Oprah's Weight Gain and her Responsibility as a Role Model

The HealthGal Health Guide
  • I cannot be the only person who has been seeing Oprah grow.  Since her commitment to training and running a marathon, I have been watching her show and noticing that she has been steadily putting on weight.  I even got a bit upset when several months ago she blamed it "on her thyroid."  Most people whose thyroid goes off a bit and becomes hypothyroid, will gain a bit of weight - but not pounds and piounds and pounds.  Just doesnt happen....unless you are eating a lot more than you should.


    I'll also confess that I was getting a bit upset.  I felt that Oprah owed it to her public, BECAUSE she is a public personae, to fess up and simply confess that even if you have all the money in the world - enough to hire a chef and dietician and psychologist and even a trainer who lives on your property - food can continue to be your demon.  Of course, having the ability to work with all these experts can help significantly to "get a grip" on the situation.  But at the end of the day, if food is "your drug of choice," you may end up returning to it again and again - especially if your life involves parties, and entertaining and all the temptations that go with that kind of a lifestyle.

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    I'm not making excuses for Oprah - anyone who battles weight knows the importance of setting up environments that support losing weight and maintaining the weight loss.  And I realize that if anyone can afford to do that - with the help of paid supporters, Oprah can.  I will simply point out that even with a renowned doctor, Dr. Oz at her side, who had to be raising the issue of her weight periodically and gently (behind closed doors), you can still be unable to cope without using food as your primary coping choice.  It doesn't have to do only with willpower or education  -  we know that - there is something else that allows overweight people to finally take it off and keep it off.


    I can even point to people who sustain serious heart attacks and who promise, if they survive - to change their ways.  Quite often, after several months - the memory of almost dying diminishes - and they begin to slide back to old eating habits.  If someone threatened with death can't get it "under control" then I ask, who can???  Well, the National Weight Registry records information on people who have successfully lost large amounts of weight and kept it off for several years.  Typically, no matter how they lost the weight, they all do certain similar things in the maintenance phase.

    They weigh themselves daily;they never allow the scale to go more than 5 pounds up; they exercise daily; they journal their food; they measure portions.


    These individuals keep these behaviors going even through holiday times and celebratory periods - it becomes their new set of habits.  I would offer to Oprah the reality that until she treats her weight like diabetes, making her new set of habits her "daily medicine that must happen" she will continue to struggle.  I hope this January 5th, when she shares her confessions and her 200 pound weight with her world-wide audience, that she finally decides to treat her weight like a true disease and begins to follow a daily prescription of habits like the rest of us mortals who have battled weight successfully.

Published On: December 09, 2008