Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
10 Dec

Oprah Hits 200 Pounds. Again.

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

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Mark,

    Did Oprah ever take you up on your offer? Maybe you should contact her “people” to go on her show and tell the world to be Primal!

    Great ranty post :)

    Francesca wrote on March 9th, 2010
  2. How does Dr. Phil sleep at night?

    On a pile of money.

    nathan wrote on June 20th, 2010
  3. poor poor oprah. she needs sisson desperately

    Sam wrote on July 12th, 2010
  4. Mark needs to get on the show and impact the large audience for the good of America.

    Dave wrote on October 2nd, 2010
  5. You need to guest on Oprah and give your PB plan for living!

    Jillian wrote on November 27th, 2010
  6. That’s snarky. Have some compassion. I know the primal blueprint is all that, really, and I wish for everybody to know about it (I’m doing my best linking to your blog from mine), but still. She’s a human being.

    Ulla Lauridsen wrote on December 17th, 2010
  7. I am a fan of Mark and MDA, but there are times when I feel like his path to healthy living is over simplified. “Just eat primal, Oprah, and you will be cured!” Eating is emotional for many people. Oprah has admitted it herself, many times, and I feel that way, too. I am loving my primal eating style, but I still miss certain foods, and face situations almost daily where I am tempted to eat something that is not “primal”. Thank god the world is not scrutinizing my eating habits, I don’t know how I could handle that!

    Holly wrote on December 18th, 2010
    • Yeah, going low-carb can in of itself induce sugar withdrawal, but there’s also that problem I had at first of using food as stress release/therapy.

      That’s why there’s the 80/20 rule, and it’s also why you should add healthy foods first then remove bad ones, not do it the other way around.

      mm wrote on December 19th, 2010
  8. Apparently she’s going to be back tomorrow with a Vegan. I heard from a friend who only told me ’cause she knew it would send me off. By the way, I emailed Oprah’s show to request her having Mark on. That would be awesome, but I don’t think she’d ever commit to it. It’s too risky for people who think they already know all about health and wellness.

    Tolstoyan wrote on January 31st, 2011
  9. Hey Mark,

    Great piece. I do agree with Son of Grok above that Oprah is a prime example of what YO Yo dieting is all about. I do like to watch Oprah from time to time but I have a real issue with her promoting weight loss when she showed over and over that she cannot keep the weight off. I think that it is pretty deceptive to so many people across NA. What is her message? Is it OK to YO Yo diet, is it OK to not exercise?…I do not understand why she does not stay away from the topic all together.

    Dita

    Dita wrote on May 23rd, 2011
  10. Finally! I’ve always felt Oprah was a horrible role model in regards to healthy eating/exercise/weight issues. All those women who watch her religiously and do everything she says, and she’s leading them down the same destructive path she’s on! I think she’s great living proof that money doesn’t make you skinny, a personal trainer can’t make your body fat % drop, and personal chefs or nutritionists on hand 24/7 doesn’t make a difference.

    After all the years and all the diets she’s tried, I’m surprised she hasn’t come across the Primal Blueprint yet, but I’ll be glad when that day comes.

    Hannah wrote on October 21st, 2011
  11. I was searching for tips for dealing with emotional eating on Mark’s blog and came across this post. I’ve felt extreme frustration at Oprah’s irresponsible coverage of the next, best, shiny new diet program that claims to be the ultimate cure – while at the same time being aware that my anger mainly comes from a place of hate towards myself for falling off the wagon over and over – and thus has nothing to do with Oprah as she is a reflection of myself and many other people who struggle with emotional eating. I started dabbling in Paleo about a year ago but haven’t had lasting success. I’m the first to admit it’s not about Paleo, it’s about my issues with emotional eating, depression, anxiety, negative habits, etc. I started a semi-Paleo eating plan for two weeks but it was too strict and I fell off soon after getting sick. Then several months later (after reading more about Paleo) – I succeeded at following it for a month. I felt awesome during that time – more energy, less aches and pains, moderated moods, empowered and so on but then a few bumps in the road led me off course (boy problems, work stress and a close friend moving) – fast forward 5 months and I’m still off course – gaining back 10 pounds (while wanting to lose 70 pounds). I’ve got a lot of respect for Mark and others who have made this Paleo lifestyle work and I appreciate his 80/20 rule and acknowledgement of emotional eating. I think being more understanding and compassionate towards others who don’t share the exact same path of success would open the Paleo movement to a bigger audience who like myself feel intimidated by the Paleo-ians who showcase no patience for others who have a different path and struggle to make Paleo work on a long term basis but who ultimately want to feel stronger, healthier and happier.

    M. Foste wrote on July 14th, 2012

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