Real talk: Mentioning a person's weight loss (or apparent weight loss) is typically meant as a compliment, but it's not always well received—and with damn good reason. Take it from reality TV star Whitney Way Thore, who recently called out Instagram commenters who congratulated her on even just appearing to have lost weight.
In a new Instagram post, shared yesterday, Thore, star of My Big Fat Fabulous Life, opened up to her followers about this. "Just had to get this off my chest," she wrote in the caption. "Reminder: Your value does not increase if your weight decreases."
Just had to get this off my chest. 🙃Reminder: your value does not increase if your weight decreases. You can implement healthy behaviors as a fat person or a thin person independent of weight. Changing your body is not the 🔑 to happiness, but changing your mindset is. 💯
She spoke out in a selfie-style video after noticing that many of her followers liked to congratulate her on the weight they think she's lost. “I’ve been reading my comments, and a large majority of them are people congratulating me for losing some amount of weight that you have perceived that I’ve lost—but I guarantee you that I’m still fat as s—t,” Thore says.
She goes on to say that she doesn’t want to be equated with your hashtag fitness goals—because she’s more than that. “I’m not out here to be anybody’s weight loss inspiration. I’m a complex human being focusing on a lot of other things in life besides losing weight. [Being congratulated on weight loss is] not something I will ever feel comfortable saying thank you for.”
Her post comes at a time when the body positivity movement has been somewhat trampled on by diet culture. The message of the true body positivity movement is simple: Respect and love your body regardless of what you look like. But fitness goals and weight loss challenges have, in recent years, horned in on that message and warped it into a new one: Respect and love your body by being thin.
This isn't the first time Thore has spoken out about unneeded Instagram comments. Last year she took to Instagram to call out trolls, explaining that she simply doesn't care what hateful people have to say. "When you come into my space, I can make you leave. This doesn't mean I can't handle a contrary opinion. It means I take no stock in your opinion and it's unnecessary noise."
Thore’s recent post is a great reminder that we're all more than our appearances (and that weight-loss compliments aren't always appreciated, and often miss the mark). She explains at the end of her enlightening PSA that she doesn’t want people to be impressed by her weight loss—or again, her percieved weight loss. Instead, she hopes anyone who has been touched by her story finds inspiration in her self-care and truly body positive message.
She says, “If you’re inspired by me, I’m glad, but I hope it’s because I’m a woman who learned to love herself no matter what size she is.” Amen.
To get more real talk on health and wellness, sign up for our weekly WomenIRL newsletter