Whitney Thore dished to ET about finding her life's purpose in an unlikely fashion.
The inspiring reality star turned being fat shamed into viral fame in 2014 when she was featured in a YouTube video called "A Fat Girl Dancing." Soon after it posted, the clip was featured on every major television news outlet from ABC News
to the Today
show. Thore admitted to ET that due to her body-positive attitude
, she had no idea the video would be a point of so much fascination.
"I was like, 'What is so subversive or special about a fat woman dancing on the internet?'" Thore told ET.
Now, two years later, she has embraced the fame, using it as a platform to help others accept themselves.
"For so long in my life I've just been complacent. I'm fat. Fat is bad. That's it," she said. "All of a sudden it was a new world that was opened up to me. I found my life's purpose."
At 5' 2" tall and weighing more than 300 pounds, Thore remains unapologetic about her body, referring to herself as "fat" instead of "plus size." In her new book, I Do It With the Lights On: And 10 More Discoveries on the Road to a Blissfully Shame-Free Life, Thore shares how she became the vivacious, confident woman she is today after growing up as a dancer with a pressure to be thin.
"Obviously it's a suggestive title, but it's also a metaphor and it really is a perfect symbolic way to describe my transition through life between being ashamed and living in the dark and then finally not being afraid to be seen," Thore said. "I do it all with the lights on."
Thore developed an eating disorder as a teenager and later gained 100 pounds from polycystic ovarian syndrome, which she continues to battle.
Her struggle is documented on her TLC series, My Big Fat Fabulous Life, which returns for a third season on Wednesday.
"I think that everybody has an obligation to love their body at this moment," Thore said. "It is not just the absence of body shame, it is the presence of being positive about your body, and it's a radical way to think that will change your life."
My Big Fat Fabulous Life airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on TLC.