Oprah Winfrey has candidly opened up about her brutal weight struggles and the shame she has felt about her body.
The 69-year-old media mogul hosted a panel in front of a live audience in New York City as part of Oprah Daily’s The Life You Want series.
She was joined by obesity specialists Fatima Cody Stanford and Melanie Jay as well as CEO of Weight Watchers Sima Sistani and psychologist Rachel Goldman.
The group attempted to ‘reframe the obesity and weight crisis,’ as Oprah argued: ‘I don’t know that there is another public person whose weight struggles have been exploited as much as mine.’
During the discussion, shared online on Wednesday, the experts insisted that obesity is a metabolic disease with some bodies ‘more predisposed to storing more fat’ – also known as adipose tissue.
Oprah candidly explained: ‘For those of us that are adipose storers, no matter how many times… You’ve all watched me diet and diet and diet and diet, it’s a recurring thing because my body always seems to want to go back to a certain weight.’
She added: ‘If I ate an apple pie at 11 o’clock at night, I would be two pounds heavier in the morning. I can’t eat after a certain time.’
The TV personality, who claimed she had ‘yoyoed her whole life,’ later said: ‘This is a world that has shamed people for being overweight forever, and all of us who have lived it know that people just treat you differently. They just do.
And I am Oprah Winfrey and I know all that comes with that and I get treated differently if I am 200 plus pounds versus under 200 pounds…
‘There is a condescension. There is a stigma.’
Oprah said that the key was to have friends and partners around you that offer support and ‘rejoiced in your victory.’
Following a more in-depth discussion of the weight-loss drugs currently available – including Ozempic and Wegovy – the media mogul said: ‘Shouldn’t we all just be more accepting of whatever body you choose to be in? That should be your choice.
‘One of the things I carried so much shame for, and even when I first started hearing about the weight-loss drugs, at the same time I was going through knee surgery and I felt, “I’ve got to do this on my own because if I take the drug, that’s the easy way out.”
There’s a part of me that feels – like I think a lot of people feel with bariatric surgery – that I’ve got to do it the hard way, I’ve got to keep climbing the mountains, I’ve got to keep suffering and I’ve got to do that because otherwise I somehow cheated myself.’
that feels – like I think a lot of people feel with bariatric surgery – that I’ve got to do it the hard way, I’ve got to keep climbing the mountains, I’ve got to keep suffering and I’ve got to do that because otherwise I somehow cheated myself.’
She concluded: ‘As a person who has been shamed for so many years [about my weight], I am just sick of it.’
Throughout her decades-long weight-loss journey, Oprah has never shied away from discussing her problems in public.
In fact, she has been fiercely honest with fans every step of the way, sharing even the most intimate details regarding her relationship with her body and ‘food addiction.’
Her issues with weight began in 1976, when she landed her first ‘big job’ at age 22.
The then 148-pound reporter said she struggled to come to terms with the immense pressure that was put on her and began to pig out on things like ‘corn dogs,’ ‘chocolate chip cookies,’ and fast food from the mall food court to suppress her emotions and ‘numb her negative feelings.’
Her weight soon soared to over 200 pounds, and she began trying ‘every diet known to womankind.’
In 1988, just two years after the launch of the Oprah Winfrey Show, the TV legend revealed during an episode of her show that she had lost 67 pounds in four months thanks to an all-liquid diet.
In reality, she later revealed that she had ‘starved herself’ and messed up her ‘metabolism,’ which ultimately resulted in her gaining it all back and then some pretty quickly.
By the early 1990s, she was at her heaviest – 237 pounds – and feeling ‘so ashamed’ to have ‘joined the ranks of the perpetually obese’ that she said she could hardly look people in the eye.
She recalled feeling like a ‘big fat failure.’ But after connecting with a personal trainer at a spa in Colorado, he helped inspire her to turn things around.
For years after that, Oprah’s weight fluctuated. With the help of her new trainer, it dropped down to 160 pounds by 2006, but within two years after that, it was back up to 200 pounds.
At the time, she said a slew of health woes were to blame for the weight gain, and admitted that she was once again feeling ‘defeated’ and was just about ready to ‘give up’ and let ‘fat win.’