Dec 10, 2008

Poor Little Rich Girl

Oprah Winfrey. The name alone is powerful enough to evoke feelings of pride, jealousy and pity - - but no matter how much money she makes or lives she changes, she can't manage to keep her weight off.

The new issue of O Magazine features an article penned by the tycoon herself that details her latest struggles with weight. In 1992 after weighing in at her heaviest, a hefty 237 lbs, Ms. Winfrey made it her mission to take over her life and weight. It was a long, windy road but she slimmed down to 160 lbs in 2005. That is where the story takes a too familiar turn. As many people know, diets are hard. Fads come and go. Oprah slowly found herself gaining the weight back and in 2006 the host was back up to 200 lbs. In the article, Oprah attributed her weight gain to a 2007 diagnosis of Hyperthyroidism...which subsequently led to Hypothyroidism.

"After many trips to various doctors, I received a diagnosis....It seemed as if the struggle I'd had with weight my entire adult life was now officially over. I felt completely defeated. I thought, "I give up. I give up. Fat wins." All these years I'd had only myself to blame for lack of willpower. Now I had an official, documented excuse."

In a matter of time, the host found herself taking 3 medicines and a shell of her former self. She no longer had that sparkle in her eye...that zest for life.

"The thyroid diagnosis felt like some kind of prison sentence....At one point I was on three medications: one for heart palpitations, another for high blood pressure, another to moderate my thyroid. Who knew this tiny butterfly gland at the base of the throat had so much power? When it's off, your whole body feels the effects. Being medicated, though necessary, made me feel as if I were viewing life through a veil. I felt like an invalid. Everything was duller. I felt like the volume on life got turned down."

Through the course of the article, I felt myself pulled into Oprah's world of diet woes and compassionate towards her plight. As a black woman it's a challenge to have a positive body image. You're constantly bombarded with images, products and messages telling you that your waistline isn't small enough, your ass isn't fat enough, your boobs don't have that delightful bounce, you don't have "good hair", the right skin tone or anything else on that long list.

Oprah is human. She has this giant aura...huge celebrity...but she is still a person. She has struggles and her weight is just another reminder that no amount of money can buy ultimate happiness.

"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... My goal isn't to be thin. My goal is for my body to be the weight it can hold—to be strong and healthy and fit, to be itself. My goal is to learn to embrace this body and to be grateful every day for what it has given me."

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