My Big Fat Fabulous Life star Whitney Way Thore has danced her way into fans’ hearts with her candidness when it comes to her struggles with weight — including how her life changed when she first gained the weight. In her first year of college, Whitney gained more than 200 pounds due to her polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) diagnosis — and she stopped dancing out of shame. Since making her comeback, the brunette beauty has been a body-positive advocate, and revealed she struggled with eating disorders in high school.
“For as long as I can remember, I have been obsessed with my weight,” she wrote alongside a since-deleted throwback pic of herself. “This is a photo of me from when I was in high school and was struggling with eating disorders. Over the last 21 years, I have been bulimic, gone through intense periods of calorie restriction, and been generally consumed with my food, exercise, and hating my body. I was never, however, underweight, and to most people looked like a healthy girl who could have stood to lose 10 pounds.” She often reminds followers that being skinny does not equal happiness.
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I slayed once. 🔪 I found this photo while looking through thousands for my book, I Do It with the Lights On (preorder link in bio) and I see a 5-year-old who is full of confidence before she knew anything about body expectations. Lemme strive to be this version of myself! #LightsOn #MyBigFatFabLife #NoBodyShame #AFatGirlDancing
“Most of my adult life consisted of dramatic weight gain, a PCOS diagnosis, self-loathing and a nonstop desire to lose weight and be this girl again — until I realized how insane this was,” she explained. “I know, because I’ve lived it, that thinness does not equal happiness and it does not equal physical or mental health.”
She continued, “The woman I am now can dance with reckless abandon. She can frolic in a bikini. She can demand love and respect that is not contingent on her dress size. The woman I am now can LIVE, knowing that I am completely deserving of every single wonderful thing this world has to offer.”
We love her! For a look back at Whitney before the weight gain, click through the gallery below!
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Life & Style.
Whitney Way Thore Skinny 3
"If you look at this photo of me at age 18 and assume that I was healthy and happy or that I'd kill to look like this again, you'd be mistaken.
"The girl in this photo was supremely UNhealthy. This girl struggled with eating disorders — an endless cycle of purging and restriction motivated by the BMI that defined her 5'2" 140-lb body as overweight, peers who mocked her for being fat, and a society that asserted that thinner was always better.
"The woman I am now is not a before picture; she is not a person driven by weight-loss disguised as 'self-improvement.' The woman I am now is three things: sublimely joyful, grateful, and free."
Whitney Way Thore Skinny 2
"This photo was taken on the first day of my freshman year at Appalachian State University."
Whitney Way Thore Skinny 7
"#TBT to my prom. 2002!"
Whitney Way Thore Skinny 4
"This is the first photo I ever took with my best friend, @isntsheheather! This was taken in 2002, when I joined her high school's production of Grease (and we are forever thankful to @singkorswim for facilitating). So much has happened since then, but my love for Heather has never wavered.
Whitney Way Thore Skinny 1
"For as long as I can remember, I have been obsessed with my weight. This is a photo of me from when I was in high school and was struggling with eating disorders. Over the last 21 years, I have been bulimic, gone through intense periods of calorie restriction, and been generally consumed with my food, exercise, and hating my body.
"I was never, however, underweight, and to most people looked like a healthy girl who could have stood to lose 10 pounds. EATING DISORDERS ARE NOT ONE SIZE FITS ALL!"
Whitney Way Thore Skinny 5
"Whoo! How's this for #tbt? The funny thing is that when I see this photo now, 13 years after my senior prom, I see a beautiful, smiling girl who would be crowned Prom Princess at the end of the night. But what I was was an insecure girl who threw up her dinner in the restaurant bathroom because she thought her dress was too tight. I sometimes wonder how my life would have been different had I learned to love myself earlier — but then I think about my life now and remind myself that everything is right on time."
Whitney Way Thore Skinny 6
"In the picture on the left, and the picture on the right, I am a dancer and no one can take that from me (or you!)"