Start with a small, realistic performance goal. Anytime I’m feeling in limbo and like I need that extra push, I think of something that sounds both fun and possible to reach for. For example, creating a goal to walk 5 miles a week for one month. Or maybe push-ups are a long-term goal, so break it down into small goals like 5 push-ups a day for one month using an incline or wall. Increase it by 5 each month while slowly lowering the incline down to the ground. Fitness becomes much more fun when using performance-based goals to do things that feel exciting and challenging, but possible when broken down into smaller goals.
Resilience has been described as the ability to withstand adversity and bounce back from difficult life events. Times are not easy now. How do we develop greater resilience to withstand the challenges that keep being thrown at us? In this interview series, we are talking to mental health experts, authors, resilience experts, coaches, and business leaders who can talk about how we can develop greater resilience to improve our lives.
As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Meg Boggs.
Meg Boggs is a mother, wife, content-creator, powerlifter, and self-empowerment advocate who has made it her mission to help women embrace their insecurities. With advocacy from mental health to fitness inclusivity promoted alongside body-positive imagery on all of her social media platforms, Meg continues to spark discourse about fat bodies and the experiences of plus-size women. In her debut book, Fitness For Every Body: Strong, Confident, & Empowered At Any Size, Meg shares what it’s like to navigate life as a fat athlete, while encouraging those like her to confidently take up space and embrace life unapologetically. She lives with her family in Southlake, Texas. Follow her on Instagram and TikTok @Meg.Boggs and online at MegBoggs.com.
Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your backstory?
I’m Meg Boggs, an author and athlete. I’m passionate about sharing ways to improve our overall human experience, while also appreciating and celebrating the body we were provided in order to have that experience.
I’m also a big believer that joyful and intuitive movement are possible for every body. I love the opportunity to provide real examples of trackable, overall wellness-promoting behaviors that have nothing to do with how we look! It wasn’t until I had my daughter, Maci, who is now four, that I decided to take that step away from a life filled with diet culture and harmful messaging, which was something I held onto for a very long time — this overwhelming desire to be thin in the name of health. I later discovered that it was really only ever fueled by my own internalized self-hate and fatphobia, something we as women are taught rather early on in life.
Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
Over the years, in my professional and personal life, I have constantly seen my body depicted as a villain, comedic relief, and/or the focus of a triumphant weight loss story. It’s some of the first things we see growing up — on magazines, in movies, on tv shows, and every single advertisement. At one point, I found myself imagining the ways in which I could be successful and the lengths I would need to go to achieve it. I would imagine myself slicing away at my stomach, my arms, my thighs, my double chin and everywhere I felt just had to be removed. I wanted a lot out of life, but none of it ever felt possible unless I completely changed the way I looked. I had never seen a fat character with a complex story line. Or a fat celebrity being celebrated for her accomplishments without ever being scrutinized equally, if not more, for her weight. It has felt dehumanizing and leaves no room for the actual, meaningful stories fat people have to tell. So, I decided to take back the word fat. Claim it as something that no longer strikes myself or anyone else as negative. It’s been used as an insult for decades, when fat is really just a neutral and descriptive word. I use the word fat as just that — a descriptor. In doing so, I like to think of it as a revolution against fatphobia and diet culture and all the messed up ways I’ve been taught to hate the body I was given. I’ve learned to completely shift the narrative that was once weaponized against me into one that provides me with both pride and power.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
I’ve been working with Fitbit on redefining what it means to be strong today and leaving those old stereotypes of strength in the past: the ones that insist that we make aesthetic-based goals only and the ones that force us toward weight loss at any cost. For me now, being strong means thinking more about my health holistically, giving me both control and confidence to take care of my body and mind. When I’m checking in with my body, balancing activity with rest and finding time for both mental and physical health, I’m at my strongest. It’s not just about how much weight I can lose. In the same way it’s not just about how much weight I can lift. It’s more so about how it feels when I blend it all together. And accepting that every day is going to be different. Taking control of that without feeling this intense amount of pressure to shrink is what gives me a new kind of strength.
I have really loved seeing Fitbit embrace all corners of health. It means a lot for people like me who have struggled to trust brands that rely on shame as fuel toward health-related goals. That’s why I’m so thankful to partner with a brand like Fitbit, as they share the same ideals on holistic health as me and are working to redefine what “strength” is to the masses.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
My daughter, Maci. After she was born in 2017, it inspired me to do something bigger with my life and not teach her the disordered habits around weight loss that I had absorbed throughout my life. I want to instill a sense of body confidence in her as she grows up in the world. And I realized rather quickly that she would learn most of that confidence from me. She already has! We do mirror affirmations together sometimes and she really helps me out now on days I’m struggling with it. I really do believe she saved my life. My mom and husband are also major support systems for me, boosting me with confidence and support every day. My husband actually works with me full time now and has been my biggest supporter in following my dreams and expressing my creativity. He has made me feel so comfortable to be my true and authentic self, which makes it even easier to share that with the world.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. We would like to explore and flesh out the trait of resilience. How would you define resilience? What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?
To me, being resilient means you understand and think about health holistically and how it impacts yourself, as well as those around you. It’s because we live in a society where it’s much easier following diet fads and calling it health while simultaneously struggling and stressing over this ultimate promised happiness. It takes resilience to press pause and make choices based on how they impact us, not only how they alter our appearance. Personally, I’ve always struggled with managing stress, but the way it showed up in full force this past year has made me realize just how much it affects my overall health by causing me anxiety, headaches, high blood pressure and insomnia. In my disordered habit days, I would assume it’s because I need to lose weight without recognizing that health is multidimensional. It’s a complete state of physical, mental and social well-being. It’s not just what we see, but what we feel. Resilient people acknowledge this, and it’s the ultimate form of self-love.
Courage is often likened to resilience. In your opinion how is courage both similar and different to resilience?
At first, being called “courageous” or “brave” for simply being happy in my body felt good. Then, it began to wear on me and I felt confused that I was being coined these terms for allowing myself to just be seen. We are so conditioned to think that larger bodies need to be resilient — that you’re choosing yourself above everything else and not allowing society to convince you otherwise that you’re lesser because of how you look. Courage is different from resilience because it signifies change, yet is similar because it causes you to rise above the tides and face adversity — is it you, or is it societal pressures? Whatever the verbiage, I’ve learned that it’s ok to be in the moment and that resilient and courageous people get past it. My favorite mantra is, “I am safe in my skin because I am home.” Courage and resilience are connected to real strength, which takes the form of a strong mind, heart and self-image.
When you think of resilience, which person comes to mind? Can you explain why you chose that person?
Jessamyn Stanley. She was the first person I saw on Instagram embracing health from a new perspective. She embodied such confidence and resilience and an overall sense of self-awareness that inspired me in so many ways. It was the first time I saw a plus size woman moving her body in a way I had never seen. It made me really excited to see that this was something that was possible.
Has there ever been a time that someone told you something was impossible, but you did it anyway? Can you share the story with us?
The first time I went to workout, I threw up everywhere. Even worse, I came in last on every single thing, struggling to transition from the ground to standing without pausing to take a breather. At that moment, I felt helpless and that fitness wasn’t meant for a body like mine. This sentiment went on for two years. Now, I’m in love with fitness and thrive off the energy it provides me. Yet, every single day I’m asked “how do you do that?” when people see me do a plank or push up without modification. I’ve reached this point because I’ve come to realize that you are stronger and more capable than you allow yourself to be. I’ve made it my mission to change the narrative around plus-size bodies and fitness, and to bypass the inevitable judgment that comes with it.
Did you have a time in your life where you had one of your greatest setbacks, but you bounced back from it stronger than ever? Can you share that story with us?
I was diagnosed with PCOS in April after a fertility appointment. My doctor indicated I’ve had it for likely my whole life and was surprised I had only just been diagnosed. Everything started making sense — from the irregular periods I’ve had since middle school, to sporadic facial hair, to a lifelong struggle with weight fluctuations. Eventually I started IVF after IUI wasn’t successful. I bounced back stronger than ever by being open with my family, friends and online community where countless others identified with my journey. It helped me learn to overcome the judgment and shame that comes with conversations around fertility and weight. One in eight couples struggle with infertility so I’m proud to be open about my journey so they know they’re not alone.
How have you cultivated resilience throughout your life? Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Can you share a story?
Fitness has always been a huge part of my life, growing up as a childhood track and field athlete. One of my first fitness memories was in middle school when we all got lined up on the track for a 100m sprint test. I was one of the biggest girls in athletics. But I had spent the first portion of the year focusing on improving my mile time. I was laughed at when I approached the line. Our coach even made a mention about who she expected to time first. I was unfortunately used to these types of expectations. But I came in first. And while the response was mostly confusion and disgust, it felt like resilience. But it was only a taste that would take the next two decades to grow into something I felt strong enough to lean on.
During my fitness journey later on in life, I struggled with compulsive dieting and exercising — causing a mental health spiral. I quickly realized that losing weight got me a lot of praise, but whenever my weight stopped going down, the praise went away, and I was just left with all of my disordered habits. It’s not until I turned to competitive powerlifting that my relationship with exercise went from tumultuous, to a happiness practice. And now, I’m using my platform to push for inclusivity and self-acceptance in the fitness world and beyond.
Resilience is like a muscle that can be strengthened. In your opinion, what are 5 steps that someone can take to become more resilient? Please share a story or an example for each.
- Start with a small, realistic performance goal. Anytime I’m feeling in limbo and like I need that extra push, I think of something that sounds both fun and possible to reach for. For example, creating a goal to walk 5 miles a week for one month. Or maybe push-ups are a long-term goal, so break it down into small goals like 5 push-ups a day for one month using an incline or wall. Increase it by 5 each month while slowly lowering the incline down to the ground. Fitness becomes much more fun when using performance-based goals to do things that feel exciting and challenging, but possible when broken down into smaller goals.
- Pinpoint where a lack of motivation is coming from. For me, motivation is only ever born from action. So, I’ll get dressed in my workout clothes and see how I feel without any expectations for myself. Then I get my water bottle and gear ready. Usually by then I’m itching to blast my workout playlist and get pumped. It’s honestly the best way for me to get motivated!
- Take care of your mind, heart and emotions, in addition to physical wellbeing. I spend at least a few minutes each day listening to music and writing. I feel my emotions very deeply and intensely. I also experience severe anxiety on a daily basis, so it’s important for me to have alone time at least a few minutes every day. I share a portion of what I write with my online community a lot of the time. It’s therapeutic for me to check in with myself as often as possible. Sometimes that even means belting out a song at the top of my lungs — whatever feels best for my soul in the moment. More times than not, it’s a Taylor Swift song for me.
- Let go of stigmatization. Your journey is valid. There are an endless amount of possibilities to gain confidence, gain happiness, gain strength, gain flexibility, gain a real shot at experiencing life when stepping into a health and fitness journey. It’s one of the most empowering feelings when we let go of any stigmatization and embrace our capabilities through fitness and movement. Hold onto these possibilities and choose yourself above all else by choosing what makes you happy. And never allow society to ever convince you otherwise because of a freaking number on a scale.
- Listen to your body. I know there have been times when I’ve pushed myself to keep going even when my body is telling me to stop. Checking my Daily Readiness Score on the Fitbit app has helped me not only understand how important recovery is, but to prioritize it when my body needs it. Together, my Daily Readiness and Stress Management Scores give me a holistic look at my overall wellbeing, so I can make the best decisions for my body every day.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Oooooh, probably something along the lines of “giving in” to be yourself. We’re always told that breaking up with the diet culture mentality is essentially “giving up” on ourselves. I don’t see it that way at all. For me, it’s finally fully giving in. Giving in to self-acceptance, self-love, and overall self-discovery to who we really are. What we’ve really been hiding behind. And making choices that benefit us for more than our appearance. When I shaved my head January of last year, it felt like one of those moments for me where I really and truly began to discover who I’ve really been all this time. Underneath all the pressure to “fix” the things I’m told need fixing. It’s like a breath of fresh air. I wish more women and people would allow themselves to feel and do the same.
We are blessed that some very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them 🙂
Oh my gosh. Honestly, Taylor Swift. No question. I listen to her music literally every single day for basically every emotion and it’s gotten me through some of the hardest experiences of my life. She opened up about her eating disorder in her documentary last year and it changed lives just by her being so honest and real about her whole experience. It takes a lot of vulnerability and resilience to share that type of experience. She’s incredible.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!