Why Sam wants to hug Oprah

Oprah is losing weight again. For those of us following and for Oprah, it’s been a bit of a roller coaster. Right now she/we are going down. So far she’s lost 20 kg, the headlines tell us.

This time though, she’s not calling it a diet. It’s a lifestyle change. Right.

Talk show queen Oprah Winfrey says she has lost over 20 kg, and is loving it. The 65-year-old joined a weight losing programme called Weight Watchers in 2015. “Nearing the 45-pound weight loss mark is a great feeling,” Winfrey said.

She said that the loss of her weight is the result of a lifestyle change instead of years of dieting, reports aceshowbiz.com. “After spending literally years on more diets than I care to count, I finally made the shift from dieting to a lifestyle change.

“Everyone is different, but for me what’s worked, is Weight Watchers… Today I’m more conscious about what I eat, balancing indulgent things with healthier options,” she said. “The Oprah Winfrey Show” host says she felt encouraged to take a holistic approach to health and fitness.

With an estimated net worth of 3.2 billion dollars Oprah is one of the world’s richest women. You can track both her wealth and weight through the years. Last year she bought shares in Weight Watchers and become a company spokesperson. So all of this is no surprise though it disappointed Tracy.

In 1996, Oprah Winfrey hired personal trainer Bob Greene, saying her roller-coaster weight saga was over. Here she is with Greene in 1997. Oprah said she controls her weight by working out daily using Greene’s guidelines. From http://www.accessatlanta.com/entertainment/television/photos-oprah-weight-through-the-years/MywJK3oWH9lwnIi0dYg4JO/#6

Now though she says she doesn’t care about the number on the scale. Again, right.

Oprah Winfrey says that after years of allowing her self-image to be influenced by her weight, she’s finally arrived at a place of equilibrium and self-acceptance. The former talk show host recently lost 42 lbs by following the Weight Watchers program, but says that her newfound happiness is less due to a number on a scale and more to a change in perspective.

Some people are critical of celebrity diets.

 Jean Fain writes, “With their intoxicating blend of impossible expectations, misguided authority and restrictive guidelines, celebrity diets are predestined to fail spectacularly.” Celebrity diets are expensive in terms of time and money. They hire personal chefs and personal trainers and devote a lot of time to their appearance.

See Tracy’s recent post about celebrity diets. And Catherine’s post about diet fallacies and the appeal to Oprah.

Some people are angry at Oprah.

See Dear Oprah, Shut Up About This Being the Year of Our Best Bodies Ever.

You told me in January that 2016 would be the year of Our Best Bodies. You gave your most inspired Oprah gaze that punched right through to my soul, and you told me my body is no good. It doesn’t just need to be better, it needs to be The Best. It’s OK, though, because you’re going to be the best with me, so no worries — as long as I join your weight loss club.

HELL. NO. This is my best body, Oprah. Right now. Full of stretch marks and cellulite, a perfectly-rounded belly and deflated breasts.

It does a fucking amazing job doing what it’s meant to do: SUSTAIN LIFE. It has sustained my life, my son’s life, traveled all over the world, climbed a volcano, played hard, planted gardens, given safe medical care to countless people, and created delightful edible art that is damn delicious.

Me, I want to give her a hug and tell her it will all be okay when she gains that 42 lbs back.

Why my fondness for Oprah? I find myself sympathizing with her. She’s like me, but with more money and a bigger audience. Like me, how? Well, we’re roughly the same size and shape. She’s 5’6, I’m an inch taller. Her lowest weight was 150 lbs, mine 155. And we both cop to a highest weight in the 230s. I’ve also lost and gained weight through the years. Weight Watchers, Precision Nutrition, personal training, etc etc.

She’s halfway between me and my mother–who also shares the same height and weight range–in age.

Sometimes I use Oprah’s example to feel better about my own failed weight loss efforts. If someone with Oprah’s resources such as personal chefs and trainers can’t do it, what hope is there for me?

But I feel sorry for Oprah regaining weight in the public eye.  The stories and photos about it all sound so sad. She’s such a terrific business person and has such a great voice and brand, why is she so fussed about her size? And yet I hear people saying the same thing to me.

Why does she care? Why do I care? See my past post On wishing for weight loss. In that post, from March 2015, I wrote:

Look, it’s not irrational in a size phobic society to not want to be fat.

Why? More clothes fit, you’ll get paid more, get higher teaching evaluations if you’re a professor (like me), be seen as smarter, be more attractive to a wider range of partners (don’t get me wrong, I’ve never had a shortage of people finding me attractive but I’m a bit of a niche taste), and more to the point, in my case, climb hills faster. Zoom!

Added bonus: It’d improve my running times a lot.

But it’s wanting the impossible that’s sad and hard. Wanting what you can’t have has never seemed a good game plan for life happiness.

How about we make peace with our bodies and love them the way they are?

And how about I give you a hug Oprah and then we can drink some tea together and maybe go for a run, not because it will help us lose weight (it won’t) but because it feels good to move our bodies. I’m admiring you from the sideline and hoping you don’t go down that road again.

Image description: Dark pink text on light pink background that reads, I workout because I love my body not because I hate it.

Image description: Dark pink text on light pink background that reads, I workout because I love my body not because I hate it.

About Sam B

Philosopher, feminist, parent, and cyclist!

3 thoughts on “Why Sam wants to hug Oprah

  1. Tracy I says:

    I understand feeling like Oprah needs a hug, I guess, but let’s not forget that Oprah is using her brand and her ‘weight loss journey’ to promote WW, a company that she owns a significant percentage of shares in. I’m much more inclined to want to hug you than Oprah. What we should do is send her a copy of our book when it’s published!

    Like

  2. The struggle with weight is real and no one immune. As a woman of wealth I’m sure she has pressure we don’t. I think health is a motivator to. O is getting older. Self care means we may not be able to accept where we are. My knees began hurting at 48 and I had no choice but to get serious. I expect at 65 she isn’t searching for approval or vanity in her weight loss. Great post!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. juliepie628 says:

    I like the image, but it should say “I work out…” Workout is a noun. (Yes, I’m that gal. 🙂 )

    Liked by 2 people

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