The TLC star called out her followers who were upset that she referred to herself as fat

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Whitney Way Thore
| Credit: Todd Turner

Whitney Way Thore has gone through “a long journey of acceptance” to feel proud about calling herself fat — and she’s going to use the adjective, even if some of her followers disagree with her choice.

Last week, Thore, 36, shared a photo of herself as a child in a tie-dye, cheetah-print bathing suit, and captioned the post: “Bringing you high fashion since 1988. But seriously, can I get this suit in size fat? 😂”

That led dozens of her followers to comment that Thore should “quit calling yourself fat!!,” or to tell her that she’s “not fat your[sp] just fluffy.”

The backlash against the word “fat” — which is in the title of her hit TLC show, My Big Fat Fabulous Life — was something that Thore “didn’t expect,” and on Monday she responded to their comments by giving four reasons why she’s embraced the term.

“It’s actually insulting to insist that a fat person who has identified as fat actually isn’t fat,” she wrote. “If you try to convince me otherwise, you’re simply reinforcing the notion that being fat is bad and not making any damn sense because I am obviously fat. 😂”

Thore continued: “Telling a fat person some variation of, ‘You’re not fat; you’re beautiful!/funny!/smart!/successful!’ means that you have not reconciled that a person can simultaneously be fat and possess good qualities and be likable...and that’s a problem for you to work out, not fat people.”

Plus, Thore said, she’s not a fan of the adjectives that people use instead of “fat.”

“It’s disrespectful to tell someone that the way they identify is wrong,” she said. “I personally cringe myself into the ether over words like ‘fluffy,’ ‘chunky,’ etc. I don’t need to distance myself from the word fat. I don’t need a euphemism. If it makes you uncomfortable, again, that’s on you, not me 😇.”

Thore said that after putting in the hard work to move past the negative connotations around the word “fat,” she uses it like any other adjective.

“For many fat people, myself included, there has been a long journey of acceptance in using the word ‘fat’ as a descriptor like any other — short, brunette, and white are also adjectives I use to describe me and none are good or bad, they just are,” she said. “Let fat people call themselves fat and recognize it isn’t a put-down.”

The TLC star, who split from her fiancé earlier this summer, has long been an advocate for body acceptance, ever since she first went viral in 2014 with her “A Fat Girl Dancing” video, which led to her TV show. In the past two years, Thore unintentionally lost weight after starting a new weightlifting routine and called out commenters who applauded her for losing weight, along with those who still criticized her workout videos.

“It’s just fat phobia and I don’t listen to it,” she told PEOPLE in 2019.