Oprah Winfrey Apologizes for Contributing to Diet Culture: ‘I Want to Do Better’

During Thursday’s “Making the Shift: A New Way to Think About Weight” live stream, presented by WeightWatchers, Oprah Winfrey—WW board director from 2015 to this year when she announced she was stepping down—acknowledged her career-long contributions to diet culture.

“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,” she 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 started working in television.”

She specifically referred to the infamous moment from a 1988 episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show when she brought a wagon of fat onto the stage to represent the weight she’d lost by fasting for six weeks, subsisting on a “medically supervised” liquid diet, calling it “one of my biggest regrets.”

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

Of the live stream event sponsored by WeightWatchers, which hosted celebrities like Rebel Wilson and Busy Phillippsshe said, “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.”

Or, perhaps, we don’t do livestreams sponsored by diet culture capitalists?


Leave a Comment