Oprah’s shocking lack of self-esteem



I expected more from Oprah. This incredibly powerful woman implies that she cannot fulfill her potential because she’s overweight.

In her commercial  for Weight Watchers, entitled Oprah’s New Weight Watchers Journey , she comes out with the following statements:

“Inside every overweight woman is the woman she knows she can be.”

“You’ve gotten lost,  buried in the weight that you carry”

“Every time I tried and failed ….”

Is Oprah, who is said to be the most influential woman in the world, really short on self-esteem or is she simply trying to cash in on her investment in Weight Watchers? (It’s been reported that she recently purchased 10 % of the company.)

She says that she failed with her weight loss attempts. Failure? It’s well known that this blame game – blaming oneself for not losing weight or keeping it off – is misplaced. All too often, it’s the method of weight loss that’s responsible for the lack of success, not the individual person’s actions.

As for Oprah’s other statements, astounding is one word that comes to mind.

Fat prejudice still exists but it’s not something I thought Oprah would perpetuate. Overweight women may not be at their healthiest  but does their weight stop them from realizing their hopes and ambitions? Oprah, with all her power, should be screaming a resounding “no”.   Skinny or overweight, tall or short – what do physical attributes have to do with whether a person is smart, resourceful, kind or a good human being?

According to Oprah’s commercial, you can only reach your full potential if you lose the excess weight.

Does she really believe this or is she trying to appeal to the multitude of women, whether 10 or 50 pounds over their healthiest weight, who believe that because they don’t fit the ideal, they can’t be good at what they do?

I understand, that as a major shareholder of Weight Watchers, she wants women to join and make her even richer. But with the power she wields, she should be encouraging women to fight fat prejudice, not perpetuate it.


What do you think of Oprah’s words? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Categories: Rosie's Rants, Weight Management, Women's Health

Author:Rosie Schwartz

Rosie Schwartz is a Toronto-based consulting dietitian and writer.

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8 Comments on “Oprah’s shocking lack of self-esteem”

  1. January 26, 2016 at 5:43 am #

    It’s definitely concerning that her roles as a trusted public figure and a journalist are further confused if she’s got a business interest in something… too complicated to be straightforward without any ethical questions…

  2. Paula
    January 26, 2016 at 6:14 am #

    All I can say is I’m disappointed and disgusted in her comments ! Diets don’t work. It’s been proven over and over and she has proven it herself. My goal is health and happiness over thinness. Moderation is the key !

  3. Paula
    January 26, 2016 at 6:58 am #

    I am very disappointed in this whole ad campaign…it has been proven over and over again that diets don’t work……..to me, health and happiness over thinness is a great motto -moderation in all things………..

  4. Colleen
    January 26, 2016 at 7:06 am #

    I was shocked when I saw Oprah’s Ads for Weight Watchers, it goes against what she preaches, I’m throwing her to the curb along with Dr.Oz and Dr. Phil! Tiresome!

  5. January 26, 2016 at 11:33 am #

    I think the article is overly simplistic and jumps to incorrect conclusions. Not reaching one’s full potential is a very far cry from believing one cannot be good at what one does because one does not fit the ideal. And frankly, yes, if I am overweight, many things are not attainable for me. Whether I want those things in the first place is a different matter but jeez, seriously, do we all have to be able to get whatever comes to mind? That is highly unrealistic and not very smart in my opinion. I think it is much more imortant how we cope with limits – whatever might be the reasons for those limits.

    Oh, and another question: why on earth would Oprah be responsible for displaying lots of self-esteem so that the rest of us can have something to hold on to? And just to make myself totally unpopular: yes, yes we are responsible for failures to lose weight. The _method_ is responsible? Is this writer kidding? No, honestly, I am responsible for everything I do, good or bad, for everything I stuff into my fat mouth – or don’t. I. Nobody else. And if I try losing weight by “method” then I am responsible for picking the method. Hard to hear, I know, but darn it, it is the truth.

    • January 26, 2016 at 4:57 pm #

      Ellen, I couldn’t disagree with you more – in so many of the points that you make. I am unsure what you think is unattainable for an overweight person. Yes, the cover of Sports Illustrated bathing suit issue may be out of reach. But I don’t think that Oprah was referring to this. What Oprah seems to be saying is that if a woman loses weight, there are many things she can strive for. I think that weight should not enter into the equation.

      As well, both my experience as a dietitian and in reading the research, it’s the diets that cause the failures. While not all weight loss programs lead to failure, those that promote quick weight loss and unsustainable eating patterns do. If you are overweight and commenting about stuffing your “fat mouth, I suggest you treat yourself a little better. And if you’re not and have this attitude, then I would suggest that attitudes such as yours push overweight people into find quick solutions to combat fat prejudice.

  6. January 26, 2016 at 12:32 pm #

    I’m tired of Oprah, and thankful her show no longer exists. She, and her loyal fans, believe that every word that issues forth from her lips is the golden truth. Frankly, I’m not fooled by her. Is she outstanding? Why, sure. But she’s not a guru and yet she puts herself out that way, aligning herself with others who are playing the same entrepreneurial game as she is, and capitalizing, not only on their abilities to schmooze, but know their game, and WORK IT. Her true ability is, when it gets right down to it, is nothing more than the “gift of gab”. She’s convincing. But not for everyone, and that includes me. As for this recent WW thing, I see her as a hypocrite because a few years ago, she announced that she’d finally accepted herself as she was, that is, as a “big” woman and that’s what she was meant to be. She’d finally accepted herself that way. Now she has a pecuniary interest in WW and this is her latest project. It’s not about her losing weight, it’s about promoting WW now that she owns a piece of the pie. OWN is key. After all, she named her tv network just like that. The Oprah Winfrey Network is all about ownership, profit, and she’s pretty greedy. Not a fan.

    • January 26, 2016 at 5:00 pm #

      I agree with you. I expected more of her, especially considering all the years she struggled with her weight. She could show leadership by showing respecting for all people, thin or overweight!

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