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March 19, 2024

Oprah's Weight Loss Special - A Dietitian's Review

Oprah has returned to primetime TV to share a very controversial and apropos topic: obesity and weight loss medications. Oprah's intention was to untether the shame and stigmas that surround obesity, dieting and weekly weight loss injections. She raises awareness about calling obesity a disease, similar to alcoholism, and disposing of the idea that it is a defect or a result of a lack of willpower. Oprah also opens up about her own tumultuous relationship with food and her weight, explaining that she has been an easy target of a lot of weight shaming throughout the decades as a very public person.

Here's what we believe she got right:

1. Obesity is not about a lack of willpower - in fact, most people who are in larger bodies and struggle to lose weight are battling against genetics, hormonal imbalances, environmental factors, eating disorders and other mental health issues.

2. Shaming someone for being a larger body is not only ignorant, but downright dangerous - this is what leads to increased mental health issues and unhealthy habits.

3.  No one should be embarrassed or ashamed for using weight loss injections. It's your body, your choice.

Here's what we also hope people can take away from Oprah's special and the increased awareness around obesity and weight loss injections:

1. It's ok to want to lose weight, but it's not ok if that desire to lose weight leads to unhealthy, dangerous or damaging behaviors like over-exercising, extreme dieting/restriction, risky surgeries or procedures, etc.

2. Having a higher BMI doesn't make you a bad, unworthy, or unlovable person. Your worth is not determined by your body size.

3. The way you lose weight is the way you'll have to maintain that weight loss - don't expect to start and stop medications or diets and still see the same results. Consider this any time you start a new weight loss journey.

4. Just because you're in a larger body doesn't mean you NEED to lose weight or are automatically unhealthy. Your appearance doesn't diagnose your health.

5. Working with a multispecialty team that includes a registered dietitian, psychotherapist and NP or MD is the best way to ensure long-term success. They can ensure you have all the tools necessary to feel healthier from the inside out.

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