It is possibly one of the most famous moments in Oprah history. What am I talking about? I’m referring to the time when Oprah wheeled out 67 pounds of fat to represent the amount of weight that she had lost. Now, in her final season, Oprah dedicated her entire May 10 episode to weight loss, food addiction, emotional eating, and the 100 Oprah viewers who have each lost at least 100 pounds.
The first viewer whose story we saw was Sandra, a 5’2″ mother who weighed 240 pounds at her heaviest. Sandra admits to being an emotional eater who used food to comfort her in moments of sadness, frustration, or doubt. When she was 40-years old, she thought she was having a heart attack. The episode turned out to be a panic attack, but her doctor told her that a heart attack was in her near future. Sandra was afraid of working out, but when she saw a sports bra on the Oprah show, she was motivated to try ice-skating as a form of exercise. She has lost 106 pounds since then. Sandra placed third in a skating competition and is much happier and healthier now.
Several of the viewers had struggled with their weight for their entire lives. One viewer, Dr. Birdie, was so large at one point that she could not even button her triple-XL lab coat. When her 500-pound brother died from a sudden heart attack, she decided it was time to take action and has since lost 144 pounds. The fit and trim cardiologist is now able to walk into her office and help her patients conquer their own weight issues.
One of the most touching stories featured a mother and daughter, Maryanne and Michaela, who had both turned to food for emotional reasons. “I didn’t have any friends and I didn’t fit in. Food was my only friend,” said Michaela about her use of food for emotional comfort. This all changed when Maryanne started training for and completed a triathlon. After watching her mother cross the finish line, Michaela took the initiative herself and lost 50 pounds as well. Becoming healthier as a family is a good idea, but it is different for children than it is for adults. The best tools are portion control and fun exercises, such as riding your bike or playing in the backyard.
Then we had a flash-back to the very first season of the Oprah show when 25-year old Stacey Halprin wrote Oprah a letter, expressing her desire to shed pounds from her 550-pound frame. The Oprah show followed Stacey during her everyday life for several years. In 2002, Stacey had gastric bypass surgery and lost a grand total of 360 pounds as a result. Then, Stacey’s success had an unexpected result: she became an inspiration for other Oprah viewers. Today, Stacey lives a normal life and is even in love with the man she plans on spending her life with.
As the show progressed, we learned how the viewers had been inspired by Oprah throughout the years. The inspiring moments ranged from magazine covers to products featured on the show to Oprah’s own battle with weight. With the Oprah show coming to an end, I have to wonder who the next weight-loss-inspiring persona will be. Do you have any ideas? Honestly, I don’t think there will ever be another Oprah and it is truly amazing to see how this woman has inspired so many.
image via Oprah.com
May 11th, 2011