“My parents always told me I was beautiful and was very supportive, and I thought things were fine until one day when I was in fifth grade,” said Clarke. “I heard someone say, ‘She has such a big bum.’ I went home and looked in the mirror and saw myself in a completely different way.”
She soon decided she had to lose weight, and for a while she ate only Swedish fish candies during the day. Concerned, her parents to her to see a nutritionist, but while in junior high she started binging. For a brief period of time she was making herself vomit after eating, but she quit doing that after she learned how it could destroy teeth.
“In your head you think everyone is looking at you, talking about you and laughing at you,” she said.
Clarke went through periods when she would lose about 50 pounds, then gain more than 50 back. She ended up suffering from depression and anxiety.
About three years ago she got involved in a program that was able to help her look at herself in a different way, and now she’s enjoying life.
“Food, for me, is an addiction,” said Clarke. “Now, thankfully, I’m in recovery. I had to deal with suppressed feelings and it hasn’t been an easy journey at all. It’s a conscious daily effort.”
Her marriage ended but she now has a boyfriend who is very supportive, as well as dogs who played a big part in her recovery.
She always loved clothing, but used to dress to blend in and be invisible. Now she wears things she finds attractive and has what she calls her “superhero hair,” which is bright red.
She’s battling the myth that plus-sized people aren’t healthy, recently completing her first 5K run/walk and planning for another in October. She is also an entrepreneur, running The Downtown Hound.
She is a fan of the Health at Every Size movement (https://haescommunity.com/ ) and the Fab U Plus magazine, and now wants to help others who are struggling with body image issues. She would be happy to speak to groups of any age.
“I truly love my body now,” Clarke said. “Still, doubts creep up when you least expect them, and there are days I struggle, but there’s no self-loathing any more, and that’s amazing.”
Meghan Clarke recently did something she would not have believed possible a few years ago; she entered a cover girl contest. The 10 contestants who receive the most votes will go on to the second stage, where they will go before a panel of judges.
You can help Clarke in her efforts by going to
https://fabuplusmagazine.wishpond.com/video-contest/entries/163272871 and voting. Voting ends Aug. 3.