Always fab! My Big Fat Fabulous Life star Whitney Way Thore has come so far since fans were first introduced to her on her hit TLC reality TV series in 2015. At the time, Whitney had recently gone viral for her dance video titled “A Fat Girl Dancing” — and when she made her reality TV debut, she was open about her transformation after she experienced a dramatic weight gain.
In her first year of college, Whitney gained more than 200 pounds and was later diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. While PCOS symptoms vary, about half will experience weight gain that is difficult to lose, according to the PCOS Awareness Association.
The North Carolina native had been a dancer all her life, but she stopped because she felt ashamed of her weight gain. One day, she decided that she would not allow body image stop her from doing what she loves and she became an advocate of her body-positive No Body Shame movement.
“For as long as I can remember, I have been obsessed with my weight,” she wrote alongside a since-deleted throwback pic of herself via Instagram in 2018. “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.”
The TLC star continued, “Most of my adult life consisted of dramatic weight gain, a PCOS diagnosis, self-loathing & a non-stop 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.”
For nine seasons, Whitney has shared her self-love and body acceptance journey as well as her ups and downs, including her love life.
Keep scrolling below to see Whitney’s transformation over the years.