Did you say the F-word?
When it comes to self-acceptance, a self-described ‘fat and fabulous’ woman is getting national attention because she is choosing to live her life and pursue her passions in the body she has today.
What a concept.
So many women who struggle with their weight put aspects of their lives on hold until a magic number is reached, whether that number be a certain size or a number on the scale.
Whitney Thore’s Struggles with PCOS, Weight and Poor Body Image
She struggled with her own weight in her teen years as a result of an undiagnosed medical condition called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), which causes hormone imbalances in women that can result in inexplicable rapid weight gain.
In an attempt to manage her weight gain, Whitney delved into extreme dieting and boot camp type exercise to try and lose weight. However, her disordered eating in the form of extreme dieting developed into an eating disorder, and her boot camp approach to exercise turned into a compulsive exercise disorder.
Weight Stigma Pressures Women to Lose Weight, Hate Their Bodies
She admits that her sense of urgency to lose weight was driven by feeling the impact of weight stigma in this society (prejudice against people due to size and/or shape). Being fat in a culture that is prejudicial against fat people was no picnic.
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In fact, she was feeling so miserable and self-rejecting that she contemplated ending her life entirely. Fortunately, she realized that although she couldn’t change the culture she lived in, she could change how SHE viewed herself. Check out this interview which highlights this change in her thinking.
“You’re not going to make a sustainable change or successfully pursue health or happiness if you hate yourself,” says Thore
Taking Her Power Back By Overcoming Negative Body Image
Her realization that self-loathing was getting her nowhere and that putting her life on hold instead of LIVING was not working began a restorative journey toward learning how to take her power back.. And then a funny thing happened.
The shift in how she perceived herself ended up creating a life she could never have dreamed was possible. The pursuit of her passions, of living instead of enduring her life, has put her in an unintended but welcome role of inspirational mentor.
Her example of cultivating acceptance, compassion and love for herself has inspired many others to do the same.
Whitney’s personal quest to unhook from the negative influence of weight stigma and embrace self-acceptance ended up influencing the culture at large simply through leading by example, and she has added a voice of reason within the roar of size-ism.
How to Reach Self-Acceptance and Overcome Self-Criticism
Well, since childhood Whitney had a passion for dancing and often performed on stage, but she let go of this passion when she gained weight. She decided to rekindle her passion for dancing, and this decision created a whirlwind of positive change in her life.
Whitney decided to create videos of herself dancing that have consistently gone viral over the last year, which speaks to the fact that society has had enough of not feeling good enough, thin enough, smart enough, tall enough, short enough – or the ‘not enoughness’ as I call it – that can stop us in our tracks.
This tunnel vision around the feelings of ‘not enoughness’ does not motivate change because you can’t create positive change in the absence of self-regard. If self-criticism worked – it would have ‘worked’ by now, whatever that feels like or looks like – right??
We Need More Body Image Idols Like Whitney Thore
We need more role models like Whitney who is no longer waiting to live life, but instead grabbing the bull by the horns and choosing to embrace what she loves most as a pathway toward self-love and renewal from the inside out. Oh, and btw – this girl can dance…