Oprah Says Her Move to Weight Watchers Was for Her Health, Not Vanity

Oprah Winfrey says she wanted to accept her body when she weighed more than 200 lbs., but she needed to slim down for her health

When Oprah weighed more than 200 lbs., she wanted to lean on the body positivity movement to feel comfortable about her weight — but she couldn’t do it without risking her health.

‘‘For your heart to pump, pump, pump, pump, it needs the least amount of weight possible to do that,” Winfrey, 63, tells The New York Times magazine. “So all of the people who are saying, ‘Oh, I need to accept myself as I am’ — I can’t accept myself if I’m over 200 pounds, because it’s too much work on my heart. It causes high blood pressure for me. It puts me at risk for diabetes, because I have diabetes in my family.”

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The media mogul — who purchased a 10 percent stake in Weight Watchers in Oct. 2015 before starting the program herself — says the current trend to stay away from terms like “diet” or “skinny” while stressing body acceptance is not so simple to follow.

“This whole P.C. about accepting yourself as you are — you should, 100 percent,” Winfrey says, before clarifying that her personal acceptance required finding a weight-loss plan, which is why Weight Watchers works for her.

‘‘It’s a mechanism to keep myself on track that brings a level of consciousness and awareness to my eating. It actually is, for me, mindful eating, because the points are so ingrained now.’’

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Now, Winfrey tells the magazine, she doesn’t care if she’s ever skinny again — she just wants to be in control of her body.

Winfrey told PEOPLE in January that she’s down 42.5 lbs., and she’s “finally made peace with food,” after just over a year on the program.

“This has been the easiest process that I’ve ever experienced,” she said. “At no time during meals do I deprive myself.”

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