*** This is a long post describing Oprah’s weight loss challenge and I’d love to hear what readers have to say … be sure to leave me a comment!***
Yesterday, January 5th, 2009, marked the debut of Oprah’s “Your Best Life” series. Yesterday’s show was devoted to Oprah’s confession about gaining 40 lbs.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from the show because it’s old news that Oprah has had a life long struggle with weight gain and she’s known to be the most famous celebrity yo-yo dieter … she’s tried every diet under the sun and she always seems to gain all the weight back.
It’s true that when she dropped to a healthy 160 lbs in 2005, it seems that Queen Oprah had really beat the battle of the bulge … but of course her December 2008 public confession proved otherwise.
Since this was a 1 hour show, I’ll use point form to highlight the most important things.
* Oprah has a thyroid problem which means she’ll always have a hunger issue. I consulted the internet to learn more about having a thyroid problem. The first thing that shocked me was the fact that 59 million Americans have a thyroid problem! This means that worldwide the number could easily surpass 100 million people!
* Explaining a thyroid problem in a few words is not easy, but it sums up to the fact that Oprah’s thyroid problem will forever have a serious impact on her weight. I’ve found the following article that highlights the signs of a thyroid problem: Top 10 Signs That You May Have a Thyroid Problem.
* Oprah’s thyroid problem started when she was 53. Her symptoms were sleep issues, heart palpitations and leg swelling.
* Oprah’s weight gain became such an issue she could no longer stand seeing herself in full on the cover of her magazine and her staff worked around her insecurities about her weight by only doing head shots instead of full body shots.
* Oprah describes her feelings around having to shoot photos for the cover shot of her magazine as: “I didn’t feel happy or proud of my body and I had a LOT of anxiety about putting my body on display”.
“Here I am the most visible person on the planet trying not to be seen on the cover of my own magazine”. – Oprah Winfrey
“In 2008, I talked the talk, but I didn’t practice what I preach on my own
show!” — Oprah Winfrey
* Oprah started putting the weight back in February 2007. It started with 5 lbs, then it went to 10 lbs then she realized she was up a dress size and that’s when she started feeling overwhelmed.
* Oprah’s wardrobe consist of clothing in size 10, 12, 14 and elastic wear to quickly and easily adapt to her weight gain or weight loss.
* Because of this thyroid problem, Oprah will have to deal with a weight issue for the rest of her life.
* One of the major reasons why Oprah feels she has gained weight is because she’s been putting herself last on the priority list (a common problem among women).
* Oprah also feels that her sleep issue (she was simply not sleeping and she spent nights looking at the clock tick) has left her exhausted and tired all the time.
* Oprah’s mega-packed schedule has not helped her either … her days are too booked to think of healthy eating. Basically, Queen Oprah is suffering from one of the most common ailments of our time: her life is out of balance!
* Oprah admitted that falling off the wagon is a hard thing to do … especially when you are a public figure.
* Oprah admitted to something that quite shocked me :
“My thyroid problem is like a FAT sentence … so why not eat whatever I want since anything I eat means I’ll gain weight”. — Oprah Winfrey
* Oprah explained with a pained face that she felt completely defeated. I’ll be honest, at that point I really started to feel badly for her because you could read the immense pain on her face. This “weight” thing was like something that won her over and she wasn’t happy about feeling so helpless and almost hopeless.
* Everyone has their own weakness when it comes to food. Some people drown their sorrow in ice cream and some people eat boxes of chocolates. Oprah’s drug of choice used to be potato chips and she’s not replaced that addiction with organic blue corn potato chips … I’m talking about eating one bag of potato chip every single day. I love organic blue corn potato chips. They are my favourites, but I usually eat a small handful with a sandwich. When Oprah revealed she ate and entire bag each day (and I’m sure there is way more that she’s eating, but not revealing) I was truly able to understand the depth of her weight problem.
“Here I was 53, overweight, exhausted, overwhelmed” – Oprah Winfrey
What Bob Greene (Oprah’s fitness coach/guru) had to say about Oprah’s weight gain:
Bob Greene explained how difficult it was for him to watch Oprah go through so many ordeals with her weight gain.
What struck me the most about Bob Greene’s interview are these facts:
* At some point, Bob Greene thought that Oprah might be suffering from low grade depression because she looked like she had lost her zest for life.
* He describes her movements as being slower than usual and there was a dullness about her personality that he had not witnessed before … it was like “she wasn’t there”.
* The biggest shock for me was when Bob Greene said:
“Oprah never learned how to be happy”.
I have to say that not only did my jaw drop, but my face started contorting into those grimaces you make when you are eating something sour. I could simply not understand how one of the richest women on the face of the planet and certainly the most visible and notorious celebrity could not be happy.
Maybe, it’s only me, but I’ve always seen Oprah as someone who had it all: a partner for over two decades, a close relationship with a girlfriend who is more like a sister than a friend, a career she loves, a job that allows her to influence the lives of so many of her viewers, the ability to buy ANYTHING she wants (because she has more money than God), a jewellery collection that constantly makes me cry with envy, beautiful spacious homes (plural, not singular on the homes) and the ability to travel as many times as she wants in a year.
I look at that and I think, I wouldn’t be unhappy if I had all of these blessings. If I’m missing the boat, here, I’d love to hear what readers have to say about Bob Greene’s admission.
Oprah’s 2009 Weight Loss Plan:
Oprah is keeping it really simple and she’s right because it’s the one way to succeed. Here’s her plan:
1) Put herself first on top of the priority list so she doesn’t forget to take care of her body.
2) Find more balance in her life by doing little things like booking “me” time.
3) Having more joy in her life.
4) Return to healthier eating patterns.
5) Going back to cardio training (this is the only way to control your weight).
6) Incorporating weight training again as part of her fitness plan (you know my point of view when it comes to weight training and women … I think it’s simply crucial).
7) Work out every day.
Since Oprah gained quite a lot of weight, her weight loss challenge and struggle will last all year and I’m sure there will be many (MANY) shows devoted to Oprah’s weight loss progress and I’m certain that Dr. Oz will be on the show many times to help viewers keep a health body … even when they are trying to lose weight.
Some great resources from Oprah’s web site:
>>> Here’s a 5 minute video of Oprah taking action towards controlling her weight: Oprah’s weight control plan
>>> This is an interesting article from Bob Green on “The Activity Scale”
>>> Here’s a link to help you start your own “Weight Loss Workbook”
>>> If you’re dealing with weight issues and if you’re looking for support, you can meet other people fitting the weight battle on Oprah’s weight loss message board:
You can read my original post about Oprah’s weigh gain admission: Why has Oprah gained so much weight?
Photo by nayrb7