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Oprah Winfrey Regrets Being a ‘Major Contributor’ to Diet Culture: ‘I Own What I’ve Done, and Now I Want to Do Better’

Oprah Winfrey apologized for her contribution to diet culture in WeightWatchers‘ “Making The Shift: A New Way to Think About Weight” livestream on Thursday evening.

At the beginning of the livestream, Winfrey spoke candidly about her experiences influencing diet culture over the years.

“I want to acknowledge that I have been a steadfast participant in this diet culture through my platforms, through the magazine, through the talk show for 25 years,” Winfrey said. “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.”

Winfrey recalled a moment from “The Oprah Winfrey Show” in 1988 when she rolled a wagon of fat onto the stage, saying that it was “one of my biggest regrets.”

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“It sent a message that starving yourself with a liquid diet and set a standard for people watching that I, nor anybody else, could uphold,” she said. “The very next day, I began to gain the weight back. Maya Angelou always said, ‘When you know better, you do better,’ so these conversations for me are an effort to do better.”

Winfrey continued, “I own what I’ve done, and now I want to do better.”

Winfrey announced earlier this year that she was leaving the board of WeightWatchers, after having served as a director since 2015. In April, Winfrey said in a statement regarding the live-streamed event with WeightWatchers, “As we reconcile the shame stories we have all experienced, I’m on a mission to keep this conversation going and help us better understand the complexity of weight health and how we can use the science and what we know now to enhance our lives.”


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