Oprah Talks Weight Loss Meds, 'Fighting Your Brain'

In TV special, Winfrey reveals her own struggles: 'Making fun of my weight was national sport'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 19, 2024 6:17 AM CDT
Oprah: Mocking My Weight 'Was National Sport'
Oprah Winfrey speaks to the audience during the NAACP Image Awards on Saturday at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Oprah Winfrey's newest program starts streaming Tuesday on Hulu, with one topic center stage: dropping pounds. The much-hyped An Oprah Special: Shame, Blame, and the Weight Loss Revolution aired Monday night first on ABC, with Winfrey interviewing medical experts and patients alike about their experiences with weight loss medications like Ozempic, Wegovy, and Mounjaro. The 70-year-old has conceded herself that she's used a weight loss drug, though she hasn't said which one. Some highlights from the show:

  • Personal experience: Winfrey acknowledged how tough it's been all this time being in the public spotlight with her fluctuating weight, reports CNN. "I took on the shame that the world gave to me," she said. "For 25 years, making fun of my weight was national sport." Winfrey recalled one TV Guide cover from decades ago that referred to her as "bumpy, lumpy, and downright dumpy," per USA Today.
  • Fighting yourself: Winfrey explained that she wants to get rid of the "stigma" and "shame" around obesity and weight loss, and that people shouldn't feel bad if taking medication is the remedy they ultimately end up seeking. "When I tell you how many times I have blamed myself because you think, 'I'm smart enough to figure this out,' and then to hear all along it's you fighting your brain," Winfrey said. The Cleveland Clinic's Dr. W. Scott Butsch, who joined Winfrey during the program, concurred, "It's not a matter of willpower."
  • Winfrey's regimen: The star noted she doesn't just rely on meds to maintain her weight. "It's not just one thing, it's multiple things," Winfrey said, adding that she also hikes and runs, does weight training, and maintains a healthy diet, per CNN.
  • Caveat: Some experts fear that Winfrey continuing to focus so hard on weight loss might be detrimental in the end. Kate Manne, a Cornell professor who's written a book on "fatphobia," tells the New York Times she gets why, after so many people obsessing about Winfrey's weight, Winfrey thinks "her body is a problem that needs to be solved." But, Manne adds, she's concerned that Oprah "will be again perpetuating a social sense that people's variations in size and shape really need to be addressed as a medical problem."
More here. (More Oprah Winfrey stories.)

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