Oprah Winfrey Apologizes During WeightWatchers Special After Admitting That She Had Taken Weight Loss Drugs: ‘I’m Done With The Shaming’

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Oprah Winfrey didn’t hold back during her highly-anticipated WeightWatchers live special, Making The Shift: A New Way to Think About Weight, on Thursday, May 9th.

According to a description of the program, the live special aimed to “catalyze a new wave of change in how we collectively redefine the cultural and personal relationships between our weight, our health and each other.” And one of the biggest moments of the special happened when the 70-year-old The Color Purple co-producer issued a big apology for being a “major contributor” to toxic diet culture throughout her career.

Oprah Winfrey Apologizes On Her WeightWatchers Special

“I’ve been a steadfast participant in this diet culture,” Winfrey, who recently said she is almost at her goal weight now that she is taking weight loss injections, confessed on the live special. “Through my platforms, through the magazine, through the talk show for 25 years, through online – I’ve been a major contributor to it. I cannot tell you how many weight loss shows and makeovers I have done, and they have been a staple since I’ve been working in television.”

The GLAAD Vanguard Award recipient went on to address a particularly infamous weight-related moment of her career, which was the “wagon of fat” incident that took place on The Oprah Winfrey Show in the late 80s. She called it “one of my biggest regrets.”

Speaking about the controversial moment, which she said came to be after she “starved” herself while doing a liquid diet, the talk show host said: “It sent a message that starving yourself with a liquid diet set a standard for people watching that I nor anybody else could uphold. And I’ve said this before, the very next day, I began to gain the weight back.”

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Oprah Winfrey Weight Watchers live special

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Oprah Winfrey Wants To ‘Stop The Shaming’

Winfrey went on to say that weight loss journeys are personal, and begged others to “stop the shaming” to end the cycle once and for all.

“Whether you choose to start moving more, whether you want to eat differently, whether you want to change your lifestyle, whether you want to take the medications or whether you choose to do absolutely nothing – that you are satisfied exactly the way you are where you are,” Winfrey said. “That’s up to you, whatever your path, this has been a watershed moment for many people.”

Winfrey’s inclusion of “medications” in her message is most likely related to her own weight loss journey, as she confessed to taking weight loss injections in a very candid People interview back in December 2023.

Oprah Winfrey before and after weight loss

Xavier Collin/Image Press Agency/Splash News

Oprah Winfrey Stepped Down From WeightWatchers Board After Admitting To Taking Weight Loss Injections

“The fact that there’s a medically approved prescription for managing weight and staying healthier, in my lifetime, feels like relief, like redemption, like a gift, and not something to hide behind and once again be ridiculed for,” Oprah said at the time, before going on to confirm that she isn’t ashamed to admit that she has taken weight loss drugs. “I’m absolutely done with the shaming from other people and particularly myself.”

A few months after the People interview, the Build the Life You Want author announced that she would not stand for re-election on the board of WeightWatchers, and revealed that she would donate her shares in the company to the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Thilo Semmelbauer, WeightWatchers’ chairman of the board, said Winfrey was “an inspiring presence and passionate advocate” for all of the company’s members, adding: “What I know for sure, we will dearly miss her presence on the Board.” The remaining nine board members reportedly said that they supported Winfrey’s charitable decision, and that it serves “to eliminate any perceived conflict of interest around her taking weight loss medications.”


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