Oprah Winfrey opens up about using weight-loss medication: "Feels like relief"

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Oprah Winfrey has revealed that she has recently turned to a weight-loss medication after years of struggling with her weight.

In an interview with People magazine, the former talk show host recalled the public ridicule she endured for decades about her size and how she internalized the criticism. 

“It was public sport to make fun of me for 25 years,” Winfrey told People.”I have been blamed and shamed, and I blamed and shamed myself.”

She mentioned a particularly harsh instance where a magazine cover dubbed her “Dumpy, Frumpy and Downright Lumpy.”

“I didn’t feel angry,” she told People. “I felt sad. I felt hurt. I swallowed the shame. I accepted that it was my fault.”

Winfrey’s weight fluctuation has been well documented, but things began to improve for her health during rehabilitation after a knee surgery in 2021. 

She said she began hiking and focusing on her fitness, making strides. 

“I felt stronger, more fit, and more alive than I’d felt in years,” she told People. 

Winfrey said she recommended medications for weight loss for others for years but didn’t consider them for herself until she taped a panel conversation with weight loss experts and clinicians as part of “Oprah Daily’s Life You Want” series, which aired in September. 

During the panel she said that the weight-loss drug Ozempic was “the easy way out,” but she said she had an epiphany as she spoke to the panelist. 

“I had the biggest ‘aha’ along with many people in that audience,” Winfrey told People. “I realized I’d been blaming myself all these years for being overweight, and I have a predisposition that no amount of willpower is going to control.”

“Obesity is a disease. It’s not about willpower —it’s about the brain,” she added. 

Winfrey said she changed her mindset about weight-loss medication and got a prescription; she does not name the medication in the interview.

However, Winfrey stressed that she has to work hard to maintain her weight loss, but she still sees the medication as a “gift.”

“The fact that there’s a medically approved prescription for managing weight and staying healthier, in my lifetime, feels like relief, like redemption, like a gift, and not something to hide behind and once again be ridiculed for. I’m done with the shaming from other people and particularly myself.”

Over the last year, there has been a high demand for semaglutide, the generic form of brand name drugs Ozempic, Wegovy and Rybelsus. 

These drugs cause weight loss and have been known to be highly effective: One doctor told CBS News the drugs can help people lose about 15% of their body weight –considerably more than previous generations of weight loss drugs.

Semaglutide drugs work by imitating a gut hormone called GLP1, or glucagon-like peptide hormone, that “makes that gut hormone work better to enhance communication between the gut and the brain and make us feel fuller and also help with reducing appetite,” said Dr. Amanda Velazquez, who works at Cedars-Sinai Center for Weight Management and Metabolic Health in Los Angeles. 

Ozempic and other drugs like it were originally developed to treat patients with diabetes as they produce insulin and lower blood sugar. They can produce serious side effects, and doctors warn that long-term impacts remain unknown.

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Oprah Winfrey, Ozempic

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