When Whitney Thore walks down the street, people shout abuse at her calling her “fat a–” or “fat bi–h” because she is a plus-size woman who weighs over 370 pounds. The abuse is nothing new, she’s handled it well since her college days. It’s her health issues that are a more pressing problem. She is borderline diabetic and suffers from a hormonal problem that is exacerbated by her weight.
In an interview, the reality TV starlet has revealed that she has “no desire” to be thin, and she says that the link between being overweight and health risks are greatly exaggerated.
The 31-year-old says, “I would like to lose weight, but it’s about my health. I have no desire to be thin again. I would like to lose some weight so I can fit in a plane seat, so I can have children. But as soon as I get to a size I’m happy with, which will be no smaller than 250 lbs [17 stone 12 lbs or 113 kg], I’ll be done with weight loss. I think I look good, and my boyfriend thinks I look good.”
Miss Thore first hit the spotlight when her YouTube video titled “A Fat Girl Dancing” went viral last year. It now has over eight million views. She now has a show on TLC called Fat Girl Dancing that is about to make its premiere in the UK. Though she admits she is currently trying to lose weight, she claims she does not want to be smaller than 250 pounds.
Since she is 5 feet 3 inches in height, a weight of 250 pounds would give her a body mass index (BMI) of 44.1, which according to charts would put her in the morbidly obese category. She defends herself saying, “I believe BMI is bulls–t.”
Currently, Thore is 380 pounds (172 kg), but she has been able to lose 100 lbs (45 kg) when she was in her late twenties. Reflecting on her previous weight loss, she said at the time she did not have high blood pressure or high cholesterol. She did not have a risk of diabetes and was able to run five miles. She says now that she does not believe there is something wrong with an individual who weighs 250 pounds but has normal blood tests.
She has received verbal abuse regarding her size. One time, she had just finished exercising on the treadmill when she went outside and someone shouted at her “fat ass.” It made her feel badly about herself, like she would never be good enough and society would not accept her.
Thore believes the link between body weight and bad health is exaggerated. In her words, “I think the way we look at health is skewed. I have a friend who has always been thin, but who is pre-diabetic, she’s not healthy. When she goes to McDonald’s, no one shouts ah her, no one says ‘do you realise what you are putting in your body? Go home! Exercise!’ like they would if I went.”
She stresses that being thin does not equal being healthy, and being fat does not automatically equal being unhealthy. She says that you cannot judge a person’s health and lifestyle by their appearance. She says that many overweight individuals are suffering from medical conditions that make them overweight.
She herself has been diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which is a condition known to cause weight gain. Two-thirds of women of women suffering with PCOS are overweight or obese.
When she was a child and teenager, Thore had no weight issues. She was thin, and she hoped to be an actress or dancer. But when she entered college, she had a sudden drastic weight gain of 100 lbs in a year. This was strange because she did not make any changes to her diet or exercise routine at the time. Then in 2005, she was diagnosed with PCOS.
For years, she kept going back to the doctors because of the mysterious weight gain, but she was given reasons like “your lifestyle changed” or “it’s the alcohol you’re drinking.” She grew depressed at the unexplained change in her body, and she quit dancing, which only made her gain more weight. She also noticed a change in other people’s behavior towards her.
For her, the experience of being suddenly fat was a traumatic event in her life. After she was properly diagnosed at age 21, another medical exam revealed another health issue. Her body had an issue dealing with the insulin in her body.
Thore is angry she was unable to get diagnosed earlier, seeing as she had all the classic symptoms of PCOS. If she was diagnosed earlier, she would have saved herself years of depression. There is a link between PCOS and depression because the condition causes a hormonal imbalance.
Women with PCOS have a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and problems with fertility. Now that she has a boyfriend, she hopes to improve her chances of having children. She was advised to lose around 40 pounds to help her chances of becoming pregnant.
Now that she is promoting the second season of her TV show, she is running a dance class for plus-size women. She wants to teach them that being confident is okay. She wants bigger women to be happy. Her goal is to see other women enjoying their bodies, even if they are plus-size.