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.
"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.