Oprah Winfrey recently addressed the weight stigma that she's faced for years. At 68, Oprah doesn't shy away from discussing personal subjects, and in Oprah Daily’s panel titled "The Life You Want Class: The State of Weight," she delved into her own experiences with weight, dieting, and public scrutiny.
Joining Oprah on the panel were experts in the field of weight and health: Dr. Fatima Cody Stanford and Dr. Melanie Jay, specialists in obesity, psychologist Dr. Rachel Goldman, and Sima Sistani, the CEO of WeightWatchers.
Together, they explored the global weight and obesity crisis, a significant concern affecting roughly 2 billion adults.
Opening up about her own struggles with weight, Oprah shared: "You all know I’ve been on this journey for most of my life. My highest weight was 237 lbs. I don’t know if there is another public person whose weight struggle has been exploited as much as mine over the years."
It's no secret that Oprah's weight journey has been in the public eye for decades. As she reflected: "You all have watched me diet and diet and diet." But for her, weight has always been a complex issue. She remarked that her body often gravitated back to a particular weight, which noticeably changed how people perceived and treated her.
"This is a world that has shamed people for being overweight forever," she lamented.
Elaborating on her experiences, Oprah mentioned that weight stigma was particularly prominent when she went shopping.
Salespeople would often usher her towards accessories like gloves and handbags, indirectly suggesting that clothing wasn't available in her size. "There is a condescension. There is stigma," she expressed, capturing the essence of how weight-based prejudice feels.
Another crucial topic during the panel was the use of weight loss medications, especially in Hollywood.
Oprah shared that she has taken Ozempic, an FDA-approved drug for type 2 diabetes, also known for its appetite-suppressing effects. But she was conflicted about using it, given the societal pressures about weight and body image.
"Shouldn't we all just be more accepting of whatever body you choose to be in? That should be your choice,” Oprah questioned.
Reflecting on her knee surgery, she mentioned her initial reluctance to use the medication, feeling that it might be an "easy way out" rather than a legitimate support in her weight journey.