The Highs and Lows of Oprah Winfrey's 50-Year Weight Loss Journey

Oprah Winfrey Addresses Her Use of Weight Loss Drugs & Decades of Shaming

Among the many things Oprah Winfrey is the queen of—talk shows, interviews, book clubs, favorite things—she has also been a leading voice in the weight loss space.

Not because she has all the answers, as she'd be first to admit.

But because the 70-year-old billionaire has been talking about her own fluctuating weight for as long as she's been in the public eye.

From rolling out a wagon loaded with 67 pounds of jiggly fat to wow her Oprah Winfrey Show audience in 1988, to buying a stake in WeightWatchers in 2015 and hosting a March 18 primetime special examining where society's at when it comes to this ever-relatable yet still taboo subject, Winfrey has used her platform to keep the conversation going.

While sometimes the discourse has been as benign as Winfrey declaring her unabashed love of bread, she has also ventured into some dark places. And most recently, she took on the topic du jour.

photosFascinating Facts About Oprah Winfrey

"In my lifetime I never dreamed we would be talking about medicines that would be providing hope to people, like me, who have struggled for years with being overweight or with obesity," she said on An Oprah Special: Shame, Blame and the Weight Loss Revolution, addressing the increasing popularity of weight loss drugs such as Ozempic. "I come to this conversation with the hope that we can start releasing the stigma and the shame and the judgment—to stop shaming other people for being overweight or how they choose to lose or not lose weight—and more importantly to stop shaming ourselves."

As her loyal fandom knows, she speaks from experience.

John Salangsang/Variety via Getty Images

"I still hate myself because of my weight," Winfrey said on her eponymous show in 1986. In a later sit-down, she described her defeatist mindset: "All the fame and the success doesn't mean anything if you can't fit into the clothes. If you can't fit into your clothes, it means the fat won. It means you didn't win."

Along the way she tried seemingly every fad diet before ultimately zeroing in on her complicated relationship with food.

"I've never liked the term 'food addict,'" Winfrey said on her show in 2010, noting that she had referred to herself that way "casually" over the years. "But I realize that I really have been one. And believe me, I—like so many of you—have punished myself for that. But I know that I'm not alone, and I know that the battle hasn't ended."

A battle she acknowledged she'd been fighting every day of her life, often in public with an audience of millions wondering which size jeans she'd turn up in next, but also privately, cloaked in self-loathing because she thought she'd failed.

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photosStars Who Have Sounded Off on Ozempic

"All these years I thought all of the people who never had to diet were just using their willpower and for some reason stronger than me," Winfrey said in her special. "And now I realize, y'all weren't even thinking about the foodคำพูดจาก ปั่นสล็อตแตกทุกเกม. It's not that you had the willpower—you weren't obsessing over it, that's the big thing I learned."

Taking medication (she has never named which one) to help regulate her weight, along with eating smaller portions and staying active—"It's not just one thing, it's multiple things"—has changed her entire outlook.

"When I tell you how many times I have blamed myself," Winfrey added, "because you think, I'm smart enough to figure this out, and then to hear all along it's you fighting your brain."

Even though she's spelled it out every which way, it's still difficult to think of Winfrey—so beloved for her unbridled enthusiasm and sought out as a voice of reason on everything from relationships and shopping to U.S. politics and the British monarchy—as being this vulnerable.

But as everything she's shared over the years proves, the struggle has been real. Read on for a closer look at Winfrey's weight loss journey: 

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