Oprah Winfrey On Weight Loss Medication, Diet, Exercise Routine

Tonight, Oprah Winfrey, 70, returned to network television. And this time, she covered a topic close to her heart.

An Oprah Special: Shame, Blame and the Weight Loss Revolution, aired on March 18 at 8 p.m. on ABC, and will stream the next day on Hulu. It explores the trend of using weight loss medications and the controversy surrounding them.

Oprah’s shared her personal weight loss journey and her experience taking a weight loss medication. Her goal for the special is to release the judgement, shame, and stigma around weight.

During the special, Oprah reflected on the body shaming she experienced throughout her career. “I took on the shame that the world gave to me,” she recalled.

“The number one thing I hope people come away with is knowing that [obesity] is a disease, and it’s in the brain,” Oprah says in a new clip about the special on Good Morning America.

Ahead of the special’s airing, Oprah announced that she was stepping away from the board of WeightWatchers. She was concerned that there would be a “conflict of interest.”

“I decided that because this special was really important to me and I wanted to be able to talk about whatever I wanted to talk about,” she explained.

“It is a very personal topic for me and for the hundreds of millions of people impacted around the globe who have for years struggled with weight and obesity,” she told Oprah Daily earlier this month. “This special will bring together medical experts, leaders in the space and people in the day-to-day struggle to talk about health equity and obesity, with the intention to ultimately release the shame, judgment and stigma surrounding weight.”

The latest news comes amidst Oprah’s own weight loss journey, including her recent admission that regular exercise, nutrition, and weight-loss medications are helping her live a healthier life. Here’s everything to know about her health.

How did Oprah lose weight?

Oprah’s 2021 knee surgery actually jumpstarted her recent weight loss.

“After [my] knee surgery, I started hiking and setting new distance goals each week. I could eventually hike three to five miles every day and a 10-mile straight-up hike on weekends,” Oprah told PEOPLE. “I felt stronger, more fit and more alive than I’d felt in years.”

Working towards these fitness goals also helped Oprah achieve a personal goal. “In Hawaii, I live on a mountain, and there’s this big hill—I used to look out the window every morning and say, ‘God, one day I want to walk up that mountain,'” she said in her PEOPLE cover story. “Last year over Christmas I did it… It felt like redemption.”

In December, Oprah shared with PEOPLE that she was close to her “goal weight” of 160 pounds, but emphasized that her journey was not about a number but rather about living a more vibrant life.

Does Oprah use weight-loss medications?

In September 2023, the multihyphenate hosted Oprah Daily’s “The State of Weight” panel. At that time, she shared that she wasn’t interested in taking weight loss medication. “Shouldn’t we all just be more accepting of whatever body you choose to be in? That should be your choice,” she said. “Even when I first started hearing about the weight loss drugs, at the same time I was going through knee surgery, and I felt, ‘I’ve got to do this on my own.’ Because if I take the drug, that’s the easy way out.'”

But in December 2023, Oprah Winfrey opened up to PEOPLE about how her perspective on weight loss medication has changed over time.

“I now use [weight loss medication] as I feel I need it, as a tool to manage not yo-yoing,” Oprah told the publication, without naming the specific drug she takes. “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. I’m absolutely done with the shaming from other people and particularly myself.”

Oprah shared that she started the medication before Thanksgiving “because I knew I was going to have two solid weeks of eating.” Instead of gaining eight pounds like she did last year, she gained half a pound, per the publication.

But she emphasized that weight loss medication has not been a “magic bullet” in managing her weight. “It’s everything,” she said, referencing her health and fitness routine. “I know everybody thought I was on it, but I worked so damn hard. I know that if I’m not also working out and vigilant about all the other things, it doesn’t work for me.”

Taking a weight-loss medication silenced Oprah’s ‘food noise’

During the primetime special, experts claimed that new medications like Ozempic or Wegovy can silence “food noise” and help people lose weight. Food noise refers to “constant and persistent thoughts” about food, “to the point of feeling as if [subjects’] lives revolved around food,” according to research published in the academic journal Nutrients.

Oprah shared an anecdote about how taking a weight-loss drug helped quiet her food noise.

“I’m not constantly thinking about what the next meal is going to be,” she said. “I can eat a half a bagel and be fine…I just want less of the bagel.”

Does Oprah use Ozempic?

The media mogul hasn’t shared exactly which weight loss medication she’s on—yet.

Oprah also made it clear that everyone’s weight loss journey is different. “Whatever your choice is for your body and your weight health, it should be yours to own and not to be shamed about it,” she said.” “I’m just sick of it, and I hope this conversation begins the un-shaming of it.”

As she’s gotten older, Oprah added that she’s learned to let go of the shame she’s felt about her body over the years. “It was public sport to make fun of me for 25 years,” she said. “I have been blamed and shamed, and I blamed and shamed myself.”

Now, she has a new perspective on her weight loss journey. “I realized I’d been blaming myself all these years for being overweight, and I have a predisposition that no amount of willpower is going to control,” she told the publication. “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.”

Watch Oprah speak candidly about her relationship with weight and shame below:

preview for Oprah on Weight and Shame

How does Oprah exercise?

Weight loss medication isn’t the only tool in Oprah’s kit: She’s also an avid exerciser. During her weight loss special, she told viewers that she hikes three to five miles per day and also does “weight resistance training.”

Back in 2017, she told The Hollywood Reporter that she hits her home gym soon after waking up. “I have a fantastic Octane elliptical machine that is like a power mover—you can increase the length of your stride and your arm movement,” she said. “I’ll do 20 minutes on the elliptical and 30 minutes walking on the treadmill. I start out at the Level 3 incline setting and then every minute I add to the incline until I get to 12 or 15. And then I do sit-ups.”

After getting her heart rate up, Oprah said she’ll often cool down with 10 to 20 minutes of walking or sitting meditation.

Back in 1994, Oprah ran the Marine Corps marathon to celebrate her 40th birthday. (She even wore the bib number 40.) Oprah finished with a time of 4:29:15, which put her 8,210 out of 12,716 finishers. (She later told a fan that she couldn’t run any more marathons due to a knee injury.)

Despite her dedication to fitness, Oprah still doesn’t love to work out.

“Here’s the thing about exercise: I still hate it so much,” she said on Today in 2020, per PEOPLE. But, she added, “I still do it.”

“I think everyone’s waiting to love it,” she continued. “You’re not going to love it, but you do the thing you need to do to make yourself feel whole and well.”

Does Oprah still support WeightWatchers?

Fans were floored in late February when Oprah Winfrey announced that she was moving on from the board of WeightWatchers. The talk show host didn’t give a lot of explanation at the time. However, it came just a few months after the she shared that she used weight loss medications as part of maintaining her health. Now, the 70-year-old opening up about why she left her nearly decade-long partnership with the company.

Essentially, the move was was linked to her upcoming special on weight loss medications, Oprah shared during a recent episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Oprah’s decision to leave WeightWatchers was based on her drive to speak freely in her upcoming special, An Oprah Special: Shame, Blame and the Weight Loss Revolution.

“I decided that because this special was really important to me and I wanted to be able to talk about whatever I wanted to talk about, and Weight Watchers is now in the business of being a weight health company that also administers drug medications for weight,” she said on said on a recent episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live! “I did not want to have the appearance of any conflict of interest.”

During the interview, Oprah quipped that WeightWatchers “almost” cried when she announced her resignation. But, she will still be involved in the company, writing in her original resignation statement, “I look forward to continuing to advise and collaborate with WeightWatchers and CEO Sima Sistani in elevating the conversation around recognizing obesity as a chronic condition, working to reduce stigma, and advocating for health equity.”

Headshot of Korin Miller

Korin Miller is a freelance writer specializing in general wellness, sexual health and relationships, and lifestyle trends, with work appearing in Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Self, Glamour, and more. She has a master’s degree from American University, lives by the beach, and hopes to own a teacup pig and taco truck one day.

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