Before Whitney Thore became a reality TV star with her hit TLC series My Big Fat Fabulous Life, she was already somewhat of a local star in her own right in her hometown of Greensboro, NC — which is where My Big Fat Fabulous Life is filmed. The 33-year-old was formerly known as “Producer Whitney” on the local radio station 107.5 KZL’s Jared and Katie morning radio show, and she left her full-time job after she became an overnight internet star.

Back in 2014, Whitney went viral after she uploaded a video titled “A Fat Girl Dancing” which featured Whitney and her dance partner Todd Beasley performing a routine to Jason Derulo’s hit song “Talk Dirty to Me.” Shortly after the video gained a ton of success, she announced that she would be leaving her position at the radio station to pursue other opportunities — which would eventually lead to her TLC series, which is currently in its fifth season.

As the star of her own show, Whitney set out to be a body positivity activist and she spread the message of self-love with her No Body Shame campaign and her Big Girl Dance Class at the Greensboro Dance Theatre — and she used her own experience and backstory as an example. All throughout her life, Whitney struggled with body image and even when she was 100 pounds, she still felt that she was “fat.” But while she was in college, she was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (aka PCOS), which caused her to rapidly gain weight and she ballooned up to 350 pounds.

Whitney felt ashamed of her weight and her body, and that shame was enough to make her miss out on living her life until she realized that her body or her weight does not define her as a person. By adopting a body positive mindset, she learned to love herself and her body — and she used her reality show as a platform to teach others how to love themselves. Watch the video below to get an update on Whitney’s weight loss journey!