Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey Regrets Being A ‘Major Contributor’ To Diet Culture: ‘I Want To Do Better’

Winfrey recalled a 1988 episode of 'The Oprah Winfrey Show' where she rolled 67 pounds of fat on a wagon on stage to show how much weight she had lost at the time.

Oprah Winfrey is owning the part she’s played in promoting diet culture for the last 30-plus years.

The billionaire media mogul spoke candidly during WeightWatchers‘ “Making The Shift: A New Way to Think About Weight” livestream on May 9, where she admitted to being a “major contributor” to diet culture.

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

Winfrey went on to recall a November 1988 episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show where she rolled 67 pounds of fat on a wagon on stage. At the time, she did it to explain her drastic weight loss she credited to fasting for six weeks “without cheating.”

It remains the highest-rated episode in the long-running show history. However, the OWN founder regrets doing that. “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 said during the WeightWatchers livestream.

“The very next day, I began to gain the weight back,” she added. “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 decision to step down from the weight loss company’s board earlier this year following her admission of using a weight loss drug. When speaking with Jimmy Kimmel in March, Winfrey said she exited the board because she filmed An Oprah Special: Shame, Blame, and the Weight Loss Revoluiton, with medical experts to discuss weight-loss drugs like Ozempic, Mounjaro, and Wegovy.

“…This special was really important to me, and I wanted to be able to talk about whatever I want to talk about,” Winfrey said. She added 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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