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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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December 10, 2008

Oprah Hits 200 Pounds. Again.

By Mark Sisson
110 Comments

If that sounds like a tabloid headline, well, it is. Except it was culled from Oprah’s own Magazine “O”.  It’s been an inside joke around here for years. We even thought about writing an entire book on the subject a few years ago “Why Can’t Oprah Lose Those Last 30 Pounds?” Well, now it turns out that not only couldn’t she lose those last 30, she has gained yet another 40 and has recently hit 200 pounds again. And all this happened despite the fact that she’s had daily access to world-famous personal trainer Bob Greene (OK, she was the one who made him famous). And she has world-famous doctor Mehmet Oz (author of You: The Owner’s Manual and You on a Diet – OK, she made him famous, too). Oh, and let’s not forget that other Oprah creation –  world-famous self-help guru Dr. Phil, who penned his own weight-loss tome, but could still stand to lose five or fifty pounds himself. These guys ought to be ashamed of themselves individually and collectively. Talk about the Emperor having no clothes! Especially Greene. The one single client who made him a gazillionaire and set him up for life, and he’s never been able to get any appreciable results with her. How can he sit on her show and talk about a healthy diet, “emotional eating” and proper exercise – and claim to be her trainer – with a straight face, while she balloons up in front of America?

Here’s what Oprah says in Greene’s book The Best Life Diet:

“The Best Life Diet plan on the following pages mirrors the way I eat and live now. There is no secret to losing weight. It’s simple physics; what you put in vs. what you put out.” Oh, really? I wonder how many millions of women have taken her advice and followed her down that same twisted path. That has to weigh heavily on her mind these days. “What I know For Sure” (title of a regular column in “O”) is that she now has an obligation to re-educate her viewers in the proper way to move through life.

Look, Oprah’s a driven, successful type-A woman who’s “trying to do the right thing” when it comes to weight loss, just like most of America. In fact, she probably exemplifies what has happened to millions of others following Conventional Wisdom. But the truth is, she’s been victimized by these guys. I bet she hung on Greene’s every word for years. Dieted, sweated, counted calories, weighed out portions. But after a while, after all that sacrifice, deprivation, hard work and no results, the frustration had to be overwhelming. It’s no wonder she fell off the wagon. Just like millions of others who have gone the same route. Fer cryin’ out loud, doesn’t anyone get it? It’s not about cutting calories, low-fat dieting or running marathons. It’s about eating the way we were programmed by evolution to eat and moving the way we were programmed to move.

I’m not saying Oprah needs to be a svelte 120, but somewhere between 135 and 150 there’s probably an ideal weight for her that she can maintain with ease and stay healthy at for at least another 40 years. The track she’s on now is a very slippery slope. I mean, think about it: if anybody could have access to the top information, it’s Oprah. She could call America’s guru and ask him how she might overcome her food demons, she could have America’s top personal trainer fix all her meals and exercise with her and she could have America’s best doc test her CRP and read her the riot act regarding obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Oh wait. She already did that.  Didn’t work. So what about the millions of others who have followed in her footsteps?

I went to Greene’s site and looked at some sample meals. Typical low-fat, low-calorie stuff that we now know is doomed to failure. Fair amount of cereal and bread (Wheaties and Barilla pasta are site sponsors), low fat dairy, etc. I would bet it’s 50% of calories as carbs. Then there’s some “jogging” in the exercise prescription, but no high end speed bursts or intensive compound movements as far as I can see. Same goes for Oz’s Diet book. Whole grains are good, saturated fats are bad. It’s old technology, guys. And it never worked that well anyway. Note, I refuse to read Dr. Phil’s book – for the same reasons I refuse to buy exercise equipment from a fat pony-tailed guy screaming at me on home-shopping TV. Can’t respect anyone who doesn’t walk the talk.

Oprah claims to have an underactive thyroid that has manifested itself in a “fear of working out.” That doesn’t surprise me with all the grains and simple carbs she’s most assuredly been consuming in the name of “trying to do the right thing.” And as for exercise, if you hate it, you are doing it wrong. Find something that works. There are lots of choices.

Not to toot my own horn, (OK, OK, tooting my own horn now) but here’s my challenge to you, Oprah: give me 60 days with the Primal Blueprint and I’ll give you your life back. Period. Guaranteed.

Further Reading:

Oprah Winfrey Says She Weighs 200 lbs

The Definitive Guide to the Primal Eating Plan

What’s Wrong with the Zone Diet?

The Beginning of the End? – Statins for Children

TAGS:  body fat

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110 Comments on "Oprah Hits 200 Pounds. Again."

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Jerry the Frog (of the Bull Variety)
Jerry the Frog (of the Bull Variety)
7 years 9 months ago
Mark, Oprah should absolutely listen to you. I’ve only applied bits of the Primal Blueprint to my life and have seen drastic (in a good way) results. It’s fun, intuitive, feels right and the weight has melted off. The food is to die for, the exercises don’t feel like exercises, and the Primal Blueprint guide just makes sense. 60 days of learning how to live a healthy life, stripping away all the flawed CW she has been fed by people looking to make a buck would go a long way to turning her life around. She can have all the… Read more »
chris
7 years 9 months ago

Excellent. Unfortunately I think you’re preaching the the choir here, and I seriously doubt that the people who really need to see this will.

I’d the publicity that would result if she took your challenge, but….

Well, I can dream.

Tracey
Tracey
7 years 9 months ago

Hey Mark,
WOW,you really hit the nail on the head with this article! It is sort of strange that someone like her with all her fame and power can’t get good solid nutrition or exercise info???? But,the worse part is if Oprah isn’t getting good info what hope is there for the masses?? No wonder we have issues!! She needs and intervention..
It would be so great if she “got” Primal,think of all the new recipes etc for all of us!
🙂

Susan
Susan
7 years 9 months ago

Well said. I think part of the reason Oprah is so loved by her audience (me included!) is that despite her status, she still has the ordinary problems of the average woman. Unlike some other talk show hosts *cough cough,* she doesn’t put on a fat suit for a day to “experience” obesity. We get to watch her journey as she tries to get healthier. And if what she’s been trying isn’t working, it’s time for her to try something new. I’d love to see Oprah go Primal for a month.

Marc
7 years 9 months ago

Ya mark your assesment is spot on, its truly unfortunate that people get into these sorts of useless eating habits with really the best of intentions but without good science to really back it up.

Holly
Holly
7 years 9 months ago

I think this situation is is unfortunate for Oprah – I think her heart is in the right place and she WANTS to loose weight, and she WANTS to set an example for others, and she WANTS to help others in their own weight struggles. She’s just surrounded by people who blindly follow Conventional Wisdom. (This is where Mark gallantly enters on a white horse with sandbags, slosh tubes, and kettlebells strapped to the sides).

If Oprah truly wants the things I listed above, then she should talk to Mark.

Angelina
Angelina
5 years 11 months ago

I love the image you just painted of Mark on a horse right there. Except he’d have to be shirtless, of course, like the guy in the Old Spice Commercial…”Look at you, now look at me…” 🙂

emergefit
7 years 9 months ago

When paradise is discovered, paradise becomes lost. I hope Oprah never learns who Mark is, never meets Grok, and remains bloated and uncomforatbel for all her days. She is a false prohit.

mm
mm
5 years 9 months ago

Why? You sound like a complete asshole – most PB’ers / Paleo dieters were as clueless and desperate as her at some point.

Camille
Camille
7 years 9 months ago

I think you should assembly your own team of experts, throw down the gauntlet, and challenge Oprah to take you and your team on for 6 months. Honestly, after all her years of preaching and those frauds that she has turned into millionaires she should eat crow, give those guys the boot (or turn them into the cops), and do something that has PROVEN results!

Wendy
Wendy
7 years 9 months ago

“When paradise is discovered, paradise becomes lost. I hope Oprah never learns who Mark is, never meets Grok, and remains bloated and uncomfortable for all her days. She is a false prophet.”
I thought I was the only one that secretly wanted her to continue on with her low cal high carb ways. Amen, emergefit!

Annie
Annie
5 years 5 months ago

Why would you want such an unhealty lifestyle for her? Shameful and sad remark by you both.

Rebecca
Rebecca
3 years 5 months ago

Why would you hope for someone to fail? Why be hateful towards someone you don’t even know, who has the same struggles as most Americans? This seemed like a positive website…

FoodRenegade
7 years 9 months ago

I actually feel sorry for her. She’s so high profile, and I think she honestly wants to do the right things. I’m amazed that someone as intelligent as she is hasn’t figured out that the reason we’re in this mess is *because* we follow the advice of diet dictocrats. Surely she has the internet? Surely she’s heard those of us who embrace a more traditional, primitive way of eating? Does she think we’re nutcases? How does she explain our successes?

Cheers,
KristenM

Sandra R.
Sandra R.
7 years 9 months ago

I love Oprah’s show. I would love it more if Mark was featured as much as Dr. Oz is. Mark – Your 10 Primal Blueprint lifestyle behaviors are perfect for prime time TV – easy to digest, easy to remember, easy to accomplish, easy to understand. I say you on Fox News awhile back and you were awesome. It’s a wonder why you aren’t doing more in the way of television. You have to finish that book! We’re all waiting in anticipation.

trackback
[…] Oprah Hits 200 Pounds. Again. | Mark’s Daily Apple. Mark comments here about how its so hard for Oprah to lose weight, and that she has everything going for her. I start to wonder, past what Mark has to say, and think, why does she document her battle with weight-loss, and why does it sell? I think the key is that she is now giving people a license to be fat. Of course she would never come out and directly admit it, but people will look at Oprah and think, “Well if she can’t be fit, with everything going… Read more »
Son of Grok
7 years 9 months ago
Oprah is the classic definiton of a “Yo yo dieter”. She has lost weight then been fat and lost weight then ballooned again more times than I can count. The really scary thing about Oprah, is that so many will blindly follow her no matter what she says! The word “lemmings” comes to mind. As you deftly point out, its also scary how Oprah can make people experts or basically create their careers. I have a couple extended family members to adhere to this pack of lemmings. I was recently dragged into a conversation touting the benefits of vegetarianism because… Read more »
Annie
Annie
5 years 5 months ago

Are we not all “lemmings” of the PB?

trackback

[…] Mark at Mark’s Daily Apple shares his take (that Oprah has been yo-yoing forever now and it’s clearly not about food and exercise; she’s been victimized by all her gurus, etc) here. […]

Conny
Conny
7 years 9 months ago
I hope some of her staff are cruising the Internet and find this. She would feel so much better with even as little as 3 weeks of PB. I’m not sure what she means when she says she has a “fear of working out.” She didn’t have this fear before?? I’m not understanding what hypothyrodism has to do with it. My husband has low thyroid and takes medication for it. It most certainly does not stop him from playing recreational ice hockey once a week OR playing hard with our son. The guy is otherwise healthy and not overweight. Maybe… Read more »
MsC
MsC
7 years 9 months ago

This is so sad. I hope this blog makes it into Oprah’s hands and she takes you up on the offer. What does she have to lose? Well, we KNOW what she has to lose…and she isn’t getting it done with her team of peeps is she?

Looking forward to seeing you on the Oprah show. I’ll tune in for sure!

Jerry
Jerry
7 years 9 months ago

To be honest with you I couldn’t care less about Oprah.

charlotte
7 years 9 months ago
I have to say that, like Susan, I really respect Oprah. I am glad that she is sharing all aspects of her quest for fitness with us. It’s so much better than having a celeb drop 30 lbs overnight because of abusing prescription meds and then claim they are just naturally thin. There’s a lot to be learned from the journey. Anyhow, I’m all about trying everything and seeing what works for your body. I’ve tried the Primal Blueprint and it didn’t work for me (Sorry guys! But I still love this site for the high quality analysis of research… Read more »
Mara
7 years 9 months ago

I think Oprah really needs to deal with what’s going on between hear ears before she worries about what’s going in her mouth. She really needs to try to love the body she’s got!

Piter
Piter
7 years 9 months ago

Yes, charlotte. It’s nearly impossible to do the Primal Blueprint when you are a vegetarian/vegan or just don’t like meat. Unfortunately for non-meat eaters, eating meat is what nature prescribed Grok.

Jen
Jen
7 years 9 months ago
Mara, I’m rather disturbed as well at the language Oprah used to describe her feelings about her weight. Feeling like a “fat cow” sitting next to Tina Turner and Cher? Almost cancelling the interview because of her insecurity? This isn’t the message it seems she tries to send to her audience every day. As women, we hear enough of that destructive comparative crap. Should she take charge and lose the weight (again)? Absolutely – but for the sake of her own health and well-being. I’m an Oprah fan as well. I don’t have much time to watch her show, but… Read more »
Son of Grok
7 years 9 months ago

Hahahaha that is great SuperMike! BTW SuperMike is my hero. Look at the guy!

The SoG

trackback

[…] this week about Oprah tipping the scales at 200 again. The blog world is ‘abuzz with Mark’s Daily Apple, Jimmy Moore, and the Associated Press all giving  good stories about it, inspired by the cover of […]

Mark
7 years 9 months ago

Awesome stuff as usual!

Marc Feel Good Eating
7 years 9 months ago

Great minds think a like.
Take a look at Dr. Eades blog. http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/
He had the same message for Oprah.

Marc

Andrew R - Go Healthy Go Fit
7 years 9 months ago

That pic is pretty hilarious! I hope Oprah finds the answer, cause I know it’s out there.

All the Best,

Andrew R

John Campbell
John Campbell
7 years 9 months ago

I am hardly an Oprah fan, but I do have a lot of respect for her and I admire the frankness about her weight issues. I second those who would love to see you on Oprah. And when she has lost the excess and is lean and healthy on your PB, you and her can ride into the studio together on the white stallion! Maybe SuperMike can photoshop that image, but I really would like to see it for real!

trackback

[…] had to drop a quick tangent in here. Mark Sisson had a great post on Oprah’s weight gain. The infamous SuperMike (The super ripped primal paleo amazingman) put together this phot of Mark […]

trackback

[…] Winfrey’s much-publicized and on-going battle with weight. Same goes for Mark Sisson, over at Mark’s daily Apple.  Both Mark and Dr. Eades have done a wonderful job in explaining the physical side of Oprah’s […]

Eddie
Eddie
7 years 9 months ago

I admire and respect Oprah for all that she has accomplished and the good she works to share, especially starting out in life where she did and overcoming all that she has.

Having said that, when Bob Greene and Dr. Oz are presenting “true knoweledge,” standing aside a woman who is displaying a most obvious unhealthy symptom, her adiposity, I can’t help but notice the “Emperor’s New Clothes” sense of the whole affair. We are such a star struck culture.

Thanks for the consistently great information and inspiratoin Mark !

Eddie

Barbara Cartwright
Barbara Cartwright
7 years 9 months ago
Dear Mark, You absolutely should contact Oprah with the challenge to help her lose the weight and keep it off. Only problem is she is richer than anyone but God, and always talks about how much she loves macaroni and cheese and bread. She has actually said that she would eat nothing but macaroni and cheese and be very happy. She believes that Bob Green has the answer. She hates to exercise so she fights him on that too. The funny thing is that she keeps having him on the show. She keeps making a big deal about commitment to… Read more »
Crystal
Crystal
7 years 9 months ago
Wow, some of these posts were disturbing. Dr. Phil believes weight has nothing to do with food. I’ve lost interest in Bob Greene since he sold out and is sponsoring brands. I don’t agree with Dr. Oz on some topics and he is too vague to help anyone anyway. Oprah does have hypothyroidism, probably hashimottos–I’d bet on that! HypoT. is a terrible condition and makes it very difficult for some people to lose weight despite diet and exercise(even the right diet). Besides weight gain, it’s obvious that she does not feel well. I’m not sure what she meant by the… Read more »
John Campbell
John Campbell
7 years 9 months ago
Oprah may very well be hypothyroid – the question is why. Based on my last 10 months of eating largely PB, I have found that every system of my body functions better than it did before. Endocrine problems can be profound and difficult to stabilize, but it is hard to make make a better start towards improvement than eating primal. I never would have believed the changes myself without experiencing them and every day becomes easier and reinforces the changes. Exercise and activity are important, but as Mark says, diet or way of eating (since this is for life) is… Read more »
Ann
Ann
7 years 9 months ago
Mark, I am a fan of your blog and I think you typically write very well researched and interesting articles, which is one of the reasons I had signed up for your Daily Apple. I am also sure that this will be an unpopular opinion, but I’m disappointed in the tone of this post. The condescension – [“It’s been an inside joke around here for years. We even thought about writing an entire book on the subject a few years ago “Why Can’t Oprah Lose Those Last 30 Pounds?”] and arrogance – [“Not to toot my own horn, (OK, OK,… Read more »
mm
mm
5 years 9 months ago

“You have found a diet and lifestyle that works for you and many others, but it’s not for everyone”

Well, compared to the pseudo-scientific crap that’s out there, I’m pretty sure eating and living more in tune with what we know of our evolutionnary past, *is* for everyone.

Crystal
Crystal
7 years 9 months ago

I absolutely agree about diet. Unfortunately, it doesn’t fix everything.

If we really wanted to help Oprah, we wouldn’t be so rude and hurtful…

Sue
Sue
7 years 9 months ago

The joke is not on Oprah but the parties giving her the WRONG advice. Why can’t she lose those last 30 pounds – because the advice is wrong.
I think your diet and lifestyle has to be maintainable for sure but eating moderate protein, good fats, vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds is the optimum diet for all humans. Just the proportions may need to be tweaked.

Tom Parker - Free Fitness Tips
7 years 9 months ago

I agree that being rude or hurtful towards Oprah is not helpful. However, surely it is partially her responsibility to work out that the advice she is getting is not working and then to find some alternative parties who really can help her.

drpierredebs
drpierredebs
7 years 9 months ago

What a wonderful world it would be if TV did not exist.

Does any intelligent person really care what Oprah says or does?

WIth her resources, she has no excuses other than laziness, not to be in the best shape possible.

No idiot box-no Oprah.

Throw your TV´s out- after all, no TV is primal. Actually, no internet is also primal…ooops:-)

trackback

[…] something to say about Oprah’s recent admission of her diet and fitness failures…read “Oprah Hits 200 Pounds. Again.” Published […]

trackback

[…] Read the whole thing. […]

Chris
7 years 9 months ago

I saw her show on the “blue zones” a couple of weeks ago. They had a spread to demonstrate a region in Italy that had bread on it. She eyed,hunted,grabbed and consumed that bread with the fervor of a staving cheetah hunting a gazelle to feed her cubs.
I looked at my wife and said that is exactly why O cant lose weight, she has all the “experts” telling her whole grains are good.

Parth
7 years 9 months ago

Anyone know what steps Oprah has taken to remedy her problems? Has she fired her trainer?

Terrilee
Terrilee
7 years 9 months ago

Hi Mark, I absolutely agree with you! As long as Oprah listens to her so called “Experts” she will NEVER see or feel the results she should be experiencing. I hope someone will tell her about Mark Sisson. I have been working out since I was in grade school and following the Primal eating plan for a long time. It Works!!!! No doubt about it! It’s really a shame that the media continues to spew the same junk to everyone: whole grains, lowfat, etc…I pray someday that “they” will get it! Thanks for all you do, Terrilee

mary johnson
mary johnson
7 years 9 months ago

Mark,
I only wish Oprah would listen to you! She would feel and look better than she ever has! But, remember who sponsors her show….drug companies,etc… Hopefully, one day she will “get it”. I truly hope she takes you up on your offer. Very, very sincerely,Mary Johnson

Will
Will
7 years 9 months ago

I would be shocked if Oprah is actually following the diet & exercise outline that her ‘gurus’ lay out. Oprah and most Americans are victims of excess.

Brett_nyc
Brett_nyc
7 years 9 months ago

Great post Mark. You site was the first thing I though of when I saw that headline. Thank you for everything.

loyal reader, Brett

George
George
7 years 9 months ago

When you have that much money, who gives a crap about what you eat and look like? She could fill a swimming pool and be Scrooge McDuck for a workout.

She doesn’t care! Its all to sell something! The fact we are giving attention to it is more press for her. Honestly, I could care less about how the richest woman in the US eats. Mark, you wasted your time on this one.

Crystal
Crystal
7 years 9 months ago

Oprah struggles with her weight just like most Americans, I think she is doing the best she can. Money can not buy health. The wealthy are victims of bad medical care just like everyone else. Having bad nutrition/medical advice does not mean a person is lazy, how rude. In fact, I admire all that she has been able to accomplish while trying to feel well.

I would love to help her with her diet and hormones.

emergefit
7 years 9 months ago

Dogs laying at their master’s feet waiting to be told what to do. Oprah usually the master, is just a pudgy dog with no sense of self. Agree with Pierre, kill your TV and forget Oprah exists.

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