I love On Demand. It lets me watch my shows on my time and if it’s been a while I can watch several episodes in a week. It’s a great way to catch up. I’ve just caught up with the current season of TLC’s My Big Fat Fabulous Life. I’d like to share what I think are the important things to take away from the life and struggles of Whitney Way Thore.
I know there are haters out there and yes, haters are going to hate Whitney. They’ll say, “you mean My Big Fat Disgusting Life?” They’re not going to get anything positive from her or her reality show. If haters read this at all it will be to disagree with me. I like that! Hey, haters, please leave your (clean) comments! I’d like to know your thoughts.
What are the positive things we can take away from Whitney? She’s fat and she’s comfortable with calling herself fat. (1) She doesn’t couch her condition in euphemisms by describing herself as “overweight,” “plus-sized,” or “big and beautiful.” She doesn’t call herself obese, just fat. Fat is a nice layperson’s term; obese sounds clinical.
(2) She says, “I like being fat.” There’s nothing wrong with that. She can like it, indeed, she should like it. (3) She doesn’t beat herself up with negativity. If she said, “I hate to be fat,” it’s negative self-talk and it doesn’t help her lose weight.
(4) She knows, by the way, that she needs to lose weight but she’s not going to approach it out of desperation or self-loathing. (5) She’s going to take care of her body. She isn’t going to punish herself for “letting herself get so fat.” She’s going to love her body and give it the good care it needs and deserves.
Although the popular belief is fat people are lazy and don’t move, that’s not true and Whitney is proof of that. (6) She first became noticed when she made a video of herself and posted it on YouTube—appropriately titled, “A Fat Girl Dancing.” It astounded some people, revolted others, inspired some, and many were completely in awe. “Man! She can dance! How does a girl so big move like that?”
Another popular belief is all fat people will suffer from poor health and develop type 2 diabetes. Last season it was a concern for Whitney. She had some indicators that she may get type 2 diabetes. Her blood test revealed her A1C was on the high side of normal which suggested that it was time to address her behaviors.
The threat of diabetes motivated Whitney to go on a strict diet and work out with a personal trainer. She lost 100 pounds, but (7) her intense workouts and restrictive eating plan weren’t sustainable. Even with the fear of a serious, chronic disease, weight loss actions and physical activity need to be a good fit with her lifestyle. She tried to give up pasta which was both unnecessary and impossible. She needed to learn how to eat pasta differently, not learn to live without it.
This season it was her heart that had everybody worried. She collapsed during a dance marathon. She’d been dancing hard. Thinner dance marathon people couldn’t keep up with her! She pushed herself too hard and all of a sudden her body couldn’t take it anymore. An ambulance was called. She was released from the hospital with a referral to see a cardiologist.
At her current weight, 378, and age, 32, her heart was healthy. (8) Fat and healthy at 32 is not guarantee she’ll be fat and healthy at 50. She recognized the enormous extra amount of work her heart had to do because of her weight. She knows that she needs to make some changes to help ensure that she stays healthy.
Whitney is okay with being fat, but (9) she’s discovering that her weight is making things she enjoys painful and even scary. She tried skiing for the first time since she’d gotten so fat. She used to be a good skier, but she discovered that she was too fat to even stand on skis. In fact, even buckling her ski boots called for extensions to make them fit around her calves and ankles. Her weight prevented her from enjoying something she used to enjoy.
Whitney Thore is a very fat woman, but that doesn’t mean (10) she doesn’t believe she doesn’t deserved to be loved. She knows she’s lovable and she won’t settle for anything less than the kind of love she deserves. She thinks she’s in love with her boyfriend with whom she’s been in a relationship for about a year. She’s about to ask him to move in with her when she plays a game with him and another couple that’s very much like the Newlywed Game.
She’s expecting to make a clean sweep and win by a landslide because she and her boyfriend have been a couple longer than their opponents. She’s stunned when she discovers how little he really knows about her. As proof of her confidence in herself she doesn’t cling onto this guy because she may not find anybody else who wants a fat girl. She decides maybe she’d be making a mistake to ask him to move in just now.
Some say watching Whitney is like watching a train wreck. It’s a disaster but you just can’t take your eyes away. I say it’s an important education on self love, how to care for your body, and most of all weight isn’t an indicator of who you are, your characters, or your values.