I met Whitney Way Thore, from the new hit TLC Show My Big Fat Fabulous Life, at The Body Love Conference. This was after her Fat Girl Dancing video (see below) had gone viral but before TLC came a knocking. I can share with you that the Whitney you see on TV is the very same Whitney I met in person. She has a big personality and an even bigger heart.
I’ll be honest, I was happy for Whitney but a little nervous to checkout My Big Fat Fabulous Life. It’s rare to find a TV show that profiles fat people in a body positive light. You never see someone on The Biggest Loser say they are fat and happy. Only fat and miserable.
Yet, the moment I heard Whitney say, “I may be fat but I am still fabulous” I knew this was a different kind of show! Whitney makes it clear that while weight loss is something she desires, she also loves her body. It’s an important message that we need to hear more often.
Whitney shares her daily life experiences that every fat person can identify with; from concern over not fitting comfortably in chairs to fat shaming. While serious topics are broached, there’s a lot of laughter and love. Whitney’s parents are a riot and I predict her mom, Babs, having her own TV show in the near future.
Overall the response to My Big Fat Fabulous Life on my Plus Size Mommy Memoirs (PSMM) Facebook page has been really positive. A lot of excitement and sighs of relief that someone is finally talking about Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). Below Whitney joins the PSMM blog to answer some questions and share her messages of body love!
What led you to do the show My Big Fat Fabulous Life?
Last March, after my “Fat Girl Dancing” video went viral, I was contacted by TLC to do a possible collaboration. I’m still shocked that less than a year later my story and my family has ended up on national television. I was admittedly a little nervous entering into the project, as I have no control how the show would be edited or how we would be portrayed. I would like to say, however, that I’m thrilled with the episodes I have seen so far! I think TLC is a network committed to telling human stories and I’m beyond grateful to have an outlet to tell mine!
Thank you so much for speaking out about PCOS. Do you have a message you’d like to share with other women who have PCOS and feel alone?
PCOS has greatly affected my life, and not just in the area of weight. It’s such a common syndrome that affects so many women, and affects them all differently. CYSTERS, you are not alone! We are not hopeless or broken and we can find happiness while dealing with this frustrating and often times heartbreaking condition. I also like to point out that while in the media and on the show PCOS is highlighted, I don’t want to alienate women who DON’T have it. I believe that it’s easier for America to swallow the story of a woman who’s weight gain has a contributing health factor behind it, but let me make it clear: we do not need an excuse for our bodies – no matter what issues we are struggling with!
What do you hope is the main takeaway people have after watching your show?
I hope that anyone watching can believe, TRULY believe, that they can find self-love and acceptance in their current body and circumstances. I spent most of my life (even when I was thin and dealing with eating disorders) feeling depressed and unworthy. Shame followed me, no matter what body I was in, but now I can honestly say I love myself. You owe it to yourself to live your dreams and pursue your passions! Your body is NOT a hinderance. I would like to lose some weight so that I have a better quality of life – and this is a personal choice for me – so that I can dance better and longer, fit comfortably into chairs, be more active, etc. I will not love myself any more if my weight diminishes. I am the happiest I’ve ever been right here and now and you can be too!
My Big Fat Fabulous Life airs Tuesday nights on TLC. Join Whitney as she live tweets during the show at @whitneyway using hashtag #mybigfatfablife. You can also connect with Whitney on Facebook, Instagram, and her website nobodyshame.com.
If you need more Whitney and body love inspiration, checkout her new book – I Do It with the Lights On: And 10 More Discoveries on the Road to a Blissfully Shame-Free Life
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