Last night, Oprah Winfrey had a live call with Weight Watchers members. Questions could be submitted in advance, and a few members were able to ask questions live to Oprah. I didn’t listen to the call live, but did listen to it today. For U.S. Weight Watchers members, you can listen to Oprah’s call at Weight Watchers online.
I was surprised today by how much I enjoyed the call. Ever since Oprah invested in Weight Watchers, I’ve seen some very pro and con views of her. I’ve been more in the middle. I have nothing against Oprah, but have never been a huge fan. When she had her TV show I didn’t watch it. It wasn’t anything against her, but I was working full-time and had kids and didn’t watch much TV. Maybe I watched it a few scattered times or would see clips of it at times. But, that was all. I did, years ago, read the book she did with Bob Greene about her weight loss. And, I have always felt bad for her with her weight loss maintenance struggles. She always seemed to be able to lose when she set her mind to it. But, like many of us (including me), maintaining that loss was a struggle.
When she joined Weight Watchers and invested, I was surprised in a way that so many seemed so hostile to her. I never felt hostile to her. I just don’t really get that invested in many celebrities. I did hope that her investment would be good for Weight Watchers and that her following Weight Watchers would be good for her.
Anyway, the call was interesting. In many ways, she sounded like any other Weight Watchers member, with many similar struggles. She was on there with the Weight Watchers leader who is her coach. I liked that Oprah started out talking about what she likes about the Weight Watchers community and how she acknowledged the long-time members. I think she did a good job of being an advocate for the Weight Watchers way while being careful not to act like she is a big expert on Weight Watchers.
She talked a bit about how much she likes Connect. That is part of the mobile app which is sort of like a private Twitter for Weight Watchers members. I haven’t gone to it much myself (I personally enjoy the Weight Watchers message boards more), but have glanced at it some. She likes looking at the feed and referenced several things that had been posted there. She commented that unlike most social media, Connect is a snark free zone. That is, members are very supportive of one another.
One of the things that I thought was really good in the call was how she talked about being overweight and losing weight in a way that really showed she has many of the same issues as the rest of us. She talked about being in her closet, having clothes in 3 sizes, and struggling to find something that would fit and feeling shame and humiliation. This really resonated with me as I have certainly been there.
One of the live questions was from a member who had lost and regained several times who asked Oprah what was different about this time. She responded how Weight Watchers isn’t a diet. Before, she said she had always lost weight on a diet and then went off it when she got to her goal weight. Now, she sees this as how she will live for the rest of her life. She talked about why she had avoided Weight Watchers over the years (not wanting to weigh in and not liking the idea of counting points). But, now she likes that she can eat without being obsessed with what she isn’t eating. She now likes points and the “game” of trying to use her 30 points (she doesn’t eat FitPoints and doesn’t usually eat Weekly Points except for big events).
She was really happy that she was recently on a trip and bought a big of potato chips and was able to count out 10 and close the bag and then just eat the 10 chips. She said that for her this was a major accomplishment.
She responded to some of the criticisms of her. She recently did a commercial about being able to eat bread every day on Weight Watchers.
Even though I eat very little bread, I loved this commercial. It was very real and she was so happy to be able to eat something that was important to her. And, that is what she emphasized in the call. She loves bread so it is exciting to her that she can have it every day on Weight Watchers. She is not saying that everyone needs to eat bread every day. To her, the beauty of Weight Watchers is that you can eat anything. She talked about in the past being obsessed with food. Now, she says that is all gone because she eats her 30 points and then knows she is done eating for the day.
She also addressed the criticism that it is easy for her because she has a trainer and a chef. She pointed out that if the trainer could lose weight for her, then she wouldn’t be on the phone call! I have always thought that the criticism she has it easy because of those things was off base. Yes, she has some help that most of us don’t have. But, she still has to be the one to do it. And, she has challenges that I don’t have. She was clear on the call that she doesn’t apologize for having a chef because she worked hard to get that. She also talked some about how she had guests over the holidays and the pastry chef made cronuts for the guests, but she had a piece of toast with an egg and avocado.
Another interesting response was about whether she believes in eating anything in moderation or if there are foods that are trigger foods that she avoids. She said that there were some foods she wont’ have in her house. The example she gave was potato chips. She said that while she did have those chips while she was traveling she wouldn’t shop to have chips in her house. That was interesting to me because that is how I am about potato chips. I love potato chips and I had a small bag at Panera’s yesterday for lunch. But, I don’t buy big bags for the house. It is just too difficult.
She says that she hasn’t set a goal weight yet and will know when she gets there. And, she talked awhile about her exercise routine.
Oh, two other things. She talked about how everyone has flaws. But, if you are overweight, you have a flaw that everyone sees. If you overeat, you can’t hide it. I thought that was insightful.
She also talked some about health benefits of losing weight and how much better she feels. She has some steps at her home that she would get tired going up and now it is easier for her. There was what I thought was a great quote that sums up the true importance of losing weight. “You have nothing without your health.” While I know, of course, that not everyone has good health and we can’t always control that, the larger point is true. Trying to have health as good as you can is important and weight loss and maintenance can often help with that.
If you are a Weight Watchers member, I highly recommend listening to the call. It is about an hour long.