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(CW:// intentional weight loss)  Oprah Winfry is one of the most influential and well known celebrities, who also happens to be one of the most publicly scrutinized. We are going to look at Oprah’s journey of public criticism of her weight and how the media has played a huge role in it. We’ll explore Oprah’s recent decision that has stirred up conversations across the globe: her choice to embark on a weight loss medication regimen.

Oprah Winfrey, a beacon of strength and inspiration for millions, has been no stranger to the media’s relentless examination  of her weight throughout the years. From her early days as a television host to her influential role as a media mogul, Oprah has faced a constant barrage of commentary on her body, and it’s disheartening to witness the world’s obsession with a woman who has achieved so much more. We also know that as a successful Black woman, she is under the watchful eyes of body police, much more than her white counterparts.

Oprah has appeased the role of the “good” fat person

Oprah has been candid about her weight since the beginning of her career. Like many of us, she has faced the ups and downs of dieting, exercising, and navigating the challenging terrain of body image in the public eye.

Her openness about her weight journey has allowed her to connect with audiences on a deeply personal level, fostering a sense of understanding and empathy. To me, she has to be so open about her changing body size and efforts to control it, in order to appease the role of the “good” fat person.

A role where fat folks have to show others they too, hate their bodies, and are working to alter it to be “accepted”, “healthy” or some other virtue we’ve attached to weight loss and thinness. She must show the world that fat is bad and she is working against that. I assume it’s a tactic of saying it first, so the tabloids can’t reveal it as this massive secret.

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While Oprah has triumphed over numerous challenges in her life, it’s unfortunate that the media’s fixation on her weight has remained a constant theme.

In a society that often places value on the physical appearance of women above other characteristics, Oprah has accomplished much in her life.

The relentless focus on her appearance often overshadows her remarkable achievements, wisdom, and philanthropic efforts.

While we never would consider Oprah a body liberation proponent, as she has partnered with weight loss companies and launched Dr. Oz’s career, she also told the public that she considered weight loss medication “cheating”.

Recently, Oprah made headlines when she revealed her decision to explore the use of weight loss medication. This revelation has sparked a range of reactions, from support to concern. 

In her own words, “It was a public sport to make fun of me for 25 years,” Winfrey tells PEOPLE magazine. “I have been blamed and shamed, and I blamed and shamed myself.”

Oprah goes on to say, weight fluctuations “occupied five decades of space in my brain, yo-yoing and feeling like why can’t I just conquer this thing, believing willpower was my failing,”

Oprah shares her current ‘diet’, saying, “I eat my last meal at 4 o’clock, drink a gallon of water a day, and use the WeightWatchers principles of counting points. I had an awareness of [weight-loss] medications, but felt I had to prove I had the willpower to do it. I now no longer feel that way.”

It appears that Oprah has succumbed to the idea that weight is wholly within our control and therefore we are “weak” or “bad” or “incapable” if we cannot manage it.

However, we know that weight is such a very small part in our overall composition of self and that we actually have very little direct control over altering our weight long term or sustainably. It’s disheartening to witness even someone as strong-willed and influential as Oprah being caught in the web of diet culture.  

The sadness I feel lies not in Oprah’s choice, she’s free to do whatever she wants, but in the fact that our society continues to perpetuate harmful ideals that continue to affect so many people world wide, regardless of class, status, access, wealth, etc.  It is so hard to watch folks believe they are failing if they live in a body that society deems “wrong”.

The pressure to be thin is endless and everyone is entitled to their own choices

Big Fat Pregnancy does not support the idea of using weight-loss medication.

There are lots of concerns about utilizing this specific medication for weight loss, including side effects, supply chain issues, meaning that the medication is not available for people with diabetes that need it, the exorbitant  costs (obviously not an issue for Oprah), and the lack of research.

There is also a lack of long-term studies on this medication in the high doses required for weight loss. 

From Oprah’s Favorite Things every holiday season to her book club, Oprah influences consumers in so many ways. I’m certain that her decision to pursue weight loss medication will be influential to many people as well.

I understand that the pressure to be thin is endless and everyone is entitled to their own choices, and it is still difficult to see someone struggle with weight and body acceptance so hard and for so long. 

Oprah was a trailblazer in her time, showing up in spaces Black women were never allowed and doing it better than anyone else. I choose to lift that up and applaud her for those achievements.

I  hope that one day she can  be a trailblazer in showing others how to accept the body we are in, and how fat liberation is the path to liberate all bodies.

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