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Oprah Winfrey Regrets Role in Diet Culture: ‘I Want to Do Better’

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Oprah Winfrey Regrets Role in Diet Culture: 'I Want to Do Better'

Oprah Winfrey, is taking ownership of her role in perpetuating diet culture over the past three decades. Speaking candidly during WeightWatchers’ “Making The Shift: A New Way to Think About Weight” livestream on May 9, the billionaire mogul confessed to being a “major contributor” to the phenomenon.

“I want to acknowledge that I have been a steadfast participant in this diet culture through my platforms, through the magazine, and through the talk show for 25 years,” Winfrey declared at the outset of the program. “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.”

Reflecting on a pivotal moment from November 1988, Winfrey recounted an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show where she famously wheeled out 67 pounds of fat on stage, attributing her dramatic weight loss to a six-week fasting regimen “without cheating.”

While the episode remains the highest-rated in the show’s history, Winfrey expressed regret, recognizing that it propagated unhealthy ideals. “It sent a message that starving yourself with a liquid diet and set a standard for people watching that I, nor anybody else, could uphold,” she lamented during the WeightWatchers livestream.

“The very next day, I began to gain the weight back,” Winfrey disclosed. “Maya Angelou always said, ‘When you know better, you do better,’ so these conversations for me are an effort to do better. I own what I’ve done, and now I want to do better.”

The WeightWatchers livestream followed Winfrey’s recent decision to resign from the company’s board earlier this year, following her admission of using a weight loss drug.

In an interview with Jimmy Kimmel in March, Winfrey clarified her departure, citing her filming of “An Oprah Special: Shame, Blame, and the Weight Loss Revolution,” where she discussed weight-loss drugs such as Ozempic, Mounjaro, and Wegovy with medical experts.

“…This special was really important to me, and I wanted to be able to talk about whatever I wanted to talk about,” Winfrey emphasized, noting that WeightWatchers “is now in the business of being a weight-health company that also administers drug medications for weight. I did not want to have the appearance of any conflict of interest.”

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