What “The Fat Girl Dancing” can teach all of us, and what “fit mom” will never understand.

Whitney Way Thore and Maria Kang are on opposite sides of life’s spectrum. One is a stay at home mother of 3, an avid fitness enthusiast, trainer and blogger. She recently became a household name when she posted a pic of her fit, tanned, body with her 3 small children in tow, and asked us all “what’s your excuse?”. Said photo proceeded to set off a firestorm of controversy from people lauding her as a hero and inspiration for finally standing up to the “obesity celebrating American culture” to people calling her a self righteous fat shaming skinny *insert 5 letter expletive synonymous with a female dog*. I haven’t met Maria, (I did send her a FB message, to which she has yet to respond, 3 months later) but I wouldn’t call her a body shamer. She’s in the same vein as those tough love trainers who are just matter of fact about weight loss and fitness and health. Some people love that and are all about it, and they are fans of hers. God Bless them. She is an inspiration to them. But not to me. My inspiration is Whitney.

Whitney Way Thore is a radio personality. She grew up active all her life, playing soccer and other sports. But her passion was and is dance.  Her athletic build made her stand out in the world of dance she loved, and  started her down a path of unhealthy behaviors to try and maintain a societal standard of beauty. Issues with her health led to a significant weight gain and she sits now at over 300 pounds. In the years of her weight fluctuations, particularly her current weight, she has rediscovered her love for dance and activity and has taken to youtube, posting videos of her body in fluid motion (And let me tell you, the girl’s got some MOVES!!) under the heading “fat girl dancing”. She is a beautiful woman, with chestnut colored hair and blue eyes, intelligent, well spoken and an all around awesome person.

                Now you may read this post and wonder why I am inspired more by an “overweight” person than a “healthy” person. Simple. Whitney’s message is the better one. Contrary to her detractors and “fat shamers” out there, she is NOT promoting Obesity or unhealthy heabits. In addition to being a classically trained dancer, she runs and is active. She has also made it clear that for her to enjoy all the activities she does at the highest capacity, she would like to lose weight, (it should be noted, that despite the fluctuations in weight, she has never had any weight related health issues like diabetes, high cholesterol or high blood pressure). She inspires me (and should inspire you) because she knows the true start to a healthy lifestyle begins in the head. She has discovered that “nothing taste as good as skinny feels” is just as cruel as “only a dog wants bones” because they come from the same dark place, change motivated by shame. Whitney’s message is simple, love your body and yourself as is. If you love something, don’t let anything stop you from doing it. It reminds me of the lyrics from a song ironically enough sung by another beautiful woman named Whitney. Maybe you heard of her, Whitney Houston, she said so famously “learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all”. Maria, fit and toned asking “what’s your excuse” is alienating and exclusive whether she wants to admit it or not. There’s the idea that “if you don’t look like I do, you’re doing something wrong”. Whitney’s simple message is to love yourself the way you are, nothing more nothing less. And the funny thing about that, when you love something, you take good care of it, and want it at its best. So Maria, you can ask others what their excuses are all day long, Whitney, me and so many others are too busy dancing to notice