Oprah Winfrey in 1988 and 2008
Oprah Winfrey has a history of yo-yo dieting that has been parodied on Saturday Night Live. In 1988 she lost 67 pounds on a liquid protein diet and appeared on her talk show dressed in size 10 Calvin Klein blue jeans wheeling a wagon loaded with fat representing the weight that she had lost. Recalling the occasion in 2005, she said:
“I had literally starved myself for four months – not a morsel of food. Two hours after that show, I started eating to celebrate. Of course, within two days those jeans no longer fit!”
The talk show hostess now weighs 200 pounds, up from 160 in 2006, according to an article in the January 2009 issue of O magazine. Oprah writes:
“I’m mad at myself. I’m embarrassed. I can’t believe that after all these years, all the things I know how to do, I’m still talking about my weight. I look at my thinner self and think, ‘How did I let this happen again?’ “
Oprah has blamed her weight problems on an out-of-balance thyroid and her fear of working out because of her condition. In 1990, she regained the 67 pounds that she had lost saying:
“I’ve been dieting since 1977. The reason I failed is that diets don’t work. I tell people, if you’re underweight, go on a diet and you’ll gain everything you lost plus more. Now I’m trying to find a way to live in a world with food without being controlled by it, without being a compulsive eater. That’s why I say I will never diet again.”
In 1994, she had slimmed down by exercising with the help of a personal trainer and a full-time, in-house chef. She even finished the Marine Corps Marathon. Oprah kept up the fitness regime through 1996, when she posed on the cover of People magazine, in which she described the diet and workout routine that finally worked for her. In 2007, Oprah told viewers that a thyroid disorder had caused her to gain 20 pounds. Oprah feels embarrassed by her current weight of 200 pounds.
The lesson that we can take from Winfrey’s experience is that proper nutrition and exercise have to be a way of life. You cannot just say “I am going to lose weight” and stop eating or go on a fad diet. You have to figure out how to meet your nutritional needs for your target weight by eating real foods. You also have to be realistic about your goals. You should not wish to be too thin or too muscular. You have to aim for a normal weight and be happy with that. You also have to limit your consumption, even if you can afford abundance. And you have to be consistent. You have to set your goals and remain steadfast. This requires psychological strength.