Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Oprah and Her Weight (and mine)

Oprah has been open about her weight for years. Hard not to be when you're as visible as she is.

But yesterday's bold admission included the actual number of pounds she now weighs. There's something about giving the number that takes more courage, I think. It's not like rescuing children from a burning building, of course; on the other hand, at the level of risk where most of us operate most of the time, I think it's a gut move.

I wonder if she has ever tried Overeaters Anonymous. Back in my twenties, I found them very helpful. I was a bit underweight and doing binge-then-Tab-and-cabbage. Not real healthy. That was before the days when anybody had heard of an eating disorder outside of a medical book or an occasional story of anorexia. I saw one line in a column in a Cosmo that told me about OA. That was all it took. Just a few meetings and the 12-step system taught me some key pieces of good self-management for the weight-wacky.

Maybe Oprah shaved a few pounds off the number she mentioned. I would find that forgivable.

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mamie said...

All my life I have looked thinner than my actual weight. Especially now, since quitting smoking and adding a few pounds, I hate to say how much I weigh.

I have recently started going to the gym. The first time I went, with my husband in tow to help me with the machines, he said I had to weigh first. I almost left the gym, but said (as I say in all the doctors' offices) that I would NOT weigh - I didn't want to feel bad about myself because of some numbers on the scale bar. He argued that I wouldn't be able to measure my success unless I weighed; I argued that I was already defeated if I felt bad about myself from the first day at the gym. I won.

I commend Oprah on making her battle public.

K.B. said...

Weight and self-image -- hugely dangerous, equilibrium-threatening bits of territory. Why do we feel bad about ourselves if we're overweight? What does it mean, what are the ramifications that we're overweight? Why are we overweight? Why do we have a resistance inside ourselves to losing weight? Do numbers on a scale count if we still weigh that much whether we know the numbers or not? What does being overweight mean to our self-image, and how does our imaging of ourselves contribute to how our lives are right now, and are we happy with that?

These are all things I cope with on a regular basis, because I contribute regularly to a diet website. Answers seem to be as individual as each person.

Personally, I do better if I know what the numbers are on the scale and what the measurements are on the measuring tape, all the way round my body. It's the only way I have a truly good way of measuring my results. It's great to feel better, but I like having my clothes feel looser and seeing the weight drop on my scale! :)

Peggy Payne said...

I think most American women wrestle with this, and there are a lot of different ways to do it.

Mamie, I have a friend who weighs at her doc's office but faces away from the scale and instructs the nurse not to utter a word -- or number.

I weigh every morning, too, K.B., which isn't recommended for food crazies. But I find it helps me, since I'm not good at reading the image in the mirror.

I've also come upon a bit of balance in my recent years, with the thought: yes, I could get into better shape and it would take at least another hour a day. And that's more than I'm willing to spend. I just don't value the possible change that much...which is real progress for me.

I agree with you, K.B.,that the whole area is pretty dangerous.

pamela said...

Oh, I don't know Peggy - I thought Oprah was beating herself up about it - which can't be good. I mean there she was to receive a most powerful woman in Show Biz award and she was explaining that her Donna Karan dress disguised extra stuff!

Really. She looked great. She runs a multi-million $ media empire and heavens knows where she had the time/energy to get on all those other weight loss/exercise regimes. The skinnier picture of her I saw posted on the net looked not as healthy as she looks now.

Numbers are just numbers - 200 -what? and labels are just labels. Obese? I think we all know what obese is and Oprah is hardly it! Obese is a nasty term and I think bandied about far too casually nowadays - mostly by genetically skinny male MDs -

Not all of us are ectomorphs (who can have hardened arteries despite being thin) - i.e., skinny by design - and we have to make the best of what we have been given - not hate ourselves for failings that are largely genetic!

Sure, keeping in shape is a good thing - as well as eating right - but you could do all those things within reason and not be able to maintain an artifically down weight. Our bodies have set points -

So give Oprah a break - and let's tell her that we love her curls and her curves and the Donna Karan looks just fine - wish we had some.

Peggy Payne said...

Oh, I agree, Pamela.

I didn't see her original comments, just an item saying she'd announced her poundage, which I saw as a sort of freeing thing, take-it-or-leave it, though I know she didn't say that.

My thoughts about OA have nothing to do with fat or thin, but about getting over being crazed by food. That preoccupation is a miserable state of mind and affects everything else.