is no easy feat. What gave you the inspiration to do so?
MC: I was thinking about this today and, especially after my recovery, I really thought I was the only person who had gone through anorexia and then come out chubby. I thought I was a massive failure because I hadn’t managed to stay thin. I thought I was the only one and I used to spend hours researching “recovered anorexic, now fat.” I was looking for something to tell me that it was okay and that I hadn’t failed and I wasn’t wrong.
So when I started, I wanted to be that. I wanted to be able to tell people that it is okay and that they’re not alone. And to spread the message that there’s another way, there’s another way through life other than hating yourself the whole time.
HG: When you’re dealing with thoughts that aren’t body-positive, what do you do?
MC: I’m really grateful for the online community because I think surrounding yourself with positivity and badass bo-po babes is just a massive help for staying in the zone. Because I can always log on to Instagram and they will remind me why we do this and why it’s so important.
Something that’s equally as important, but quite difficult, is to cut all the toxic influences out of your life. So the people who will not stop talking about diets and weight-loss and celebrity bodies. I don’t see those people anymore. I don’t read those magazines and articles. I just try to keep my life a bo-po-safe space, basically. That’s what keeps me on board.
HG: What is one change you’ve made in your life that has greatly helped you on your journey to body-positivity?
MC: Body-positive literature was a massive game-changer for me. I’m in my study right now. *gestures* So, this book… *pulls book off shelf* was the first one I ever read. It’s The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf — and it just changed everything.
HG: In honor of International Women’s Day, who’s one woman you look up to?
MC: I have a lot of friends in the community who I look up to. At the moment, I think my biggest inspiration is my friend Dani, who runs the account @chooselifewarrior. She’s an eating disorder survivor, as well, but she is a lot bigger than I am. And basically, every day people tell her that she’s lying and that she never had an eating disorder and that she’s awful and needs to kill herself … And yet, she still spreads awareness and she teaches people that eating disorders aren’t a size, and that you can suffer with them at any size. I’m just in awe of her every single day.
HG: Do you have a body-positive mantra? And if not, what would your mantra be?
MC: I have a favorite quote.
HG: With your huge following in mind, we can’t help but wonder if you ever feel anxious or hesitant before posting? How do you deal with these feelings?
MC: Anyone who says that the numbers don’t occasionally get to them is lying. Because it’s hard sometimes. I mean, I remember when I first hit 1,000 followers and I was really excited because I was like, “Oh my god. 1,000 people are intersted in what I’m saying.” And now it’s kind of out-of-hand and ridiculous and I don’t know what’s happening.
I do. I do get anxious about it. And I do get a lot of hate, but I have to remind myself why I started and that it’s more important to be genuine and to post what I believe in than get likes.