Oprah Winfrey apologises for contributing to diet culture

Winfrey took accountability for promoting unsustainable methods of weight loss over the years


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Published: Sun 12 May 2024, 2:24 PM

Veteran talk show host Oprah Winfrey has apologised for being a "major contributor" to diet culture, according to Page Six.

She took accountability for promoting unsustainable methods of weight loss over the years during a three-hour live WeightWatchers special.

"I have been a steadfast participant in this diet culture," said the legendary talk show host. "Through my platforms, through the magazine, through the talk show for 25 years and online. I've been a major contributor to it. I cannot tell you how many weight-loss shows and makeovers I have done, and they have been a staple since I've been working in television," she continued.

One particular moment that still haunts Winfrey was when she infamously brought out a red Radio Flyer wagon stacked with 67 pounds of fat on 'The Oprah Winfrey Show.'

The fat on the waggon symbolised how much weight she had dropped after a month-long, liquid-only fast.

"I've shared how that famous wagon of fat moment on the 'Oprah' show is one of my biggest regrets," she continued. "It sent a message that starving yourself with a liquid diet -- it set a standard for people watching that I nor anybody else could uphold."

Winfrey was joined by actresses Rebel Wilson, Amber Riley and Busy Philipps as well as WeightWatchers CEO Sima Sistani and several doctors during the YouTube special.

The group discussed the brand's shift from promoting dieting to becoming a weight-health company, providing medical intervention through drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy.

They stressed that there is no shame in seeking medical aid for weight loss and the value of body acceptance.

Winfrey stated in December 2023 that she had dropped 40 pounds with a weight-loss medicine, despite earlier labelling it an "easy way out."

"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," she told People at the time.

The 'Color Purple' star added, "I'm absolutely done with the shaming from other people and particularly myself."

The TV star stepped down from the WeightWatchers board of directors after almost a decade of service to avoid a conflict of interest.

She subsequently told Jimmy Kimmel that she intended to broadcast a show about prescription weight-loss medicines, but she didn't want her intentions to be misinterpreted.

"I decided that because this special was really important to me and I wanted to be able to talk about whatever I wanted to talk about, and WeightWatchers is now in the business of being a weight health company that also administers drug medications for weight," she explained.

After resigning from the board, she donated all her shares to the National Museum of African American History and Culture. "So nobody can say, 'Oh, she's doing that special, she's making money, promoting.' No, you cannot say that," reported Page Six.


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