Oprah Winfrey slims down at 69: A look at TV host's weight loss journey through the years
STRESA, ITALY: Oprah Winfrey arrived at the Louis Vuitton Cruise show on Wednesday, May 24, at Isola Bella in Italy and appeared in her best shape after a huge weight loss "reset." The 69-year-old TV host showed off her physique by wearing an oversized white shirt along with a black belt that cinched her waist. With that, she paired a set of matching trousers and accessorized the look with a Louis Vuitton handbag and some sparkly earrings.
As per DailyMail, many wondered if the weight loss transformation had anything to do with the ongoing rumor of her joining the Senate. SFGATE reported that she could replace Dianne Feinstein in Senate.
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'Day One starts now'
Oprah, who is the Weight Watchers (WW) ambassador, has spoken about her weight loss journey in the past and revealed she was going to "reset" her eating habits to "get back in control of how I want to live." She shared a video on Instagram in 2022 in which she showed herself dumping out half of a cake saying she joked about how she and 12 visitors in her house "ate every day like food had just been invented. So, clearing out the fridge. No chance of one last piece of Gayle [King's] delicious Bananas Foster birthday cake," she said and wrote in the caption the video, "If you’ve been waiting for the right day, the right time, or some kind of sign…this is it. Today is the day. Day One starts now!"
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How did it all begin?
Oprah's issues with weight started in the year 1976, when she got her first big job at the age of 22 as a journalist at WJZ-TV in Baltimore. She weighed 130 pounds at that time. But she gained 42 pounds in the next eight years because she lived near a mall with a "big fast-food court." Oprah wrote in an excerpt from her cookbook 'Food, Health, and Happiness', as narrated via Oprah.com, "Unfortunately, I had a powerful need to please everybody on a never-ending basis and a shopping mall with a big fast-food court directly across from my apartment. After a full day of covering stories that often left me depleted, and saying yes when I needed to say no, I’d prowl that food court, starting at one end with a cheese-and-bacon baked potato and finishing at the other with a giant chocolate chip macadamia nut cookie."
'The more I dieted, the more I gained'
She further said, "By the time I left Maryland for Chicago, I was eight years older and 42 pounds heavier than when I’d arrived. I vowed to use the move as a fresh start: Whoever tuned in to watch me host AM Chicago would see a woman who’d gotten serious about losing weight. There was just one problem: The more I dieted, the more I gained; the more I gained, the more I ate."
During her national TV debut in 1985, 'The Tonight Show' guest host Joan Rivers questioned her about her weight gain. Oprah wondered, "Did she just use my national television debut to ask me why I was so fat? The studio started spinning. The word fat...fat...faaaaatttttt reverberated in my brain. Joan sat behind Johnny’s big wooden desk, telling me that she didn’t want to hear my excuses and that I shouldn’t have let this happen. The audience laughed nervously as she wagged her flawlessly manicured finger at me, pointed out that I was still "a single girl," and challenged me to come back 15 pounds lighter the next time she hosted. And the whole time I just sat there smiling breezily, wanting nothing more than to crawl under my chair."
'I used food to numb my negative feelings'
"For four solid months, I didn't eat a single morsel of food,' she recalled on her site that carried the headline 'My 67-Pound Weight Loss'. She said, "When I started Optifast in July 1988, I was at 212 pounds. By fall, I weighed 145 pounds. I'd saved a pair of Calvin Klein jeans from my days of working in Baltimore, and my goal was to get back into those jeans. Wearing my size 10 jeans, I pulled a wagon full of fat - representing the 67 pounds I'd dropped - onto the stage. What I didn't know was that my metabolism was shot. Two weeks after I returned to real food, I was up 10 pounds. Since I wasn't exercising, there was nothing my body could do but regain the weight." She said that she "thought she was fine' and 'just had a little weight problem" at the time. "It took me a while to get to the truth. I didn't love food. I used food to numb my negative feelings. It didn't matter what the feeling was - a phone call from someone I didn't want to talk to, a confrontation of any kind, being late, feeling tired, anxious or bored. No matter how insignificant the discomfort, my first reaction was to reach for something to eat, unaware of how much I was consuming."
By the early 1990s, the yo-yo dieter was at her heaviest. She weighed 237 pounds and was "so ashamed" to have "joined the ranks of the perpetually obese," states DailyMail. She felt like a "big fat failure." After years of public yo-yo dieting, in 2015, she joined WW and within a year, she said she had lost 40 pounds through the program. Talking about the program, she said, as stated by Hello!, "Weight Watchers is easier than any other program I've ever been on. It's a lifestyle, a way of eating, and a way of living that's so freeing. You never feel like you are on a diet, and it works."