April 14, 2024

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Oprah Winfrey admits the real reason behind dramatic weight loss – an expert weighs in

4 min read

Oprah Winfrey, at 69, has taken a bold step in revealing the real reason behind her dramatic weight loss, detailing her use of weight-loss medication, challenging the stigma and opening up about her personal health journey. 

Her revelation signifies a profound shift from her earlier view of rejecting such drugs as an ‘easy way out.’

Speaking candidly to People, Oprah shared her perspective: “The fact that there’s a medically approved prescription for managing weight and staying healthier, in my lifetime, feels like relief, like redemption, like a gift, and not something to hide behind and once again be ridiculed for.”

However, according to nutrition expert Danni Duncan,  the worry with celebrities like Oprah taking a drug to lose weight is that we continue to promote a quick-fix lifestyle. “We’ve seen Oprah over the years go on tonnes of restrictive “diets” and she even says it’s exhausting.  People give up when it’s too hard or don’t stick to things because they’re not sustainable,” she tells HELLO!

Oprah Winfrey in purple slinky dress© Getty
Oprah Winfrey has lost a dramatic amount of weight recently

“You have to find some discipline, commit to long-term change and stop looking for the next band-aid solution.  The reason people yoyo is because of this. Our world has become so obsessed with instant gratification that people don’t want to put in the work.  “It’s a marathon, not a sprint and delayed gratification, and being proud of the journey you’re on, taking small steps every day and then feeling accomplished when you’ve reached those goals is far more monumental and life-changing.  It can take 18-254 days to create a habit….for real change to occur mentally, she adds.  

“Quick fixes, restrictive diets and weight loss drugs like the one Oprah has just been on,  do not promote long-term sustainable health.  It’s one thing to lose weight but what has changed mentally about your habits.  Taking a drug to lose weight may “fix” the current issue – but what happens once the weight is gone.  No habits have been changed, the relationship with food is the same – you’re just skinnier.  if you don’t change your mindset, re-program your brain to understand nutrition and wellbeing as a whole – nothing changes,” Danni advises. 

Oprah’s weight struggles have been a public narrative for years, with her battles and victories often in the limelight.”I’m absolutely done with the shaming from other people and particularly myself,” she declared, addressing the societal pressures and self-judgment she has endured over her weight.

Oprah’s stance took a turn following a panel discussion with weight loss experts. “I realized I’d been blaming myself all these years for being overweight, and I have a predisposition that no amount of willpower is going to control. Obesity is a disease. It’s not about willpower — it’s about the brain,” Oprah explained, shedding light on the complexities of weight management.

Oprah looks incredible in purple gown© Instagram
Oprah looks incredible in purple gown

Now nearing her goal weight, Oprah emphasizes that her journey is about more than numbers on a scale.

 “It’s not about the number,” she asserts. Her approach is comprehensive, involving a strict regimen of meal timing, hydration, following WeightWatchers, and regular physical activity. 

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 16: (L-R) Honoree Fantasia Barrino and Oprah Winfrey attend Variety Power of Women Los Angeles presented by Lifetime at Mother Wolf on November 16, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Randy Shropshire/Variety via Getty Images)© Randy Shropshire
Honoree Fantasia Barrino and Oprah Winfrey

“It’s everything. I know everybody thought I was on it, but I worked so damn hard. I know that if I’m not also working out and vigilant about all the other things, it doesn’t work for me,” she stated, highlighting her dedication to a multifaceted health and fitness routine.

In her journey, Oprah confronts the pervasive stigma around weight. “There is a condescension. There is a stigma,” she reflected, noting the different treatment she received at varying weights. 

“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…”

Oprah’s struggle with weight began to intensify in the early 1990s. At that time, she reached her heaviest weight of 237 pounds. 

oprah winfrey white suit afi fest la© Getty Images
Oprah Winfrey displayed her slimmed-down figure in a white suit

This period in her life was fraught with feelings of shame and defeat. “I was so ashamed to have joined the ranks of the perpetually obese,” she shared, expressing how this phase impacted her self-esteem to the extent that she found it difficult to make eye contact with others.

Describing her emotional state, Oprah said, “I felt like a big fat failure.” However, a turning point came when she connected with a personal trainer at a spa in Colorado. This partnership was pivotal, inspiring Oprah to embark on a transformative journey.

Over the years, her weight experienced significant shifts. By 2006, with the guidance of her trainer, Oprah’s weight decreased to 160 pounds. 

Yet, this success was temporary, as her weight climbed back to 200 pounds within the next two years. During this time, Oprah attributed the gain to various health issues and admitted feeling overwhelmed and on the brink of surrendering to her weight struggles.

In 2015, Oprah took a strategic step by collaborating with Weight Watchers. This alliance proved fruitful, as she reported losing 40 pounds through the program. 

Despite this success, her weight management journey faced another obstacle in late 2021. Oprah revealed in January 2022 that she was undergoing a ‘diet reset’ after indulging during the holiday season.

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