The Ups and Downs of Oprah’s Weight Loss Journey, and What She Swears By

Oprah Winfrey’s struggles with weight have played out in the public eye for all to see. We’ve witnessed her trials and triumphs, as she has fought to maintain a healthy weight. Oprah has had success with weight loss only to experience defeat a few months later after regaining the weight. This pattern seemed to repeat itself every couple of years. After doing everything she could to lose weight, Oprah told her fans she is finally at a place of acceptance.

Here are some of the ups and downs of Oprah’s weight loss journey, and what she swears by.

The early years

Oprah sitting on a couch and leaning back in surprise.

Oprah’s weight loss journey has had many ups and downs. | GIPHY

Oprah first shared her ongoing struggle to lose weight when she began hosting The Oprah Winfrey Show in the 1980s. In 1988, she decided to try to lose the weight by going on a liquid diet called Optifast. Oprah was successful — she lost a whopping 67 pounds in just a couple of months. She celebrated the weight loss by going on her TV show and dragging a wagon-full of fat behind her to represent the 67 pounds she lost.

However, once Oprah began eating solid food, the weight came back quickly. She said she gained 10 pounds in two weeks. Unfortunately, the pounds continued to pile on. In 1992, Oprah said her weight had ballooned to 237 pounds, her heaviest.

Slimming down

Oprah Winfrey holding a microphone in one hand while raising her other hand.

Her curvy body has gone through many changes throughout the years. | Paras Griffin/Getty Images

In 2005, Oprah decided to try again to lose weight. This time, she was successful. She managed to slim down to 160 pounds. “I thought I was finished with the weight battle. I was done. I’d conquered it. I was so sure, I was even cocky. I had the nerve to say to friends who were struggling, ‘all you have to do is work out harder and eat less! Get your 10,000 steps in! None of that starchy stuff!’” said Oprah in her magazine.

Life happens

Oprah sits on a couch while a camera zooms in on her shocked facial expression.

Oprah understands what it’s like to struggle with weight loss. | GIPHY

However, Oprah would later learn that keeping the weight off would require more than just eating right. She also had to address some health issues she had been unaware of.

In 2009, Oprah gained the weight back. She documented her weight loss journey in the January 2009 issue of O, The Oprah magazine. She placed a picture of her at her 2006 weight next to a picture of her at her weight in 2009. Below the pictures was the caption, “How did I let this happen again?” Oprah said a crazy work schedule and thyroid problems contributed to her weight creeping up to 200 pounds.

 Weight Watchers

Oprah sits on a couch while talking and waving her hand.

Oprah always goes back to Weight Watchers for getting back on track. | GIPHY

Oprah swears by Weight Watchers. She said the easy-to-follow plan has helped her lose the weight and keep it off. In fact, Oprah managed to lose more than 40 pounds by sticking to the Weight Watchers diet plan.

“This is easier than any other program I’ve been on, and the reason is because the world is your menu. You can go out for tacos and no one will even know you’re on the program — that’s the best part. That, and it works,” said Oprah on the Weight Watchers website.

Setting limits

Oprah Winfrey signing a poster while smiling at a camera.

Her busy lifestyle and changes have led to Oprah’s weight gain and loss. | Rob Kim/Getty Images

In an interview for The New York Times Magazine titled “Losing it in the Anti-Dieting Age,” Oprah said although she believes in self-acceptance, she can’t accept herself if she is over 200 pounds. For her, that is the most she can weigh before she feels it’s time to do something about her weight.

“For your heart to pump, pump, pump, pump, it needs the least amount of weight possible to do that,” she said. “So, all of the people who are saying, ‘Oh, I need to accept myself as I am’ — I can’t accept myself if I’m over 200 pounds, because it’s too much work on my heart. It causes high blood pressure for me. It puts me at risk for diabetes, because I have diabetes in my family,” Oprah told The New York Times.

An unexpected roadblock

Oprah Winfrey smiling while wearing stylish glasses.

Oprah has been very honest about her emotional eating. | Mike Windle/Getty Images

Oprah was determined to lose 20 pounds during the summer of 2015, but an ankle injury derailed those plans. Instead of losing weight, the talk show host packed on 17 pounds. She told People that she was out of commission for one month, so she started eating jalapeno bagels out of frustration. “You are doing some serious eating and not moving. I was in yet another funk about my weight,” said Oprah.

 Making peace with food

Oprah holds up her arms as she talks.

Oprah doesn’t fight her urges anymore | GIPHY

Oprah told People that she is now at peace with food. This is evident in the fact that she recently lost almost 43 pounds. Part of the reason is because of the Weight Watchers plan. Oprah said she can eat real food and never feel deprived.

Oprah said in an earlier article in O, The Oprah magazine that another key to staying healthy is having a balanced life. She became aware that exercising and eating well only keep you healthy if the rest of your life is balanced. “What I’ve learned this year is that my weight issue isn’t about eating less or working out harder, or even about a malfunctioning thyroid. It’s about my life being out of balance, with too much work and not enough play, not enough time to calm down. I let the well run dry,” said Oprah.

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